Christini Releases Range of AWD eMTBs

Jul 15, 2020
by Ed Spratt  

Christini has announced a new range of eMTBS to their collection of two-wheel drive bicycles.

The brand is no stranger to producing AWD bikes, with almost two decades to correct the formula, and with experience in making motorcycles it was only a matter of time before they created their own eMTB.

Christini's take on the eMTB features several fat bikes, but there is also a 27.5" hardtail in the mix. All bikes in the range are powered by a Bafang motor system putting out a claimed 1,000W or 1,500W. This can class these bikes as motorcycles in some countries, meaning that they do not carry the same access rights as a normal mountain bike or eMTB.

bigquotesIt is well known what all wheel drive does for a sport utility vehicle — just imagine what AWD can do for a mountain bike. Think traction control for your rear wheel!

With increased traction, available at the flip of a switch you can conquer conditions that you thought were unridable. AWD provides greater control over wet roots and slippery rocks. You can power up steeper, sketchier hills and you’ll stick like glue to side slopes. The rear wheel simply will not slip without transferring some of the power to front wheel. In return, when the front wheel grabs, it prevents the rear wheel from “overspinning” thus allowing it to regain traction – AWD Traction Control

The AWD system is so efficient, it is hard to tell whether it is working… until you need it.

With the front drive disengaged, the Christini AWD handles and feels just like any dialed-in full suspension mountain bike. Engage the AWD system and you’ll feel increased control, stability and traction on slippery or loose surfaces.

AWD works whether you’re pedaling or coasting. You will be able to descend with confidence and corner more aggressively due to increased front wheel grip.
Christini

The AWD 27.5 Plus Hardtail Ultra Mid Drive may not have a catchy name but it is the more standard eMTB offering in the range.

To explain quite how Christini has created their AWD system watch this video from Steve Christini which reveals the inner workings of their AWD bikes.


The range of eMTBs are available direct from Christini and they start at a cost of $4,795. You can find out more here.


59 Comments

  • 23 1
 Hum. I am surprised to find an ebike article that actually interests me. Would be weird, but interesting, to have to relearn how to climb. Like body position: fore/aft weight shifts and such.
  • 20 1
 It seems like a second electric motor mounted either in the front hub or on the fork lowers would be a better implementation that the sliding spline connection they use.
  • 5 3
 @kcy4130: unsprung weight
  • 9 0
 @tmanb3: True, but transmitting torque thru a spline like that will increase the friction of the suspension. And it would increase it more/less depending on how much torque was being applied, which might make the suspension less predictable. I'm not sure which would have a worse impact on the suspension in the end?
  • 3 0
 @kcy4130: There was also a motorcycle that drove a small hydraulic motor at the front which weighed quite a bit less.
  • 3 2
 More than 2 decades ago, I was completely into MX and some had the ``good idea`` to dig into 2 wheels driving machines, and I used to say ``why not?``
Time has passed and I`ve not seen a single 2WD MX so far, for many ``good``reasons probably.
``So``?...
  • 3 1
 @softsteel: eMx bikes have front wheel drive now so we will see
  • 2 2
 @dieuci: OK thanks; I didn`t know. But isn`t the return of a false good idea? The future will say...
  • 3 0
 @softsteel: yes, Yamaha, Fretigne rode it, complete fail.
  • 11 1
 Quite some time ago I was curious about Christini's AWD dirtbikes. So I went on their page and watched their promo video about how great it was in hard enduros and such. Almost all of the shots in the video showed a rider lofting the front wheel over instead of actually using the AWD. I know Yamaha tested their own AWD dirtbike and found it only really helps in deep sand/mud and decided it wasn't worth it.

