British sports car manufacturer Caterham have announced that they'll be branching into the world of motorcycles, with two e-bikes being introduced for 2014.
Best known for their lightweight Seven sports car model, Caterham have historically stuck to the same formula of providing accesible thrills to drivers and now aim to do the same for two wheeled road users.
The first and most radical of the two electric bike models is the Carbon E-Bike. Apparently inspired by technology coming from Caterham's F1 team, it's an intriguing thing to look at.
Both the wheels and huge 4.8in tyres hold Surly branding and look like parts taken straight from a fat bike. The frame itself is a combination of carbon fibre and aluminium components, there's supposedly adjustment in the chassis. Caterham claim this allows the bike to be adapted to the size and shape of each rider – and that's once you've chosen from one of three frame sizes. There's a carbon girder fork up front, while the rear suspension looks like that of a motocross bike and is paired to a Marzocchi Roco Air rear shock.
A 36-volt, 250-watt Panasonic motor will apply power to the rear wheel via Shimano's Nexus eight-speed hub gear. Speed from the motor is going to restricted to 15mph for Euro shores, due to our current kill-joy legislation, but that means these bikes will avoid having to be road registered, taxed or insured. Caterham have yet to release battery range figures for this model though.
It looks as if the bike is fitted with Magura hydraulic disc calipers, while those solid disc rotors look like more of a mock-up than something that will make the production bike. A handlebar-mounted LED dashboard holds information on the battery as well as speed, trip and range data.
Next up is the Classic E-Bike, with styling that is a throwback to cafe racer motorcycles. It's a different kettle of fish from the Carbon E-Bike. A swoopy aluminium frame pairs with a springer fork and a classic paintjob. Even the motor has been formed into the shape of a V-twin engine, while the faux fuel tank is actually a luggage compartment, in which the rider can stow personal items, or the battery charger for the 36-volt battery pack.
There's still a 250w Panasonic motor, but this time offers a range of 25 to 50 miles (40 to 80km) and powers the rear wheel via a three-peed Shimano Nexus hub. A handlebar mounted LED dashboard once again displays the battery status, speedo, trip meter and range information. There's a mechanical disc brake up front and a roller brake out back.
The saddle can be fixed in three different positions, altering the sizing of the bike, so expect one frame size only for this model.
The two e-bikes will sit alongside a 750cc single-cylinder motorbike known as the Brutus. When quizzed on pricing Caterham responded with: "Prices are yet to be confirmed for all three launch models, but rest assured they will be in line with our affordable ethos of accessibility."
Both e-bikes will be sold alongside the Caterham Brutus 750 motorcycle