Home Cars & Bikes From hypercars to hyperbikes: McLaren launches eMTB range

From hypercars to hyperbikes: McLaren launches eMTB range

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You can now park a McLaren in your garage for less than R150 000. It won’t be one of their supercars, mind, but a very potent eMTB instead. 

Not a month goes by without an automotive brand unveiling a bicycle range. Porsche had done so many years ago, while the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Lexus have also launched pedal bikes.

For motorcycle manufacturers, bicycles are an even more natural fit. Therefore, brands like KTM and Husqvarna also develop pedal bikes for the seemingly insatiable cycling market.

And now McLaren joins the club by releasing four e-bikes. It’s not the carmakers first go at selling bicycles, though. Around a decade ago, McLaren joined forces with bicycle maker Specialized. This union birthed a mere 250 examples of the $20 000 (R363 300) Specialized McLaren S-Works Tarmac.

Less exclusive, thank heavens

This time round, the British automaker isn’t outsourcing the task and the bikes are more attainable.

The new four-bike range extends McLaren’s extreme performance-focused design and technology into the electric two-wheeled world, the automaker says.

‘Every bit a McLaren’

Designed by the teams responsible for its supercars, the e-bikes embrace signature McLaren attributes such as carbon-fibre construction. This is “to deliver an authentically McLaren high-performance experience,” the company states.

“The e-bikes’ powerful motors enhances their high power-to-weight ratio, a pivotal attribute in the development of every McLaren,” a spokesperson says.

The result is a bike that is arguably every bit a McLaren, and the sports car maker claims they are the world’s most powerful trail-legal electric mountain bikes.

Integrated full-colour screen

Further reinforcing the link to supercars, the McLaren design team devised an innovative digital display whose graphics mimic those of the cars’ driver displays.

A full-colour integrated display panel on the handlebars show telemetry information including speed, battery life, and range.

There are four distinct models – Extreme 600, Extreme 250, Sport 600, and Sport 250. Each offer the ultimate two-wheel ride, whether on city streets, off-road tracks, or mountain trails, McLaren enthuses.

The flagship McLaren 600 versions vie for the title of the world’s most powerful street-legal electric mountain bike. Its Race mode delivers up to 852W of peak power and a top speed of 32 km/h.

McLaren Sport

According to McLaren, the all-purpose Sport (in 250W and 600W; pictured above) is just as at home off the beaten track as on aggressive single track.

As with McLaren cars, there is a choice of power modes, selectable via the digital display on the integrated cockpit:

Off – No motor assist
Eco – Energy conservation for long rides
Trail – A set-and-forget balance of power and efficiency
Sport – Extra power output for when the trail demands more
Race – Max power and max torque

The Sport 250 sells for $7 950, or R145 000 (approx.) and the Sport 600 for $8 950 (approx. R163 000).

McLaren Extreme

Pictured below, the Extreme (with 250W or 600W) is a full-suspension eMTB designed for maximum off-road performance, control, and comfort, the manufacturer says. All five power modes are as per the McLaren Sport. 

The US price for the Extreme 250 is $10 950 (approx. R200 000). The Extreme 600 is priced at $11 950 (approx. R218 000).

Now you see me

The designers of McLaren’s eMTBs decided to incorporate a lighting system inside the handlebar – a novel feature for an electric mountain bike.

Similar to how a McLaren hypercar’s headlight integrates into the grill, the lighting system is smoothly integrated into the carbon fibre handlebar. When the system is off, it is hardly perceptible.

Turning night to day

With the lighting system activated, riders may choose between two settings for safe and enjoyable nighttime riding. There is a bright 1 250 Lumen setting for illuminated trails and roads, or a blinding 1 550 Lumen level that can light even dark, forested tracks.

Riders can control the lighting system without having to reach far from their grips. This is thanks to the central control panel incorporated into the handlebar.

The lighting system gets its electricity straight from the primary battery of the bike. This is unlike conventional third-party systems that strap onto the handlebar and need a separate power source.

All-in-one

While most mountain bikes use a standard handlebar and stem, which detracts from style and front-end stiffness, the McLaren Extreme and Sport feature a sculpted one-piece system. This optimises control and enhances the bikes’ appearance too.

Maximum control and detailed info

The bike’s single-piece handlebar and stem place crucial controls in the hands of the rider, much like a McLaren steering wheel. Riders can overcome any track when they have a firm hold on the grips, which gives them quick control and near telepathic handling, McLaren says.

To produce a shape that is distinctly McLaren, the designers opted to mould the bar and stem out of carbon fibre.

The controls for the electric mountain bike are built onto the bar’s central screen. This conveniently places the light and motor controls at arm’s length. A quick glimpse at the vivid, readable screen provides information on remaining battery life, distance travelled, speed, and other riding metrics.  

Components

The Extreme 600W and Extreme 250W feature SRAM wireless XX Eagle Transmission 12-speed drivetrain and the Sport 600W and Sport 250W feature mechanical SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain.

To ensure that riders have a bike capable of safely conquering any terrain at any speed, all McLaren eMTBs have the newest, high-performing brake components from SRAM as well as fast, reactive suspension from RockShox.

The Sport and Extreme models are both shod with Pirelli tyres.

Mega motor

The heart of McLaren’s eMTBs is a custom motor designed specifically for these models. This proprietary, high-performance technology is uniquely available on McLaren’s bikes, designed to handle the extreme torque generated by the motor.

Here are the 600W version’s performance ratings: 

  • 600W Rated Power
  • 852W Peak Power
  • 161 Nm of Torque
  • 31,7 W/kg for the drive system

The 600W motor and drive system allows riders to easily cruise to the top of any climb, or dial back the assist level, knowing that the best-in-class torque will still help them roll over rocks, roots, and other obstacles with ease, a spokesperson for McLaren explains.

The 250W versions are also the most powerful eMTBs in their class, producing 121 Nm of torque, and are trail-legal in the UK, EU, and Australia.

The availability of McLaren e-bikes is limited. Customers can secure one by visiting mclarenbikes.com, the manufacturer says. Shipping starts in August 2024 and each bike comes with a two-year warranty.

The cost of shipping to South Africa is excluded from the prices above.

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