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Ten years of innovation: Interview with Pendix founder and CEO Thomas Herzog

8 days ago

6 minutes

The Zwickau-based company Pendix is ​​no stranger to the bike industry and cyclists, with its self-developed eDrive retrofit drive. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary, we spoke about the company’s technological, initial spark, as well as milestones and developments over the last decade up to the present day.

Mr. Herzog, what was the brilliant technical idea behind the founding of Pendix?

At the time, we offered development services for customers in our first company. In 2012, this also included the company Mifa, for which we developed a cargo bike drive. The project captivated us so much at the time that we wanted to develop our own drive according to our ideas as the next step. That’s how everything got rolling.

What technical background do the founders of your company have?

At the time, we all studied engineering at the West Saxon University of Applied Sciences in Zwickau and met in the “Formula Student” project. This is an international competition in which students construct racing vehicles themselves and then compete against each other. In addition to their engineering studies, all of our founders had already completed practical training in the fields of technology or business.

Can you describe what the special features of the first Pendix development were at the time?

With pleasure. It was important to us that our own motor worked silently and did not generate any noticeable pedal resistance. In addition, our design had to be very flexible and suitable for use with a wide variety of bicycle models and really offer retrofitting at the level of the major manufacturers.

And how was your idea later received by the market?

It was a really radical experience and one that we will never forget: We went to the Eurobike bicycle trade fair in Friedrichshafen for the first time in 2014 and showed our system to the public there. I remember people who stood spellbound at our stand for minutes and couldn’t take their eyes off our product. As they left, they turned around several times and had pure enthusiasm in their eyes. That really gave our team a boost for the market launch.

What insights did you gain from the launch of the first product – what further developments did you derive from this?

The product launch of our first retrofit drive was in 2015. It had a 330 Wh battery. Through practical use, feedback from customers and ongoing observations and tests of our own, we had determined that a larger battery would be a useful addition. As we gained more experience with the system, we gradually came across further opportunities for improvement. These included more power, more efficiency, an external lock, protective covers and other extras and smaller adjustments. We then implemented these bit by bit in subsequent model generations and new developments. And even today, of course, the optimization process is not yet complete.

Can you tell us something about the technical milestones that followed?

Of course. The next milestone was in 2017. Here we started with a larger 500 Wh battery. This provided even more range and thus more flexibility and application possibilities for our retrofit drive. A 65 Nm version of our motor followed in 2020. With this update, we primarily ensured greater efficiency. The very next year, the eDrive IN was finally released. This was a new concept. Here we moved away from the mid-engine and instead implemented a system with a hub drive. This is particularly useful for cargo bikes because the power is then applied directly to the wheel.

Is there currently a technical highlight in the company? What was it developed for?

Yes, that is the new integrated mid-engine gDrive, which will be launched in 2025. We developed this together with our shareholder Johnson Electric specifically for use in city and trekking bikes. Because a mid-engine with a gearbox like the gDrive is ideal in terms of its position on the bike when it comes to a natural riding feel. In addition, such a motor has better efficiency. Because the gDrive is also small, light and is installed directly, we are following the current trend of integrating more and more components into the bike. Sustainability is also an important aspect for us. Together with Johnson Electric, we ensure high environmental, labor and social standards along the value chain and focus on repairs instead of complete replacement and disposal: Thanks to the modular design of our gDrive, individual elements can be repaired if necessary, so the entire system does not have to be replaced.

How would you describe the development of your company as a whole – what makes you particularly happy and proud today?

Over the last ten years, we have developed from a small start-up in Zwickau to an established medium-sized company. Sometimes it is hard to believe how quickly it all happened. Some things feel like they were only yesterday. But despite the big changes, you can still feel the spirit of an agile company here today. We are particularly proud of the ease of use, which is reflected in every detail of our products. And of course we are particularly grateful to everyone who has accompanied us on our journey so far and continues to do so.

More information: https://pendix.de/

About Pendix:

The bicycle drive manufacturer Pendix, founded in 2013, is part of the Pendix Group. On the market since 2015, the employees of Pendix GmbH focus on the further development and marketing of products such as the Pendix eDrive, the Pendix eDrive IN hub motor and the integrated Pendix gDrive mid-engine. From the drive production in Zwickau and the VSC.BIKE bicycle production in Allstedt, the drives, components and bicycles are sold or used by more than 750 authorized Pendix dealers, 37 bicycle manufacturers worldwide and 35 industrial customers. Johnson Electric International AG has been the majority shareholder of Pendix GmbH since 2022. High quality, sustainability, reliability and smart technologies drive Pendix to deliver the best possible quality and make a contribution to the environment.

Thomas Herzog (right), Pendix founder and CEO
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