Urban Velo

SRAM E-matic Electric Assist System

Electric assist hubs are not exactly what most of our readers are into, but for given applications and riders they can be the difference between car and bike trips. For mass acceptance of bikes as transportation in American cities it is my personal belief that electric and electric assist bikes will be an important bridge point for segments of the population, even if I don’t know where best to draw the line on power in separated bike facilities. No matter, it will get sorted out, electric assist is here and SRAM is entering the fray in 2013 with the E-matic system.

The automatic E-matic system is meant for getting around town with less exertion—perfect for casual riders not looking to break a sweat on the way to pick up groceries, who would also rather not rely on car transport. It’s a hub with a two-speed planetary gear system inside along with a specialty rear cargo rack with a built in slot for accommodating the riders choice of 6, 8 or 10 Ah batteries depending on needed range and weight. The hub is part of an otherwise single speed drivetrain—the first electric assist speed helps get up to speed and up hills, the second is for cruising along at a 15 mph limited speed in the USA models. Shifting happens automatically, as does the application of electric assist. No throttle, push to start.

In a quick spin around the SRAM test track, the power was immediately noticeable yet controlled. Pushing it into the second gear in the midst of an office building is fun in its own right, and the actual boost is pretty impressive. It definitely makes me want to try one for a longer period, even if I think I’ll be sticking to the purely pedal powered for the foreseeable future. Going fast with minimal effort while still having to pedal is a cool feeling, and I could see it being the thing that gets more people to ditch their car for short trips.

No word on system pricing or original spec yet, but expect to to see the E-matic spec’d on some major brands come Interbike.


  1. AntonAugust 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I’ve run a wisper (a UK electric/pedelec) for a few years now. I live at the top of a huge hill, and I can bike to work any day there isn’t a good frost. I’ve lost over 30kg, and never ever felt better. I’m exactly the target market you describe. 10ah seems a bit low. Its not about power or going faster, but further.

  2. Joe PeraltaAugust 13, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I like being the engine, but I think the majority of humans prefer whatever assistance they can get. I think the line ought to be drawn on speed – energy = velocity squared – so a bike limited in speed could use any power and be no more dangerous to cyclists than any other bike. Of course you’ll get a cottage industry turning 10 mph wussery into little crotch rockettes.

  3. SRAM Automatix 2-Speed Auto Shifting Hub « Urban VeloSeptember 5, 2012 at 10:53 am

    [...] visiting SRAM a few weeks ago in Chicago I had the chance to try out their new E-matic electric assist system firsthand, and also got a brief run-down of the Automatix 2-speed hub even if they [...]

  4. RBSDecember 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    Any idea what kind of cells are in the Battery? What the Battery Warranty will be? What will be the cost of a replacement Battery? I believe 20mph will sell well, not so sure about 15mph in the USA. I just read a review of this “kit” that will be integrated into the Electra Townie, but light on specifics about the motor and battery/controller. Says they will be available Feb 2013 with some models already “seeded”. I hope it’s a huge success because ordering from China takes forever and it’s not a viable option if something goes wrong. But Batteries life span and cost will make or break it in the USA. I rode one of the first Chrysler E-bikes about a decade ago and it was a heavy slow dog of a bike with about an 8 mile range. So all that Chrysler proved was they couldn’t produce a ready for market e-bike. Hope this one gets the industry moving in the US. Now if someone would just bring to market a nicely constructed/engineered mid drive system for all bikes so that torque and weight distribution were less of a problem.

  5. MarkJanuary 26, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Is the Sram E-matic available in Europe already?

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