Developed by a young Californian shoot, the Elevate VAE conversion kit is based on an unprecedented technical option that is simple, quick to install and removable in a few minutes.
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The kits which make it possible to transform a muscular bicycle into an electric bicycle are based most of the time on a wheel equipped with a motorized hub and connected to an external battery installed on the frame or even the luggage rack. But when a former Tesla engineer who worked on Model S, Model X and Model Y decides to rethink the concept, it gives an unexpected result. Bimotal, the California-based start-up founded by Toby Ricco, has taken a radically different approach by creating a kit that installs very easily and can be taken apart in seconds. And to achieve this, the designers thought of using the calipers of the disc brakes of the bike to fix their engine.
It should be noted at the outset that the system is not yet completely universal. It is primarily intended for mountain bikes and the system is only compatible with externally mounted, post mount and IS brake calipers. The only modification needed is to replace the caliper mounting bolts with those from the Elevate kit and install the special brake disc with a toothed road on which the engine gets caught.
The complete kit weighs less than 3 kg
The advertised power is 750W for a constant torque of 50 Nm and 100 Nm at peak. At present, acceleration is managed via a handle, like a motorcycle, but Elevate says it is working on a real pedal assist system. The motor weighs barely 1 kg, the 250 Wh battery mounted on the bottle holder 1.5 kg and the brake caliper 175 gr. The excess weight of the Elevate kit is therefore not excessive. The other advantage is that it is easily installed and disassembled thanks to two levers which attach the engine to the caliper.
The idea is to be able to convert your mountain bike to electric when the need arises. For example, when hiking, when tackling a long ascent with a big drop, you can take out your Elevate kit and install it in a few tens of seconds. Then, once at the top ready to attack a descent, it is dismantled to regain the sensations and maneuverability of the bike. Of course, the system can remain permanently installed, Bimotal ensuring that its motor produces no resistance when it is not activated. The company is working on an energy recovery system to recharge the battery during descents.
With a top speed of 45 km / h and a range of between 24 and 48 km depending on use, the Elevate kit is intended to add performance on demand for those who wish to keep their favorite muscle bike while offering themselves a touch of comfort.
This compromise is very interesting on paper. But it remains to be seen how such equipment will age over time after multiple assembly / disassembly, shocks related to practice, bad weather, etc. And then there is the price, 1,950 dollars (1,660 euros at the current rate), not really cheap, even if it remains much lower than that of a complete electric bike. The Bimotal Elevate kit is currently available for pre-order and will be delivered in early 2021.
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