Bicycles

Trefecta DRT: The $25K high-tech, military-grade electric super bike

Trefecta DRT: The $25K high-te...
The Trefecta DRT is a high-tech e-bike built for military and civilian riding
The Trefecta DRT is a high-tech e-bike built for military and civilian riding
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Trefecta includes a built-in handlebar computer and a waterproof phone dock for additional functions
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Trefecta includes a built-in handlebar computer and a waterproof phone dock for additional functions
The Trefecta DRT can travel up to 62 miles on motor power alone
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The Trefecta DRT can travel up to 62 miles on motor power alone
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The DRT can be ridden as a pedelec or as a throttle-driven motor bike
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The DRT can be ridden as a pedelec or as a throttle-driven motor bike
The Trefecta DRT hits the streets
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The Trefecta DRT hits the streets
The Trefecta DRT has a pair of quick-release carbon fiber wheels
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The Trefecta DRT has a pair of quick-release carbon fiber wheels
The Trefecta DRT can hit speeds up to 43.5 mph
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The Trefecta DRT can hit speeds up to 43.5 mph
Trefecta DRT
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Trefecta DRT
With no cogset to deal with, the front and rear wheels are interchangeable
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With no cogset to deal with, the front and rear wheels are interchangeable
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The Trefecta DRT is one of the latest electric super bikes
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The Trefecta DRT is one of the latest electric super bikes
Trefecta URB rendering
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Trefecta URB rendering
Trifecta's published information focuses on the DRT mountain bike, but the company did tell us that the URB road bike features a single-sided front fork, which you can see in the rendering
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Trifecta's published information focuses on the DRT mountain bike, but the company did tell us that the URB road bike features a single-sided front fork, which you can see in the rendering
The URB will start at €23,500
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The URB will start at €23,500
The Trefecta bikes fold up and fit in an available carry case that can slide in the back of a car
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The Trefecta bikes fold up and fit in an available carry case that can slide in the back of a car
Trefecta DRT rendering
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Trefecta DRT rendering
Trefecta DRT rendering
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Trefecta DRT rendering
The DRT features an aluminum frame
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The DRT features an aluminum frame
The DRT has a big custom suspension fork with up to 180 mm of travel
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The DRT has a big custom suspension fork with up to 180 mm of travel
The Trefecta DRT is a high-tech e-bike built for military and civilian riding
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The Trefecta DRT is a high-tech e-bike built for military and civilian riding
View gallery - 27 images

Much like the auto market saw the rise of the supercar, the electric bicycle market is seeing the rise of the super e-bike. The super e-bike is far removed from the average electric bicycle and is essentially a motorcycle hiding inside a lighter, simpler bicycle body. The new Trefecta DRT bike doesn't even hide it that well as its military-spec aluminum frame is as much motorcycle as bicycle. That's okay, because this folding super e-bike aims to "create the game, not change it."

When the designer of the world's most powerful electric supercar got involved in the electric bike game with the Greyp G-12, it was very clear that the electric bicycle was destined to be more than just a pedal-assist commuter shuttling urban-dwelling industrial designers and tech consultants to and from the office each day.

To be fair, the movement started years before that, but having a player like Mate Rimac, whose battery technology can also be seen in the world's most advanced hybrid supercar, in the game definitely helped strengthen the segment. With zero-pedal, full-throttle modes, and speeds exceeding 40 mph (64 km/h), these bikes are in a category all their own. On the road, they're not quite electric bicycles and not quite motorcycles, and on the trail, they're not quite mountain bikes, not quite dirt bikes.

So Trefecta Mobility, which describes itself as a "an international team of Dutch, German and Swiss engineers," doesn't really create the game or a new category of vehicle. It just plays the game for a more affluent audience with a really nice piece of high-tech, fast-but-rugged equipment.

The 20-in Trefecta DRT frame is crafted from 7075 aluminum, which takes the form of aluminum blocks instead of familiar tubing. The beefy design, which was developed with military specifications in mind, is meant to ensure that the fast, powerful bike holds up to any angry elements thrown at it. The frame also protects the internal cables and components. For the wheels, Trefecta capitalizes on the weight and strength advantages of carbon fiber, using a six-spoke, 26-in design.

In terms of its electric drive, the DRT packs a 4-kW motor, a 14-speed Rohlof Speedhub and a SmeshGear transmission. At low speeds, motor output is managed by a pedelec system aimed at maintaining an ideal blend of pedal assistance and battery usage. You won't necessarily want to be pedaling when gunning for the top speed of 43.5 mph (70 km/h), so there's also a right-handlebar throttle for cranking up motor power alone. The motor can send up to 184 lb-ft (250 Nm) of torque to the rear wheel.

The Trefecta DRT can hit speeds up to 43.5 mph
The Trefecta DRT can hit speeds up to 43.5 mph

The rider controls ride mode and other settings by way of the Trefecta-designed CAN-bus fly-by-wire computer mounted at the center of the handlebars. They can also use the computer to choose between automatic gear shifting and electronic gear selection and to control the settings of both the suspension fork and the rear shock. The computer also delivers the usual trip functions, showing speed, battery life, distance and other important data.

The computer system includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connecting with the accompanying Trefecta iOS app, as well as using other iPhone navigation and fitness apps. A built-in waterproof dock in the upper frame provides a convenient, visible place for mounting one's iPhone.

