Is Campagnolo working on its own e-bike motor and power meter?
Campagnolo appears to be developing a new hub-based e-bike motor and crank power meter, according to two patent applications filed by the company.
The electric motor patent describes an oversized hub with an internally mounted motor, including a straight-pull spoke design.
The power meter patent shows a crank design that appears to come out of sleep mode when it detects rotation, with a temperature sensor, which likely reduces the need for calibration.
While it is possible to buy third-party power meters mounted on Campagnolo cranks like Stages and SRM, an in-house option is also a notable omission from the Italian brand’s catalog.
Campagnolo is currently not present in the e-bike market. Shimano has a line of motors and SRAM, for all intents and purposes, seems to be developing one. The manufacture of its own engine system could represent the next market that the Italian brand intends to enter.
Although a patent application does not necessarily mean that a product will reach final production, both seem like logical developments and deserve closer examination.
Campagnolo electric bike motor patent
A patent application for an electric motor was filed by the Italian company on August 16, 2021. It shows an oversized hub with an electric motor mounted inside.
The motor appears to be designed around a thru-axle and the electrical components are inside the hub body, with the body rotating around two cartridge bearings.
There seems to be an opening for the passage of electrical wires, arranged radially between the inner ring of the first bearing and the axis of the hub.
An electrical wire can be seen coming out of the non-drive side of the hub and there is a cover that slips over it, presumably to improve the look and prevent the wire from snagging on anything.
The hub appears to be designed around Campagnolo’s N3W freehub standard.
We would infer that the e-motor will be used on more expensive e-road bikes and e-gravel bikes, as the spoke openings on the hub appear to be for straight pull spokes rather than J-spokes.
Straight-pull spokes are typically found on more expensive wheels, eliminating any theoretical weakness found at the bend of a J-spoke.
The hub does not appear to use Campagnolo’s G3 spoke pattern, which sees a 2:1 spoke ratio on the non-drive side versus the drive side. The brand has previously claimed that this spoke arrangement equalizes the load on the disc brake rotor hub.
It will be interesting to see if the electric hub motor will be packaged like a Campagnolo wheel (or its subsidiary Fulcrum).
Notably, there does not appear to be any visible disc brake mounting in the pictures.
The brand only manufactures AFS center lock rotors and makes it very clear that its rotors are to be used with its hydraulic disc brake system.
Also, as the diagram depicts the hub designed around a thru-axle, it’s unlikely there is a system for rim brakes.
If the hub is high-end, the bearings may come from Campagnolo’s ceramic catalog, which includes USB and CULT ceramic bearings. Or perhaps, more sensibly, the brand could opt for a more regular steel build.
We might even see Campagnolo develop brand new technology to better protect it against the elements and increased engine loading, similar to the ProTech bottom brackets the brand released for its Ekar gravel group.
At this point, we also can’t infer the design features of the battery or user screen that the electrical system would drain.
With the recent launch of the brand’s “Dream Bigger” campaign, a move hinting at the company’s future growth, Campagnolo appears to be looking to do just that. This patent application illustrates that Campagnolo is at least seriously considering entering the e-bike component market, branching out from its narrower focus on roads and gravel.
Campagnolo power meter patent
Campagnolo also appears to be working on a power meter that wakes up when it detects rotation, with a patent application filed December 23, 2021.
It appears to be a crank system and includes a strain or strain sensor, as well as a temperature sensor, which do not appear to be parallel to each other.
The temperature sensor, in combination with the strain gauge, does not sit on the same axis, likely to compensate for temperature changes, which would likely reduce the need for calibration.
There also appears to be an opening on the inside face of the non-drive side crank arm for a rechargeable battery.
With Campagnolo’s mechanical and electronic 12-speed groupsets ready for an update, could a power meter be offered as part of or in addition to a new groupset?
Campagnolo is the only manufacturer of the “big three” that does not have its own power meter.
SRAM, along with its subsidiary brand Quarq, offers options ranging from its high-end Red groupset to third-tier Rival, as well as D-Zero and D-Four options.
Shimano’s two top groupsets come with power meter options, the Dura-Ace FC-R9200-P and Ultegra FC-R8100-P. The Japanese brand’s new third-tier 105 Di2 groupset forgoes a power meter option, though it’s likely to be supported by other manufacturers such as Stages.
We’ll bring you more news when we have it.