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ELECTRIC MOTOCROS CYCLING, article by Jure Gregorcic in Avtorevija Magazine


FIM E-XBike World Cup Electric Bike Racing

We visited Mitja Šorn, the Slovenian Race Team rider and CEO of Qulbix, a company that develops performance electric bikes. The same bikes that are used in E-Xbike World Cup under the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) authority. This very interesting sport combines the best of two worlds, a world of motocross and that of electric mountain biking.

When a bike, which by size and set-up looks like a motorcycle, but also has pedals whizzes by in complete silence, you just stop and stare. But it's the first time you take it for a spin on a muddy motocross track, that it really blows your mind. Believe me, the electric thrust of 300Nm of instant torque is all you need for your dubious face to break out into a grin (and also, admittedly, a hard swallow), whether you are downhill or motocross rider. The brushless electric motor with permanent magnets packs a huge power surge than can pull this 55 kg aluminium and steel bike up in a wheelie and forward into a jump from a standstill, with ease. The bike will achieve the speeds up to 95 km/h (in perfect conditions), but more importantly, it has exceptional acceleration, more brutal than a motocross bike. On a closed circuit it feels close to a 85cc motocross bike, but being much more nimble. The 2,1 kWh battery pack is made with Samsung or LG battery cells and will afford the rider about 40-50 km of racing experience.

Qulbix CEO Mitja Sorn
The Q140MD Core is an excellent training tool for motocross riders. Double-rotor disc brakes can handle higher speeds.

Jumps are shorter and lower than in motocross, but racing with an electric bike is still physically a very demanding sport.

The Idea of Crossing a Motocross Motorcycle with a Mountain Bike Fell on a Fertile Track

Mitja Šorn, the CEO of Slovenian brand Qulbix has been a motorcyclist since he was a teen. Today, he is an active competitor in the newly formed World Cup for electric bikes and an engineer who is actively involved in the development of these interesting racing machines. He explains that the basic idea formed out of the desire to combine the characteristics of motocross or enduro motorcycle with a downhill bicycle: “The main aim was to increase the range and performance of a light electric bike. Something relatively light and nimble, but very powerful. A bike that you could ride into the forest and not annoy anyone with the noise or pollute the environment. With this concept in mind, began the development of a new sport and the technology that supports it.”

Qulbix Motocross Ebike
The aluminium and steel frame is reinforced and completely enclosed and impact-resistant in the event of a crash.

Enjoyed by Cyclists and Motorcyclists Alike, Driven Also by Hunters

The real question is who was this bike made for - a mountain biker or a motorcyclist? Mitja Šorn is convinced the bike will impress both: “To a mountain biker Qulbix bike adds a new dimension of speed and fast acceleration. There’s action, adrenaline even on the way up that hill. To a motorcyclist, the bike provides freedom and privacy, as the rider can enjoy places he wasn’t allowed to ride in with his motorcycle. Imagine just riding into the woods, not disturbing anyone, enjoying your free time. The Qulbix bike can also serve as a daily training tool to improve rider’s strength, technique and to practice new riding manoeuvres. Riding a Qulbix bike during the cold months, when the classic motorcycles are tucked away, can prepare a motorcyclist for the new season ahead. There’s no need to be rusty at the beginning of a new road riding season. Anyway, the bike is great for all active people who like to ride off-road. With a Qulbix bike they can cover longer distances with much less effort, as then they would on a classic bicycle. There are even a few hunters that use our bikes to scout the woods. ”

The Qulbix bike is too powerful for the classic bicycle single-trail tracks.

In recreational riding, if you rationalise the bike’s battery power with specific drive settings, pedalling uphill and regenerative braking downhill, Šorn says you can cover larger distances, even those of 100-kilometers or so. Šorn explains: “The classic electric mountain bikes don’t have this option. On Qulbix bikes, the pedals are connected directly to the electric motor and not to the rear wheel. You can use a manual (thumb operated) electrodynamic brake, which stores part of the deceleration energy as electricity in the bike’s battery pack. ”

Mitja Šorn, the CEO of Slovenian brand Qulbix has been a motorcyclist since he was a child. Today, he is an active competitor in the newly formed World Cup of electric bicycles and an engineer who is actively involved in the development of these interesting racing machines.

Starting at the Top

On August 17, 2019 Anže Svetek won (note: there were only 4 other riders) the inaugural electric bike race in Imola, Italy, riding a Qulbix bike in the open class of the E-X Bike World Cup.

"Given the bike’s performance and Svetek’s win on that first ever open e-bike race, the International Motorcycle Federation (FIM) invited us to partake in the drafting of the racing rules for this emerging sport," says Šorn, who believes that this format of racing is in a way just a modern spin on the early days of the motorsport. "First riders in motorsport had to push pedals to get the most from their two-wheelers. That was the beginning of today’s pedelecs, mopeds and motorcycles alike. That’s how it all begun.”

Pedals Still Mandatory In E-Bike Racing!

In FIM E-XBike World Cup, the rules dictate that the only throttle control is done by pedals – pedals need to be pushed in order to add power, as with pedelecs. Twist throttle is not allowed. In the open EX proto category, the maximum speed is 45 km/h and the maximum nominal power of the electric motor is 4 kW (translator’s note: 5kW in 2021). That being said, Mitja Šorn announces that members of the Qulbix Racing team with AMZS licenses will also be taking part in six races of the Italian e-bike cross 2021 championship, which is at the moment the strongest cross e-bike championship in Europe. “In Italy, we compete in the EX open category, where in addition to the mandatory pedals, you can also use the twist throttle to control power, as on classic motorcycles. The races take place on modified motocross tracks. ” The 2021 race schedule of the Slovenian "factory" team also includes a September appearance at the annual World Cup race.

The bike’s suspension with a 200 mm movement is modified to accommodate the bigger overall weight of the bike.

An Opportunity to Add a New Attractive Sport for the Slovenian National Automobile and Motorcycle Association (AMZS)!

Luka Mežan, the head of motorsport and carting at AMZS, explains that there is still some ambiguity regarding e-bike racing and national championship in Slovenia, and estimates that the bright future of this sport is yet to come: "FIM has been actively involved in competitions at the highest level since 2019. Electric bike races are extremely interesting and undoubtedly predict the promising development of a new industry in motorsport. AMZS is actively involved in its development and will be the national championship in electric bike racing modelled after the FIM E-XBike World Cup. "

The engine reaches up to 200 Nm of torque, to which the gear transmission to the rear wheel adds another 100 Nm.

This Bike Is Not for the Road! Not Yet, Anyway.

Regarding the daily use of such a bike, Mitja Šorn explains: “This bike is not intended for road use, although its speed can be limited to 25 km/h. It is strictly an off-road performance bike. Type-approval will be considered in the near future, but not in 2021.”

Published in Motorevija, on April 30th 2021
Author: Jure Gregorčič, editor-in-chief of Avtorevija magazine published by AMZS
Photo: Jure Gregorčič
Original title: Kolesarski motokros na elektriko
Originally published in: Slovene
English translation: Ziva Sorn
Original article available here.

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