Bicycles

Skoda Klement: The weirdest e-bike concept you'll see this week

Skoda Klement: The weirdest e-...
Skoda's Klement concept e-bike adds a bizarre form of foot control to a vehicle that currently fits no legal category in most places
Skoda's Klement concept e-bike adds a bizarre form of foot control to a vehicle that currently fits no legal category in most places
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Tilting footrests control both the throttle and brakes on Skoda's Klement concept e-bike
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Tilting footrests control both the throttle and brakes on Skoda's Klement concept e-bike
Skoda's Klement concept e-bike adds a bizarre form of foot control to a vehicle that currently fits no legal category in most places
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Skoda's Klement concept e-bike adds a bizarre form of foot control to a vehicle that currently fits no legal category in most places
Handlebars have just two buttons on them each, and your speedo/battery readout is relocated to your phone through an app
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Handlebars have just two buttons on them each, and your speedo/battery readout is relocated to your phone through an app
The 4-kW Klement concept will be on display at Eurobike this weekend
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The 4-kW Klement concept will be on display at Eurobike this weekend

Skoda is looking beyond current legal restrictions that are limiting the capabilities of today's e-bikes, looking toward a future where the moped, scooter and e-bike categories start to blend together into a new class of electric transport we don't really have a name for yet. At Eurobike this weekend, the Czech auto company will be displaying its Klement concept, a weird, pedal-free e-bike with a novel control system.

Conceived as an urban getabout, the Klement is a chunky-looking electric bike with neat-looking single-sided suspension arms at either end. There's no suspension, though – it's a rigid frame that relies on its medium-fat Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires for bump absorption.

The rear wheel is driven by a chunky 4-kW (5.4-hp) hub motor, which should make it take off like a rocket on the way to its top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph). Two removable lithium-ion batteries give it a combined 1.25 kWh of energy storage, and the Klement's relatively light target weight of 25 kg (55 lb) allows it a range of up to 62 km (38 mi).

Tilting footrests control both the throttle and brakes on Skoda's Klement concept e-bike
Tilting footrests control both the throttle and brakes on Skoda's Klement concept e-bike

The interesting bit, of course, is the control scheme. There are no pedals here, just a pair of tilting footrests. Tilt them forward, and the bike accelerates. Tilt them backwards, and regenerative braking kicks in. Tilt them completely back, and the pedals even begin engaging the hydraulic disc brake on the front wheel – which is equipped with ABS to make up for the fact that you won't have much feeling for the brakes through your heels.

Without any levers or throttles, the handlebars are quite a sparse affair, with neat little buttons for the lights, horn and indicators. If you want a speedo or battery readout, you need to attach your phone to the frame.

Handlebars have just two buttons on them each, and your speedo/battery readout is relocated to your phone through an app
Handlebars have just two buttons on them each, and your speedo/battery readout is relocated to your phone through an app

It's a neat looking concept, and a remarkably weird control system. But let's be honest, it's innovation for its own sake, and it probably won't be as controllable or nice to use as a simple twist throttle and brake levers. Those tilting footrests won't offer a lot of feel, they'll be hard to control when you're standing up, and ... well, there's really no good reason for them to exist.

On the other hand, if concepts like this look different enough from full-fat motorcycles to regulatory bodies around the world, perhaps they'll help break through the morass of current e-bike laws that are stifling next-gen clean commuting machines. There's a place in the transport mix for electric machines around this kind of power level and range, maybe even as high as 10 kW (13 hp) and speeds up to 60 km/h (37 mph), with the potential for low-barrier licensing and low-cost registration to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto low-carbon-footprint, super practical electric options.

Source: Skoda

7 comments
Bob Stuart
Heels don't help with sensing the brakes on a bike. Nor is there a problem with skidding on even wet pavement. The danger is a forward somersault, or "stoppie." To avoid that while using maximum braking, you put just a little bit of force on the rear brake, and wait for it to skid from lack of weight, signalling the danger zone.
Eric Blenheim
What if you get cramp in your calves and that affects your feet, especially in cold weather or in very hot weather if not properly hydrated with sufficient electrolytes? I still prefer electric bike models with the option to pedal, that way you keep fit as well and pump more blood all round your body, as the thigh muscles are the biggest muscles in the body, and you get a flatter stomach when moving pedals, just sitting is not good for the health at all.
ljaques
OK, that's =quite= different. All suspension would be missed, though, and the low pedal pod prevents you from ever taking it even the slightest bit offroad. Low-speed urban travel shouldn't be bad, though. I tend to agree with you about the footrests not being necessary. The concept of ABS on a bicycle is wonderful, though. That alone might make this bike a real winner.
Paul Muad'Dib
I sold a guy a 250YZ and the very next day he got a foot peg through the chest. This might help with that!
nick101
Peculiar for no good reason.
guzmanchinky
The only kind of ebike that is good right now is the kind where you can't even really tell it's an ebike. Otherwise people hate it and want you stopped by the law.
andrew
It needs fenders.