One of the more unique two-wheeled wonders at this year’s Intermot show in Cologne is Third Element’s eSpire. This German bicycle features “hybrid drive,” meaning that it can be pedaled ebike-style with electric assist or driven with a throttle, like an electric motorcycle. Its mountain bike-like frame and wheels allow for off-road adventures, but it reportedly also makes a good commuter... and oh yeah, it looks pretty cool, too.
The eSpire has a BLDC 1.2kW/48V electric motor that delivers 150 Nm of torque. It’s powered by a removable 820 Wh Li-ion battery, which is good for over 1,500 charges. Like most ebike batteries, it reaches full charge in three hours. Range is around 65 km (40 miles) on battery only, and 90 km (56 miles) using pedal assist.
The bike is available in two versions, Street Legal and Off-Road. Street Legal is limited to a top speed of 45km/h (28mph) – in some countries, at least, this allows it to qualify as a scooter. The Off-Road version, however, tops out at 65km/h (40mph).
The frame is tubular aluminum, with a polycarb motor housing. Front and rear suspension is handled by Marzocchi shocks, and gearing is taken care of with a Rohloff 14-speed internal hub. The complete vehicle weight is 30 kg (66 lbs).
The eSpire will set you back 7,000 euro (about US$9,750), and is so far only available at stores in Germany.
The bicycle’s Clean Mobile drive train was recently tested in a tour through the Alps, which can be seen in the video below.