Porsche is the latest automaker to try its hand at making and selling electric bikes, and the result looks very interesting and very expensive. The Volkswagen-owned company announced that it would start selling a pair of full-suspension e-bikes this spring. The bikes were announced alongside the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, which was just unveiled today.
There are two models of Porsche e-bike, the Sport and the Cross. The Sport is a road bike intended for everyday use, with a full-suspension carbon fiber frame, integrated front and rear lights, Shimano mid-drive motor, and a price tag that would make Jeff Bezos blush. The Sport, which weighs a little less than 48 pounds, will set you back about $10,700, which is just an astonishing price for an e-bike.
But then again, carbon fiber frame bikes are traditionally more expensive than other bikes, and the Porsche badge on the head tube is worth a premium to a certain cross-section of bike rider. (I’m often reminded of how much money serious racing bike enthusiasts will spend, not just on the bike itself, but on all of the gear that goes with it.)
The Cross is more for off-roading adventures, Porsche says. It also sports a Shimano mid-drive, carbon fiber frame, and full suspension, in addition to Magura-MT Trail hydraulic disc brakes that are extra-large and “heat resistant.” It weighs 48.7 pounds and will retail for $8,549.
The Shimano EP8 motor that is featured in both bikes is smaller than previous versions — Porsche describes it as “ultra-compact” — and provides up to 25 km/h of pedal-assisted support. (Seems slow, but that’s the legal top speed allowed under European Union regulations.)
Porsche is the latest company specializing in combustion engine vehicles to dip a toe into the world of electric two-wheelers. Aside from the price, there’s some reason to be skeptical. Often, when you hear about car companies releasing their own electric bikes, most of the time, it’s just a brand licensing deal. (Think Jeep’s e-bike or those Hummer bikes from last decade.) Other times, it’s a much-hyped project that ends up falling victim to larger corporate cost-cutting, like General Motors’ Ariv e-bikes.
But occasionally, something interesting emerges, like Harley-Davidson’s recently released Serial 1 e-bikes. Porsche’s bikes are sure to find an audience among the same people who love the 911 or Taycan, but it remains to be seen whether it will be a long-term business for the automaker. Both bikes will be available for purchase starting in spring 2021.