Vivax Veloce - the world's lightest e-bike?
Sub 10kg road bike build for the re-named and re-engineered Gruber system
How much does an e-bike weigh? A few years ago early adopters were riding around on behemoths weight up to 40kg but they keep on getting lighter, and this might be the lightest yet: The Vivax Veloce tips the scales at just 9.7kg.
Who are Vivax? Well, they're Gruber. Remember them? Cancellara's secret engine in the Classics and all that? Of course, it turned out that Cancellara wasn't packing a motor but was just really good at riding a bike. However, it did Gruber no harm at all, increasing their web traffic twentyfold and catapulting them into the limelight with their clever and almost invisible system. Now they've moved from a rather technical and Germanic name to a more cuddly and cross-border one, to showcase their next generation system.
That system is a motor that fits into a standard down tube and works by means of a bevel gear that engages with another one on your Hollowtech cranks. It's fiendishly simple, and because your motor is hidden away (and your battery's in a larger-than-usual seatpack) the bike looks just like a normal bike, save for a red button on the bars to engage the motor. It kicks out 200W and the standard battery pack lasts just an hour; it's not meant as a long-distance powered solution but more of a quick push on the hills, or a tailwind for the flats when you're flagging a bit. Anyway, it's not like you're hauling masses of extra weight around, the entire system weighs in at just 1.8kg.
The main issue with the first generation Gruber Assist units was the noise, but Vivax have been working hard to make the system more refined and the new motors are a lot quieter, we're told. That might mean it'll be a bit easier to sneak one into your seat tube for that important UCI race, although you'll need to make sure you don't get X-rayed by the blazers.
And the cost? Erm, it's pricey. €2,499 for the full system and €150 if you want Vivax to fit it for you. That makes the full bike show at the top a tasty €4,500, although of course you can fit the motor to any bike that has a standard round seat tube. It comes in sizes from 47cm to 58cm if you're interested...