Caterham charged to produce e-bikes and motorcycles
Since 1957 Caterham Group has been known for its purpose-built sports cars, Formula One entries and overall motorsports shenanigans. This week at the International Motorcycle Exhibition (EICMA) in Milan, however, Caterham announced that it will be expanding its product offerings from four-wheeled machinery to that of the two-wheeled variety. Starting in 2014 Caterham Bikes will introduce three new products: the Brutus 750, the Classic E-Bike and the Carbon E-Bike.
If Mercedes Benz' Unimog division was ever to build a motorcycle, the Brutus 750 would be it. Dubbed the “SUV of motorcycles” and with a face only a mother could love, Caterham’s utilitarian off-road bike is less about the pretty and more about pure off-road functionality. Brutus’ most obvious element, those big, fat, chunky 26 x 10 R14 tires are, according to Caterham, designed to give the bike flexibility as a on-road machine, off-road device or even a snowmobile.
Powering the Brutus throughout its various snowy, backwoods adventures will be a 4 valve, DOHC, 750cc single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine. Brutus’ automatic CVT gearbox is designed to give inexperienced riders an easier learning curve and more user friendly experience versus the traditional manual configuration. To keep the ride as polite as possible, Caterham has outfitted Brutus with up-side down 43mm Hydraulic telescopic forks up front and a single shock out back with compression and preload adjustments.
But back to that snowmobiling. We haven't yet seen any photos, but according to Caterham the Brutus 750 can be converted from rugged two-wheel riding machine into a snowmobile with ease thanks to an aftermarket conversion kit. The kit means Brutus can play about in snow, sand or other loose materials with the dexterity of a traditional ATV.
With a wheelbase of 1.46 m (4.8 ft), height of 1.13 m (3.6 ft) and a total length of 2.15 m (7 ft) Brutus 750 weighs out at a hefty 235 kg (518 lb) ... so it's not exactly nimble. To pretty up Brutus' otherwise polarizing aesthetic Caterham chose to strategically splash yellow, white and British Racing Green colors about the bike's chassis. Classic e-bikeUnlike its hefty big brother, Caterham’s Classic e-bike draws design inspiration from the track-board racers of the 1920s. The e-bike is powered by a 36 V, 250 W, brushless motor mounted in the center with a torque sensor to manage power. A Panasonic 36 V, 12 Ah lithium battery provides the juice and Caterham has designed the bike so an optional second battery pack can be added if desired.
The fake cylinder heads are a nice design touch in hiding the electric motor while also paying homage to the track racers of yore. The bike rides on old school, 26” x 4” balloon tires sized while braking is handled by disc and roller brakes. A Shimano Nexus 3 Speed gear setup gives riders moderate gearing flexibility as they pedal/ride throughout the bike’s claimed 25-50 mile (40-80 km) range. The faux fuel tank not only provides idyllic real estate for the Caterham logo but doubles as storage space for personal items or the battery charger.
Last but not least of the bike trifecta is the Carbon e-bike. With an appearance that's neither retro nor utilitarian, Caterham says the Carbon’s design and material choices were inspired by the firm’s Formula One experience. This racing inspiration might explain the bike’s modular carbon-aluminum frame, oversized carbon girder forks, mono-shock rear suspension, lightweight aluminum rims, performance based braking system and carbon-fiber impregnated tires.
Like the Classic, the Carbon uses a small LED screen mounted on the handlebars to provide speedometer, trip meter and battery range information. The bike also uses a similar powertrain configuration to the Classic bike, but instead of a three-speed gearbox it receives an eight-speed Shimano Nexus gear hub. The Carbon e-Bike will be available in three different frame sizes.
Production of Caterham’s three bikes will begin in the spring of 2014. The Brutus 750 will be first off the production line, with the Classic and Carbon e-bikes to follow later in the year.
Source: Caterham Bikes