Austria’s bike maker VELLO introduced the world’s lightest folding bike with electrical assist, called the VELLO bike. It’s under 22 pounds, the first of its kind, and made a splash at Pro-Days in Paris in early July.
To make the world’s lightest folding e-bike, VELLO patented its lightweight 1.9 kilograms (around four pounds) titanium frame and an eight-seconds folding mechanism.
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“We have managed to push the boundaries for lightweight folding electric bikes. It weighs 9.9 kg, while using off-the-shelf standard component parts,” said Industrial Designer and VELLO Cofounder Valentin Vodev.
All VELLO folding e-bikes, including this new ultra lightweight model, are equipped with an all-in-one rear-hub motor. The ultra lightweight model also has large 20-inch wheels, but a small folding size of 57 by 79 by 29 centimeters. Even more unique is that this bike has an energy recuperation feature similar to regenerative braking in cars. The motor has a built-in battery, and you can connect with the system by a phone app. There is even an electronic motor lock and theft location tracking.
The energy recuperation is in the form of four built-in sensors and something called KERS technology, or kinetic energy recovery system. It’s inspired by Formula-1 cars, helping the battery to recharge during braking or while going downhill. Furthermore, the VELLO bike has a range of 50 kilometers (31 miles) at max power usage, and can be nearly unlimited in range when used in full recuperation mode.
VELLO also added a slope sensor to the bike integrated in the motor. It functions similar to a gear shift by allowing the motor assist to adjust automatically for optimal performance. An option on the bike is the Schlumpf Drive gear system, which has gear settings for urban or rural hill riding. With planetary gearing Speed Drive, as the urban gear mode is called, the bike can move beyond the 25 kilometers per hour limit of the electric motors. Mountain Drive allows for steep hill climbs.
In 2015, VELLO Bike received the highest distinction in the design world, the Red Dot Award “best of the best.” Followed in 2017 by the European Product Design Award, the Good Design and, in 2019, the Austrian Design Award and German Federal Prize for Ecodesign. VELLO was awarded the German Sustainability Award for Design in 2022.
Images via VELLO