This Trail-Ready e-Bike Packs BMW i Technology

You may not think the rear suspension of anything can tell an interesting tale. But in the case of this rough-and-tumble e-bike—the Heisenberg XF1—it does.  Some time ago, BMW’s i division set aside their work on the i3 hatchback and i8 sports car to develop an advanced swing arm suspension for e-bikes. They succeeded, and the design concept earned a patent. But eventually the i division wouldn’t pursue the e-bike world. Instead, they opened the patent to e-bike upstart HNF Heisenberg, which pressed it into service in the brand’s XF1. Now, that BMW tech is giving this German e-bike some impressive off-road capability. It doesn’t come cheaply, however. RELATED: New Ford e-Bike Concept Gives City Riders a Reason to Cheer
This Trail-Ready e-Bike Packs BMW i Technology
The takeaway from the BMW swing arm setup is that it now allows the bike’s electric drivetrain, which was previously fixed to the main frame, to move freely with the rear suspension. This has permitted Heisenberg to ditch the conventional chain and chain tensioner for a more durable carbon belt drive, while still allowing for nearly six inches of rear wheel travel. The company says the effect for riders is that they won’t feel pedal recoil or reduced suspension travel while the bike’s electric motor—a Bosch unit—is cranking away at maximum power. The XF1 keeps things German with its Bosch 400Wh lithium-ion battery pack, permitting 81 miles of riding range with pedal-assist, and a Bosch Intuvia on-board computer, which provides riders with battery life, speed, and optimal shift information. Other noteworthy components include a RockShox front fork, Magura MT7 brakes, and a Rohloff geared hub. The high-end e-bikes arrive in “pedelec” and “S-pedelec” trims; the former limited to 16 mph while the latter hits 28 mph, but is reportedly classified as a moped. Want one of these BMW-infused two-wheelers? Heisenberg says its XF1 starts at around €8,345 (or around $9,320 at today’s rates). RELATED: The "B-52 Bomber" Lives Again as an Off-Road Super e-Bike

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