Italian design firm ARES is billing its high-tech carbon fibre e-bike, the Super Leggera, as a “world first”. We’re not exactly sure about that, but it certainly looks a lovely bike.
Indicating the technology at the heart of the design, the bike is officially titled the ARES Super Leggera by HPS.
Monaco-based High Performance Systems (HPS) is the firm that developed the lightweight Watt Assist e-bike system.
This system has been integrated into the Super Leggera and allows the rider to get 200W of assistance from a bike that – in the words of ARES – “weighs the same as a top-of-the-range ‘traditional’ model.”
This isn’t quite true, of course. There is a very simple reason why e-bikes weigh more than unassisted bikes: they require a bunch of extra stuff.
Motors, batteries and all the other e-bike paraphernalia unavoidably add weight. What can’t be denied, however, is that in this instance they’re adding relatively little. A 9kg e-bike is a very light e-bike indeed.
But is it the lightest?
Turns out we don’t have to look too far to find a lighter one. HPS’s own Domestique 1-21 weighs just 8.5kg. German innovators Freicycle, meanwhile, can build you a modified Merida Scultura with a specially developed friction drive motor concept that comes in at 6.872kg. That’s more of a custom thing though.
Back to the Super Leggera, the Watt Assist system houses its components close to the bottom bracket area to ensure a low centre of gravity and a sporty ride.
The electronics managing the motor and battery are hidden in the down tube, while the battery itself mimics the look and weight of a standard water bottle and is installed in place of the second bottle in a specially designed cage.
Two batteries are available: a 1.2kg 193Wh one that offers around three hours of assistance and a 720g 85Wh one – which is presumably the one in use when the bike weighs 9kg.
This first joint venture between ARES and HPS is a limited series of 24 bikes featuring handmade leather parts and round tube carbon fibre frames. Brace yourself though. Each one costs €18,950. They’re available in ARES showrooms in Italy, UAE, Austria, Switzerland, the United States, Germany, Spain and Monaco.
A second series of e-road bikes in a more modern style will follow later this month, followed by a top of the range city bike in December.