I see this bike as more of a utility vehicle than a mountain bike. Maybe for trailwork with a trailer full of tools/materials or something it would be perfect for.
  • 5 0
 A buddy of mine has one, it's awesome in the sand and surprisingly reliable.
  • 6 1
 I have a Christini Venture AWD from the early 2000s. I designed sections of our local race course so that I was the only one that could climb certain parts. Cheating? Perhaps. Fitness still dictates where you can go, mind you an electric version wouldn't quite have the same limitations.
I should mention that it was near impossible to get the front end to wash out if the AWD was engaged. As soon as the front end started pushing, the front wheel would get driven by the rear. A unique experience.
  • 5 0
 Seems like a lot of extra. Working on a light hub-based electric motor for the front wheel would be much simpler, more efficient, and probably more reliable. Fewer moving parts. . .
  • 2 0
 Id bet the system is actually lighter than a hub motor. CF shafts are light and strong, and tiny gears weight nothing.
  • 1 0
 Still not unsprung weight but maybe use a double crown Lefty, but add a "righty" part with a small motor like those used for cheating at the tour de France a few years ago. The weird thing is that maybe you'd have the motor in the lower, and the stanchion up, while the lefty is inverted.
  • 1 0
 www.swytchbike.com/p/universal-ebike-conversion-kit just fill your fork full of tokens, whatever those are
  • 15 9
 and i thought 2020 can't possibly get any worse
  • 9 3
 I think you would enjoy road.cc more than you would this website.
  • 5 1
 keep calm and nuke it from orbit
  • 4 0
 As a full paid up member of the ebike club I can say these are not ebikes with that much power. They are e-motorbikes. In the UK anyway.
  • 4 0
 I think putting a high powered gas motor on it would be nifty. It would allow one to go a lot faster and up steeper terrain.
  • 2 0
 Probably a monster truck of a climber. Would actually be cool to have e bike hill climb competitions like they do in motocross. I could see it begin becoming a thing and I don't think it would be as hard on the bikes as the motocross version. Once the ews starts up again the e bike climbing stages will be the first test, I hope they pick some tough climbs.

youtu.be/_W0kk5wTgpA
  • 6 0
 Alright, that's cool.
  • 5 0
 queue the "Might as well just ride a dirtbike" comments in 3... 2... 1...
  • 5 1
 Cycling Tips covered it better with a story about a lady who rides it all over the world, and it makes more sense that way.
  • 2 0
 I remember articles about Christini AWD bikes back in the 90's but they had all sorts of problems with the front drive and steering. Assuming those front-drive issues have been worked out and the motor helps.
  • 6 0
 Basically nothing was changed, how could the problems then be removed?
  • 3 0
 FWIW, I've ridden an early 2000s Christini (equipped with full xtr no less.) There were no issues, no slop in front drive mechanism, tolerances were excellent and no noticeable friction at all. It really was quite amazing - but benefits may limited to traction on climbs and sand/mud riding. If that's you thing, I can only imagine an e-version would be a nice addition.
  • 4 0
 I don't think crappy mechanical disc brakes are going to cut it on an e-fat-bike
  • 4 0
 the headline had me cringing until I saw the rear brake hose routing... that was maybe the most cringeworthy element
  • 1 0
 Why don´t engineers make something that makes people happy like a good integrated gearbox??? I mean it´s fantastic engineering and a lot of time has gone in to this project. But why?? My mind wonders to this clip for sure...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkuOuxRD1Bc
  • 2 0
 "With the front drive disengaged, the Christini AWD handles and feels just like any dialed-in full suspension mountain bike."

How does a hardtail ebike feel like a dialed in full suspension bike?
  • 1 0
 This company just won’t tap out, lol. I remember their dirt bikes showing up at enduro trails back in 2008-2010, they disappeared as quick as they came. Haven’t seen a Christini moto in years. Hope Steve Christini catches a break at some point but not with this project since I don't want eMTB’s on any trail I’m on.
  • 2 2
 AWD doesn't work on single-track vehicles. With a vehicle like a car you have a stable platform. If you want to go fast, you can also drift/powerslide to prevent understeer (this is what is done in rallying).

We all know how bad understeer is on a bike (or a motorcycle). This 'AWD' system promotes understeer.

AWD is nice and dandy in low grip situations, adaptive 4-wheel drive systems drag boatloads of performance from cars, but classical ("symmetrical") AWD has a distinct tendency to understeer. Drive a Subaru if you don't believe me.
  • 3 0
 AWD is probably pretty neutral relative to fwd or rwd. Besides, who's racing these fatbikes around corners? I could see these being pretty fun on packed snow trails.
  • 6 0
 You are confusing high performance track lapping, with being able to get traction offroad. 4x4 vehicles with locking front and rear diffs understeer plenty. The purpose is to create forward drive, not optimize cornering. First, the system is toggleable if you are going fast over flatter track for which you need front end grip under power, and there is a torque limiter to limit how much power goes to the front. For bicycles, any time you need front end grip in cornering, you are likely not pedaling anyways so the system doesn't matter. Even furthermore, the front driver hub is basically like a freehub. If the wheels are spinning at the same speed, the bike is essentially RWD, the front only starts engaging when you have slippage at the rear. The system has been proven to work well, and is a great idea for things like fatbiking in the snow. In general, avoid talking out your ass about things you have no idea about.
  • 1 2
 @phops: Haha, I'm just unclear on your argument. "AWD is nice and dandy in low grip situations" isn't that, uh, like mountain biking? Comparing cars or motorcycles with a 100 to 1000x more power than this motor really has no relevance. Unless you're actually imagining brapping out of corners with 1 HP...then yes understeer away! I just can't see why you would want a fatbike without AWD and furthermore, your reasoning about understeer is highly illogical.
  • 1 0
 Whoops wrong guy
  • 3 0
 We've had AWD BH e-bikes 4 or so years ago in the shop. Quirky concept, not much advantage in practice
  • 2 0
 “ All bikes in the range are powered by a Bafang motor system putting out a claimed 1,000W or 1,500W. This can class these bikes as motorcycles in some countries”
  • 1 0
 so for once the motorbike commentors (who, i might add, aren't here) are right!
  • 1 0
 I first heard of AWD dirt bikes, it was a Christini as well, while watching a hard enduro. That intrigued me. But on a mtb? Yeah, maybe! But on an e-bike on this site, I think not.
  • 4 0
 1wd's not dead!
  • 1 0
 first time I've seen an ebike that I like the concept of, although Im thinking that there could be a better way of doing this.
  • 3 0
 Coming soon to fat americans!
  • 1 2
 What does AWD do to SUVs? Turns a heavy poor handling vehicle into a more expensive one...at least reference a WRX STI or something more sporty. Traction control is the button you turn off on your car when you want to have fun or take your car to the track (it reduces power when any slippage is detected).
  • 3 1
 It will get you up things that you probably shouldn’t ride back down.
  • 1 0
 Oh dang. I always thought that the Christini bikes were so cool. I'd never buy one, but they are really cool.
  • 1 0
 How about an e-unicycle?
Or....an e-pogo stick or an e-space hopper?

The like of Bosch are coining it in.
  • 1 0
 I got to demo an electric unicycle at IB about 10 years ago. Having zero experience with a uni, I was able to get the balance in 15 minutes of practice. Really surprised me how simple it was to get used to!
  • 1 0
 Motor won't help without a steeper seat tube angle.
  • 2 0
 2wd technically
  • 1 0
 @gillyske: I guess I was wrong. This is the future direction of ebikes?!
  • 1 0
 am missing cruise control, ABS and all the rest...
  • 1 0
 I want to see Danny McAskill nose wheelie this.
  • 1 1
 I hated the whole idea of e-bike, until this.
  • 2 1
 I still hate it.
Wife and I were out on a ride the other day. Were overtaken, twice, by a group of e-bike riders just RIPPING through the trails, where, incidentally, they are not legally allowed to ride. Not hill climbing, just average single track. We heard them because they were chatting so loud (likely because they weren't out of breath), so we pulled aside. But if they were quiet they likely would have run into one of us.

I still think that, except in medical cases like the gentleman I saw a month or so riding one with an oxygen feed going to his nostrils, that they are for lazy f*cks who don't want to break a sweat and think mountain biking is 'too hard.' Oh, and for pros who get paid to ride them.
  • 1 0
 far out.
  • 1 0
 Pinkbike is pure trash

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