UK electric motorcycle maker Maeving is unveiling a faster, more powerful version of its stylish emissions-free machine to tempt a new wave of city riders.
The new model - the RM1S - which will sell alongside the original - will reach 65mph, making it possible for London-based owners to venture farther from the city, on faster roads. The makers say it also accelerates ‘much faster’.
The RM1S, on sale from September 1 2023, for £7,495, matches the RM1’s range of 80 miles on two batteries. Unlike the original however, the batteries can be charged in situ on the bike, as well as being removable for charging in the home or office, as with the RM1.
Other changes include a 30 per cent increase in capacity for the batteries - allowing the higher top speed and greater acceleration - and a new, upgraded rear wheel hub motor, for near-silent running. As with the RM1, riders will need only a basic CBT licence.
The Maeving, celebrated for its period, US-style ‘flat tracker’ looks, was designed primarily by ex-Triumph engineers. It includes batteries capable of being charged from a standard domestic electrical socket, saving owners from having to hunt for public charging stations.
Lightweight and straightforward to ride, with bicycle-style levers for front and rear brakes, mounted on the handlebars and with a low seat height of 785mm, it is aimed at enticing novices as well as existing motorcyclists.
Like the original RM1, the new model retains the single ‘bobber’ style seat and large, 19-inch wheels, with linked brakes (although without anti-lock braking). The RM1S will also come in four new paint schemes. All models will continue to be designed and built in Coventry.
“The RM1S is the bike we have been asked over and over to build by those riders who want a zero-emissions motorcycle that looks like an RM1 but is capable of highway speeds,” said Co-founder Will Stirrup.
“We’ve worked extremely hard to ensure that everything that has made the RM1 so popular with our customers is carried over to the new RM1S, while delivering the greater performance that will mean it can be used in a much wider variety of use cases.
“The original Maeving RM1 has been a huge success for us and, for many riders who stay within inner city limits, it will remain the perfect motorcycle. Adding the RM1S to the collection provides an electric motorcycle for those that need to cover wider geographies at higher speeds.”
Added Mr Stirrup: “It’s an overused phrase but we truly believe this is a game-changer: an EV that you can purchase for less than the cost of a monthly Oyster card, that can be used for the vast majority of one’s travel needs, with all the joy and convenience that motorcycling brings. We’re incredibly proud of it.”
First deliveries of the new model will go ahead in March 2024.
On the road
A test-ride in London confirms that the original RM1 is easy - and unintimidating - to ride, in a way that should appeal even to motorcycle novices. If you can ride a bicycle, you should have few if any problems with this model or the latest incarnation, which we shall be reviewing soon.
The seating position is upright and relatively close to the ground and the throttle action - by means of a traditional motorcycle-style twist grip on the right handlebar - is specifically designed to feed in the power smoothly and gently. This will reassure novices, even if dyed-in-the-wool motorcyclists might prefer a bit more oomph, off the mark, an issue that should be addressed by the new model.
Both front and rear brakes, which are progressive and forgiving, are operated by handlebar-mounted levers, doing away with the need for a motorcycle-style foot brake. In common with other electrically-propelled vehicles there are no gears, hence the absence of the traditional left-footed gear-lever, adding to the simplification for newbies.
The front suspension forks, combined with the large front wheel and skinny tyres, make for a relatively cushioned ride at the front end. Suspension at the rear of the bike, however, designed to cater for a wide range of riders, feels comparatively basic, and can be harsh over London’s poorer road surfaces. The dampers are, however, adjustable, for riders of different weights.
Handling feels stable, the bike is notably quiet, the seating position comfortable and it feels nimble in traffic. The acceleration means it keeps up with most other traffic, although it does top out at 45mph, making progress on faster roads problematic. The new RM1S model should address this issue.
The basic instrumentation is clear but - in certain lights on rare sunny days - the speed dial catches the sun from behind, creating glare. Riders can view a clock on the main dial by scrolling through a menu; useful for London’s proliferating time-controlled Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
Overall build quality is high, including the sturdy, milled footrests, moulded ‘tank’, frame and other fitments. Unlike the new RM1S which will only be sold with two batteries, the RM1 can be purchased and run with just one battery. Alternatively the RM1 can be purchased with two batteries, doubling the range to 80 miles but raising the price to £5,990.
Both batteries - each weighing around 12 kgs - are run down simultaneously. If just one battery is used however, it is slotted into the lower compartment, lowering the centre of gravity and freeing up the lockable ‘tank’ for storage. It’s just as well as there’s nowhere else to store, say, rain gear or locking devices.
Maeving does also sell a pannier that can be attached to the centre of the bike with a bespoke rack, for £250. Otherwise, riders will need to resort to a backpack.
Before the advent of the RM1S, which now opens up the prospect of using ‘bigger’ roads, one challenge for Maeving must have been to attract inner city commuters who might otherwise decide to buy a far cheaper electric bicycle boasting a similar range, but requiring no licence, insurance, MOT or crash helmet, especially in a city gripped by 20 mph zones even on major roads, and congestion. Parking is also free for bicycles.
The other challenge, surely, is potential Maeving customers who see - daily in London - riders happily using illegal, non-pedal-assisted electric bikes capable of top speeds way in excess of the permitted 15.5 mph, confident that they’re unlikely to be bothered by the police and apparently unhindered by licensing or insurance concerns.
The other, unstated benefit of Maeving ownership? Its lines make it a talking point, drawing interested onlookers whenever it’s parked up, sparking conversations with other Londoners. What’s not to like about that?
Specifications for the new Maeving RM1S:
Rated Power - 7kW
Peak Power - 10.5kW
Battery - 2 x 2.6 kWh Removable batteries, LG 21700 cells
Charging - both batteries simultaneously (onboard or offboard via an optional dual battery dock) to 80% in 3.5 hours, full charge 4.5 hours.
Top Speed - 65mph (105km/h)
Range - Up to 80 miles (129km)
Kerb weight (inc batteries) – 130kg
Overall Length – 2,140mm Wheelbase – 1,396mm
Width (including mirrors) - 872mm
Upgraded front brake – 300mm disc & triple piston calliper