So, you think Nua’s take on an electric bike will just be a titanium frame with a boring generic Asian rear motor? Well, that’s is not quite the right way to describe the beautiful Nua Electrica. Indeed, the truth is quite the opposite. Let us tell you why we are so proud of this 13kg lightweight wonder.
Here’s the story. Tomas – a portuguese bicycle lover living in Houston – contacted us looking for a titanium bicycle manufacturer able to create a really minimal electric bike, built with a noble titanium frame and equipped with an innovative electric motor called the Zehus Bike +. He had fallen in love with this technological gem and as it happened, so had we, some time before. Life is all about opportunities, and sometimes everything falls into place, so after this coincidence Tomas naturally teamed up with us and together we created his very own Nua Electrica (which we called the “Nua Turbo” at the time).
Our premise when designing the bike was basically to make an E-bike that does not look like an E-bike. One that can be ridden like a normal bike but with an extra bit of electric boost, and one true to Nua’s very own “raw” style.
The Zehus BIKE + system the Electrica is built around is a shiny, lightweight (3kg) and compact e-bicycle motor-and-battery combo that replaces your normal rear hub. Don’t expect to see any wires or a computer on your frame with this electric motor: the battery, controllers and sensors (speed, inclination, and temperature) are integrated into the motor. At its simplest, it can be used without any computer, but you can also download the Zehus app to your smartphone, connectable to the motor using Bluetooth technology. As you can see in the picture below, it is very simple to charge using the elegant plug integrated into the wheel axle… but keep reading and you will find out why you’ll probably never need to charge this e-bike!
As far as autonomy and power are concerned, this 250W motor paired to a 30V Li-Ion 160Wh battery pack has 30km of autonomy with full 25km/h assistance. This range increases to 90km if you are only cruising with assistance at a top speed of 14km/h. To navigate through these ranges, six power modes are available. That being said, you will probably be asking what makes this motor so special? Well, thanks to its regenerative braking technology (similar to the KERS technology used in Formula E), the level of precision of the sensors, and most importantly the sophisticated control algorithms developed by Zehus and the University of Milan, this motor offers a mode that delivers a virtually infinite range!
Leading bio-mechanical studies have allowed Zehus engineers to make the best use of your body energy according to the type of terrain you are cycling on, which has, in turn, allowed them to optimize the energy-consumption/energy-regeneration ratio of the motor in a highly effective manner. This principle means that Zehus is the only brand in the world offering an electric motor with an unlimited range. In this hybrid mode, it assists you when starting and climbing only and otherwise stealthily charges itself when braking or pedalling on flat terrain, allowing you to get rid of plugs! It sounds like magic, but this is technology paired with simplicity and at Nua, this is what we like.
So now that you know how the Zehus Bike + totally fits with Nua’s search for simplicity, technology, elegance and durability, let us tell you a bit about the rest of the build.
As always at Nua, a Gates carbon belt drive ensures a clean, silent and maintenance-free pedalling torque transmission. On Tomas’ bike, it is paired with a shiny Sugino Pista alloy crankset, a Gilles Berthoud saddle and Brooks leather grips for a touch of classicism. We also decided to match the Nua Electrica titanium frame with Nua’s titanium fork, stem, handlebar and seatpost for optimum elegance, maximum comfort (thanks to titanium’s superb fatigue-resistant and elastic properties), and versatility. For the rest, we trusted in the classics: Shimano brakes and Mavic wheels, which are protected by Hexlox anti-theft locks.
Tomas wanted a simple bike without superfluous features, but the frame and fork are still compatible with racks and mudguards and sport internal electric cable routing in case he wants to add a dynamo hub and powerful light at any point. We have designed him an upgradeable electric commuter: sporty in this configuration but with the ability to morph into a more utilitarian build if-and-when needed.
The search for simplicity does not mean that we don’t work hard on our designs, and this Electrica urban bike is no exception as we had to engineer special parts. Due to the inclination sensors sported by the Zehus in order to precisely optimize the assistance level, the rear wheel axle needs to be indexed horizontally. We always look for a really elegant solution to any problem and in this case, we decided to develop custom Nua dropouts to facilitate this.
Rather than using track dropouts (as many Zehus bikes do) which can mess with the belt tension when you remove the wheel, we decided to develop an integrated torque arm, inspired by Rolhoff dropouts. Thanks to these Nua custom “Zehus special” sliding dropouts, you can remove your rear wheel without having to lower the tension of the belt drive. Did we already mention that we care about every little detail? As engineers, we prefer to take advantage of our knowledge and develop smart and clean solutions instead of using off-the-shelf parts. Here’s a sneak-peak of our development process based on 3D printing technology.
At ease everywhere, Tomas’ Electrica has graced the streets of Houston, Texas and can now be spotted in Zürich. At the time of writing, this first Electrica has cruised over 1000 km in the streets of Houston without any problems.
Tomas describes his riding experience in these words: “Riding my Nua Electrica […] is a real pleasure. The ride is very comfortable and smooth and at the same time the engine assists you if you are tired or if you want to be assisted at all times. It’s all controlled by an app on your phone and this is very practical.” And he elaborates on the assistance: “It’s seamless. Regardless of the mode the engine kicks in very softly when you pedal. It’s a really nice feeling.”
Its owner seems so happy that we are now offering a customizable and well-priced Nua Electrica for general sale!
Have a look at www.nuabikes.com or stay tuned to the blog, follow us on social media (Instagram or Facebook) or sign up to our newsletter here to be sure to keep up with news about the Nua Electrica and be able to order yours.
The Nua Team