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Together with design company Giugiaro Design, Royal Dutch Gazelle is revealing how the bike of the future will look. The N°1*, a connected e-bike provides assistance of up to 45 kilometres an hour. This bike, which is a combination of Italian design and Dutch ride comfort, is a concept. With this bike Gazelle will experiment with advanced applications.
A regular e-bike is just like a normal bike with a motor on it. The design philosophy behind the N°1 is different: it is a single aesthetic whole. The technology (battery, motor, drive and cables) is hidden away in the drive train, the lowest part of the bike. Above that is the top frame, the part where the amorphous appearance has been defined using contemporary design; and where the user interface is positioned. There are a number of different top-frame options. These are modular frames in sizes S, M and L. The bike comes equipped with body panels, which give the N°1 a sleek look and help to make the bike quiet. The body panels also make it easy to carry out maintenance.
The smartphone has been given a central position on the N°1. This was a conscious choice made by Gazelle because it means there is no need to mount an extra screen and it keeps the handlebars clean and tidy. If a call comes in during a ride, the cyclist can pick it up using a thumb-operated button on the handlebars. This same button can be used for the other functions. "The smartphone's touch screen won't work if the cyclist is going faster than 5 kilometres per hour. There is a reason for this: Gazelle wants to prevent unsafe cycling behaviour at all times", says Huub Lamers, CEO of Royal Dutch Gazelle. The safety aspect was important during the development of this N°1 concept. Other distinctive features of this bike are the high power led brake light and the integrated side lights that run along the side of the mudguards. These lights come on as standard when the bike is connected.
The designers decided to centralise the weight. This makes the centre of gravity lower, providing stability and good road-holding. The N°1 weighs 25.5 kilos and is made partly out of carbon. This gave the designers more freedom in the design without it impacting on safety and strength. A prime example is the NuVinci hub; which is integrated into the carbon rear wheel. This enables it to change gear automatically, so that the rider can maintain the same pedalling frequency at all times. Other parts made out of carbon are the handlebars, the belt drive, the top frame, the front fork, the side panels and the seat post. With the carbon belt drive there's no longer any need to grease a chain or to replace sprockets. The bike is fitted with Magura MT5-disc brakes and Continental tyres. The N°1 is built by hand by Gazelle in Dieren.
Gazelle's latest concept e-bike has a lot of similarities to a car. Not only due to the use of carbon, but also with regard performance and the possibilities it offers. At a speed of 45 kilometres an hour distances of forty kilometres or more can be bridged easily, making the N°1 a sustainable alternative to the car. The battery (612 watt hours) lasts around 1,000 charging cycles and can be fully charged in three hours. Depending on the cycling conditions and the weight of the rider, this bike has a range of up to 200 kilometres.
To operate the N°1, the bike uses the COBI-system, which consists of the COBI hub, thumb controller and an app. The hub consists of one main module, a speaker and lights module that the cyclist controls using the app. This app offers route planning, a navigation function, weather forecasts, a tracking system music playing options, a ride-data view and a fitness tool. The lights module, called AmbiSense Light Technology, has three different intensities.
*The N°1 is a concept bike and is not for sale.