Watt Wagons Helios unveiled as premium electric bike made in USA
Watt Wagons is the Boston-based e-bike company behind some of the most sophisticated electric bikes in the country. Now the company is unveiling its latest flagship commuter electric bike, the Watt Wagon Helios.
While many US-based e-bike companies are largely importers of Asian-made e-bikes, Watt Wagons is one of the few US manufacturers in the industry.
Instead of targeting the lower end of the market, Watt Wagons competes with high end European manufacturers like Riese & Müller.
Example: the new Helios electric bike from Watt Wagons. It’s expensive, but it’s also loaded in bars with high-end components.
Starting with the frame, the Helios benefits from a full 3K carbon fiber treatment. The full suspension frame is produced in the local Watt Wagons carbon fiber production plant.
It is available as a mid-stage and low-stage option to increase accessibility for different sizes and types of riders.
One of the most efficient mid-drive motors available in the e-bike industry is built into this carbon frame: the infamous Bafang Ultra motor.
This high-powered motor is capable of producing over 1,500W of power and 160Nm of torque, although Watt Wagons has ensured that it is limited to legal levels for the various countries where its e-bikes are sold. In the United States, the Helios is a Class 3 electric bike, which means it can reach speeds of up to 28 mph (45 km / h) with pedal assist.
While the Bafang Ultra’s motor has proven to be legendary, its integrated controller hasn’t always won so much praise. To provide a much better power delivery experience, Watt Wagons traded in an Archon X1 controller. This allows the company to make specific changes that improve the user experience for riders. It also opens the doors to more components, such as the Watt Wagons smart display to transmit important data to the rider in real time.
The powerful motor drives the rear wheel via Watt Wagons’ own proprietary belt drive system which is rated up to 500Nm of torque – a level that is largely unthinkable in the world of e-bikes. To put that in comparison, most Bosch mid-drive motors produce around 50-60Nm, with the most powerful reaching 90Nm.
The Helios belt drive connects to a Kindernay IGH VII internal gear hub. This provides a 100% sealed drivetrain, which means reduced noise and maintenance, as well as a cleaner look without a derailleur or thick cassette.
This motor is powered by a 1kWh battery which offers around 50% more capacity than most commuter electric bikes on the market. The battery is also built using 21700 size battery cells, a slightly larger and more modern cell size than the typical 18650s used in most e-bike batteries.
The massive motor and high capacity battery certainly aren’t light, but the 65lb (30kg) e-bike certainly would have been even heavier without that carbon fiber frame. Since the luggage rack and fenders are included in this weight, the bike is heavy but not outrageous for such a powerful full suspension ride. We’ve seen a lot of full suspension e-bikes with big motors and batteries that end up going over 100 lbs (45 kg).
The Helios is expected to start shipping in spring 2022.
The price? This has not yet been made public, but the company has indicated that it “will comply with high-end products from Riese and Müller and Specialized built to similar specifications.”
Specialized doesn’t exactly offer a good full-suspension commuter e-bike for a direct comparison (the company’s finest Turbo Como hard-tail commuter e-bikes peak at around $ 5,500 US). Riese and Müller, on the other hand, have e-bikes with comparable specifications that start at around US $ 9,000.
When they say “car replacement” they mean this!
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