Sabato tested with the pastry artist Philippe Stella and the crazy motorcycle Jeroen-Vincent Nagels their Trevor DTRe Stella, an electric off-road motorcycle « made in Belgium ».
At the end of June, the bicycle took part in the Wheels & Waves race within Biarritz, a festival where music lovers, surfers, skaters and motorcycle enthusiasts can have fun. The Trevor DTRe Stella prototype that I was able to drive offers strong acceleration, great handling and a superb ride.
It does not give a feeling of heaviness, but rather of security, even in turns and on gravel. Anyone who has ever driven the moped may ride it. Another remarkable element: despite its electric drive, this road-legal rough-road motorcycle emits a hum, which comes from the particular steel chain.
« From 2023, sound will become mandatory on electric motorcycles and we prefer a chain to a loudspeaker », says Philippe Stella, the designer. He rides a Harley-Davidson, Enduro X Varna or old Vespa. « My Harley can be heard from afar. Those days will probably soon be over: all of us will have to put a good end in order to nuisances and emissions. The Trevor DTRe Stella will be much quieter than the prototype is. »
I really feel like I’m on a motorcycle plus not an electrical scooter, but my riding style will be slightly modified, because it’s a « single speed ». Since I don’t change gear, I am freer. It’s as if I were strolling through the streets of Antwerp. « But she can go a lot faster than that, » smiled Stella. It is relative however: the top speed is usually limited to 90 km/h.
To travel, the Trevor is therefore too slow. And its range of 100 kilometers is also insufficient. Yet that’s not the goal: « The idea was: a clean off-road motorbike for the street that can also be taken on tour. »
« The particular Mighty Machines »
With several hundred brands, our country can boast a rich history in terms of motorcycles: FN, Gillet, Flandria and Saroléa. It can be moreover with Saroléa (owned since 2008 by the brothers Torsten and Bjorn Robbens) that the story of the very first Belgian electrical motocross homologated for that road began.
Spring 2018. In a small house in Cadaqués, Spain, Philippe Stella and Jeroen-Vincent Nagels work on the N60 MM. 01, the racing motorcycle manufactured by Saroléa. On the surrounding dirt roads, they have fun along with old « dirt bikes » (all-terrain motorcycle within hipster parlance). They are 25-year-old friends: Stella lived for 17 years in Los Angeles, where he worked as an illustrator plus pastry chef at a well-known bakery. Nagels has been interested in mopeds since a young age, before moving on in order to heavy motorbikes and he offers worked with regard to Honda, Triumph, Ducati and Saroléa, among others.
The N60 MM. 01 project with Saroléa is a marketing idea of Nagels, Stella and two other friends who call themselves « The Mighty Machines ». Anyone who buys the particular stunning heavy electric motorbike (intended only for racing) also receives a bespoke suit simply by Café Costume, a handmade helmet by British brand Hedon plus a Damascus steel pocket knife from the Swiss company Studio Blade.
“A few many years ago, I started working as a freelancer for Saroléa’s sales and marketing department, ” states Nagels. « They wanted to launch the street version associated with their racing bike. But given the high price, this particular project was cancelled. Then I had the idea of designing the ‘dirt bike’ homologated for the road, because we had noticed that they were very trendy. When we submitted our idea, Torsten Robbens, the owner of Saroléa, didn’t want this. So we experienced to make it ourselves, under a gentlemen’s agreement with Saroléa: we would market the bike, they would help us along with R& D and construction. »
« Sixty percent of the particular motorcycles are destined regarding Belgium and the rest will go to the four corners of the particular world – the United States, New Zealand, India and Japan, the land of motorcycles. »
Under the sign of motocross
Spring 2020. The business plan is certainly ready. Nagels and Stella have gas running via their veins: the name these people chose intended for their brand name, Trevor, is really a tribute to Trevor Wilkinson, founder from the British sports car brand TVR. « At the time, he wantsed to contact his brand Trevor, yet the title didn’t allow it to be, » says Nagels. « It’s a catchy name with the letters ‘ev’, the abbreviation of electric vehicle: it was a hit. If I have the TVR? Yes, on my wish-list! »
However , developing an electric motorcycle from scratch isn’t just about coming up with a catchy name and drawing a few sketches. « During the particular pandemic, we were fortunate enough to become able in order to call on Californian designer John McInnis to get the designs, » says Stella. « He also worked for Alta, LiveWire plus Harley-Davidson. »
The result expresses Stella’s love pertaining to off-road and enduro motorbikes. « We grew up in Spain. When I has been 12, my best friend and I actually had a little motocross bike, and when I was 14, we had been riding around the garden on a Montesa Cota: it’s those childhood memories that are reflected in our bicycle. There are elements of American flat-track models mixed along with characteristics associated with old Spanish trials bikes, such as Ossa, Montesa plus Bultaco. »
The engine and other parts come mainly from Saroléa Technology, which has been developing high-performance electric motorcycles for almost 15 yrs. « They’re mostly into technology plus racing (they go to the Isle of Man the lot), but it’s forbidden to ride on public highways with these electric motorbikes, » says Stella. « Warning: it’s not like we’re ‘sticking’ our brand name on their bike: it’s a real collaboration. Everything is discussed between us down to the smallest detail. »
