In the rapidly evolving world of e-bikes, a smooth and responsive ride feel is a deciding factor for the success of a bike model and, thus, also for a bicycle brand. It is therefore no coincidence that companies put significant effort into developing drive systems that deliver a natural riding experience by mastering the delicate balance between the bicycle's natural behaviour and the electric boost from the drive unit. There are various factors that play a role in achieving this - a decisive one, however, is the accurate response of the e-bike's drive unit to the rider's input.
"This is where torque sensors come into play. They measure the rider's pedalling force, providing data to the e-bike's control unit, which then can adjust the motor's output accordingly. This ensures a seamless, responsive ride feel that mirrors a traditional cycling experience, but with an added electric boost," Joel Pinheiro explains. He is the Director of the Portuguese subsidiary at AUTORQ, an international company with offices in Singapore and Portugal, specialising in accurate, reliable and efficient torque sensors.
A wide range of products
The journey of AUTORQ started in 2012 when the company began to operate as a specialist in bicycle manufacturing and design. After a few years, however, the founders realised that their opportunities to influence the e-bike technology of tomorrow were significantly greater by focusing on components - in particular, torque sensors. The result was a complete re-branding in 2017 - the official start of AUTORQ. "At that time, we identified a gap in the market for high-quality, specific components that can make the response of e-bike drive units more accurate," Pinheiro remembers. "That's why we shifted our focus and developed a range of torque sensors that are compatible with most crank interfaces," Ying-Tsao Tan, founder of AUTORQ explains.
The result is a wide range of products that are compatible with most frames and available for different bottom bracket widths (68-120 mm), bottom bracket standards (BSA and T47) and crank interfaces (ISIS and JIS cranks). "All products are characterised by a very high accuracy, great reliability and at the same time an easy assembly procedure," Pinheiro says, referring to the unique characteristics of the AUTORQ torque sensors. For example, all of them are IP67 waterproof, which means they can withstand even the worst weather conditions. High-quality materials and components ensure additional robustness and reliability. And thanks to an integrated cadence sensor, the accuracy is increased even further. "Another advantage is that our sensors neither require calibration during their lifetime nor zeroing before each use," Pinheiro emphasises.
Torque sensors with unparalleled performance
When you talk to Pinheiro, you quickly realise the expertise that the sensor specialist brings to the table. The design of torque sensors requires a blend of mechanical and electronic engineering, as well as a profound understanding of biking dynamics. AUTORQ has mastered this complexity through its singular focus and commitment to continuous improvement. "Bicycle and drive unit manufacturers can benefit from this know-how in two ways," Pinheiro explains. "With their unparalleled performance and reliability, our torque sensors can enhance the accuracy of existing bicycle concepts. But our partners can also buy the sensor technology if they don't have the capabilities to produce high-quality torque sensors in-house."
Another interesting fact: A more accurate drive unit response leads to less current draw by the motor unit, which ensures less power usage and, thus, also less battery consumption. Pinheiro estimates the range gain for some of his customers at up to 30%.
The future of AUTORQ
For the future, the company has big plans and wants to further strengthen its special position in the market. Currently, the AUTORQ team is working on expanding their product range. They are working on a solution for integrated torque sensors in hub motors. AUTORQ founder Ying-Tsao Tan concludes: "An incredible ride feel should be available for everybody. That's why we developed the widest range of models compatible with all the bottom brackets in the market. Our reliable and high signal-quality torque sensors are made for brands who want to develop unique and incredible products."
This article is sponsored by AUTORQ.