GRACE e-bike boasts F1 technology
Combining jet fighter technology with Formula 1 grade parts and German build quality, the GRACE street legal electric two-wheeler will start to be shipped in limited numbers next year. As well as offering a couple of city travel options, GRACE is also available in an off-road version too. The company has even manufactured a demonstration-only racy model capable of speeds up to 70kmh (44mph).
Like the eRockit, Elmoto and Mosquito, GRACE is hails from Germany, which is fast becoming a hub for the new wave of electric two-wheelers.
Quality through and through
With an aircraft grade CNC-aluminum frame consisting of 70mm diameter tubing (apart from downtube which is 78mm), a custom made 1.3Kw brushless electric hub motor powered by 70 lithium-ion battery cells arranged into five stacks connected in series (which fit inside the frames tubing and precision components), GRACE certainly looks the business.
The battery configuration has a range of between 20km (12.5 miles) and 50km (31 miles), depending on how GRACE is used. The 48V city motor is capable of delivering more than the street legal 45kmh (28mph) but is prevented from doing so by the controller (modifications to which will invalidate the guarantee). GRACE is also available with a 48V mountain motor which is tuned for power rather than speed, giving a maximum of 30kmh (19mph).
A sport version of GRACE has been produced to show what the vehicle is capable of given the right ingredients. It has a 96V motor capable of a 70kmh (44mph) maximum speed but is strictly demonstration only and not available for sale.
There are three possible frame builds available in three different sizes. The race frame's seat is positioned higher than the handlebars for better aerodynamics. A more upright seating position is offered by the city frame which will suit most riders but a female-friendly universal frame is also available.
Build quality would appear to be at the very heart of GRACE. Along the underside of the downtube is the specially developed IP67 water resistant controller housing. This contains the 48V DC to 12V DC converter, charger plug, fuses, horn and plugs.
Taking the hit
The company behind GRACE claims to have taken a financial hit in its choice of circular connector. In choosing the Souriau Formula 1 grade circular connector, the additional cost has not been passed onto the consumer. The high tech approach continues with the choice of power switch.
Instead of opting for a cheaper switch that would have added significant dimensions to the set up, a smaller (but more expensive) ETA switch used in the A380 and Euro-fighter jets has been chosen instead.
A display in the center of the handlebars offers speed, power and battery level information. In the same housing are the two 55W ultra compact ellipsoid front lights and color-coded micro-switches for controlling the lights, horn and computer. The back and brake lighting is incorporated into the saddle.
Each build comes with its own custom options such as SRAM gear systems, Magura 204mm disc brakes and pedals although options can add significantly to the overall cost. Continuing the customization theme, customers are offered a choice of 64 different powder coating color options and three anodized color options.
Pricing and availability
The company is taking orders for its first limited edition GRACE now, with prices starting at €5877 (about US$8737), production time will be about 4 months (customers outside Germany are advised to contact GRACE prior to ordering). Motor liability insurance is likely needed, as is a good helmet.
As the actual number of limited edition models produced will not be revealed to the public and the company reports a lot of interest, the window for ordering (originally set to close on 4th January 2010) could be closed at any time. Fear not though as orders for the second edition will run until May 2010.
Watch GRACE in action:
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I really think the urban version has potential, but the price would have to come down quite a bit. Maybe start by getting rid of the F1 connectors and aerospace switches?
While these guys may know lots about building bikes, they don\'t know anything about money.
For $8700 -- forget about it!
And don\'t even get me started on the irony of a bicycle you don\'t get any exercise riding.
I like it but I don\'t $8700 like it.
Excerpt from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_bicycle_laws
Defined Electrically-assisted cycles are usually classified as either pedelecs or e-bikes. Under European Union regulations adopted in the UK in June 2003, only power-assisted cycles meeting the pedelec classification are considered to be pedal cycles. The maximum power allowed in the European Union for (pedelec) electric bicycles is 250 W, with a maximum assisted speed of 25 km/h.. To meet the pedelec specification the electric motor must be activated by the rider\'s pedalling effort and the power must cut out completely whenever the rider stops pedalling. Control of the motor by pedalling is often the key difference between a pedelec and e-bike. A new European product safety standard EN 15194 will be published in 2009. EN 15194 contains several new requirements for ebikes to be sold in European Union and European Economic Area, including weight and voltage limitations. EN 15194 also defines a specific name for EU approved electrically-assisted cycles, EPAC - \"Electrically Pedal Assisted Cycle\". Earlier UK regulations required that the motor has an average power output limited to 200 W (250 W for tricycles and tandems) and weight limited to 40 kg (60 kg for tricycles and tandems). These regulations must come in-line with the EU regulations by (find deadline). For models sold before June 2003, e-bikes conforming to the speed, weight and power limits may also be considered pedal cycles. Electric bikes with higher power outputs, or those not meeting the \"pedelec\" definition are now treated as motorcycles and require a license.