GRACE e-bike boasts F1 technology
By Paul Ridden
November 19, 2009
Combining jet fighter technology with Formula 1 grade parts and German build quality, the GRACE street legal electric two-wheeler will start to be shipped in limited numbers next year. As well as offering a couple of city travel options, GRACE is also available in an off-road version too. The company has even manufactured a demonstration-only racy model capable of speeds up to 70kmh (44mph).
Quality through and through
With an aircraft grade CNC-aluminum frame consisting of 70mm diameter tubing (apart from downtube which is 78mm), a custom made 1.3Kw brushless electric hub motor powered by 70 lithium-ion battery cells arranged into five stacks connected in series (which fit inside the frames tubing and precision components), GRACE certainly looks the business.
The battery configuration has a range of between 20km (12.5 miles) and 50km (31 miles), depending on how GRACE is used. The 48V city motor is capable of delivering more than the street legal 45kmh (28mph) but is prevented from doing so by the controller (modifications to which will invalidate the guarantee). GRACE is also available with a 48V mountain motor which is tuned for power rather than speed, giving a maximum of 30kmh (19mph).
A sport version of GRACE has been produced to show what the vehicle is capable of given the right ingredients. It has a 96V motor capable of a 70kmh (44mph) maximum speed but is strictly demonstration only and not available for sale.
There are three possible frame builds available in three different sizes. The race frame's seat is positioned higher than the handlebars for better aerodynamics. A more upright seating position is offered by the city frame which will suit most riders but a female-friendly universal frame is also available.
Build quality would appear to be at the very heart of GRACE. Along the underside of the downtube is the specially developed IP67 water resistant controller housing. This contains the 48V DC to 12V DC converter, charger plug, fuses, horn and plugs.
Taking the hit
The company behind GRACE claims to have taken a financial hit in its choice of circular connector. In choosing the Souriau Formula 1 grade circular connector, the additional cost has not been passed onto the consumer. The high tech approach continues with the choice of power switch.
Instead of opting for a cheaper switch that would have added significant dimensions to the set up, a smaller (but more expensive) ETA switch used in the A380 and Euro-fighter jets has been chosen instead.
A display in the center of the handlebars offers speed, power and battery level information. In the same housing are the two 55W ultra compact ellipsoid front lights and color-coded micro-switches for controlling the lights, horn and computer. The back and brake lighting is incorporated into the saddle.
Each build comes with its own custom options such as SRAM gear systems, Magura 204mm disc brakes and pedals although options can add significantly to the overall cost. Continuing the customization theme, customers are offered a choice of 64 different powder coating color options and three anodized color options.
Pricing and availability
The company is taking orders for its first limited edition GRACE now, with prices starting at €5877 (about US$8737), production time will be about 4 months (customers outside Germany are advised to contact GRACE prior to ordering). Motor liability insurance is likely needed, as is a good helmet.
As the actual number of limited edition models produced will not be revealed to the public and the company reports a lot of interest, the window for ordering (originally set to close on 4th January 2010) could be closed at any time. Fear not though as orders for the second edition will run until May 2010.
Watch GRACE in action: