Are you excited yet?
Production is rounding third base on the Blade. We've spent the last few weeks perfecting the final details to make sure these bikes kick ass. Check out what's been going on below:
We've been considering putting gear sensors on FLX Bikes since our original prototypes. Having a powerful mid motor means putting more strain on the drivetrain of the bike. With original Generation 1 and Generation 2 bikes shifting isn't an issue, though you do feel a stronger click when the gears engage if you're running at power. With the Blade, if you're running max power and shift, you'll really feel it kick in. To smooth out shifts, we were dipping off the power a bit before changing gears... But we'd rather leave that to technology. Gearsensor.com has developed a sweet sensor that integrates with the Blade's motor. It will sense when you click the gear, cut the power for just long enough for the gear to engage and the power will reengage. Not only does it make for butter smooth shifting, but long term will increase the life span of the Blade's SRAM EX-1 drivetrain.
The gear sensor needs to be installed on the shift cable, so typically they're slapped and zip tied somewhere on the frame like a barnacle.
Here's the proposed location for the Blade's gear sensor-
It's just hanging out there, flapping in the wind. Not good for street cred.
After a few revisions, we came up with a better solution. The gear sensor will live inside the top tube. Stealth and hidden like our little secret.
All FLX Bikes need to handle a serious beating. Not just in the outdoors but in the lab as well.
In this test, according to ISO4210 standards, the frame is put in a test rig and a 1200 newton force is applied at the seat tube twice per second for 50000 cycles. It simulates the stresses you might put on the frame when going downhill or over bumps.
The workmanship of our new manufacturing partners, who produce the frames and assemble in house passed with flying colors.
All of the Bafang Ultra motors have been delivered. The good news is they're ahead of schedule. The bad news is the motors delivered have an orange logo from some halloween nightmare and sport giant Bafang logos on the cranks. Again, not good for street cred.
We were expecting to receive aesthetically the exact same motor as all of our samples, which looks sexy with the rest of the Blade's design accents.
Bafang was very acommodating and took the motors back to swap the housings for the original design and cranks to all black. Meanwhile... Bafang engineering has confirmed that they've concluded testing on a-
Steel Drive Gear
The drive gear on all Ultras manufactured to date was nylon and all other gears were metal. Now that the precise manufacturing process is perfected to make the gears precise enough to use stronger materials without increasing noise, Bafang's greenlighted using the new gear in Ultra motors. Metal gears means more robustness, and with this kind of power, we had to have it. When Bafang changes out the logo'd motor cover, they're going to swap out the gears for us at the same time. The motors will come back in about 10 days, concurrent with the arrival of the long awaited Rockshox suspension, SRAM gears and Magura brakes from Taiwan.
Pete and team make sure everything is "Bang On"-
That's it for this update, stay tuned as we'll be at the factory more this week and next week with the latest Blade news!
We love you,