- June 13, 2017
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Audi’s Latest Invention (It’s Not What You Think)
Through the (not so) subtle art of Hollywood product placement, Audi has firmly established itself as the car of choice for militants and gangsters. Re-watch Hitman, Taken, Go Fast and the whole Transporter franchise and, apart from enjoying a spectacular movie marathon, you’ll notice one character who’s always in the most hectic scenes: the Audi.
With such a tough persona, it may come as a surprise that the latest addition to the Audi family is an electric bike. At 18.2 kg, Audi’s Sport e-tron is super light for an e-bike. Most likely because it’s predominantly carbon fiber, right down to the wheels and the full-suspension frame.
As you might’ve guessed from looking at it, the Sport e-tron is a mountain bike (not to be confused with Audi’s e-tron concept car series). What makes it killer for off-road biking is the unique drive process. Audi brought in electric motor experts, Clean Mobile, to craft a set-up for them that allows the motor to fit in the centre of the frame and drive its power directly through the bike’s gear system. This brings equilibrium to the bike’s weighting while allowing the motor to easily remain within its maximum efficiency zone.
Because it’s the 21st century, of course there’s a smartphone integrated app to go with the bike. As you would’ve glimpsed in the video (around the time of their glaring red bull product placement) the app gives you remote control of the bike’s electronic system, along with stats on battery and speed. It also lets you toggle through five preset cycling modes:
- Power Wheelie;
- Balanced Wheelie.
If you watched the video above, you would’ve seen these settings in action with some impressive riding from French motocross rider, Julien Dupont.
In addition to the presets, there’s a torque sensor to automatically monitor your pedalling rate so the electric motor can add power intuitively. The control system also features a rear wheel lock and alarm which, when you hear the price this bike comes at, will make a lot of sense.
There are other e-bikes with similar set-ups and systems but they are rare and they all share one other thing in common: a breathtaking price-tag. Audi announced the prototype of this bike back in 2012 but have only recently made it available for “enquiry”. To amp up the rarity factor even more, the crew at Audi have indicated they’ll only be releasing 100 of the Sport e-trons and that’s it. The price? 15,300 EUR. Which, at the time of publication, translates to a staggering AUD $22,658 (and 61 cents if you want to be precise).
At that price, we reckon you’d get more bang for your buck investing in one of the wicked all terrain vehicles on the market, grabbing a mate and “‘slumming it” with some ordinary, non-electric mountain bikes (like our directors, Luke and Steve, did recently). Although, we would love to see the next Transporter movie conducted entirely on e-bikes.