Motorcycles

Gorgeous Novus electric motorcycle is a featherweight commuter with a heavyweight pricetag

Gorgeous Novus electric motorc...
The Novus cuts a fine figure, but costs way too much
The Novus cuts a fine figure, but costs way too much
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The Novus in action
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The Novus in action
Single post carbon fork splits beneath the suspension
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Single post carbon fork splits beneath the suspension
Nice stitching on the seat there
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Nice stitching on the seat there
Carbon frame helps keep the Novis down to a featherweight 85 lbs
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Carbon frame helps keep the Novis down to a featherweight 85 lbs
Nice detailing under the headlight there
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Nice detailing under the headlight there
The Novus rocks its own special brake discs
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The Novus rocks its own special brake discs
Adjustable rear shock hides away tidily at the back
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Adjustable rear shock hides away tidily at the back
Phone-as-dash concept is executed nicely
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Phone-as-dash concept is executed nicely
Small headlight might not quite do the business when it comes to road homologation
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Small headlight might not quite do the business when it comes to road homologation
The Novus cuts a fine figure, but costs way too much
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The Novus cuts a fine figure, but costs way too much
Germany's featherweight Novus electric motorcycle
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Germany's featherweight Novus electric motorcycle

It's hideously expensive, underpowered and doesn't go very far on a charge, and yet there's a lot to like about this German electric motorcycle, starting out with its obsessively engineered good looks, its incredibly light weight, and the way it blurs the line between ebike and motorcycle.

The Novus is a very tidy and interesting little bike, a lightweight, narrow, hollow-bodied city commuter with thin tires and ultra-modern styling. Weighing a ludicrous 85 lbs (38.5 kg), with a 14-peak-kilowatt (18.7 horsepower) rear hub drive putting out a claimed 200 Nm (147.5 lb-ft) of torque, it should zip around fairly quickly up to its top speed of 60 mph (98 km/h). Mind you, that power rating is peak, not nominal. The nominal power is 6.2 kilowatts, or 8.3 horses. So we ain't talking about a powerhouse here.

With a range around 60 miles (98 km) of urban riding, and a charge time around an hour for a 0-80 percent top-up, it makes for a seriously stylish and ultra-lightweight commuter that would suit most people's needs for the daily traffic dodge perfectly. It would sell like hotcakes if it cost US$7000.

Carbon frame helps keep the Novis down to a featherweight 85 lbs
Carbon frame helps keep the Novis down to a featherweight 85 lbs

Unfortunately it really, really doesn't. Novus is asking US$39,500. And unlike most electric motorcycles, the Novus can't point to its battery pack as the key culprit. The range is just too limited. Perhaps it's the construction; much of the frame, the headstock, the forks, the swingarm and even the handlebars are complex shapes hand-made in carbon fiber. Then again, there's plenty of cheap carbon stuff coming out of China, maybe the rent in Braunschweig is driving the price up.

Either way, as a transport option it makes no sense at this price. Maybe it's best looked at as a piece of modern art – and there are certainly plenty of design details to appreciate on that level, from the custom brake discs up to the single post fork, the phone-as-dash idea, the neatly integrated headlight and tidy suspension mounting.

Phone-as-dash concept is executed nicely
Phone-as-dash concept is executed nicely

The overall proportions of the bike are very pleasant to look at, even if we wouldn't mind thicker tires. It's not going to be legal though, not without indicators, mirrors, license plates, probably a better headlight and a bunch of other things that will clutter things up visually. I guess we'll wait and see what the production bike looks like.

Check out a video below and meet the bike's creators.

Source: Novus

NOVUS Bike // eMotorcycle - Making of

7 comments
Mzungu_Mkubwa
It certainly is pretty, but not *that* pretty! I'll take a Sur-Ron, thanks very much: treat myself to an extra battery pack & still walk away with coin left over... (Also wondering at the 60mph top speed? Would mean registering as a motorcycle, I guess?)
paul314
Maybe for people who want to boast that they spent $40K on a not-very-useful art object?
ljaques
If I had that kind of money, I'd own a stable full of lovely Zero motorcycles.
ChairmanLMAO
40k and no pedals? this just not gonna work.
Robert Schreib
??What if we could make nearly all models of bicycles, with a kind of pneumatic, downhill rolling or braking energy recycler mechanism? That is, what if we used the internal space of the bike's tubular steel parts, like a compressed air tank? The bike could be geared and rigged with an air pump that engages when the bicycle runs downhill, to force a LOT of kinetic energy, in the form of compressed air, inside of the bike tubing, and then whenever the bicycle has to go uphill, it releases that potential through that rigging, to help propel the bicycle and his rider forward and upward. Also, what if the same thing could be used in rickshaws everywhere as well?
Trylon
The design isn't groundbreaking. Google Jinseok Hwang's Frog ebike design from 2012 and the resemblance will floor you.
John in Brisbane
Yeah, no. Not at that price lol. This kind of machine is going to be more like $3500 USD in the near future - MTB tech plus some ebike tech, mass-produced. Nice article Loz - your typical amused attitude. Robert Schreib, thanks for say that - I've thought it for years. Forget converting to and from electrical power - simply compress air via brakes and return a fair proportion of that energy during the next acceleration. A separate system that can go on any vehicle from bicycles to trucks. I think it's a simple air brake that instantly reverses to be providing power to that wheel. And yep - using the frame for air storage. Cheers.