Electric off-roader blurs the line between motorcycle and bicycle
The lightweight LMX 161-H is an electric motorcycle styled after downhill bicycles, fusing elements from both worlds. Initially designed for extreme off-road use, the two-wheeler is now the subject of crowdfunding campaign in search of the resources required to homologate it for the street.
Built in France by two young engineers, the LMX 161-H is described as an ultra-light electric freeride motorcycle. Built around an aluminum 6061 frame, it manages to cram 8 kW (10.7 hp) of power into a compact body that weighs in total just 42 kg (92.6 lb).
The LMX bike is outfitted with mostly high-end mountain bike gear, such as RST Killah Coil RC front forks, a DNM RCP2 rear shock and TRP Zurich brakes with 203 mm rotors. Motorcycle parts, like the motocross-type footpegs and Domino hand controls, complete the build. Even the wheels are mixed; a 26-in downhill tire guides the front, while a 19-in motorcycle tire puts the power down at the rear through a chain and sprocket.
The powertrain is an electric brushless DC motor with a Kelly controller, equipped with regenerative braking and fed by a compact 1.7 kWh (57 V / 30 Ah) Samsung battery. The combo is rated for 3 kW of continuous power, which is available by running the motor in Eco mode, but selecting the Boost mode will make a significant jump up to the peak of 8 kW. In both cases, the rider enjoys a steady 300 Nm (221.3 lb-ft) of torque, enough to tackle inclines up to 45 degrees, according to LMX.
With its standard 600 W charger, the French e-bike needs three hours for a full charge, which will power on average 40 miles or 2 hours of off-road riding in Eco mode. The battery can be removed by sliding it off from the right side of the bike, so replacing it with a spare power pack seems like a swift and simple task.
So far, the LMX 161-H is in fact a motorcycle, even if much of its running gear is typical mountain bike parts. In this shape, LMX has been producing its bike for off-road riding since January 2017, and has apparently sold a few. The next step is to seek homologation for road-legal use, and this is where a crowdfunding campaign comes into play.
In Europe the bike can be registered in the L1e-B class, which includes mopeds and scooters with power up to 4 kW and top speed up to 45 km/h (28 mph). The 161-H fits this bill, as its rated power in Eco mode is well within limits, and its speed is electronically limited accordingly.
The company has also designed an optional pedals and crankset kit that fits directly into the footrests' supports. This connects with the electric motor and can propel the bike independently up to 5 km/h (3 mph). Although it may be a useful safety measure in case one is stranded with no more juice in the battery, its main purpose is legal.
By fitting this kit, LMX suggest that the 161-H can be deemed as a motorized bicycle in most USA states – although is some cases its motor may have to be a bit more restricted, down to 750 W and 20 mph (32 km/h) top speed.
The retail price of the LMX 161 is set at €6,500 (approximately US$7,600), but pre-ordering via the Indiegogo campaign offers significant discounts – provided, of course, that the campaign will meet its target and everything will unfold as promised. If all goes well, the first deliveries are scheduled for May 2018. Until then, find out more about the LMX 161-H in the following video.