16kg for a custom long-distance travel bike … isn’t this a bit heavy ?
16kg for a long-distance travel e-bike with a range of 100km on one battery charge … now we’re talking.
The original assignment was to create a long-haul traveller fit to do long tours across France and Europe with rides of up to 150km a day, entirely leg-powered. When Stéphane asked me to add some electric help, I have to admit, I wasn’t too fond. How to build an e-bike that can do 150km a day? Hub motors with huge batteries are great for commutes but they become pretty much unridable when the batteries run out of juice.
Luckily I didn’t have to go far to search for a light and efficient solution that keeps the ride and feel similar to a normal bike. Many of us know the super-light and performant dynamos by VELOGICAL-Engineering. I used them on many of my bikes. Turns out, these guys also developed an award winning e-drive - the Velospeeder. The facts were quite convincing:
highest energy to weight ratio in the market (the stronger version of the motor weighs only 620g and with a 322Wh / 14500mAh batterie of 1.4kg the total system weight comes in at just about 2.5kg with cables and switches),
the friction drive is strong enough to push 100kg (rider and bike) up a 6% slope without any pedal power,
the motors can be completely disengaged and therefore don’t slow down the bike when the battery is down,
almost maintenance free (friction rings need to be replaced every 7000-10000km).
Integrating the e-drive that is designed to retrofit existing bikes was still quite a challenge and the learning curve was steep. My friend Jean-Michel from TIM TAS & REK provided the custom bags to hold the battery and controller (as well as the great porteur bag for the front rack). Switches and engagement mechanisms where integrated into the frame keeping the look of the bike as close as possible to a regular bike.
Once we were at it, we added a beautiful custom rear rack to it. The rest is known territory: custom front rack and bag matching the color of Stéphane's orange Ortliebs, dynamo supplied lights and charger (Forumslader), a solid XT Trekking group, the comfortable Jones H Loop Bar. The wheels are hand-built with lovely Velocity A23 rims and the plush Compass Barlow Pass 700x38c tires.