The new Mahle X20 electric bicycle powertrain is set to lead to some ultra lightweight e-bikes thanks to the pared down electric motor and battery combination.

The drivetrain improves upon the company’s existing Mahle X35 e-bike powertrain; that lightweight drive system has been featured in electric bicycles weighing as little as 10.5 kg (23.1 lb) and is a favorite of lightweight e-bike designers like cycling legend Greg LeMond.

The new Mahle X20 system weighs in at just 3.2 kg (7.05 lbs.), including the motor, battery, wiring, controller, and head unit used as the system’s user interface.

That low weight opens big possibilities, as head of Mahle Smartbike Systems Jochen Sommer explained:

With the X20, we are starting a completely new chapter by combining weight advantage, aesthetics, and customization in an unprecedented drive solution.

As you may have guessed, though, this level of ultralight design also means that power and range figures are a bit on the light side as well.

The 1.4 kg (3.1 lb) rear hub motor is said to put out 23 Nm of torque, though Mahle claims that is equivalent to a mid-drive motor that can supply 55 Nm of torque.

The internal battery is available in two models, the iX250 and iX350. The former provides 250 Wh of capacity, while the latter offers 350 Wh. They are both designed to be integrated into the frame itself as a non-removable battery (though removal by a technician is possible for servicing or replacing the battery).

A separate range extender battery is also available that can be mounted like a water bottle to increase the total battery capacity of the bike.

According to the Light Electric Vehicle Association, the X20 “has a sophisticated sensor package that measures acceleration, speed, torque, temperature, and pedaling rate. It also uses artificial intelligence to continuously adapt the drive to the person in the saddle. The X20 thus offers a perfectly tailored cycling experience—even when riders or training conditions change. Further impressive features of the drive system are its absolutely natural pedal feel, which is similar to that of a conventional high-performance sports bike, and the noise-free support it offers the user. Communication between cyclist and vehicle takes place via a modern HMI with haptic feedback.”

The powertrain is already making its way into lightweight e-bikes, like the 10.7 kg (23.6 lbs.) Scott Addict eRide electric bike.

Anything in the sub-30 lb. range is already exceedingly light for an electric bike, and approaching 20 lbs. is considered ultra lightweight in the industry.

In the past, we’ve seen other lightweight electric bikes that have gone to great lengths to shave off the grams.

Hummingbird debuted the lightest folding e-bike at 10.3 kg (22.7 lbs.), and the HPS Domestique is probably the current lightest production electric bicycle at just 8.5 kg (18.7 lbs.).

Technicall,y the 6.872 kg (15.15 lb) Freicycle electric bike is even lighter, though it was a one-off DIY build and thus doesn’t compete against production e-bikes.

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About the Author

Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide and The Electric Bike Manifesto.

The e-bikes that make up Micah’s current daily drivers are the $999 Lectric XP 2.0, the $1,095 Ride1Up Roadster V2, the $1,199 Rad Power Bikes RadMission, and the $3,299 Priority Current. But it’s a pretty evolving list these days.

You can send Micah tips at Micah@electrek.co, or find him on Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok.