Since 2019, founders of the Parisian workshop Mototherapy have been working on this project and have recently revealed their first version of an electric retrofit solution for classic motorcycles. With a high-end design that respects the original motorizations, their made in France hybridization offers new decarbonized possibilities for these unique bikes. After months of development, their first prototype R01 leads the way in electrifying BMW Series R with a module that stays true to the spirit of their original Boxer engine.
As regulations for low-carbon mobility become stricter, the option of electric vehicles, encouraged by ADEME for their reduced carbon footprint throughout their entire life cycle, is gaining ground. Since its adoption at the European level in 2020, retrofitting is now valued as an alternative up to 50% less polluting than producing a new electric vehicle, contributing to the emergence of a new class of greener vehicles.
Traditionally associated with the conversion of utility vehicles or old popular cars, the founders of Ride Mercury have explored the concept of retrofitting classic motorcycles. After several years of development, the project gained momentum in the fall of 2022 with the opening of capital and financing for the first prototype on a BMW R 75 base.
Over the past ten months, the Ride Mercury team has been hard at work developing sophisticated technology, aligning their specifications with certification requirements, and carefully selecting suppliers and partners. This approach has allowed them to offer a sustainable and circular industrial alternative. Each motorcycle is designed with carefully chosen materials and generous mechanical tolerances, ensuring that it will be just as durable and repairable as its original combustion engine counterpart.
“Notre objectif est avant tout d’offrir une seconde vie aux motos de caractère. Cette direction nous a poussé à remettre le caractère fonctionnel au cœur de nos préoccupations. Nous ne voulions pas d’une curiosité de salon, plutôt une valorisation consciente et utile.” – Jean-Marie Raymon, cofondateur.
In order to convince, it was crucial that the first conversion’s autonomy and performance approach those of the original thermal motorization. With 10 kWh of electrical capacity housed within the engine block, this R01 model achieves a comparable range to the best new electric alternatives on the market, reaching up to 150 km on a mixed route. Adhering to regulations that dictate the total weight cannot exceed the original, the challenge was integrating this potential into a limited envelope and mass.
Equipped with a built-in 1.8 kW charger, these batteries can be fully recharged in just 6 hours using a standard household outlet. However, there is already an option in development to cut that time in half. The 25 kW peak motor is directly connected to the original drive shaft through a calibrated gear motor for optimal handling. It also generates a maximum torque of 340 Nm at the wheel and 30 horsepower of power.
In addition, these machines will also provide their users with the ability to manipulate the engine’s behavior and extract various technical and navigation data through the connected application. As their brain is linked via a GSM chip, this information can also be collected and analyzed in real time by the manufacturer, providing an edge for optimizing design and after-sales support.
Just after its initial reveal, the first version of the R01 has already been revised by its creators for its upcoming series. Taking into account ergonomic factors and placing more importance on the aesthetics of the block, the team made changes to the position of the lateral cylinders, reworked the side covers, and created two new designs for the grill. Going back to the drawing board also allowed for optimization of user interfaces and the development of a range of options that will be included in the manufacturer’s proposal.
Starting at €29,500, Ride Mercury plans to deliver their first machines during the second quarter of 2024. Each of the hybridized BMW Series R bikes will be thoroughly inspected and reconditioned in their workshop, incorporating all of the latest technology and restoring all original parts. In the long term, the founders aim to establish a network of authorized dealers and expand their solution to other classic motorcycle models, solidifying Ride Mercury’s place as a leading alternative manufacturer.
“Avec tout le soin que nous avons apporté au design et la conception de notre module, il était inconcevable que les machines estampillées Ride Mercury ne reçoivent pas un lifting intégral. Notre approche du rétrofit va bien au-delà de la simple conversion de motorisation.” – Cédric De Azevedo, cofondateur.
Operating out of Bagnolet in the Paris region, Mototherapy workshop has been transforming and customizing old and new motorcycles since 2019. The workshop was born from the meeting of its founders, Jean-Marie Raymon and Cédric De Azevedo, both passionate about the world of motorcycles and with complementary skills.
With his extensive experience as a business engineer, sales agent, executive, and founder of several successful companies, Jean-Marie oversees the commercial development and project management at the workshop. As part of the Ride Mercury project, he is also responsible for driving the marketing strategy.
The creative eye of the workshop is held by Cédric De Azevedo. Trained in photography, motion design, video, and graphic design at ENSAAMA and Les Gobelins, his passion for mechanics led him to pursue a motorcycle mechanic’s CAP and specialize in metalwork.
Today, surrounded by a development engineer, mechanic, and apprentice, the partners aim to double their team by 2024.
All pictures © Ride Mercury
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