e-Road is a growing sector right now. You might have seen our review of the Cube Agree C:62 Hybrid a couple of weeks back: these are bikes that are designed to be ridden a lot of the time with no assistance, with the motor kicking in for a bit of help away from the lights, and up the climbs. And Bafang, who make an awful lot of motors, have decided they want a piece of the action. Enter the M800 system.
The M800 is a reasonably standard mid motor, in that it replaces the bottom bracket and drives the cranks directly. There's no gearing between the cranks and the drive ring like there is with the higher end Bosch motors, so this is a system that can be used with a double chainring if you want to. But it stays in place; it's not removable like the Fazua Evation system used on the Cube.
It's a light mid motor, though. Most of the units on the market are between 2.8kg and 3.5kg, but this motor weighs a claimed 2.3kg, significantly lighter than the competition. Party this is down to the fact that it has a lower continuous power rating – 200W, rather than the EU-standard 250W – but it doesn't suffer in terms of torque, putting out a claimed 55Nm. That's in between Bosch's Active Line and Performance Line systems.
The battery is fairly small, at 200Wh, and designed to be integrated into the down tube. You might think that range would be an issue with such a small battery, but in reality a bike with a system like this is designed to be used under power only some of the time. The Cube has a 250Wh battery, so comparable to this, and that has lasted 60-80km rides with no problems, the motor helping a bit on the hills but not called into action on the flat. The system has been specifically designed to run with as little resistance as possible when not assisting, so you don't feel like you're working too hard when you're just using your legs.
The small battery and the lightweight motor combine to make this one of the lightest full systems available right now. The whole system, including the centrally-mounted screen and the remote for controlling the resistance, weighs a claimed 4.4kg. If accurate that's less than the Fazua system, and would mean that a sub-12kg build for a road bike is realistic. At the moment the lightest bikes are coming in at about 12.5kg.
We don't have any real idea of when this motor system is likely to be available; it's a 2019 model year product so it might be that we see it on some bikes at the Eurobike show in July, but that might be a bit early. Bafang mid motors haven't had a very big presence in the UK until now, although their cheaper hub motors are extensively used. This new system might make maunfacturers look more closely at their range, which includes a wide range of systems for all kinds of riding.