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Yes, THAT Lightweight...

There’s always lots of electric bikes at Eurobike. Lots and lots and lots. From folding bikes to road bikes to mountain bikes to fat bikes, everything gets a motor fitted by someone. One place we weren’t expecting to find one, however, was the Lightweight stand. You know, the purveyors of German carbon über lightness that make the posh wheels and the Urgestalt frameset.

But there it was: the Velocité. We spoke to Lightweight’s Frank Jeniche about the bike, which is a collaboration between Lightweight and Dresden University, funded by a German state project on urban mobility.

“We did all of the design stuff, everything in carbon fibre”, he told us. “We were also responsible for the motor design and management. One of the institutes [at the University] was a specialist in electronics so they helped us out with that. One of the other institutes was a specialist in carbon fibre testing, so that was their part. In the end what we have here is a technology demonstrator that shows what could be possible in the future.”

It’s a striking-looking machine. At first look it seems as if it doesn’t have a seat tube, but in fact the tube is wrapped right around the wheel from the top tube right to the bottom bracket. This isn’t just for the sake of the looks, either: the bike uses an entirely different propulsion system to any other e-bike we’ve seen.

The rim of the rear wheel is completely covered with magnets on either side, and a series of coils within the seat tube act on the magnets to propel the bike forward. The wheel of the bike is effectively acting as the rotor in the motor. There’s no need for reduction gears or other transmission parts that wear out, and the system can save a lot of weight as a result. The bike is powered by a battery hidden in the down tube. Jeniche told us that the battery was a new technology too, but wouldn’t expand on that.

“We’re talking about a bike that weighs 14.5 kilos. If it were to come to production we could easily rip a kilo out of that”, Jeniche told us. “The motor is limited to 500W, and we’ve categorised it as an S-Pedelec [maximum speed 45km/h], but there’s lots of tuning potential: it could go to at least 80km/h, maybe up to 100. We’re talking about a stylish design, a sporty geometry. We are Lightweight. We don’t want to have a super-long-wheelbase, nasty-looking, heavy bike. That’s not us.”

And is the bike likely to make it into production? Probably not in this form, but the Velocité isn’t designed as a product prototype, it’s exploring technologies that Lightweight reckon could well be viable down the line. “We’d like to deveop the whole technology further”, Jeniche said. “This is the first public attempt and we’ve had a lot of reaction. We’ve talked to engineers from the bicycle industry, from the motorcycle industry, from the car industry… If you see that UPS, for instance, have started a pilot project to use e-bikes to replace vans for city deliveries: something like that could be possible with the technology also. We’re open to that. We’re not just a wheel company.”

Click here to read all of our stories from Eurobike 2014 - the world's biggest bike show.

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

13 comments

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Wookie [241 posts] 3 years ago
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Is my understanding correct that this basically works like a maglev or monorail train? If that is the case 100kph or more probably isn’t out of the question?

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farrell [1946 posts] 3 years ago
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What happens if/when it buckles?

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Paul_C [512 posts] 3 years ago
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how do you adjust the seat or handlebar height then?

Also 14.5 Kg is only lightweight in comparison with other e-bikes, mine is 18 kilos...

also I like to be able to remove the battery to charge it or prevent it being nicked... I keep my bike chained up using a ground anchor in my shed and I don't have mains running out to that shed either (communal block of brick built sheds).

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David Arthur @d... [792 posts] 3 years ago
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Paul_C wrote:

how do you adjust the seat or handlebar height then?

Also 14.5 Kg is only lightweight in comparison with other e-bikes, mine is 18 kilos...

also I like to be able to remove the battery to charge it or prevent it being nicked... I keep my bike chained up using a ground anchor in my shed and I don't have mains running out to that shed either (communal block of brick built sheds).

The clue is in the word 'concept' - I can't imagine this is close to production. If it ever sees the light of day. Would be cool to see Lightweight push it to that stage though

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notfastenough [3727 posts] 3 years ago
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Wow. Imagine that, a maglev-powered road bike ridden by a courier, passing you at 80kmh...

Add leathers (since the rider isn't going to sweat over an extra kg or 2), and you start to blur the line between bikes and motorbikes.

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Al__S [1254 posts] 3 years ago
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Note: in the UK this would need to be type-approved as a Moped, as we limit to 24km/h and 200W. standard EU pedelec is 25km/h and 250W

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crazy-legs [911 posts] 3 years ago
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So rather than go "Wow, cool concept bike, no-one has ever thought about it that way before!" everyone goes all negative. Sadly typical of road.cc - some people on here would moan about being given a £20 note cos it wasn't two tenners...

That bike is incredible, a real game changer for the e-bike market (itself a massively growing concept). Yes, it's a concept; no, it probably won't make it to production in that form but come on, the engineering and design that's gone into that is phenomenal.

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antonio [1167 posts] 3 years ago
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'80km/h, maybe up to 100.'
Boy oh boy the Strava gang will have some fun with one of these on a sportive!

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pwake [427 posts] 3 years ago
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Very clever, but not as clever as that Audi e-bike that did 80kph and could be set to wheelie at the same time!  4

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dave atkinson [6317 posts] 3 years ago
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Wesselwookie wrote:

Is my understanding correct that this basically works like a maglev or monorail train? If that is the case 100kph or more probably isn’t out of the question?

yes, more or less. same principles.

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dave atkinson [6317 posts] 3 years ago
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farrell wrote:

What happens if/when it buckles?

it creates a black hole and you're sucked through to an alternate dimension.

or, it rubs on the coils and you have to true it.

one or the other

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cub [86 posts] 3 years ago
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Wesselwookie wrote:

Is my understanding correct that this basically works like a maglev or monorail train? If that is the case 100kph or more probably isn’t out of the question?

Not really, maglev goes fast by eliminating the the friction of road contact, this bike doesn't levitate!

The maglev motor concept is really exciting though.

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cub [86 posts] 3 years ago
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Wesselwookie wrote:

Is my understanding correct that this basically works like a maglev or monorail train? If that is the case 100kph or more probably isn’t out of the question?

Not really, maglev goes fast by eliminating the the friction of road contact, this bike doesn't levitate!

The maglev motor concept is really exciting though.