MEET CHILLER: AN ELECTRIC BMX WITH RALEIGH CHOPPER STYLING

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IF YOU THINK that electric bikes aren’t ‘real’ motorcycles, avert your eyes now. But if you love vintage BMX bikes, and believe that electric drivetrains create interesting ways to introduce newcomers to motorcycling, read on.

 

On the surface, ‘Chiller’ is a simple pedal-assist e-bike with throwback styling—but there’s more to this story. It’s the work of ChillFab, a side project of the custom workshop Butcher Garage, and it’s just one in a planned range of electric- and petrol-powered bikes. It follows the two Chiller prototypes that the team built a couple of years ago, with a few key changes.

 

The first iteration of the electric Chiller used an electric hub motor, with bicycle pedals that served only as footrests, and wasn’t street legal. But this one uses a true pedal-assist system—which means it’s classified as a bicycle in most countries, and doesn’t require a license to operate.

 

“This was a response to the great demand for a road legal vehicle,” explains ChillFab founder, Arseniy Chekar. “Many people wanted to have a bike for everyday travel in addition to our ‘not for road use’ petrol and electric versions. The idea of this model was to create a super cool luxury city cruiser, and give our customers a choice between a pedelec, an electric scooter and a petrol monster.”

 

If you’re seeing shades of the iconic Raleigh Chopper in Chiller’s frame design, that’s by design. ChillFab actually reached out to the design firm that originally penned the Chopper, Ogle Noor, for their input. “Priceless comments from the head of the design department, Herman Tandberg, helped to create a unique vehicle with an old-fashioned design and hi-end components from the present,” says Arseniy.

 

ChillFab welded the the frame up out of aluminum tubing, then smoothed off the welds for a seamless finish. Bits like the head tube and motor mount ‘case’ are cast alloy parts. And in case you’re wondering, the design can be adapted to run with a petrol motor and a belt drive.

 

For this model’s drivetrain, ChillFab went for a complete Bosch setup. Bosch is a major player in the e-bike world, supplying industry stalwarts like Trek, Cannondale, KTM and Scott.

 

Chiller uses the company’s ‘Performance Line’ pedal-assist motor, with a maximum possible torque output of 85 Nm. It’s matched to a 500 Wh ‘PowerPack’ battery, and Bosch’s ‘SmartphoneGrip’ mounting system, which turns the rider’s smartphone into a full-feature dash. These modern parts are integrated into the bike’s retro design so well, that nothing feels tacked-on.

 

The rest of the parts spec is standard bicycle fare. The cranks and chainring are from Race Face, while the BMX pedals are from Odyssey. Gearing is by way of an eight-speed Shimano Alfine internally geared hub, with hydraulic Shimano disc brakes slowing down the 26F/24R wheels.

 

Up in the cockpit, a Colt Bikes headset sits between the rigid front forks and the custom, cruiser-style bars. Controls are limited to the brake levers, a single gear shifter and a small controller for the Bosch system.

 

Chiller also scores high on finishes. The frame wears a shimmering flake paint job, with genuine leather covering the custom-made saddle. We’re digging the ‘Chiller’ logos on the head tube, and on the kicked-up ‘pan’ behind the seat.

 

It’s a handsome machine, and one we’d easily pick as a short-range hopper. But if you absolutely must burn fossil fuels, perhaps ChillFab’s next project will tickle your fancy.

 

The crew has already begun work on the next Chiller model, featuring an ICE engine, a springer front end and, believe it or not, fenders. When they’re done, they’ll be able to offer Chiller with pedal-assist, full electric or full petrol power, with various custom options (like the springer forks).

 

We’ll take one of each, please.

ChillFab | Butcher Garage | Images by Alexander Dymov

 

Retro-style electric BMX by ChillFab

 

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