Back in June 2022, we talked about the interesting Skarper e-bike conversion kit. The unique setup of the Skarper kit makes use of a two-in-one rotor that not only acts as the bike’s rear brake, but also drives the rear wheel at the same time. Since then, the project has gained quite a bit of traction, with former track cyclist and racing driver Chris Hoy backing the project.
Much more recently, Chris Hoy managed to secure a collaboration between Skarper and none other than the Oracle Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team. The goal is to enhance the Skarper e-bike conversion kit to make it more efficient, more compact, and better performing. Now, before we look at the details of the Skarper kit, let’s talk about why you’d want to consider an e-bike conversion kit in the first place, instead of buying a ready-made electric bicycle.
Well, there are quite a few reasons for this, with one of them being versatility. In the Skarper DiskDrive’s original design, the motor can easily be removed from the bike, allowing you to transition from e-bike to regular bike in a matter of minutes. Apart from this proposed versatility, there’s the matter of cost, however, in the case of the Skarper DiskDrive, with its retail price projected in excess of $1,000 USD, this isn’t exactly applicable.
With that said, the partnership with the Oracle Red Bull Racing team follows a massive £4-million (around $5.1-million USD) investment in Skarper in April 2023, highlighting the growing interest in e-bike-focused technology. As it would turn out, Christian Horner, the Team Principal for the Oracle Red Bull Racing team, was impressed by Skarper’s innovation, and as such, instructed his engineers to collaborate with Skarper in making the kit smaller and more efficient.
In an article by E-Bike Tips, Horner explained that the partnership with Skarper demonstrates how F1 tech can be applied to the real world. “This partnership with Skarper demonstrates how F1 expertise can help to improve everyday technology for the benefit of the public.” Sure, an e-bike conversion kit is about the furthest thing away from a cutting-edge F1 car, but hey, isn’t it cool to roll around on an e-bike that’s been co-developed by an F1 team?
In its current form, the Skarper e-bike kit tips the scales at just 3 kilograms (about 6.6 pounds). It includes the motor and the battery, with Skarper claiming an impressive range of up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) on a single charge. It has a nominal output of 250 watts per European e-bike legislation, and a respectable torque rating of 50 Nm, like the Bosch Performance Line SX motor we’ve talked about on multiple occasions.
The kit is supposedly a quick and easy install on the bike’s chainstay, though this is usually easier said than done as bicycle design varies greatly depending on the brand, type of bike, and even the size of the frame. As of the moment, pre-orders for the kit have sold out with delivery expected to commence between summer and winter of 2024. Skarper is, however, expected to reopen orders starting at the hefty price tag of £1,295, or about $1,647 USD.