of bikes with between 750 and 1200 watts of
power. Next is the Pro Series. One bike in this
series uses the same MBB (Motorized Bottom
Bracket) as the Elite Series. The other two use
the Turner-designed, 600-watt SIMMB drive
that combines the motor, battery and control
equipment inside a common case for a very
clean and compact design. Finally, there are
the 500-watt Urban Series bikes. These bikes
are designed in Colorado but built off-shore.
These use a mid-drive with a separate battery.
Optibike drives are only available as complete
The Panasonic mid-drive motor is a complete, modern unit like the Bosch or TranzX.
Panasonic was actually a very early adopter of
mid-drive technology, but the early Panasonic
motor output did not share a motor shaft
with the pedals like these newer designs do.
A small sprocket behind the front chain ring
supplied the assist. The basic motor design
stayed the same from the early ’90s until
Panasonic came out with a new mid-drive
with a common shaft in 2013. This is a reliable and efficient system that is frugal with
electricity. It is also quiet and smooth-running.
Updates in batteries have keep the drive
system current with good performance and
range. Panasonic mid-drives are only sold to