Over the past two years, the prototypes driven simply by Gilles Leenknegt have enabled Nagels and Stella to participate in flat track races all over Europe. « Flat tracks are usually small oval dirt tracks on which bikes skid spectacularly on bends. We have furthermore taken component in motorbike races with a classic combustion engine and we all have obtained good results: our own sport version weighs close to 90 kilos, compared in order to 100 meant for the road version, much less than a classic bicycle. On circuits like these, you see what the bike is capable of. The many jumps showed us where we needed to strengthen it and, thanks to the particular feedback through the drivers, we learned a great deal about the mapping, the communication between the battery as well as the motor. Unlike electric powered cars, this does not really release all its torque instantly plus continuously. Therefore, acceleration upward to 40 km/h feels like accelerating with a combustion motor: you really feel the throttle response gradually increase. »
It also turns out that motorcycle sport is not dead. “Yes, classic enduro parks are under pressure, ” says Stella. « We push them further and further away because of pollution and noise pollution. Likewise, the offer in terms of training is decreasing, but I assure a person that with the relatively silent electric motorcycles, the action is intact, like the fight between the pilots. And all of us hear them calling out to each other. »
Durability is key
Getting the particular bike ready for production was not quick. Within addition in order to the complex approval procedure in Idiada in The country of spain (which had been successfully completed), the pandemic plus the war in Ukraine also slowed down this step. « Eventually, thanks to these crises along with the resulting delay, the bike improved. The Trevor is ‘over-engineered’. Fitting the heavier engine should not cause problems. The current 11 kilowatt brushless electric motor will be roughly equivalent to a 125 cc combustion engine, for which an A1 license is sufficient. »
The duo refuses in order to reveal the particular cost associated with development. Stella gets aside with an anecdote: « Two many years ago, Jeroen had a motorcycle accident, just before the first round of the banks in search of fresh money. He had crutches and I did not. I was within trouble either: I got a cast after a football accident. The particular bankers were surprised to learn that we wanted in order to create a motorcycle manufacturing organization! »
« We provided the particular seed capital. As McInnis’ styles made the rounds in the trade press, this allowed all of us to pre-sell ten ‘founders’, mostly to family plus friends. »
Last year, the Canadian investment account Sol Worldwide invested 1 . 1 million euros in the company. Nevertheless , Stella and Nagels stay the 2 shareholders associated with Trevor Motorcycles, which now has twelve employees. « This month, we are going to deliver the 1st fifty motorbikes out of a little less compared to a hundred sold! », Welcomes Stella. « 60% of them are destined for Belgium as well as rest should go to the particular four edges of the world – the Usa States, Brand new Zealand, Indian and The japanese, the nation of motorcycles. »
« Our goal is to become a global brand. »
You will find, associated with course, competitors on the market: Zero Motorcycles plus, to a lesser extent, Cake Motorbikes, which charge entry prices around 13, 000 pounds. When the legendary Indian brand Royal Enfield launches the particular electric equivalents of its heavier motorcycles, it may adopt an aggressive pricing policy. Considering that the current Meteor 350 Royal Enfield can be ordered for about 4, 000 euros, the 15, 500 euro Trevor seems outrageously expensive.
« Yet its residual value will be high. Durability is key. Maintenance is usually limited in order to lubricating and tightening the particular chain. And the batteries can easily be replaced to double or even triple the range. Everything else is unbreakable I think this will still ride 25 years from right now We proudly call it a ‘premium bike’ The brakes, suspension and battery are among the best in European countries Some rivals use bike parts designed for their bicycles electric. For a motorcyclist, this sucks. »
You can find plans to develop less expensive Trevors. « In the very first year, we all want in order to conquer our place amongst the quality brands », says Nagels. « We want to deliver 300, which will certainly be built at Saroléa. Then, we are aiming just for a change of scale. Our goal is definitely to become a global brand name. »
When can be this modify of scale planned? “Preferably tomorrow, ” they declare. « It is mainly the question associated with budget. We are talking to our investor about it, yet I believe there is an urgency. Honda is also shifting into high gear. Then it goes fast. We have to stay one step ahead. «
« If Saroléa is not really able in order to keep pace with production, we will possess to look for another partner. Although I hope, and believe, that Saroléa will always be our own partner in terms of R& Deb. We have got no the same relationship that a classic manufacturer has along with its subcontractor: it’s the creative collaboration based on friendship. It’s not usually easy, but in the end you get a high quality product. »
Trevor DTRe Stella | €14, 495 | www.trevormotorcycles.com