In terms of battery power, the Trefecta is powered by a 60-volt lithium-ion unit stored inside a lockable compartment in the upper front the frame. Trefecta estimates the battery can provide enough juice for up to 62 miles (100 km) of range without any pedaling. And since price will be of no object to DRT buyers, there's no reason they shouldn't buy extra batteries and take advantage of the quick-swapping system. The battery charges in about three hours when plugged in, and a regenerative braking system adds some charging on the move.

Other DRT components include a big upside-down fork with up to 180 mm (7 in) of travel, a dropper seat post with up to 125 mm (4.9 in) of travel, Ergon grips and saddle, Schwalbe mountain bike tires and Hope disc brakes. The rear shock offers up to 200 mm (7.8 in) of travel.

As you might remember from the headline, the DRT costs US$25,000, based on the conversion from its €22,500 base price (okay, it's actually around $24,630 at current exchange rates, but that makes a messy headline). It is available for pre-order now, and Trefecta also plans to market the URB speed pedelec road bicycle for €23,500 (US$25,720). A fully customizable, CNC-machined version of either model will start at €33,333 (US$36,485).

The DRT is clearly a lot of bike, but is it enough bike for that much price? There's really not a lot of performance separating the DRT from super e-bikes that sell for a third or half the price. Anyone shopping for such a vehicle would do well to look at the aforementioned G-12, eSpire or the Stealth Bomber. Some of those competitors are actually a little faster.

We asked Trefecta directly why it's bike is priced so high when compared to the competition, and company founder and chairman of the board Haiko Visser took the time to fully explain the reasoning behind the price, which is twofold. First, Trefecta designed the bike from the ground up, from the battery pack, to the fly-by-wire control system, to the front suspension. It is largely a custom design, using only select off-the-shelf components.

Second, as we mentioned earlier, Trefecta created its design to withstand the increased demands of military use, including capacity for carrying up to 353 lb (160 kg) of rider and gear, providing enough torque to get a fully-equipped soldier motoring up a 45 percent incline, and offering a 31,000-mile (50,000-km) lifespan. The bike can also fold down into an available carry case, another military stipulation.

The Trefecta bikes fold up and fit in an available carry case that can slide in the back of a car
The Trefecta bikes fold up and fit in an available carry case that can slide in the back of a car

Trefecta has been in talks with the Dutch army about supplying the bike for peacekeeping operations. Beyond that, we think that the high price of its bikes might dissuade purchase by most entities without the buying power of a major governmental organization. The company is hoping the bike will catch on with wealthy luxury buyers, and it spent a good chunk of last year touring luxury and motorcycle shows, including Intermot 2014.

It plans to attend next month's Top Marques Monaco show, where it will find a crowd of exotic car and yacht enthusiasts with the wherewithal, if not the desire, to buy a $25,000 bicycle. Maybe a high-tech, high-priced electric bicycle is exactly what an ultra-wealthy businessman will want for riding (and being seen) from superyacht berth to city center. Trefecta does its development and testing in Switzerland and manufacturing in the Netherlands

We would think bikers would want to avoid really rugged, challenging off-road tracks on their car-priced bikes, but Trefecta's promo video suggests it sees the potential for counting full-blown freeriders among its customers (or at least rich folks with a serious taste for adventure). Watch the DRT tackle both pavement and rock in the video below.

Source: Trefecta Mobility

Time For Trefecta

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15 comments
Windsor Wilder
Nice toy, probably not suited for military use unless it will carry 500 lbs of rider and gear. Get rid of the pedals, they're stupid. Sell it with a light weight thin film solar charging kit. There's a company in Colorado that can do a KW for just under a half a kilogram.
LikelyLad
Insane price. Expect to see a couple of them in Monaco, but that's about it. I confidently predict initial sales of around 10 in the first year...and none in the second. Why do companies waste their time and resources coming up with such nonsense?
Phil Taylor
Like paying 23,000 for a bike is normal!!
ljaques
Fun new bike, for sure. I wonder how long those would last going up that mentioned 45 degree hill with a loaded-out soldier on it, though. Pricing always amazes me on new things like this, and everything on crowdfunding sites. Do they think of crowds as mindless herds with money, or what? "_Only_ $63,970 for the pair of them for the wife and me." Or do they just want to sell a dozen to the richest of the rich and be done with it? I don't get it. Anyway, I'm off to look at the G-12, eSpire, and the Stealth Bomber...before I build my own electric bike for under a grand, including solar charging system. ;)
Milton
Neat folding ability, but other than that (and some cool rims), this makes STEALTH look like a bargain.
Bob Flint
So Trefecta Mobility, which describes itself as a "an international team of Dutch, German and Swiss engineers," doesn't really create the game or a new category of vehicle. It just plays the game for a more affluent audience with a really nice piece of high-tech, fast-but-rugged equipment. Till one of their stupid rich clients sues them for riding in the dark without a light & helmet...
BT
Reminds me of the Zero MX.
Rafe Husain
placed my 40c3 ( 40 lb ebike that does 40 mph w 40 mi range) on http://www.hackster.io/www-calibike-com/40c3 First 40 mph ebike on Highway 5 Legal ride Sold my car used my ebike for commuting (40 lb ebike that goes 40 mph) and costs under 3k http://www.hackster.io/www-calibike-com/40c3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jGRhP1UEgQ
The Skud
For that money I would rather buy a JEEP! Gives you 4 wheels, carries at least 2 soldiers, plus you could source a hybrid system still for less than $25K.
Tom Lee Mullins
It is way cool but not at that price.