Some are louder than others, but e-bikes are usually easy to spot. Evidence like a battery pack sticking up off the down tube, a thick, rectangular top tube or a large motor on the wheel is hard to miss. German startup Freygeist believes that the electric bike should look and feel more like the classic pedal bike. Its new Classic pedelec is virtually indistinguishable as an electric thanks to cleanly integrated hardware and a 26.5-lb (12 kg) curb weight. You won't notice the electric drive until it kicks in.
It's not uncommon for e-bikes to have their batteries integrated into the tubes, but Freygeist's design is more seamless than average. The 33V, 337-Wh Panasonic lithium-ion battery is completely contained within the down tube, and while a measuring tape might detect a difference between the Freygeist tube and the average pedal bike tube, our naked eyes don't see it in the photos - it looks like a classic diamond bike frame. The battery feeds an equally inconspicuous rear hub motor offering 250 watts of continuous power and 500 watts of max power.
The only obvious "e-bike" visual on the Freygeist frame is the electrical hardware and wiring routed between the lower down tube and hub motor.
Beyond looking more like the average bike, the Freygeist Classic e-bike also weighs in closer to its non-powered cousin. Freygeist lists weight of the aluminum-framed, carbon-forked 10-speed at 26.5 lb (12 kg), which puts it on par with some of the lightest e-bikes we've covered, including the A-Bike folder, which weighs 26 lb (11.8 kg), and the single-speed Maxwell EP0, which is now listed at 28 lb (12.7 kg) on Maxwell's website. Freygeist's low weight helps to optimize motor drive efficiency and make the bike easier to pedal when battery power runs out.
As impressive as Freygeist's low weight is, its listed range is even more impressive when compared to the 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 km) of the Maxwell and A-Bike offerings. Freygeist estimates range between 44 and 62 miles (70 and 100 km), explaining that efficiency is optimized through low weight, low rolling resistance, seating position and engine coasting. The Classic also has a larger battery pack than the Maxwell or A-Bike designs. We'd want to test that range out before we took it too seriously, but it's certainly an intriguing set of numbers.
Engine-supported top speed is the standard 15.5 mph (25 km/h) needed to meet pedelec regulations in Freygeist's part of the world.
Freygeist's battery placement doesn't allow for removal during charging, so the owner has to roll the whole bike up to the outlet and connect the charger to the port on the down tube. The full charging process takes three to four hours from a 220V outlet.
Components have clearly been selected to further the bike's urban-e-bike-in-disguise character. Those include a Brooks brown leather saddle and handlebars, Shimano shifters and brakes, and Continental tires.
Freygeist offers the Classic for €3,990 (approx. US$4,330) and says that it takes about 21 days for delivery. The bike was voted a finalist in this year's ISPO BrandNew Awards.