THE CATAPULT EFFECT IMPACTS RIDE EXPERIENCE
Many motors struggle to respond in ‘real time’ to the pedal force, and this leads to larger delays that result in compromised safety and ride feeling. The reason is the catapult effect. But what exactly is the catapult effect?
The catapult effect occurs, when the cyclist begins to pedal, but instead of gradually adjusting the power output, the motor fully kicks in after being delayed – causing a sudden twitch of the bike. This common behavior of the motor can be unsafe, especially when unexpected events in traffic occur.
As it demands a challenging amount of coordination and estimation to evaluate every possible situation, it can be quite difficult to calculate the exact timing of propulsion for the cyclist. Instead, optimizing the motor ought to be the main focus.
Realtime and Human Perception
Switching to electric bicycles should not impair the cyclist’s safety due to the catapult effect and reduce the comfort that comes along with classical bikes.
This asks for ‘real time’ responding motors. But what does ‘real time’ mean to our human brains? Even when things feel instantaneous, there is always an amount of time our brain needs to physically react to stimuli.
This reaction time averages 250 milliseconds. When it comes to noticing delays most humans sense anything up to 100 milliseconds as immediate. Studies show the brain can be trained to experience up to 150ms delays as immediate.
Solution: Torque Sensor
A torque sensor is what you need to minimize the delay and make it feel as if there is none. Essentially, the torque sensor detects precisely when the cyclist starts pedaling and transmits the information to the motor. This way we achieve advanced responsiveness. Installing a torque sensor is key to the optimization of the ride experience and avoiding a catapult effect.