Nicolai Ion20 Mountain E-Climber

May 18, 2012

The announcements for high-end and exciting electric bikes soon to be released in 2012 just keeps flowing!

High-end German bike frame manufacturer Nicolai has announced that there will be a full suspension downhill electric bike in their 5 frame line up for 2012. They call it the “Ion20 E-boxx”.

This frame incorporates all the latest in a mountain bike full suspension system, and an elegant space for a lightweight high density LiPo battery built into the downtube.  Although the bike currently is featured with an under-powered 350 watt Bosch drive system with a small 280 watt-hour battery, the company  expects to have the option in 2013 for  a  750 watt fully integrated 8-speed transmission, gear reduction system and RC-type brushless motor that is soon to be released by Pinion (read article here).

Prototype Pinion E1.8 Drive System

For now, the bike will have to run on the much less thrilling  Bosch power unit which is only 350 watts, but on the plus side, it only weighs a scant  8 pounds. Because it’s running through the bicycle’s gear-chain, it has the potential to be a helluva mountain climber.  The Nicolai thats equipped with the Bosch will be street legal in most US and  European cities, having a top speed of 20-MPH on flat ground when not pedaling, and up to 30-MPH with pedaling.

The Bosch incorporates a highly sophisticated pedelec system which senses the rider’s pedal behavior and produces the optimal response accordingly.  The Bosch controller measures data collected by sensors which estimate how hard the rider is standing on the pedals, the pedal RPMs, and for the riding speed, so it can determine the optimal amount of motor support to provide.  The rider has a switch on the handlebars allowing the choice of four possible modes: Eco (for maximum range), tour (for standard support), sport (for dynamic riding) and speed (for maximum pedal assist).

Bosch Control Panel

The idea for this kind of bike running through the gears is that they make incredibly efficient and effective hill-climbers, and could climb a mountain like an electric chair lift (more like a slow billy goat), then use the hard core downhill functions of the bike itself to “bomb” down the mountain.

The Bosch driven version of this frame including battery and rear shock  costs $6800 and is available now from Nicolai’s website, so we would expect the Pinion version of this frame to cost closer to $9000 when it is released sometime in 2013.   You will  have to add your own bicycle components to complete the bike (front suspension, brakes, wheels and tires, etc), so when all is done, we expect this E-bike to cost over $10k-$15k depending on the configuration you choose.

To give you an idea of what a complete bike may look like, check out the earlier collaboration between Nicolai, Bosch, and Gates Carbon Belt drives to construct the following beautiful hard-tail E-bike showcasing some of the sexiest pieces of E-bike technology:


Nicolai Ebike with NuVinci, Gates Belt Drive, and Bosch Motor


Bosch control center


NuVinci With Belt Sprocket acts as the E-bike transmission

Bosch bottom bracket assembly


Gates Carbon Belt System


Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002 when he started a 6000 square foot brick and mortar Electric Bike store in downtown San Francisco. He is a true believer that small electric vehicles can change the way we operate and the way we think.


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