There are three main places manufacturers tend to position an e-bike motor: in the front wheel, in the back wheel or at the bottom bracket. The Chimera Electric BMX instead employs a ‘high drive’ halfway up the seat tube.
The titanium-framed Chimera weighs 15.5kg including the 470Wh battery. The motor itself is said to weigh just 1.5kg.
The team says the ‘high drive’ positioning delivers a “drastically better” power-to-weight ratio compared to mid-drives and hub drives. They also say it’s easy to service and compatible with standard bike parts (brakes, seats, cogs, BMX and MTB cranks, chainwheels, etc).
The website says the motor’s capable of delivering up to 5kW of power, although the power levels are listed as 3.8kW and 2.65kW, plus a 1.5kW “battery saver” mode.
Even the lowest of those is a lot of power for a bike of this size resulting in an estimated range of roughly 18 miles. That inevitably comes down further at higher levels. In 3.8kw mode, “the Chimera can nearly climb walls, but only gets about eight miles of throttling range.”
They are however working on a ‘Commuter’ battery pack that will double the range. It’s said to be a perfectly viable ride unassisted though, which would give you more miles, depending on how you rode it.
The production model will be limited to 28mph in street mode and 35mph in off-road mode to comply with US legislation.
No word yet on pricing. The Chimera’s Indiegogo crowdfunder goes live in August.