2016 Tempus CR-T1
Tempus Electric Bikes based out of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, really brings the green with its CR-T1 electric-assist bicycle. This ride combines pedal power with a battery-powered electric motor that provides a sweat-free ride on demand. Owned by a couple of ambitious, young entrepreneurs, TEB is a burgeoning company in its infancy, and for all intents and purposes qualifies as a startup. Production is to commence in 2017, but the pre-production model is complete and is interesting to say the least. So without further ado, lets take a look at what these students of engineering and business have come up with, and see what sets it apart from the growing electric-bike field.
Continue reading for my review of the Tempus CR-T1.
2016 Tempus CR-T1
Engine:1000W 3 Phase Brushless DC Hub Motor
Top Speed:20 mph
Cafe’ racers were popular 50-plus years ago, and they are currently enjoying a resurgence with all the major motorcycle manufacturers producing some sort of cafe’-tastic model to capitalize on this uptick. It’s no surprise at all that founders Ikenna Ofoha and Xavier Chan blessed the CR-T1 with the same DNA. Short drag bars mimic the race bars of yesteryear, and pull the rider forward into an aggressive riding position.
The upper lines sweep down the slope of the false fuel tank that contains the electrical controller and wiring, a move that protects them from the elements and keeps the frame clean as a whistle. A tuck-and-roll leather seat completes the cafe’-tastic vibe with a tapered tail section that mimics the look of the old cafe’ tail fairing. Lighting consists of a LED headlight and taillight, but no turn signals as it isn’t intended to be street legal. A speedometer serves as the only instrument, and it comes with a USB port for mobile-device charging purposes.
Made from aircraft-grade, 4130 chrome-molybdenum steel tubing, the frame borrows heavily from the motorcycle sector with an articulated swingarm in back and steering head with a moto-like tripletree to clamp the front forks. Dual, coil-over, piggyback air shocks buoy the rear end on 2.7 inches of travel, and the dry spring forks up front give up 3.14 inches of travel but provide no damping features — probably not a big deal given the limited speed and weight, there just isn’t that much energy there to be dealt with.
Speaking of energy, the CR-T1 comes with Clark’s “M2” hydraulic-disc brakes to ensure you have enough control to handle the 75-pound bike and up to 350 pounds of rider. Twin-pot calipers bind the 180 mm front and 160 mm rear discs, and the rotors themselves come with a self-cleaning and cool-running, wave-cut profile. Maxxis Hookworm Slick mountain bike hoops cap the 26-inch laced rims, and a centerstand supports the bike upright with both wheels on the ground when at rest.
A 1,000 Watt, three-phase, direct-current hub motor drives the CR-T1, and can be used alone or in conjunction with pedal power. The lithium-ion battery from Samsung delivers up to 12 amp-hours of power, and a 48-volt, 30-amp controller meters power flow to the motor. Unrestricted, the bike can get up to 32 mph on electric power alone, more with pedaling, downhill grades and tailwinds, I’m sure.
If local laws require, the power output can be restricted to 20 mph for use in public areas where you could ride a regular bicycle. Using pedal power to augment the efforts of the motor will extend the battery range from 25 miles out to 37 miles, and the 2 amp-hour charger can top off a flat battery in about five hours. Since the battery is rated for up to 1,000 cycles, you can expect to get something just south of 40,000 miles out of the cell.
Retail price is expected to be $3,799 in the U.S. I couched it like that because the CR-T1 will be available pre-order in summer 2017, and I’m sure some fluctuation is possible between now and then.
Check your local regulations before you order. E-bike technology has outstripped the legislation that governs it, and in the U.S. they fall under a mish-mash of laws more suitable for scooters and motorcycles than powered bicycles. Plus, there’s a whole kerfuffle going on about using them on off-road, non-motorized bike trails, so be sure to check your local situation before ordering.
The E-bike sector is exploding right now, and the field is populated enough now to look at a few different types of competitors for the CR-T1.
First up is the W-Class from Ariel Rider that falls under the “pedal-assist” category. Sensors in the pedals determine how much force you are exerting, and the controller matches your effort with the 250- or 500-Watt hub motor.
Like Tempus, Ariel was heavily influenced by a classic design, but went the California beach cruiser route rather than the Cafe’ way. It’s a nice-looking bike, and cool in its own way with a pocket-friendly price tag at $2,300, but the fact that it is “pedal-assist” implies that someone still has to do some work. This is fine for lollygagging around I guess, but if I’m headed to work/class/whatever, I usually like to get there without working up a sweat, so the Ariel ride is definitely out as any sort of local commuter.
Next up is the Superfly from American Electric. No, it’s not a bicycle, but it falls into this emerging electric alternative to gas power. At $2,500, the Superfly is priced toward the bargain end of the spectrum. It comes built like a moped, and runs with pedal-assist technology like the Ariel, and so once again might be a bit of a sweaty commuter. Motor size on the Superfly is only half the size of the 1,000W motor on the CR-T1, and although the Superfly claims to be able to carry two adults, I seriously question how spry the ride will be. Plus, mopeds aren’t nearly as sexy as cafe’ racers, not even by half.
From here I could to get into the electric scooters and motorcycles, which is another bracket entirely, but one that shares a common function with the Tempus CR-T1: the ability to twist a “throttle” and go without helping at the pedals at all, with the bonus of keeping your sweat where it belongs, on the inside and not gushing out the armpits.
“Cool little ride. I’ve always been a fan of the cafe’ racer shape, and I think it looks great as a powered E-bike. I also like the suspension that mimics the look, and some of the function, of full-on motorcycles. While our current urban infrastructure in many places is largely E-bike unfriendly, areas that aren’t such as large campus grounds or some of the more bike-tacular cities would make good places for a ride like this.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, "I like this exploding e-bike and e-bicycle market. It’s awesome, and with the growing number of public charging stations, it’s becoming practical in more and more places to use your e-ride for commuting and running errands — pretty much anything you used the car for. Technology is always ahead of legislation, though, and I know it’s a struggle to categorize the e-bicycles for regulation. The motorcycle people say they’re bicycles, the non-motorized bicycle folks say they’re motorcycles, and no one wants them where they’re allowed to ride. I think, though, that when the dust settles and legislation catches up, people will accept these e-bicycles for what they are: affordable, green transportation. Just think how much less congestion a commute into the city would be if half the folks on the road were on two-wheeled e-rides."
|Motor:||1000W 3 Phase Brushless DC Hub Motor|
|Battery:||48V 12Ah Samsung Lithium Ion|
|Frame:||Chromoly 4130 Aircraft Grade Steel|
|Forks:||Aluminum Alloy Dual Crown Suspension|
|Rear Shocks:||Dual Aluminum Air Shock Absorber|
|Wheels:||26 inch x 2.50 inches|
|Tires:||Maxxis Hookworm Slick Mountain Bike Tires|
|Brakes:||Clarks M2 Hydraulic Disc Brake|
|Lighting:||LED Headlight & Rear light|
|Controller Tank:||Hand Crafted Aluminum|
|Speed:||32 Km/h ( 50 km/h top speed)|
|Recharge Time:||5 Hours|
|Price:||$3,799 USD ($5,000CAD)|
Source: Tempus Electric Bikes