In the past, Australian e-bike builder Stealth has shown little concern for things like power restrictions on electric vehicles. After all, its brawny dirtbikes are made to be unleashed on remote forest trails where raw power and agility come to the fore. That changes with today's launch of the P-7, Stealth's first foray into the commuter e-bike landscape that also carries a friendlier price tag to appeal to the masses.
The Stealth bikes that we have tested previously have given us a hell of a ride, with a 5,200-W in-hub motor driving them to speeds of around the 80 km/h (50 mph). These machines aren't your typical e-bikes, but the build quality and thrilling experience has surely prompted a few Stealth jockeys to ponder when or if the company would offer up a street-legal option.
The move to the street is going to mean a huge cut on power, there's simply no way around it. Legally speaking, Stealth's other e-bikes are classed as motorbikes in Australia (and much of the world). To move into legal e-bike territory, the power output can be no greater that 250 W. So that's what the pedal-assist P-7 carries, by way of hub motor in the rear wheel.
These strict laws leave little room for creativity on the power front, but there are other areas where e-bike makers can stand out from the crowd, including how far they can travel. Stealth has come to the party with a lithium-ion battery pack promising a monster 150 km (93 mi) range, the sort of longevity that could make a once-a-week plug-in enough to keep you running to the office and back.
The bike features 27.5-in wheels with dual suspension and a seven-speed derailleur with twist-grip shifter on the handlebars. There is also a display built into the frame so riders can keep tabs on battery levels. The whole thing weighs 29 kg (64 lb), which is on the heavier side for an e-bike, but that huge range doesn't come for free.
Stealth says the P-7 should be in stores in the middle of the year and will retail for AU$7,300 (US$5,500). Ahead of the launch, however, it has today started a Kickstarter campaign where early pledges will land you one the bikes for AU$5,300 (US$4,000) if all goes to plan. The campaign is slated to run until mid April.