The perfect combination of a green holiday: electric car and bicycle. If for the destination a location where the climb is more practicable eight kilometers long with an average gradient of 7% and the leg is not Nibali’s, the perfect combination provides the battery for both vehicles.
Bmw and Specialized, green excursion
The reason we loaded into the BMW i3S the new Specialized S-Works Turbo Creo SL has three names. They are those of as many climbs that run through the Lariano Triangle and that can be ringed based on Bellagio: Ghisallo, Onno and Muro di Sormano. In reality, there is also another reason why the choice fell precisely on this e-bike and the affinity between the two vehicles, from various points of view.
To reach our goal we have traced an itinerary dictated by the pleasure of traveling rather than by the consumption of kW, as often happens when driving an electric car. We were able to afford it because the range offered by the i3 is abundant (well over 300 km, with a shrewd driving style) and high-level comfort. These are two characteristics that unite the BMW to the Specialized, which, thanks to the presence of the range extender (a sort of power bank that increases the performance of the battery), can travel up to 190 km.
Sportsmanship also has a common point between the two means. The S of the i3 indicates, in addition to the most exclusive model of the series, a lowered stance and more sustained suspension, 184 hp and 270 Nm of torque with a 0-100 km / h in 6.9 seconds. On the Specialized, also top of the range of the Turbo Creo SL family, the sportiness comes from the weight (at the top of e-bikes), from the high-profile carbon fiber wheels, from the XTR / DuraAce Di2 mixed groupset, from the suspension cockpit hydraulics and the presence of the 160 Wh range extender, which brings the battery power to 480 Wh.
Aesthetically, both have their say. Original and unique the BMW, with that character that clearly divides the public, but with objectively interesting solutions. Such as the materials used (carbon fiber, natural and recycled materials) and the architecture and shapes of the passenger compartment. The rear doors are also outside the choir, which open against the wind and only after opening the front ones (preventing passengers from exiting the car independently). Not so original but still beautiful and modern is the Specialized, which thanks to the downsizing of the drive unit manages to have an extremely light line and very similar to that of a traditional bicycle.
Strong points of the i3S are the finishes, comfort and driving pleasure. The bright and comfortable passenger compartment, the controls in the right place and intuitive, even if the touch-screen function on the display is missing, but it is a very specific choice, to avoid distractions for the driver. The BMW drives well, especially on mixed terrain, thanks to the set-up and performance of the engine, which make it precise, rigorous and fun. On the other side of the scale, a certain rigidity must be placed on disconnections. There are three driving modes: Sport, Eco and Eco +, with the latter limiting the speed to 90 km / h and excluding the operation of air conditioning to minimize fuel consumption.
We have reached our goal after about a hundred kilometers, mainly on state roads, consuming 40% of the battery, then recharged during the night from the home socket. To report the good energy recovery, which especially in descent allows you to gain a lot of autonomy. On the other hand, as is usually the case with all electric cars, long journeys on the motorway are the worst enemies of the efficiency of the power unit. The load capacity is also satisfactory: two of us traveled for a long weekend, with luggage and an L-size electric bicycle, without looking like displaced people. And, if desired, there would have been two traditional bikes.
Speaking of bikes, the lightness of the S-Works Creo SL also pleasant when it comes to loading and unloading it from the car or carrying it up and down the stairs of the house. But once in the saddle, Specialized was right when it decided to develop a new, less powerful engine. The new 240 W Specialized SL 1.1, in fact, equipped with great efficiency, works at 48 V and the 35 Nm of torque (against 90 of the Specialized e-MTBs) are distributed where they are needed and assist when even the maximum efficiency of the muscles, that is, between 80 and 100 rides per minute. Furthermore, if you decide to pedal with the engine off or if you exceed the fateful 25 km / h (speed beyond which the engine can no longer assist, by law), you will not perceive any dragging and pedaling is really very similar to that. of a traditional bicycle.
To put it to the test, I put together the three classic ascents del Triangolo Lariano: Onno-Valbrona from Bellagio, then ascent to Sormano with climbing to the Muro, brow and descent to Nesso, then lakeside to Bellagio and final ascent to Ghisallo. Approximately 65 kilometers with 1,600 m of elevation gain. Of the three levels of assistance provided – Eco, Sport and Turbo -, I mainly used the first (which is equivalent to 35% support), without skimping on Sport and Turbo on the impossible crampons of the Muro di Sormano and on the first kilometers of Ghisallo, which are the steepest ones.
Anyone who thinks everything is easy is wrong: you always reach the top, that is, for with burning legs, breathlessness and a heart pumping rapidly. The reduced power of the small and light engine is actually sufficient to take away satisfactions, approaching otherwise prohibitive limits. By pedaling agile, as required by current theories on efficiency, you make the power unit work optimally and in return you get constant and fluid support. Pedaling on the flat, without the contribution of the engine, you feel the greater weight of the e-road compared to a traditional bike, but you can always stay in Eco and keep the 25 km / h constant, sweating the bare minimum.
The geometry and measurements of the Turbo Creo SL make it manageable and the careful distribution of the weights means that the extra burden does not hinder the descents, even the most guided ones. Rather, I personally don’t like very high profile rims because, being very light, the wind makes driving more challenging. The driving comfort is very good, thanks also to the Future Shock shock absorbing system, with a hydraulic cartridge integrated in the steerer, which absorbs every little bit of the asphalt and prevents vibrations from reaching the arms and shoulders. Then, when you decide it’s time to get up on the pedals and push, just lock it and the cockpit becomes one with the fork again.
One thing blew me away: the noise. I thought I was accustomed to the hum of e-Bike motors by now but, if driving an e-MTB on the bumpy drive unit noise almost completely covered by the mechanical noise of the bike and that of the ground, on an e-Road it becomes a little ‘annoying. Back home I realize that I still have almost half the battery and the conclusion comes spontaneously: the production of entertainment is higher than energy consumption …
24 August 2020 (change 24 August 2020 | 15:56)
© REPRODUCTION RESERVED