Modmo's Saigon 31-pound, modular ebike promises enormous range
Modmo's new Saigon ebike is an odd take on the electric commuter road bike, but one we think might work well. With a front hub motor, a modular snap-on/snap-off accessory system and a claimed 124-mile range, it looks like a tidy little package.
Perhaps the frame is a good place to start. Made from 6061 aluminum, it's slim, attractive and pretty darn stealthy for an ebike. The removable battery, all 18.5 Ah / 666 Wh of it, fits in the cylindrical downtube and does a remarkable job of not looking like a battery at all, and both the crank and the rear hub look oddly clean for an ebike.
That'll be because the Saigon runs its hub motor on the front wheel; the crank basically only needs torque and cadence sensors for this system to work just fine. Still, the back end is kept super tidy with a Gates carbon belt drive. If you want gears, you can have 'em with the addition of an internally geared hub at the rear, a Shimano Nexus system.
Brakes are Tektro hydraulics, and the hoops are WTB Horizons, a light off-road tire that looks like it won't offer too much rolling resistance on the pavement. There's no suspension, so a bit of tire thickness here will at least do something for the ol' backside. There's a nicely designed shortie front fender, which is handy, and lighting is integrated front and rear, with the nice addition of electro-luminescent painted parts that act as turn signals.
The frame has modular mount points on the front and rear that can accept a range of click-in accessories; baskets, kid seats, racks, boxes and whatnot. You can also use the front mount point to accept your charger if you don't want to pull the battery out.
Tech-wise, it rocks a GPS with its own 4G data connection for location tracking and security. There's motion sensors that operate like a power switch; when you move the bike, it turns on, and when you put it somewhere still, it turns off. So don't take it on the train, I guess. A Bluetooth connection lets you run the show through your smartphone, or there's a 3-inch screen in the nice-looking handlebar unit.
Modmo claims you can get up to 200 km (124 miles) out of a single charge. That would seem a stretch to us from two-thirds of a kilowatt hour of battery and a hub motor. Then again, the motor is an EU-legal, 36-volt 250-Watt weenie with five power levels, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility on the lowest possible setting with lots of downhills and never exceeding the pathetic EU-mandated limit of 25 km/h (15.5 mph). And the whole bike apparently weighs a pretty amazing 13.9 kg, or less than 31 pounds, so you're moving a significantly smaller mass around than on many ebikes. Realistically, if you ride it like most folk want to ride their ebikes, a quarter of that range might be closer to the truth.
That would still be practical for most folk, and the Saigon is a pretty tight-looking and well thought-out little package. It's on pre-sale now for a 5 percent deposit on a €1,999 (US$2,238) price tag, which sounds like a decent deal to us for a nice custom frame with all those goodies. Deliveries are expected in September. Check out a short video below.