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Serial 1 eBikes powered by Harley-Davidson are premium connected electric bicycles designed from the ground up for commuting and off-roading. Auto Futures talked to Aaron Frank, Serial 1 Brand Director, who explained their design, maintenance-free and new technology features.
Serial 1 launched as a spinout company from Harley-Davidson in 2020.
“We still have a close relationship with Harley-Davidson. Our product development centre is on the Harley-Davidson campus. If we have questions or need to cooperate on testing, data or something, we still work closely with the Harley-Davidson engineering team. Our engineering team is standalone and separate,” says Frank.
The Serial 1 brand is mainstream and consumer-focused.
“We are definitely not just making bicycles for Harley-Davidson enthusiasts. We are making eBikes for all people that ride bikes – a mainstream cycling product that appeals to the consumers that are buying eBikes right now,” says Frank.
Bikes Designed From The Ground Up
The Serial 1 eBikes integrate the battery and motor into the centre of the eBikes.
“We are proud of our design and engineering of our frame and location of our motor and battery. We learned from 120 years of building motorcycles at Harley-Davidson that mass centralisation is super important. You want to keep the bulk of the weight of the bike as near to the centre of the bike as possible and as low to the ground as possible. All of our bikes use a mid-mounted motor, so the motor is right between the pedals below the rider,” explains Frank.
The proprietary compact battery is designed in-house and sits right above the motor, tucked into the mainframe. Serial 1 offers a 529Wh battery and a 706Wh battery that are interchangeable. The batteries can be charged while on the frame or off via a standard electrical outlet.
“We designed our bikes from the ground up to be eBikes. So it is not a clumsy adaptation of an existing bike. When you jump on a Serial 1, it feels like a really good bike. It handles really well and is very neutral. It’s agile and confidence-inspiring,” he says.
One Serial 1 Size Does Not Fit All
The company makes eBicycles in four sizes, small, medium, large, and extra-large. The sizing is based on Harley Davidson’s human factors database. It has measured tens of thousands of human bodies over the over 30 years to optimise the ergonomics on their motorcycles, reports Frank.
“We were able to leverage that human factors database in the sizing and design of our bikes. The bikes of every size are precisely designed to maintain the same riding position. We want to make sure not only do we fit more people, but every person gets the same riding experience.”
A sizing tool on the website uses arm and leg measurements to accurately predict the right size eBike.
Serial 1 Models For The City And Mountains
Serial 1 currently has two categories of eBikes – the city (CTY) commuter models and mountain (MTN) off-road models.
“We have every intention of being a full portfolio bicycle brand. Originally, we launched our CTY product last year, which was primarily intended for riding on roads in cities and suburbs. In 2022, we expanded with mountain bike and off-road models,” says Frank.
Serial 1 in The City
The CTY (City) line of eBikes, currently has three models.
“The MOSH CTY is a stripped-down urban play bike. There are no fenders or racks. It has a single-speed drivetrain. It is a fun playful bike ride,” says Frank.
The RUSH eBikes are full-featured commuter bikes. The racks, fenders, and automatic shifting transmission offer the functionality for someone who is probably using that bike for transportation or travel.
“RUSH eBikes need no maintenance – you just get on and ride. You might want to check your tire air pressure every couple of months – but that is all. You are not going to maintain the drivetrain. There is no derailleur. There is no chain. The brakes are hydraulic and self-adjusting,” he explains.
The CTY bikes use a carbon fiber drive belt instead of a drive chain, the same kind of drive belt that Harley Davidson uses on its motorcycles. They never have to be lubricated or adjusted. They are lifetime drive belts. The drive belts last 100,000 miles on Harley Davidson Motorcycles.
“The Gates Carbon Drive belts are totally clean. They do not leave greasy marks on your shoes, pants or clothes or hands if you touch them.”
All the RUSH models all have automatic shifting CVT transmissions.
“You do not have to navigate 21 gears. You set the RPM where you want it. Then the electronic automatic shifting hub automatically and constantly adjusts the gear ratio for you,” he says.
The RUSH/CTY STEP-THRU can travel up to 20 mph with a range of 35-105 mi (55-170) km and takes 4.7 hours for a full charge using a 529Wh lithium-ion battery.
The RUSH/CITY SPEED has a maximum speed of 28 mph with a range of 25-115 mi/40-185 km and takes just 7.5 hours for a full charge.706Wh lithium-ion battery.
“We make the riding experience so much more enjoyable. If you have not tried an electric bike before, please just try one, any one. You will be surprised that you suddenly think of yourself as a cyclist again,” muses Frank.
Serial 1 Mountain eBikes
The nearly sold-out Serial 1 BASH/MTN limited-edition features high-volume Michelin E-Wild knobby tires, a shock-absorbing SR Suntour NCX suspension seat post, and four-piston TRP hydraulic disc brakes.
In June, Serial 1 launched SWITCH/MTN, a mountain trail eBike for off-roading. It features SR Suntour Suspension Fork and a TranzX dropper seat post.
In April, Serial 1 announced the Serial 1 App backed by Google Cloud.
“Our goal is to deliver that same automotive level experience and connectivity experience in the bicycle space. We partnered with Google to do that,” says Frank.
2022 Serial 1 eBikes come with a self-powered Internet-of-Things (IoT) device inside the frame.
The device has a SIM card with cellular connectivity, Bluetooth and GPS. The device connects to the cloud and the rider’s smartphone app.
Frank notes the connectivity enables a full suite of connected features. For security, the Serial 1 eBicycle location can be tracked on Google Maps, even while the power is off. And the eBike can be remotely disabled. The app can remotely flash the lights to help locate the eBike.
The app communicates directly with the motor and battery in real-time. The app shows the ride metrics speed, elapsed time and distance. The power meter shows how much power is produced by the pedals, motor and battery in real-time. Riders can monitor power usage and battery range at a granular level. The IoT devices receive over-the-air (OTA) updates.
“We are currently the only bicycle company using Google navigation in our navigation tool,” he says. Google navigation provides bicycle-friendly routes.
Where Can You Buy Serial 1 eBicycles?
Serial 1 eBikes are sold through Harley Davidson dealerships, independent bicycle shops and online through the Serial 1 website.
Frank rides a Serial 1 eBike to work. His ride is ten minutes faster than driving in a car because he rides on a bike path without traffic, signals or stop signs.
“I’ve been a bicycle and motorcycle guy since I was a kid. So, it’s a perfect match made in heaven for me. I ride Serial 1 eBikes more than I ever imagined I would just because they are supremely useful,” says Frank.