As the e-bike market in America grows, electronics giant Panasonic have paired up with two bike brands under the Kent umbrella to assemble three new models for the gravel, mountain bike & commuter markets in the US. Plus, on a slightly broader topic Panasonic is also working with American icon Harley-Davidson on a new electric motorcycle to roll out later this year.
Panasonic e-bike systems for Van Dessel & Univega
Without having followed along too closely, it was easy to miss the connection between Kent International who produces more bikes in the US than any other brand and both Univega & Van Dessel, brands more well-know to most cyclists. Bicycle Retailer tells us that Kent – who puts together hundreds of thousands of bikes in South Carolina to supply Wal-Mart with domestic bikes – bought the Univega USA brand last spring with the intention of getting low-cost American-made bikes into independent bike shops. Van Dessel, who seems to have kept ownership independence, moved in with Kent last winter to boost their sales, assembly & distribution capabilities.
Now working together, Kent announced a development partnership at CES with world leader in auto batteries Panasonic that will see three new pedal-assist e-bikes for the group – all powered by Panasonic motors & batteries. The three bikes are apparently just the first step to increasing US e-bike mobility, and all will be assembled in Kent’s SC factory.
Van Dessel Passepartout e-gravel bike
The new e-gravel Van Dessel Passepartout was developed around Panasonic’s new GX0 system. With 90Nm of torque for the new 250W GX0 motor and a claimed 2.95kg weight, it offers a premium-level power:weight ratio. The 6061 alloy gravel e-bike sports a semi-integrated battery design and a full carbon gravel fork.
The Passepartout features gravel-specific endurance road geometry and will be available in five stock frame sizes. It is designed as either a 650B road plus or traditional 700c gravel bike with lots of room for up to 700x42mm or 650×2.2″ tires.
It includes Panasonic’s centralized e-bike computer & controls, and gets standard 12mm thru-axles, flat mount disc brakes, includes routing for a dropper seatpost, a single main triangle bottle cage mount, and has rack & fender eyelets front & rear.
The e-gravel Passepartout will be available in two complete bike builds, each with a 46T x 10-42 SRAM 1x – one with a Rival groupset for $5500, and a Force build for $6500.
Van Dessel Captain Shred eMTB
The 29er or 27.5+ all-mountain eibike Captain Shred shares the same Panasonic GX0 motor and a fully integrated battery setup. The Shred is a full carbon framed full-suspension trail eMTB with 140mm of Horst-link rear wheel travel paired to 150/160mm forks.
Van Dessel says they’ve specifically tuned their Level One suspension for the e-bike platform, with the aim of making a race-ready setup with the GX0 setup. It gets modern long, low & slack geometry for riding in technical terrain. The Boost-spaced e-bike will fit up to a 29×2.5″ or 27.5 x 2.8″ wide tire in the monocoque frame.
The eMTB Captain Shred will also come in two complete Eagle bike specs. A SRAM GX 1x complete e-bike will sell for $7500 and a X01 build for $8500.
Van Dessel’s eMTB is also set to race in the UCI’s upcoming debut eMountain Bike World Championship Series this year.
Univega USA UVG-1 touring e-commuter
The Univega features a slightly more affordable Panasonic drive system – the XO. It also is built around a standard 250W output motor, here with 80Nm of torque and weighing 3.7kg in the X0 configuration.
Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle
Speaking of Panasonic and electrically powered vehicles at CES, there’s also the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire which also debuted. Sure it’s not an e-bike, but rather an e-twowheeler. And a pretty rad, muscly looking one at that.
The single gear LiveWire will hit the streets in August 2019 with a 110mile range and 0-60mph times under 3.5 seconds. That’s maybe a year earlier than was originally expected when we heard from Harley last summer. Their lighter weight eMTB seems still on track for a couple years after the e-motorcycle.
The new, fast-tracked LiveWire includes Panasonic OneConnect mobile-network connected tech to let you keep an eye on the location, charge status, range, and much more about your new fully electric motorcycle.
Panasonic.com, VanDesselCycles.com, Univega-USA.com, even Harley-Davidson.com