Even though the boss of Designworks left recently to join MINI, Selle Royal has teamed up with the BMW Group subsidiary to develop a saddle specifically designed for the needs of e-mobility. The result of this collaboration is eZone, a saddle with a unique gesture that improves e-bike safety, comfort and riding performance. To pinpoint the specific performance characteristics that could be improved with an innovative e-bike saddle design, the two companies conducted the first comprehensive study of e-bike users
Until recently there were no studies available on the particular usage characteristics of an e-bike and how these affect saddle comfort and support. Consequently, up until now saddles marketed specifically for e-bikes have essentially been slight variations of traditional bicycle saddles. Selle Royal set out to fill this market gap and just released eZone, a saddle specifically designed for modern commuter, leisure, touring, off road and urban e-bikes.
Marketing manager Lara Cunico said: “The big discovery of our research conducted with Designworks is that the characteristics of e-bikes are in many ways distinctly different to those of non-electric bikes. This led us to re-think our product in its entirety. We pushed the realms of expertise in the industry to develop a completely new type of saddle, different from any other product on the market. eZone is the outcome of an amazing project… and this is just the beginning.”
E-bike users experience a different kind of compression force when quickly accelerating, shifting abruptly to a higher gear or breaking to avoid collision. In fact, road safety studies have shown that slipping off of ‘flat’ traditional saddles is the number one cause of e-bike accidents. ‘Enhancing confidence and therefore freedom during the ride’ were also two of the main desires that crystallized during the consumer research process. To enhance the rider’s security, confidence, comfort and performance in any situation, the design team introduced the concept of the ‘comfort atlas’.
It defines zones that speak to the different requirements of e-bike users, adding safety during acceleration and stopping as well as enhanced control and balance during the ride. The ‘comfort atlas’ also led to the innovative shape of the e-bike saddle: The rear zone of the saddle was raised to prevent backward sliding and a shorter nose was introduced to make mounting easier. Wings were added with which the rider can steer and adapt thrust with precision. An integrated fiberglass handle allows for easy maneuvering. The saddle is padded with a tri-dimensional gel structure that reduces pressure peaks by up to 40%.
With its innovative design, Selle Royal´s new e-bike saddle is a perfect complement to the all-new BMW Active Hybrid e-Bike, the latest addition to the bike collection of BMW Lifestyle for which Designworks is also the design partner. Thanks to the integrated Brose electric engine featuring a power of 250 W, torque of 90 Nm and capacity of 504 Wh, the e-bike is extremely dynamic and agile. Selle Royal’s eZone will be available for purchase from October 2017. The new BMW e-bike will be available as of September 2017 online or at selected BMW retailers.