When the worlds of cycling and motorsport collide, the results are always interesting. Crossover and concept bikes combining design input from luxury car and motorcycle brands aren’t new. Despite the higher budgets and technological advantage of the motorized brands, the results aren’t always great, either.
Three recent crossover bikes are, for the most part, better than some past efforts, though. Lotus, Aston Martin and, on the mountain bike side, Honda have three creative – and expensive – takes on the classic bicycle.
Aston Martin x J. Laverack .1R
Two boutique British brands combine for the stunning .1R road bike. J. Laverack brings its experience in titanium and custom bike design together with Aston Martin’s F1-level carbon fiber construction and design. The results are quite stunning. The duo mostly focuses on refining construction with custom fit. But there are one or two innovative features hiding between the carbon fiber tubes and titanium lugs.
The most distinctive features are the integrated disc brake calipers. Using Aston Martin’s experience building cars for F1, the .1R’s brakes are part of the frame construction, via a block of aluminum at the rear dropout at on the fork, not attached to the frame. J. Laverack also uses a sleek “boltless” design to attach the one-piece, made-to-measure bar-stem combo to take the integrated look to the next level.
There are limited build slots for the .1R, due to the excessive production time required for each custom bike. Prices are only available on request but, with each custom fitting taking place at Aston Martin HQ in Gaydon, Warwick with the founders of J. Laverack and each bike coming with its own custom travel box/display case and matching frame pump, do not expect this to be a bargain bike.
Lotus Type 136
Next up is Lotus’ return to cycling, this time in the form of an e-road bike. The Type 136 is based of the wild shapes of the HB.T, its pre-Tokyo Olympic collaboration with U.K. brand Hope. But Lotus adds gears, brakes and a motor for this version.
Compared to the .1R above, the limited edition Type 136 is a relative bargain at around £20,000 (about $33,800 in Canadian dollars), though final pricing is yet to be confirmed. In a cute little move, Lotus is only offering 136 of the Type 136 ebikes in the first edition.
There is more to the Type 136 than its wild aero profile. Lotus claims the 1.2kg motor system from Monaco-based HPS is the lightest ebike motor available. The motor itself weighs just 300g and is powered by a water bottle-shaped battery. All in, the Type 136 has a claimed weight of just 9.8kg.
Honda eMTB Concept
Last up, and both least real and least spectacular, is Honda’s new eMTB concept. Honestly, the best thing the Honda concept has going for it is that it looks like an updated version the Greg Minnaar’s infamous 2004 RN01 G-Cross downhill bike. The suspension layout looks somewhat unchanged from Honda’s downhill project nearly 20 years ago. The new “Concept” bike is almost more conservative than the old bike as it replaces the gearbox with a motor and standard drivetrain.
Honda does attempt to innovate a new buzzword, though, referring to driving your bike to the trails with the cringy “six-wheel lifestyle” (bike plus car). There is no price and, like the RN01, this eMTB concept could never make it to production. Considering there are several other motorsports brands with much more refined designs already entering the market (and a few with far worse designs, to be fair) it would be more surprising if this concept did become a reality than if it didn’t.