Launched this month by HPS (High Performance Systems), a bicycle maker based in Ireland but headquartered in Monaco, the Domestique is a bicycle that aims to be elegant, very sturdy, super fast, and extremely lightweight. It’s also designed to offer constant power-assist to the rider without the rest of the world being none the wiser about it.
e-Bikes are having quite the moment right now. Regardless of their capabilities, benefits, and myriad of options, or even what you personally think of them, one thing is indisputable: most of them are instantly recognizable. You don’t even have to get really close to them to know one when you see it because the hub motor or bottom bracket motor, as well as the battery, are instant giveaways. The Domestique stands out in this respect.
Designed with input from Formula One engineer Gary Anderson, everything about the Domestique is lightweight: the battery, the motor and the gearbox. The handmade frame and Campagnolo wheels are carbon fiber, so they help as well. Once all is accounted for, this e-bike weighs a mere 18.7 pounds (8.5 kg), which allows HPS to claim the title of the world’s lightest production bicycle. That includes the 2.6-pound (1.2-kg) battery.
(Editor’s note: For whatever reason, press photos show the Domestique without pedals, hopefully not because they wanted to shave off weight.)
The proprietary Watt Assist Pro drive system comprises the 200W motor in the seat tube, the controller and other components in the down tube, and the remaining components in the bottom bracket. The battery is the bottle you see on the seat tube: HPS actually went through all the trouble to “carve” a battery into this shape to hide the fact that Domestique is electric. The bottle-battery is a collaboration with Italian water bottle cake maker Elite.
The idea of using bottle-shaped batteries is not new. The one-off Freicycle, which holds the Guinness record for the fastest e-bike in prototype form, uses the same gimmick to fully hide its electric heart.
Pedal assistance is up to 15.5 mph (25 kph), with HPS saying it can offer further speed limitations depending on the EU country in which it’s shipped, which may have lower legal speeds for e-bikes. The maker offers two battery options: 193 Wh and 85 Wh, the latter of which is compliant with most airline companies’ policies.
With the bigger battery, you get between one and three hours of power-assist, depending on weather, manner of riding, and terrain, while the smaller one offers just 1.5 hours of assistance. The upside is that a full charge takes two and one hour, respectively.
Another, more important upside is that the light weight of the bike means you can easily use it in non-assisted mode. If you’ve ever run out of juice on your ride in the middle of nowhere and you happen to own one of those moderately-heavy models, you know the challenge of having to pedal to the next stop for a top-up or even all the way back home. It’s quite a workout, to put it mildly.
Before Domestique goes into full production, a 21-example limited edition will be offered to select customers. The Domestique 1-21 Launch Edition offers four frame sizes (small, medium, large, and extra large), but everything else on them is the same.
Designed with “the best components,” this e-bike is “staggeringly light and beautiful,” HPS says. “A mix of Formula 1 engineering and ex pro cyclists has meant we are able to deliver a ‘rider first’ e-bike that puts ride quality and bike design at the heart of every bike that leaves the HPS workshop. Don’t compromise, choose Domestique.”
In order to do that, you have to be willing or able to part with €12,000 (about $14,450) first. You were probably expecting this high of a price, all things considered.