Motociclismo Fuoristrada: Che bel Qulbix!
THE FASCINATING QULBIX!
Published in: Motociclismo Fuoristrada magazine
Author: Marco Gualdani, Assignment Editor, Sports Reporter and TV Commentator of Motocross Sport
Photo credit: Riccardo Tagliabue
Original title: Che bel Qulbix!
Originally published in: Italian
English translation: Donia Osama
It is a throttle-operated e-bike, capable of delivering a peak power of 12 kW to reach 80 km/h!
We tested it in the race at the Italian EBK and quickly forgot we were riding a bike with pedals. Because it flies, even on a bike trail that requires very active riding
Considering its technical characteristics, it was unclear whether it would be more appropriate to call it a bicycle with a motor or a motorcycle with pedals. Due to its surprising performance and its complexity, it sure felt like a motorcycle. A Columbus’ egg? Perhaps.
Just to clarify, this is not the first model of e-bikes that introduces these particular characteristics; for example, last year, during the summer, we tested the SEM, which is a direct rival of Qulbix. There are dozens of e-bikes with gas control out there, peculiarly all made by small manufacturers, individual craftsmen and engineers. So far none of the big companies (not in the motorcycle nor bicycle industry) has yet aimed at this segment, which nonetheless has valid foundations: to offer a level of performance clearly superior to that of a pedelec; with a limitation of only being able to exploit them in an enclosed area – unless of course you get a license plate and take out insurance.
To give a measure of the differences, in the Italian EBK race, in which we participated in order to carry out this test, the best time in qualifying (which, by the way, was made by our Gualdani, ed) was 1’14” 608 against the 1’26”445 by Fabrizio Bartolini with the e-bike at unlocked speed. In 15 min of the ‘Open’ race the Qulbix did two laps more than other bikes (13 against 11). The feel of the bike during the race was that of a motorcycle, not only for the high speeds reached in the straights or for the possibility of opening the throttle in the middle of the corner, but also for the possibility to perform several jumps of the (modified) Verolanuova (BS) track. It is now clear; we are looking at the possible birth of a new discipline, with its full potential yet to be discovered.
Qulbix comes from Slovenia. Its creator, Mitja Sorn, is a various motorcycling sports enthusiast (and practitioner) and some of the bicycles genres as well:
“With Qulbix, I wanted to create a bridge that combines different worlds, integrating the performance of an 85cc cross motorcycle with the characteristics of a downhill bicycle. I started in 2012, looking to create a vehicle that was equally effective and fun downhill, as it was on your way up. It’s been almost 10 years of development and I believe we are at a good stage of evolution; of course, we could always add more power, but then you wouldn’t be able to keep the front wheel down at all…”.
HOW WAS IT
Motorcycle performance, great funMarco Gualdani, Field Editor and TV Commentator of MX Sport
Upon turning the key, the large display on the handlebar lights up. But, like with all electric vehicles, nothing else changes. At that point, you touch the throttle lightly to be sure that the engine is actually running. Encouraged, you give it a second more decisive twist, and the Qulbix lets you know what you’re up against – discharging so much torque, that the front wheel is up in the air with incredible ease! So far, so good… Well, this kind of introduction is a prerogative of all electric vehicles and thus nothing new, but the strength that this engine puts out is rare. Almost unmanageable, when engaging it at a standstill. Then, once it’s launched, it becomes more manageable and it’s a lot of fun. The delivery meets the expectations of an electric vehicle, with a great thrust up to 3/4 of throttle and then it eases out. But at that point you are already well above 60 km / h and if you insist, help with the pedalling, you can even reach 80!
I find the combination of the power of the vehicle and that of man on the Qulbix in excellent equilibriumMarco Gualdani, Field Editor and TV Commentator of MX Sport
As the laps went by and I became more at ease with the bike, I even changed the throttle settings; initially, the bike seemed unmanageable at 60% of power, but then I finished the day at 90% and I wanted even more…
I find the combination of the power of the vehicle and that of man on the Qulbix in excellent equilibrium: pedalling significantly increases performance in all modes, with the speed and softness of the pedalling increasing in proportion to the bike’s speed. Outside the curves, the pedals feel harder, once launched, you find yourself spinning your legs with a sprint frequency of the Giro d’Italia, without making as much effort. What I felt the morning after the race is very symptomatic… No pain in the legs, while the whole upper body (arms, pectorals, dorsals, etc.) were in pieces. Going in search of absolute performance with the Qulbix puts a strain on the body, due to the characteristics of riding.