Published on October 28th, 2017 | by Nicolas Zart0
LMX 161-H Electric Motocross Motorcycle — Fun Without The Bloat (CleanTechnica Interview)
October 28th, 2017 by Nicolas Zart
I recently spoke to Adam Mercier, the co-founder of a brilliant concept called the LMX 161-H. The LMX project consists of a light frame with a battery pack and electric motor for the best weight–performance ratio. After all, isn’t this the promise of electric vehicles (EV) — efficiency, power, fun, and freedom of choice?
I’m eagerly waiting for a test ride on the LMX 161-H, and walked away from the interview feeling the Colin Chapman spirit is well and alive today.
The LMX 161-H Offers Power Without The Bloat
As much as we love battery-operated vehicles, batteries add a lot of weight to an EV. It is easier to lower the center of gravity on a four wheel vehicle then for a two-wheel vehicle. Motocross bikes need clearance. On an electric bicycle (e-bike) front, the war is on reducing weight. While an electric motor’s torque can make you forget most of the weight, the first corner on two wheels can surprise you. Finding an ideal center of balance means placing batteries as low as possible, something LMX 161-H has achieved and boosted further with a light frame and a swappable battery pack.
Welcome The LMX 161-H, The Lightweight Electric MX
When Adam Mercier moved to Lyon, France, for his studies, he had already been working on a light and efficient bike. Once there, he met Lucas Suteau (pronounced Soo Toh), who was working on similar projects. While Adam was into creating an efficient mountain bike, Lucas was more into flying and efficiency. Both ideas came together and by 2014 a light chromoly frame was ready. The LMX project started with the p1 version, then the p2, the p2.1, and the p3 prototypes all aiming for that perfect light electric motocross bike. They eventually created the MS Systemes SAS company.
The Design Philosophy of the LMX 161-H
The design philosophy of the LMX 161-H is particularly attractive these days of one-size-fits-all. The LMX 161-H is built with an open source philosophy where riders can choose their battery packs, electric motors, and controllers as long as it fits the frame. In fact, both Adam and Lucas are keen to make the LMX series of e-motocross as open-source friendly as possible.
The LMX 161-H comes with an Eco mode and allows you to remap its settings. The Eco mode basically divides the current in two, halving the torque. It comes with a Pro-link suspension and boasts regenerative braking of up to 5 to 10%.
The LMX 161-H is powered by a 3000W electric motor, which is comparable to an 85cc. It has a peak output of 8000W and the default battery pack is rated at 1.75 kWh max. It weighs 42 kilos (92.5 lb) and boasts over 300 N·m (221 lb-ft) of torque at the back wheel. Not bad for fun on the trails.
[Editor’s note: With all of those specs (and others) combined, the top speed = 28 mph (45 km/h), according to the company. While that wouldn’t zip it away from the po-po in a high-speed chase (why would you need that?), it would keep them LMX with the flow of traffic on a residential street.]
One aspect that is particularly attractive about the LMX is its quick-swap battery system. It is nestled closely to the electric motor, which lowers even more the center of gravity. Zero Motorcycles has a similar setup with its FX, covered recently by fellow CleanTechnica contributor Susanna Schick.
At some point, the final design of the LMX 161-H will have to settle for homologation purposes, but most everything should be tweaked. In the meantime, a Bluetooth connection allows you to access most electronic settings.
The LMX 161-H Competition & Legalities in the US
As far as competition, Zero Motorcycles and KTM would be the closest LMX has, but both are much heavier and aim for the motorcycle market. In terms of pure e-bikes, you would have to look at Bull or other higher-end e-bike makers. The LMX is an entry-level motocross, which to the best of our knowledge, no company matches in terms of weight versus performance. The LMX seems to have found the perfect ratio while others chose raw power over weight.
By now you must be asking yourself a question. How can a 3000W e-bike be street legal in the US? This is a problem that haunts the e-bike. New York State decided to ban e-bikes altogether, while other states embrace them. To make things worse, every city has different ordinances. One thing almost all states agree on is that if an e-bike has pedals, it can be ridden without a driver license. The LMX can be ordered with pedals! It is street legal in the European community thanks to its homologation and optional pedals.
What Does LMX 161-H Mean?
You’re also probably wondering what does LMX 161-H mean? The 161 is the size of the frame in millimeters while LMX is basically a light MX that happens to be electric.
While LMX only offers a motocross and dirt e-bike version at the moment, the company is looking into variants that will be more inline with super mortars, something I’m particularly eager to see. There are talks of a cafe racer as well as an easier access version. The company has auto financed itself and is now looking for extra finances. The Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign aims to develop funds needed for its US homologation as well as manufacturing more frames per month. To this date, it delivers 50 frames per year and it hopes to reach 100 to 150 full e-motocross bikes soon. 50 LMX have been delivered in bikes and kits globally, with 6 of them in the US. You can follow the LMX crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo here.
Oh yes, the price is €4,450 ($5,240) for the full bike. An earlier LMX 81 frame is still available and choice of naked frames and some with batteries are also available.
I don’t know about you but a lightweight electric motocross where you can slap on pedals to make it legal certainly appeals to me. The LMX 161-H chose open source and lightness over raw power, something Colin Chapman would have been happy to see.