Audi’s newest off-roader is a battery-powered mountain bike | Top Gear
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Audi’s newest off-roader is a battery-powered mountain bike

And it’s called... the Audi electric mountain bike. Nailed it

Published: 09 Mar 2023

This rather extreme-looking e-bike is the latest to have a brush with the automotive industry. No, not that ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you’ kind of brush – the sort that sees car manufacturer logos and branding all over a pushbike that somehow costs more than a motorbike.

It’s apparently inspired by the Audi RS Q e-tron Dakar racer, which presumably means the suspension will break and Stephane Peterhansel will hit the ground hard enough to have no memory of the crash. Though, that feels unlikely because suspension supremos Ohlins have handled the forks, springs and shocks, delivering a downhill-bike-worthy 180mm of travel.

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The rest of the bike is a run-through of top-tier parts, like some kind of two-wheeled top trumps. There’s the easily recognisable for non-pedal people (like Ohlins and Renthal), and then quite a few we had to look up to find out that they were, in fact, properly big deals in their own niche – Sram, Mavic, and Sella Italia. The latter makes the saddle, by the way, and is a big enough deal to be name-checked.

A company by the name of Brose (us neither, but apparently also a big deal) makes the 250-watt motor; while one-third of a horsepower doesn’t seem like much, it’s about what your average rider can muster over the long-term. And besides, the e-motor is for assistance when, in the words of Chuck Palahniuk, your muscles burn and your veins pump battery acid. So what you’ll want is torque. And good news on that front: there’s 66lb ft on offer, presumably in first gear. If you’d like to know the wheel torque in each of the 12 gears, that’s very much something you can handle yourself.

Speaking of handling things, Italian two-wheeled fanatics Fantic have sorted out the battery and power side, with a 36-volt, 720 watt-hour battery that sits, rather obviously, in the lower frame rail. This, we have to say, is a very practical decision – Fantic’s electric pushbikes are seriously dialled in bits of kit, and it has nearly six decades’ experience in the two-wheeled side of things. Even so, one would have thought that Audi’s big EV push would mean taking over the propulsion side of things for marketing’s sake, if nothing else. So again, it is a very practical decision on Audi’s part, for which we actually have to give a bit of credit – both for using the expertise of experts, and being upfront about it.

This line of credit, however, is in serious danger of being rescinded for two reasons.

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First, this bike costs £8,499, a sum that could buy you a very decent and entirely specialised downhill bike, enduro bike and road bike. Possibly from Specialized, if one were so inclined.

Second, this is an £8,500 bike that looks like it ploughed through a worksite safety store. And a JD Sports.

But then at least there’s less danger of someone saying, ‘Sorry mate, I didn’t see you’.

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