One-armed bandit: Electrolyte integrates bicycle electrics in lefty fork


July 10, 2013

Electrolyte's Strassenfeger II

Electrolyte's Strassenfeger II

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We've looked at a surplus of electric bicycle designs over the years, and while we'd be hard-pressed to call any particular design "usual" in this diverse category, a common feature shared by many is a frame-integrated battery pack. German manufacturer Electrolyte dismisses that common element, integrating the battery, motor and controller of its pedelec bikes into a single fork shaft assembly.

What appears a lot like a Cannondale Lefty shock is in fact an entire electric drivetrain housed in a thick, single-arm fork. Inside the arm-integrated drive assembly is a 250-watt motor, 320 Wh battery pack and electrical controller. This combination provides enough momentum for between 60 and 100 km (37 and 62 miles) of commuting. Four drive modes accessible via a handlebar button deliver speeds up to 25 km/h (15 mph).

By integrating all these components into the front arm, Electrolyte claims that the hardware elements are better protected from weather and dirt than exposed components, such as frame-mounted batteries, and require little maintenance. It says that its design is up to 10 kg (22 lb) lighter than other electric bicycles – its lightest bikes with the hardware weigh in at 16 kg (35 lb).

While Electrolyte's solution definitely looks interesting, we'd be curious to know how the bike rides. Other e-bike manufacturers boast about how low down and centered they've managed to keep weight by putting the batteries on the down tube, so this design looks a little front-heavy in comparison. Because all that weight is integrated into a single side, it also seems like it could hinder balance and steering.

Then again, Cannondale has been offering Lefty forks for years, so they can't be that unpopular with riders.

Electrolyte uses the arm-integrated electric drivetrain on three bicycle models: the 2-speed Strassenfeger II and Querschläger II, and the 11-speed Brandstifter II. The models start at €3,999 (US$5,135). Electrolyte will be showcasing its technology at two major European bike shows this summer: ISPO Bike later this month and Eurobike in August.

As those model names indicate, these are second-generation electric bikes. They were preceded by models that used more traditional e-drivetrains with battery packs mounted to the down tubes.

Source: Electrolyte

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

When I started reading I thought it could be a front end replacement for a normal bike. That would be a neat idea - but needs to be a low cost, high volume approach to electric power for regular bikes. At $100 the market could be massive! The braking on a bike is mostly done using the front brakes, so could be mostly regenerative with the disk only as a back-up. Maybe this bike does that?

999 HOT
The price sends it to the reject bin. We have seen all kinds of pricey, disco or botique types of bikes offered and frankly they never come to market or the company goes bust soon after start up. What will sell and keep selling is a superb electric bike at the $200. ticket range. Produce that and the sales will make you as big as Intel or IBM. This is simply what the public is willing to do. Department store bikes are usually inferior but look at how many are sold. The market is ripe for a huge company to produce and markedly superior e-bike at a very low price. Jim Sadler

A rather high price for such low torque EV drive. I hope the rear hub has lots of speeds as this motor is going to need a lot of help.

Now had it been bigger in Dia it would have been better.

BTW you can buy a golfcart for that price!!


yep, the price...


As an eBike builder, I can tell you there's no way you'll ever achieve 60-100km range with that motor and battery as advertised. They are simply to weak to provide that kind of performance. You could build your own eBike with way better performance for a tenth of what this bike costs. I wrote all about it in my book, which is on Kickstarter now (just search electric bicycle on or go to

Micah Toll

Concerning the price it does not sound like something out of a Volkswagen factory or for Volk's belang,. It sounds more like something from a syfi movie from Volk's Elite,. And the names they use for there models is just Über Alles Uggly.

Vincent Rogiest

25km/hr is slower than I ride on the flat at only reasonable effort. If that is the limit of the engine speed I think they'll need to add gears or something. In fact including hills and stops and starts for traffic I average 24km/hr on my commute so this and other e-bikes similar don't seem to have the speed to be worthwhile. I'd have thought 30-35km/hr would be a better speed to achieve.

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