Schwabing is historic borough of Munich known for its hipster hangouts, public parks and universities. It is also the name of a Bavarian-made electric bicycle that exemplifies the power and performance of next-generation eBike design. Das Schwabing, from Germany’s M1-Sporttechnik, has a sporty and stylish high-modulus carbon fiber frame and fork powered by a proprietary motor and battery developed by several Bavarian companies and used solely by M1. “It is a full-on Made in Germany product,” says Hendrik Teutsch, sales and marketing manager.
The Schwabing comes in two versions, a “pedelec” (250 watt, 20 mile-per-hour) and a “speed pedelec” (500 watt, 28 mph), both available with the Gates Carbon Drive belt system and a NuVinci N360 or N380 continuously variable planetary hub for seamless shifting and smooth pedaling.
Though its core market is Germany, Das Schwabing is available through select dealers in the United States. M1 recently exhibited at the Sea Otter Classic bike show in Monterey, California. “It was a good opportunity for us to see the development of the eBike market in the U.S. firsthand,” Teutsch says. He sees good potential for growth in the United States, especially since California clarified its regulations to allow speed pedelecs on bike paths. California is the ideal locale for the Schwabing, Teutsch says. “With our powerful battery and efficient engine you can travel for many miles along the coast–even though the Pacific Ocean might throw some serious headwinds at you.”
Founded in 1989, M1-Sporttechnik is part of Fritzmeier GmbH, a family owned company since 1926 that specializes in carbon fiber technologies and makes cabs and cladding for heavy machinery and automobiles (including the carbon fiber floor panels for BMW’s new hybrid supercar the i8). M1 is the lifestyle brand of Fritzmeier and it has a long history in bicycles, having developed the first carbon monocoque mountain bike frame in the 1990s and some of the first carbon electric bikes–as well as skis, surfboards and sailboats. The Schwabing is the next step forward in high-performance carbon products for M1.
In addition to buying through a dealer, customers can order the Schwabing directly through the M1 website using the brand’s bike configurator to choose the component specifications. “The bike arrives pre-built, and the customer only needs to straighten the handlebars and put on the pedals,” Teutsch says. Then it’s all ready for a trip to work through Munich, or to your favorite California oceanfront bike path. M1-sporttechnik.
Santiago, Chile, is one of South America’s most vibrant cities. Inhabitants enjoy food, arts, architecture and culture to rival the great urban centers of the world. Now this metropolis of more than five million people is undergoing a bicycling Renaissance. “Santiago is fairly flat and has a sunny climate that makes it perfect for urban cycling,” says Ricardo Salas, a founder of Brava Bikes. “Over the last decade there have been various public policies aimed at reducing traffic and improving the health of the population, which have resulted in an explosion in the use of bicycles in Chile. At this point we lead Latin America in daily bike use.”
Brava is a new bike brand based in Santiago that specs the Gates Carbon Drive system on all of its models. Pictured atop this post is the Láscar, a fixie with bullhorn bars. Below is the Cay singlespeed, followed by the Ralún eight-speed.
Brava’s founders decided to launch an urban bike brand after careers in architecture and design, and they spent two years designing the bikes and creating the brand identity. Details include leather grips and Brava-branded leather saddles. The aesthetic is both classic and modern. Below is the Macá singlespeed followed by the Lanín eight-speed.
The Tacora fixed gear:
Brava sells online and plans to open a brick and mortar shop soon. “Everyone at Brava loves classic bikes for their style, simplicity, and functionality. We think that the bike is a magnificent machine, and even a work of art,” says Salas, who commutes on a Cay.
One of his favorite rides is the trail up to San Cristobal Hill, a park overlooking the central city. “Another interesting urban route runs through Parque Forestal, which takes you almost the length of the city and passes through a sculpture garden and past the Contemporary and Fine Arts museums.” Another is Parque Bicentennario, located in the Vitacura area of Santiago. “This 30-hectare park is one of the city’s most important green areas. It is a popular place to spend time outdoors due to the trails and other activities,” Salas says.
Bravo, Santiago. bravabikes.com
For freeriders, there is nothing more stylish than a perfectly executed tail whip. French downhiller Benoit Coulanges of team ROC-VTT shows his whipping good style in this video shot near his home in Lyon. Benoit is an up-and-coming young rider who placed 15th at last year’s Fort William World Cup event. He rides a Nicolai Ion 20 Effigear with Gates Carbon Drive and an Effigear gearbox. Read more about his bike on Vital MTB. You may never do a tail whip, but imagine how well your Gates belt will perform on your city bike if it can survive Benoit’s abuse.
Leading folding bike brand Tern has launched its first model with Gates Carbon Drive, the Verge S8i. Tern calls it “the world’s most versatile ultra-low-maintenance folding bike…a practically silent super-commuter with no greasy parts or protruding derailleurs.”
New for 2016, the Verge S8i features a range of high-quality components: a Shimano Alfine eight-speed hub, Schwalbe Big Apple tires with puncture protection, a wide-beam Valo 2 headlight powered by a BioLogic electricity-generating hub, hydraulic disc brakes, fenders, a heavy duty cargo rack, and more.
Another cool feature is Tern’s patented Andros adjustable stem technology that allows users to adjust the handlebar height and riding position without tools–allowing multiple family members of different sizes to use the bike.
For rushed commuters, the Verge S8i folds in under 10 seconds and can be easily rolled onto subways and into buildings. Unfolded, it has a long wheel base for stability at speed. “It will get you there quickly, cleanly, and most importantly in style,” Tern says. We couldn’t agree more. ternbicycles.com
Montague is a Boston-area bike company launched in 1987 as a university project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of America’s most prestigious and brainy schools. Montague makes full-size folding bikes–no small wheels or downsized frames. The company’s motto is “real bikes that fold.” The frames are strong and rigid, Montague says, because the top tubes are not cut. Instead, the frames fold at the intersection of the top tubes and seat tube. The patented DirectConnect system automatically locks when unfolded. Another nice innovation is Montague’s RackStand, a rear luggage rack that doubles as a bike stand.
These features are included on Montague’s newest model, the Allston, which includes a Gates Carbon Drive belt, disc brakes, wide 38c tires and a Shimano Alfine 11-speed hub. “The Allston is great for ripping around Cambridge and Boston,” says Jonathan Vandenberg, Montague sales manager.
Montague has won multiple awards and honors over the years. In 1997, Montague received a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to create a tactical mountain bike for the U.S. Marine Corps. The bike was called the Paratrooper, because soldiers could jump from planes with it strapped to their chest.
Today, Montague, which is based in the university hub of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working to get people out of cars and onto bikes. “The bike commuting scene is growing in Crambridge and Boston,” Vandenberg says. Montague has partnered with the state to create Park & Pedal, a network of free parking spaces that allow commuters to park their cars and ride the final miles to work, avoiding inner-city rush-hour traffic and congestion. It’s one more brainy idea that is advancing the bicycle revolution. montaguebikes.com