The world of performance e-bikes is heading for a dead-end. Their development has come to the point where it’s now based upon just two simple customer demands: loads of power and enormous range. This leads to an “arms race” amongst the large, dominant manufacturers and in turn results in ever-more powerful and durable solutions. Despite all of this however, something gets left by the wayside – something decisive.
These highly-equipped machines have a problem: Power and range is only achieved with weight. Thus the direction of e-mountain bikes is currently totally contrary to the other developments in the mountain bike world. We are slipping ever further away from that, which drives each and every one of us: Searching for the perfect mountain bike for my type of use. Power and range negate this important point and the essence of mountain biking simply evaporates. What’s left are just motorbikes with pedals.
All this is the reason we started PROJECT Y. While everyone else in the industry continues down the welltrodden path, we’ve taken a different route. Our perfect e-bike is aligned with values, which we ourselves as riders both understand and love: Uncompromising handling, balanced weight distribution, and agility. The demands and requirements remain the same as for a standard mountain bike – even when it comes to weight.
I want to go back to cycling and what we all love in cycling.
PROJECT Y is all about finding solutions to these demands and that’s why we’re putting the emphasis on unconventional thinking, smart compromises, and new technical approaches. Our goal is e-bike excitement but with a real bike feel.
To actually put these ideas into practice you need a completely new approach. And yes, we also have the courage to defy the mainstream and not just because we don’t like certain technologies, but because we find them restricting.
How we actually implemented this project plays a really important role here. In the past we’ve seen plenty of new ideas for e-bikes – dreams of the future and sketches. Most visions however never make it off the drawing board. Ideas you can’t ride have zero value. Pictures are great but you can’t judge an e-bike until you’ve actually ridden it.
That’s why our project is the real thing, even though it’s still only a prototype, because we know you can’t find problems and mistakes with a drawing – only a test ride can uncover these. Similarly you can only really experience mountain biking on a trail. At the same time we’re not hiding anything and are completely open to, even welcome, cooperation and feedback.
Dream it, build it, ride it, love it.
PROJECT Y also offers enormous scope for interpretation, designed to encourage both further discussion and numerous additional ideas. Our next idea? The first “E-Race-Mountainbike“.
The ultimate question and challenge remained: How quickly can we realize a ride-ready prototype?
First of all we had to find the perfect drive unit with the most decisive requirement being: Industry standard. “Hammered together” didn’t come into question because to enable volume manufacturing we need consistent, high standards.
With the right choice of system the project could start. Based on the potential it offers for lightweight construction and aesthetic integration we decided on our Raven hardtail as the basis for the 3D drawings.
Fail fast - repeat!
Following numerous night shifts and an uncompromising concentration on PROJECT Y, FOCUS’s head of development Thomas Trapp completed the entire implementation in just two months. PROJECT Y continually presented us with new challenges. We had to quickly review our existing know-how and time and again raise it to an even higher level. Challenges were never lacking. “Rapid Failure” was our slogan. All of this was aimed at one thing: A totally rideable e-mountainbike without compromise. That’s our PROJECT Y.