Johammer J1 specs and prices

How much???

WHEN we last saw this bike it was called ‘Biiista’ (yes, with three ‘i’s) and while that name is still emblazoned on the sides, the production version is actually going under the name ‘Johammer J1’.

Name aside, not much has changed on the crazy-looking, Austrian-made electric bike in the two years since our original story except that its weight and range have both risen significantly. Range-wise, the earlier prototype was good for around 60 miles on a two-hour charge. Now that’s up to 93 miles for the cheaper 8.3kWh version, which can be recharged in 2.5 hours, while a more expensive edition manages 125 miles on a charge, and takes an hour longer to replenish its 12.7kWh battery.

The prototype weighed 140kg but the production machines start at 159kg and go up to 178kg for the longer-range edition. Still not as much as you might expect from a cruiser-style bike packed with batteries, but you have to bear in mind that, despite the looks, these things have performance that’s in the restricted 125cc league. Both versions make 14bhp, which means a 75mph top speed (artificially limited, apparently, although physics would probably stop them going much faster anyway.)

Technically, the bike is interesting, with hub-centre steering and a ‘frame’ that’s little more than an aluminium box housing the front and rear shocks, with the battery mounted on top. The weird-looking bodywork just slips over the top, presumably meaning it could be relatively easily changed should the firm decide to make a more conventional-looking version.

The electric motor is mounted in the rear hub; not good for unsprung weight but handy when it comes to packaging the whole thing and keeping the bike simple. Stripped, the massive disparity between the front and rear wheel sizes is also much clearer, perhaps explaining why the bodywork has that all-enclosed rear wheel design. All the controls are bar-mounted, allowing for two sets of footrests – one pair at the front for that proper chopper riding position, the other more conventionally positioned below the seat.

All in all, it’s an intriguing machine, but the price means few are ever likely to experience it. The base version, with the 93-mile range, costs €23,000 (£18,950) while the longer-range edition is €25,000 (£20,600). Ouch.