Audi's Wörthersee e-bike concept features "wheelie" mode


May 13, 2012

Riders can run through five travel programs from pedal-power to electric only

Riders can run through five travel programs from pedal-power to electric only

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Audi has announced that it will debut a new performance e-bike prototype at next week's Wörthersee Tour car show in the picturesque village of Reifnitz, Austria. Described as a high-end pedelec for sport, fun and tricks, the Audi e-bike Wörthersee features a futuristic carbon fiber frame that houses an onboard computer and a Li-ion battery pack, and carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) wheels - both designed to keep the weight down. The prototype offers five travel modes, ranging from pedal-power to electric-only, and inclusive of two "Wheelie" modes where the power is automatically controlled to assist the rider while the front wheel grabs some air.

The new e-bike prototype will share Audi's exhibition stand at the Lake Wörthersee car show with 16 current production models, including the new A3, and three new takes on the Q3 compact - the Audi Q3 red track, the Audi Q3 jinlong yufeng - or "Golden Dragon in the Wind" - and the Audi RS Q3 concept. The auto manufacturer says that its new sport bike concept does not fit into any of the usual categories.

Audi's designers are responsible for every component of the e-bike, which features a lightweight carbon-fiber frame that tips the scales at a featherweight 3.53 pounds (1,600 g) reinforced only at load points, 26-inch CFRP rims with large-area blade-pattern spokes that weigh just 1.32 pounds (600 g) each and a CFRP swing arm for the rear wheel. All of which helps towards a total bike weight of 46.3 pounds (21 kg) including the swappable in-frame 48V/530Wh Li-ion battery pack. Charge time is reported to be 2.5 hours from a 230V mains supply.

The permanent magnet synchronous motor has a peak output of 2.3 kW, delivers a maximum torque of 250 Nm to the rear wheel, has been placed at the lowest point on the frame and drives the bottom bracket shaft directly. The e-bike's nine-speed hydraulically actuated gear shift is reported to have a similarly fast sequential action to the R-tronic transmission in an Audi R8.

Riders can run through five travel programs including a pedelec mode, where the e-bike is said to achieve a top speed of up to 50 mph (80 km/h) with a range of between 31 and 44 miles (50 - 70 km) per charge. In electric-only mode with a twistgrip controlling the power output, the top speed is 31 mph (50 km/h).

Pulling extended wheelies gets some help from the control system, with a "Power Wheelie" mode for less skilled riders that oversees an adjustable wheelie angle, and a "Balanced Wheelie" mode for more experienced riders where the balance is maintained electronically. The latter mode sees the motor either accelerating or slowing down the e-bike as the rider's weight shifts forward or back.

Users can select riding modes, record trick sequences and adjust operation functions using the on-board computer's touchscreen display positioned within the top bar of the frame, which also shows speed, distance, battery level, energy consumption and slope angle. Operation can also be controlled using a WLAN-linked smartphone (an antenna is integrated into the front brake line), that's also used to deactivate the immobilizer.

Video images captured by the smartphone can be uploaded to the web or sent direct to an online trainer program. Successful completion of tricks is rewarded by increased ranking and challenge difficulty, and online rankings can be viewed on the e-bike's display via Facebook.

Completing the versatile prototype's specs are hydraulic disk brakes front and rear, upside-down, air-sprung suspension at the front with 5.12 inches (130mm) of travel, LED lighting that's integrated into the handlebar and the seat and the ability to continuously adjust seat height using a control on the handlebar.

Vistors to the Audi, VW, Seat and Skoda Wörthersee Tour car show 2012 - which runs from May 16 to 19 in Reifnitz, on the Wörthersee in Carinthia, Austria - can also look forward to demonstrations of skill from trial biker Julien Dupont and women's downhill specialist Petra Bernhard.

Source: Audi via Inhabitat

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

Crazy that they brought the max speed up to 50km/h, as that put it within Moped range within EU. electric assist bikes are limited to some 20km/h on electric only.


Really this idea appears amazing on the surface of it, but honestly where do you sit? The seat area is small enough for a single 'dwarf mongoose' only, and that's standing on his back legs. These concepts need to develop a practical application to them instead of trying to please the technological arena the whole time... daft.


So they have a special mode for the rider to pull up the front wheel, slip of the teeny tiny sleep and then get their junk crushed between the seat and unprotected wheel? That's some thinking right there.

Otherwise it looks really cool. With a fender and a cup (or a real seat), I would love to give this beast a go!

Alan Belardinelli

At first glance it looks like something pedophiles should be forced to ride. If your genitals aren't sliced off by the pointy back of the seat then they will be ground off by the rotating back tire when you accidently sit down on it!

Dennis Roberts

Seats on road sports bikes are intended to keep the bike between you legs, not to support you fat ass. Your weight is on the pedals, particularly if you are doing wheely. As to whether or not this seat works, you would have to try the bike. If your idea of bike riding is to sit on butt and cruise this is clearly not the bike for you.

Page Schorer

Page - exactly who is this bike for? It weighs 46lbs, that's heavier than most modern downhill bikes, and a lot of old ones! So it's not some lycra wearers road machine, it's not got enough travel or the angles for downhill, it's too heavy for trials or dirt jump really (why there's a trick recorder built in is beyond me). If you ask me, it's for your lazy ass trail centre weapon who's got an executive job, a flash car and ALL the gear, but absolutely no idea. The type of guy who doesn't pull over for you when you're behind him on the trail.

I get that it's a concept and probably won't go into production, but they might as well make it a useful concept. As it stands, it's a bike that nobody would want to buy or ride (or could afford to buy) apart that tool wearing the suit and expensive trainers in the photo.

Oh, and just FYI; a wheely is a seated trick, you stand when you're doing a manual.

Sam James

@ Alan are so right there!! This beast is supposed to do impressive Wheelies but it would take a very brave rider to try a Stoppie.....I cant imagine the pain if your foot came off the pedals and that seat went somewhere it shouldn't EeeeeH! Doesnt bear thinking about!!!


Yes, that seat does attract some attention. At first I thought it was like a pedersen saddle (when it's raised it looked like a sling), but I guess not. I suppose the concept-ers just wanted to draw something slick and, although they seem to have got the battery nicely housed and down low, I agree with Sam James and others who see no real-world application -- it's a no go. Still, like so many "concepts", some of the better bits and pieces may find their place on a practical machine. Maybe that's what these designer guys do ? Pedalling ideas, not bikes ? Sure looks like it... that seat, really !


As a rule one size bike won't fit everyone, so I assume the height adjustable beam can also be extended rearwards, allowing taller persons to increase their pedaling efficiency also. Being able to learn forward and low is important in terms of bike control and aerodynamics as the speed increases. A black anodised 28 or 32 spoked wheel option would lower the price and allow for repair. I have yet to come across a deep V section rim that could not buckle or sustain damage. Battery and associated electronics technology has certainly moved ahead in only the last 2 years. The range and speed improvements are just amazing, all from a machine that weighs just 21Kg. A downhill fully suspended mountain race bike can weigh 13-16Kg and cost $10,000 plus (no motor,no electrics). My Aprillia 150cc belt drive scooter was $7000 new. I'm hoping that if Audi produce this very hot piece of environmentally friendly technology that we don't also have to pay a premium for the name.

The Stav

I like the Audi e-bike concept, except the concept for the seat ( lol ! ) or lack of it to be more precise :) .

Edwin Spencer

awesome bike everrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr i hope that the price is less than 6000

Eruthu Pathi
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