After taking out a 2013 Red Dot product design award in March for its first e-bike, the S25, Klever Mobilty has added another award to its trophy cabinet by claiming an e-bike/pedelec award at Eurobike 2013 for its B25 model. Both the S25 and B25 were on show alongside the S45 and B45 models, which got their first public airing at the show. While the S25 and B25 are aimed at the urban commuter market, the S45 and B45 up the speed for those hitting the open road.
All models in Klever’s range are uni-sex and uni-size – or “one-size-fits-most” as Klever Mobility Europe General Manager Fritz G. Baumgarten describes it – with the B25 and B45 offering lower step through than the S25 and S45. While the S25 and S45 feature front suspension with 50 mm of travel, the B25 and B45 up this to 70 mm and are dual suspended bikes that see the addition of rear shocks with 90 mm of travel. All feature Shimano Deore 10-speed gears, hydraulic disc brakes front and rear, rear rack and front and rear lights. The S models ride on 26-inch tires, while the B models feature 24-inch wheels.
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Industrial designer Adriana Monk, who has done design work for Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Rolls Royce and Wally Yachts, has turned her talents to two-wheeled vehicles and made the 44 V lithium ion battery a central design element of the Klever line. They feature rounded corners and are lined with a strip of brushed aluminum that also acts as a handle for the easy removal and carrying of the battery. They can be charged separately or when connected to the bike, which also integrates energy recovery technology
The S25 and B25 come with a 360 Wh battery, while the S45 and B45 come with a more powerful 480 Wh unit. Although the 480 Wh battery is 8 mm wider than the 360 Wh unit, both are compatible with all four bikes in the Klever range. With the standard battery, the S25 and B25 boast a range of 40 to 90 km (25 to 56 miles) depending on the pedal assist setting, but slotting the more powerful battery in will increase the maximum range up to 100 km (62 miles). All are designed for a maximum payload of 120 kg (265 lb).
The bikes feature an in-house designed Biactron drive system with a controller measuring the torque and pedaling cadence to provide steady pedal-assist via the rear wheel motor that provides 45 Nm of torque. This system can be turned on and off automatically by pedaling, or manually by a push of a button. The S25 and B25 models pack a 350 W motor that is restricted to 250 W as required by EU law, while the S45 and B45 “speed pedelecs,” or S-Pedelecs feature a 700 W motor restricted to 500 W.
As the names suggest, the S25 and B25 will reach speeds of 25 km/h (15 mph), while the S45 and B45 will go to 45 km/h (28 mph). Though any pedelec can give anyone the feeling of being a superhero, the S45 that I gave a spin made me feel like that most overpowered of superheroes, Superman. All while remaining in complete control of the bike.
The bikes' settings are controlled via a detachable LED control unit that also acts as an anti-theft device when removed. When the bike is locked and the control unit removed, an alarm sounds and the motor immobilizes the rear wheel, making life difficult for anyone trying to make off with the bike. The wheel also have a frame lock that takes the same key as the battery lock. Rounding out the anti-theft features is Klever Mobility’s bike coding, which sees every pedelec, lock and control unit given an electronic serial number that is registered to the owner.
Riders can choose from four pedal-assist modes, with the lowest conserving battery power and producing just enough pedal assist to overcome the resistance of the rear motor. There’s also a Walk/Boost function that propels the bike at speeds of up to 4 km/h (2.5 mph) when the pedals aren’t in use, or provides a boost when they are for a little extra power when tackling sudden inclines.
The control unit also automatically adjusts brightness in response to the ambient light conditions and displays key information including battery charge level, speed, distance traveled and remaining range.
Although Klever is a new company, being founded in 2011, it draws on the expertise of its parent company KYMCO, a Taiwan-based manufacturer of scooters motorcycles and mopeds that was founded in 1963. As it’s still early days for the company, Klever is initially focusing on western European market where it sees the greatest potential for its bikes, but plans to branch out to other markets in the future.
Klever is also adopting a different distribution model than that usually used in the bicycle industry. The company will only sell direct to the consumer, but will pay dealers a retainer to act as intermediaries between it and the consumer so consumers can test ride the vehicles. While the bikes can be ordered online, they still need to be collected from a dealer.
If a person decides to purchase a bike, it will be delivered to any dealer of the customer’s choosing in Germany, who will be responsible for the final assembly, quality control, induction and hand over of the bike. The customer won’t pay any money until this final step. The dealers will also provide service and repairs, with all vehicle data and service history to be centrally stored with Klever, allowing consumers to get their bike serviced or repaired at any dealer.
The S25 and B25 are available now for €2,599 (US$3,430) and €3,199 (US$4,230) respectively, while the S45 and B45 are set to be introduced at the beginning of 2014.
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