Like most car companies, MINI is slowly turning to electrification, both because it's the most sensible thing to do right now for the planet and because demand for MINIs hasn't been exactly impressive in recent years. It's no coincidence then that, shortly after the debut of the MINI electric, a MINI e-bike is here.
The partnership was revealed earlier this year but with few specifics other than the mention that it would last five years and see several releases in the e-bike sector. So this is the first entry in a longer line of two-wheelers, which should put MINI on par with other carmakers that have already branched out into urban mobility as part of their electrification efforts.
Either model is offered in two size frames, S and M, one a mid-step-through and the other a step-over with a rather odd (but Angell-recognizable) geometry. The S tips the scales at 17 kg (37.5 lbs), while the M is slightly heavier at 17.5 kg (38.6 lbs), thanks to a lightweight, seamless aluminum frame and carbon fork. Both bikes are powered by a rear hub 250W motor that assists pedaling up to 25 kph (15.5 mph), which is standard in EU countries.
Even though the delivery date for the MINI e-Bike 1 is November 2023, and pre-orders are underway, there's no mention of the battery capacity or the make of the motor, so there's no estimating the total range.
The fact that it's so lightweight means that it can be ridden just as easily without motor if and when you run out of battery. Speaking of the battery, it's hiding in plain sight, masquerading as a rear cargo rack and integrating the taillights. The location isn't random, though: it's meant to make swapping batteries easier so riders can keep moving without delay.
Some of the reasons why Angell has drawn comparisons to VanMoof (*RIP, for now) include the sleek, distinctive styling and heavy reliance on tech, so it was only natural for these to transfer to the MINI bike.
Geolocation and GPS navigation are available and meant to make ownership and the riding experience less stressful. Geolocation would come in handy in case of theft, while GPS comes with a vibrating feature that tells the rider a turn is coming without having to look down at the screen – and maybe get distracted in traffic.
The MINI e-Bike 1 rides on 27.5-inch wheels and comes standard with a kickstand, front and rear lights (which are integrated into the bike, so you couldn't have it otherwise), steel spokes, and an injected-thermoplastic chain guard.
It'll be a limited edition, which is probably meant to make it more appealing, especially for this kind of money: only 1,959 units, numbered accordingly, will be sold worldwide. That's the year when the MINI was born, so it's no coincidence.
Whether all these, the Angell touch and the MINI association will be enough to get riders interested in a premium bike is a matter of "time will tell," as it usually is with these things. The e-bike bubble has burst, but at least these two companies are convinced there's still room for one more product.
So, are you convinced?