Some e-bikes make their electric nature obvious at first glance. Others disguise it by hiding the batteries and electronics discreetly, although an inflated tube here or a larger-than-usual hub enclosure there usually gives it away. That’s not the case with HPS Domestique, an electric bicycle that shrouds its motorized nature so well, most people probably won’t believe you if you told them.
The frame? It looks like any regular bicycle frame. The rear hub? Just covered by a bunch of gears see like you typically see in many bicycles. Seriously, it looks just like any bicycle that you’ll see running down the bike lanes in your city.
The HPS Domestique is able to disguise its electric bike nature by using an ultra-compact drive system that’s hidden away in the tubes and the bottom bracket. That’s right, the motor is housed in the bottom bracket shell, rather than the hub, so you can swap out wheels without the typical hassle you’d normally experience with traditional e-bikes. The drive system is called WATT Assist Pro, by the way, which is touted to be the lightest e-bike motor system in the world. Not only does it allow for discreet installation, it also doesn’t add much heft to the bike, allowing the whole thing to weigh just 18.7 pounds with both the motor and battery onboard, making it the lightest production electric bicycle so far.
You know how most e-bikes hide the batteries inside the tubes to keep it out of sight? They didn’t do that here. Instead, they hid the 193 Wh battery inside a water bottle enclosure that’s installed on the downtube. Yeah, it’s kind of cheating, but it does allow them to integrate batteries without having to use swollen tubes that can accommodate them. No word on whether you can swap those water bottle batteries on the fly, but we do hope so, considering they’re out there in the open.
The HPS Domestique offers pedal assistance up to 15.5 mph, so while it’s not competitive with the fast e-bikes out there, it does get the job done, especially if you want to enjoy its innocuous non-electric aesthetics. It comes with two riding modes, each one giving varying levels of progressive assistance, with the 193Wh battery providing riders with a maximum three hours of pedal assist (shorter if you use the more powerful riding mode). Charging the battery requires two hours of plugging in. This is strictly pedal assist, by the way, so you can’t just kick back and let the motor do all the work on the road.
A limited model of the bike, called Domestique 1-21 Launch Edition, is slated to come out later this month. According to the outfit, 21 of these bikes will be made and shipped to buyers before the outfit proceeds to their first mass-production run. The limited edition models will come with a custom Italian carbon fiber frame, a Campagnolo Ekar 1×13 rear derailleur, Campagnolo Shamal wheels, 25-inch Pirelli P Zero tires, Deda Elementi Superleggera handlebars, and a Scicon Elan Power carbon fiber saddle.
The HPS Domestique 1-21 Launch Edition is priced at €12,000.