A pioneering planet-wide e-bike racing series has just been announced. Organised by EBK, the revolutionary new event will take place in major cities around the world, including London and Dubai, but many details remain under wraps.
Exhibition events are being planned for this summer, with a competitive series to launch in 2024. If the concept comes to fruition, the FIM EBK World Cup will be a 10-round series, with each event comprising of a 60-minute, criterium-style race on courses that utalise public roads in each host city.
However, EBK has also been floating the concept of a two-day event, with a team time trial on the first day, and the results of the TTT determining starting positions for a Grand Prix the next day, and no charging permitted in between. Suffice to say, the exact format is yet to be made public.
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What we do know, though, is that Swiss brand BMC has been named as the bike provider for the series, and it’s believed that the e-steeds will be much higher-specced than current street-legal electric bikes, with top speeds of 55mph (90km/h) being mooted.
Because non-rider power is part of the mix, and the speed capability of the machines exceeds the legal limit for standard e-bikes, the series will be overseen by the FIM (The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme), which is the global governing body of motorcycle racing, instead of the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale), which typically oversees cycling events.
According to early reports, cyclists will compete on identical bikes, with the same top-end frames, motors and batteries. This means that while rider skill will be at forefront of the event, it won’t come down to pure pedalling power. This promises to make for an interesting spectacle, especially on tight and tricky urban streets, with team tactics promising to be a big factor.
No details of the London course have been made public yet, but new EBK ambassador, Ed Clancy, has been bigging it up this week. “It'll be spectacular,” says the British Olympian, who has nine international gold medals to his name. “It's a perfect course for it, with long straights, a tight technical section, a power zone and a big artificial ramp."
The event will be team-based, with male and female teams taking part, and organisers say there could be up to 50 riders in each event. As yet, however, there is no word on who the riders might be.
Alexandre Molina, who has three decades of experience working at a high level in Formula 1 (including as events director) has been appointed as chief executive of the series.
EBK are keen to emphasise that the planned series isn't purely focussed on bike racing, it’s also about promoting a 'Sustainable Transformative Mobility programme’. According to report, each of the host cities will have to agree to work towards delivering local urban transport projects to promote greener and more sustainable lifestyle choices.
The organisers are also anxious to emphasise that the footprint of the event will be kept as small as possible. “The majority of event operations and services will be fulfilled by local businesses in host cities,” says EBK. “This serves not only to reduce the CO2 omissions of the event team but will result in host city fees being reinvested into the local economy.”
More information about the series is expected soon. “Over the next few months, we will be revealing more details about our race format, the teams and competitors, unveiling the all-important BMC race bike and announcing our calendar for this summer and for the inaugural 2024 season,” says Clancy. “There is much to follow – watch this space!”