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Star Wars speeder inspiration behind Austrian electric bike

THE Austrian-buuilt Johammer J1, bears an undeniable resemblance to the Imperial speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi. It is hardly the first battery-powered motorbike, but it is among the few capable of travelling 200km on a single charge. This sort of stamina – roughly equal to that of a gasoline-powered bike – elevates the J1 from the status of Saturday morning toy to bona fide road-tripper, writes Matthew Phenix of BBC Autos.

THE J1’s innovative features go beyond its slippery neo-retro body fairing. The bike has no traditional gauges: speed and battery level are presented within a pair of high-resolution 2.4in colour displays mounted within the round rear-view mirrors.

The steering is of the exotic hub-centre variety, which separates steering, braking and suspension forces for improved stability.

And the body offers two foot-peg positions (unlike a traditional motorbike, the J1 has no foot controls), providing a choice between the crouch and laid-back riding positions.

The Johammer bike may be stylish, technically advanced and energy efficient, but fast it is not.

j2

A compact 11kW electric motor mounted in the rear wheel hub provides the motivation; matched to a single-speed transmission, the motor’s 14 horsepower are tasked with moving upwards of 180kg of bike, plus rider. The J1 is electronically limited to 62mph.

Providing the charge is a centre-mounted, 12.6kWh stack of lithium-ion battery cells, developed and manufactured by Johammer itself. The company claims the pack will retain at least 85 percent of its capacity after four years or 124,000 miles.

Recharge to 80 percent takes 3.5 hours from a 240v socket, or just 80min with the optional 400v charger.

The J1.150, with a smaller battery pack and a 150km cruising range, commands 23,000 euros (RM108,000); the beefier J1.200 will set its rider back 25,000 euros.

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