Pininfarina sets its design prowess to evolving the e-bike
Pininfarina has developed an unparalleled reputation for beautiful design thanks to its history shaping some of the world's most desired cars, most notably those produced by Ferrari. But the Italian design house also brings all kinds of other products to life, everything from tractors, to drones, to kitchens. Its latest piece of work is a stylish, high-tech e-bike that goes by the name Evoluzione. Does this two-wheeler live up to the reputation Pininfarina has established with four-wheelers?
Showing a very different aesthetic from the retro one of Pininfarina's Fuoriserie e-bike, the Evoluzione is completely modern and perhaps a touch futuristic. The beefy carbon bike was shaped from a holistic philosophy, as Pininfarina explains it, and the firm took pains to integrate the electrical components seamlessly.
Pininfarina didn't need to start from a blank sheet, as the Evoluzione's general frame geometry is quite clearly derived from models like the Zeitgeist from Diavelo, the e-biker maker that partnered up on the Evoluzione.
From those beginnings, Pininfarina put its own stamp on the new bike. The biggest evolution, and a cornerstone of the holistic approach, the flush-set computer sits just above the bend in the top tube, creating a smooth, integrated cockpit, a trend we've seen on other bikes and components, including the SpeedForce and VanMoof Electrified S.
Adding to the cockpit look and feel, the all-in-one handlebar design offers an alternative to traditional stem-mounted handlebars. It doesn't really look all that comfortable to steer, but we can't know for sure without a proper ride.
In terms of its powertrain, the Evoluzione relies on a Brose mid-drive blended neatly into the thick frame. The thick down tube above the 250-watt motor drive holds the removable battery, a 500Wh 36-volt pack from Panasonic. The e-drive provides for speeds up to the regulated 15.5 mph (25 km/h), with 20 mph (32 km/h) a possibility in areas that allow it. A Continental belt drive and Shimano components help get all the pedal-assist power to the street, and Shimano hydraulic discs bring the 700c Schwalbe tires to stop.
Pininfarina also mentions a lighting system, which appears to be integrated into the fork, though it's a little difficult to see from the angles we have. And, of course, cables and electrical components have been concealed within the frame, keeping the clean design unblemished.
The Evoluzione looks quite big-boned, but the carbon fiber frame, fork, wheels, handlebars and seat post keep weight down to 35 lb (16 kg), very respectable for an e-bike.
Pininfarina and Diavelo presented the Evoluzione at Eurobike 2016, where it took home a Eurobike Award. Pininfarina has set up a dedicated website for the bike line and invites sales and distribution inquiries. It shows three different versions – a cruiser, a mid-level performance model and a sporty flagship – but isn't listing pricing just yet.
Pininfarina may be a design house first, but it does operate a store where it sells its designs, including other bicycle models, so it's no stretch to believe that it will follow through and get its latest model to market.