Bicycles

The Lightest: A featherweight mid-drive ebike conversion kit

The Lightest: A featherweight ...
Designed by a team led by Matteo Spaggiari, The Lightest is presently on Indiegogo
Designed by a team led by Matteo Spaggiari, The Lightest is presently on Indiegogo
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Designed by a team led by Matteo Spaggiari, The Lightest is presently on Indiegogo
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Designed by a team led by Matteo Spaggiari, The Lightest is presently on Indiegogo
Unlike some other add-on motor setups, The Lightest doesn't alter the bike's existing chain line, and allows riders to continue shifting gears via the rear derailleur
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Unlike some other add-on motor setups, The Lightest doesn't alter the bike's existing chain line, and allows riders to continue shifting gears via the rear derailleur

While there are now a number of kits for electrifying non-electric bikes, most of them place a motor against or within one of the wheels. The Lightest is different, in that it keeps the weight low and central by sitting against the bottom bracket.

As you might have guessed from its name, The Lightest is claimed to be the lightest mid-drive bike motor on the market. The drive unit itself tips the scales at a claimed 1.6 kg (3.5 lb), although that figure doesn't include the frame-mounted battery pack.

It was created by Italian startup Bikee Bike, which previously brought us the Bikee Best mid-drive motor. The Lightest is lighter (not surprisingly) and cheaper than that model, plus it's different in form. It's also a little less powerful, delivering a still-impressive 90 Nm (66 ft lb) of peak torque when triggered by an integrated pedalling torque sensor, as opposed to the Best's 120 Nm (88.5 ft lb).

Users bolt the drive unit onto the bottom underside of their bike's down tube, so that it's adjacent to the bottom bracket. The bicycle's chain is then routed around The Lightest's powered cog, while also staying engaged with the teeth on the bottom of the chainring. In this way, both the motor and the rider's legs deliver power to the rear wheel.

Should users wish to revert back to full human power, though, the drive unit can reportedly be removed within five minutes.

Unlike some other add-on motor setups, The Lightest doesn't alter the bike's existing chain line, and allows riders to continue shifting gears via the rear derailleur
Unlike some other add-on motor setups, The Lightest doesn't alter the bike's existing chain line, and allows riders to continue shifting gears via the rear derailleur

The system is being offered in four motor choices: 250, 500, 740 or 1,000 watts. These should deliver electric-assisted top speeds of 25, 35, 42 or 50 km/h, respectively (16, 22, 26 or 31 mph). There are also four Samsung lithium-ion battery packs, ranging in capacity from 250 to 840 watt-hours. Depending on what motor they're combined with, these should provide a range of anywhere from 30 to 180 km (19 to 112 miles).

Riders select between nine assistance levels, monitor the battery charge level, check their speed and perform various other functions via a handlebar-mounted LCD control unit. Some of system's optional features include regenerative braking, a smartphone-controlled antitheft drive-locking system, and the ability to automatically vary the amount of motor assistance based on the rider's present heart rate.

Should you be interested, The Lightest is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. Pledge levels for complete packages range from US$538 for a kit including a 250W motor and a 250-Wh battery (planned retail $1,014) up to $949 for a kit containing a 1,000W motor and an 840-Wh battery (retail $1,607). Cheaper packages are available for backers who are willing to supply their own battery pack.

Assuming The Lightest reaches production, shipping is estimated to take place in September.

Source: Indiegogo

6 comments
guzmanchinky
Very interesting concept! But these days anything that isn't stealthy gets tickets.
Eugene Hirte
"Some of system's optional features include regenerative braking." How? The rear cogs are not fixed. When you are coasting the chain is not going to move, so how can you have regeneration? If it is fixed, when you are not pedaling the chain will be moving along with the pedals. So why would you want your feet to be pedaling even when they are not necessary?
ljaques
Eugene, the regen system requires a fixed gear, as stated on their Indiegogo page. I can see how anyone biking in Italy (probably zero right now) would want an assist to get from beach level to town (on mountain top) and back. I wonder what the life expectancy of those little things turns out to be.
Douglas Rogers
This makes sense for the bicycle commuter who has to deal with wind or hills.
Daishi
@Douglas Rogers the appeal of ebikes is more than wind or hills. I know I'm never going back to a regular bike. My work isn't far but it's impractical to bicycle there most days, an ebike brings my commute within bicycle reach. I don't need to change my cloths and shower after getting to work either because I don't show up a sweaty mess. It's a lot more exercise than the alternative which would be my car. Even riding on a hot day is better because moving faster helps sweat evaporate so it's rarely ever too hot to ride. I like to see a change of scenery when I ride too and 35-40 miles isn't a big deal with the electric assist. I hated the skinny little tires on my normal road bike because they need air almost every time I got on the thing which takes some of the fun out of riding. With an ebike I use a 4" fat tire because I can and I put air in them like once a year. No obsessing over every extra lb the bicycle weights (doesn't matter), no spandex suit a to resist the wind or special shoes etc. I'm never going back to a regular bicycle unless legislation forces me to.
Ligfietser
For any German-speaking people of translate-wizards here is a discussion about this motor on the German pedelecforum. https://www.pedelecforum.de/forum/index.php?threads/lightest-ebike-kit.73122/ Enjoy! Ligfietser