The Austrian KTM eGnition is definitely one of the more interesting bicycles at last week's Eurobike show in Germany. It has the frame and components of a freeride mountain bike, but with a 1,000-watt Clean Mobile electric motor that delivers extra power when the rider is pedaling. The fact that the electric assist is only available when pedaling was a key factor in the design of the eGnition, as KTM wanted it to be clearly different than an electric motorbike. The folks who run Eurobike obviously approved, as it received their Design Award for this year’s event.
The eGnition is based around KTM’s Caliber non-electric freeride bike. The battery is mounted on the underside of the downtube, with the motor located in the bottom bracket. That motor can reportedly generate 150 Nm (110.62 lb./ft.) of power, and can propel riders up inclines of up to 16 percent. The battery takes 90 minutes to recharge.
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Now, I have to admit that I have a bit of a problem with the whole idea of electric mountain bikes. I’m concerned that they’ll attract a certain yahoo population to the sport, who want to experience all the fun with a minimum of the riding skills or exercise. The fact that these riders will have that much more speed at their fingertips could also mean an increase in biker-hiker conflicts.
For its part, KTM sees the eGnition as allowing freeriders to be able to ride up to their favorite trails, instead of having to take a chair lift. The company also suggests that it could open up a whole new category of bicycle, known as eSUC, or eSportiveUtilityCycle.