We've banned Chinese telco kit and drones. Next: Mountain bikes?

DJI builds a power pack for off-road two-wheelers

Nations worried about China's ability to use its tech companies for more than trade now have a new class of kit to fret over: mountain bikes, thanks to Middle Kingdom drone-maker DJI's arrival in the field with an electric drive system.

The US government has already grounded its fleet of DJI drones over security concerns, and warned they could be used to gather intelligence for Beijing.

Many nations have decided Chinese telco kit-makers Huawei and ZTE pose an unacceptable risk.

DJI may now give lawmakers something else to worry about, in the form of the Avinox Drive System – announced this week at the Eurobike 2024 trade show.

"DJI's legacy of passion for innovation, as well as our expertise in battery and motor technology accumulated in drones and camera stabilization systems, have led us to the creation of Avinox," beamed Christina Zhang, senior director of corporate strategy at DJI. Zhang called it a "natural move" for expansion.

DJI called the e-bike drive system "powerful and compact." It weighs 2.52kg and provides 105Nm of torque – compared to the 85 to 95Nm of torque typical on the market. Boost mode provides up to 30 seconds of 120Nm of torque.

The system comes with DJI's Smart-Assist, which uses sensors to auto adjust the amount of assistance offered to riders in one of five riding assist modes. The kit comes with a two-inch OLED full-color touchscreen, the choice of either 600Wh or fast charging 800Wh battery – and of course a smartphone connectable app.

The drive system can be paired with a bike called the Amflow PL, which launched the same day.

The 19.2kg (roughly 42 pounds) Amflow PL with Avinox costs in the premium range of ebikes – running around $7,500 for a base model or nearly $12,800 for a pro model. It will not be available for purchase until later this year.

Bike reviewer DC Rainmaker noted [VIDEO] that Amflow – the business – is an incubator of DJI's.

"I asked if it's owned by DJI or is a DJI subsidiary. I can see they were all visibly nervous when I asked that question," recounted the bike fanatic.

"It's basically a subsidiary of DJI, owned by the same sort of thing, but at the end of the day it's separate," he concluded.

"They expect to sell the motor to other ebike companies," added DC Rainmaker, comparing it German manufacturer Bosch's e-motor business model.

"It is definitely an interesting entrance to the marketplace to see DJI go into this area," mused DC Rainmaker, adding that integration with other DJI products – even drones – could be possible in the future.

The diversification of DJI's portfolio occurs at a time when US lawmakers have flagged concerns over Chinese drones.

According to data from the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), China currently controls 90 percent of the US drone market, with DJI alone taking up 80 percent.

Concern ranges from belief that the businesses behind the technology are beholden to the CCP, to worries that China will dominate the nascent industry only to leverage dependencies on its gadgets later on.

John Moolenaar, a member of the US House of Representatives, referred to drones as a key technology and sector "that will determine future conflicts."

DJI landed itself on the US export control list in 2020 – meaning US companies and individuals are restricted from exporting, re-exporting, or transferring certain items to DJI without obtaining a specific license from their government. ®

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