Is Campagnolo working on its own electric bike motor and power meter? 

The Italian brand has submitted two patent applications 

Campagnolo appears to be developing a new hub-based electric bike motor and a crank-based power meter, according to two patent applications filed by the company.

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The electric motor patent portrays an oversized hub with a motor fitted inside, including a straight-pull spoke design.

The power meter patent shows a crank-based design that appears to wake up from standby when it detects rotation, with a temperature sensor, likely reducing the need for calibration.

Though it’s possible to buy third-party power meters fitted to Campagnolo cranks from the likes of Stages and SRM, an in-house option is also a notable omission from the Italian brand’s catalogue.

Campagnolo currently has no presence in the electric bike market. Shimano has a line of motors and SRAM, to all intents and purposes, seems to be developing one. Manufacturing its own motor system could represent the next market the Italian brand intends to enter.

While a patent application doesn’t necessarily mean a product will make it to final production, both seem logical developments and merit a closer look.

Campagnolo electric bike motor patent

Campagnolo appears to want in on the electric bike market.
Campagnolo

A patent application for an electric motor was filed by the Italian company on 16 August 2021. It shows an oversized hub with an electric motor fitted inside.

The motor looks to be designed around a thru-axle and the electric components are inside the hub body, with the body rotating around two cartridge bearings.

There appears to be an opening for electrical wire routing, arranged radially between the inner ring of the first bearing and the hub axle.

An electrical wire can be seen exiting from the non-driveside of the hub and there is a cover that slots over it, probably to improve the appearance and stop the wire snagging on anything.

The hub appears to be designed around Campagnolo’s N3W freehub standard.

We’d deduce the electric motor is going to be used on more expensive electric road bikes and electric gravel bikes, because the spoke openings on the hub appear to be for straight-pull spokes rather than J-bend ones.

Straight-pull spokes typically feature on more expensive wheels, eliminating any theoretical weakness found at the bend of a J-bend spoke.

If Campagnolo stepped away from its G3 spoke pattern – as it has done with its Levante gravel bike wheels – it would open up the doors to using other manufacturers’ rims.
Wayne Reid / Our Media

The hub doesn’t look as though it uses Campagnolo’s G3 spoke pattern, which sees a 2:1 ratio of spokes on the non-driveside versus the driveside. The brand has claimed previously that this spoke arrangement equalises the load on the hub from the disc brake rotor. 

It will be interesting to see if the electric hub motor will be packaged as a Campagnolo (or its subsidiary brand, Fulcrum) wheel. 

Notably, there does not appear to be any disc-brake mounting visible in the images. 

The brand only makes centerlock AFS rotors and states quite clearly that its rotors must be used with its hydraulic disc brake system. 

Plus, as the diagram portrays the hub designed around a thru-axle, it’s unlikely there will be a system for rim brakes. 

If the hub is high-end, there’s a possibility the bearings could be from Campagnolo’s ceramic catalogue, which includes USB and CULT ceramic bearings. Or perhaps, more sensibly, the brand might opt to use a more regular steel construction. 

We might even see Campagnolo develop a new technology altogether to better protect it against the elements and the increased load of the motor, akin to the ProTech bottom brackets the brand pioneered for its Ekar gravel groupset.  

At this stage, we also cannot deduce any design features of the battery or user display the electric system would run off. 

With the recent launch of the brand’s ‘Dream Bigger’ campaign, an initiative hinting at the company’s future growth, Campagnolo is seemingly looking to do just that. This patent application illustrates Campagnolo is at least seriously considering entering the electric bike components market, branching out from its narrower road and gravel focus.

Campagnolo power meter patent

If Campagnolo has cracked the code with its temperature sensor, it should be an easy power meter to live with.
Campagnolo

Campagnolo also appears to be working on a power meter that wakes up when it detects rotation, with a patent application filed on 23 December 2021.

It looks to be a crank-based system and comprises a stress or strain sensor, as well as a temperature sensor, that appear to not be parallel with one another.

The temperature sensor, in combination with the strain gauge, doesn’t sit on the same axis, likely to compensate for temperature changes, which in turn would probably reduce the need for calibration.

There also looks to be an opening on the inside face of the non-driveside crank arm for a rechargeable battery.

With Campagnolo’s 12-speed mechanical and electronic groupsets ripe for an update, could a power meter be offered either as part of or in addition to a new groupset?



Stages is one of a few options for integrating power with Campagnolo 12-speed groupsets.
Stages

Campagnolo is the only manufacturer of the ‘big three’ not to have its own power meter.

SRAM, with its subsidiary brand Quarq, has options from its top-flight Red groupset down to the third-tier Rival level, as well as the D-Zero and D-Four options.

Shimano’s top two 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, although it will likely be supported by other manufacturers such as Stages.

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