Plug in and Ride: New Low-Maintenance E-Bikes Coming Soon

A new e-bike brand is looking to make owning an e-bike even less of a hassle, and we can’t wait. Vvolt, a new Portland, Oregon-based e-bike company wants to help you replace your car, get around your city, have fun and solve your micro-mobility problems. To meet those goals the company is starting with four new bike models.

Vvolt’s four bikes, the Alpha, Alpha S, Proxima and Sirius first stand out from the competition with their drivetrain. Rather than using a chain, like most conventional bikes and e-bikes, the Vvolt drivetrain uses a Gates Carbon Drive CDN belt. These belts use carbon cords to give them strength, rather than interconnect metal chain links. The technology has been around a number of years in motorcycles and some conventional bikes, and now all of Vvolt’s bikes will use them as well.

There are many benefits to using a belt. While you may have to regularly clean and re-oil a chain, a belt drive is relatively maintenance free. And free of maintenance means less mess. You won’t have to worry about getting grease on your hands, or pant legs, should you accidentally rub or bump into the drivetrain. The belt drives are also incredibly smooth and quiet. There is no chain slipping, crunching, grinding, or squeaking, just the smooth, efficient transfer of power.

Each bike will also feature hydraulic disc brakes for powerful and consistent braking. These brakes, unlike conventional rim brakes, won’t be slowed or made less effective by rain or mud. So with that power, you’ll also get smooth, consistent and quick braking. Every bike also has a bluetooth enabled bike computer that can connect with an app to give you power info, distance ranges and even directions.

The frames of the bike are also designed to give you a comfortable but sporty upright position perfect for navigating streets, paths and trails. The frames are also covered with mounting points for your water bottle baskets, fenders and bike bags so that you can make your commuter a true hauler.

The base models, the Alpha and Alpha S (which features a step-through design) cost $1,399 and use a single speed Xplova rear hub with 350w of power and 45Nm of torque. While your pedaling will feel similar, the rear hub adds an extra kick to your speed. The single speed keeps the system simple, while giving you up to 60 miles of range across five levels of assist, and a walking mode for pushing your bike along a bridge, or up the side of a staircase. The 375 Wh battery is internally mounted and may have folks taking a second look to be sure it’s an e-bike that’s passing them.

The Sirius and Proxima step up to a mid-drive MPF motor with a max power output of 500w, and 80Nm of torque from the 375Wh battery. This means the assist comes from the hub in the middle of the bike for more consistent and effective pedal assist. Both bikes also feature “stepless” shifting. Rather than specific gears, all you have to do is twist the shifter and the gear ratio changes, making it harder or easier to pedal. You can do this while riding, or even stopped, and you’ll never miss a gear. Plus, the shifting requires no maintenance. The bikes have four assist speeds and a walking mode.

The Sirius steps up from the Proxima with rough terrain capability. While the Proxima has a 700c wheel with a 45mm wide tire clearance, the Sirius has a 27.5-inch wheel with a max tire clearance of 2.4 inches. That’s a massive tire. When coupled with the Sirius’ front fork with 100mm of travel, the Sirius is just as rowdy on the dirt trail as it is on the city streets. The Proxima costs $2,599 while the more capable Sirius costs $2,699.

Vvolt is bringing maintenance-free ownership to e-bikes and we can’t wait to see them hit the streets. The only things you’ll have to worry about when you get to your destination is plugging in a charger and locking up. Preorder starts June 3 for all bikes, with delivery estimates for August 15.