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Pedal force sensor saves hard work on electric bike

Pedal force sensor saves hard work on electric bike

If you need a bit of help when pedalling up hill, or a more natural feel from your electric bike, then the Sparta with its pedal force sensing technology could be just what you’re after. We look at how the technology works.

Zemic, the leading manufacturer and designer of load cells, strain gauges and force sensors has developed an electric bike pedal force sensor in conjunction with the Netherlands firm Sparta – the most successful e-bike brand in Europe. The sensor is a crucial component in the bike’s drive and control system that detects the pedal force applied, and through software settings determines a proportional amount of assisted motor power at the wheel. 

When the Sparta designers were developing their e-bike range, they began with a clean sheet of paper on which they wrote a list of performance requirements, including: reliability, range, security, style, simplicity, silence, comfort, power, practicality, longevity and versatility. The company already had decades of experience producing SpartaMets – bicycles with a petrol engine hidden in the rear wheel. Most recently, the company has taken advantage of advances in battery and electric motor technology to make the leap to e-bikes.

Some of the company’s range of e-bikes have the battery hidden within the frame, others have removable batteries to increase charging flexibility. All have powerful, silent, maintenance-free motors mounted on the wheel, designed to assist normal pedalling by providing power directly proportional to the effort applied by the rider. Rather than a speed sensor, this control gives the rider a more intuitive riding experience with increased efficiency and longer battery life. The e-bike has several settings including Cruise, Tour and Sport.

Zemic, which is represented exclusively in the UK by Variohm EuroSensor, worked closely with Sparta from the outset to prototype, develop and mass-manufacture a competitively priced customised sensor for this cost-conscious and rapidly expanding market – in the European Union, 1.35 million e-bikes were sold in 2014, almost double the 2011 sales. The sensor was developed with the EBCC (Electric Bike Competence Centre) of the Accell Group whose members include many globally recognised bike brand names including Raleigh and Diamondback in the UK.

Variohm has been working with Zemic since 2008 and provides complete technical support and a full sales service across its wide range of load and force sensors with capacities from a few hundred grams to more than 500 tons. Product families include single point cells, compression cells, S-type, shear beam and spoke type load cells together with complete weighing assemblies, separate strain gauge circuits, junction boxes, mounting accessories and electronics. 

Variohm EuroSensor is a manufacturer, distributor and supply chain partner providing complete sales and application support across a comprehensive range of position, force, pressure, load, and temperature sensor technologies – for demanding measurement applications across industry, construction, agriculture, motorsports, research and more.

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