Another startup has announced news that urban motorcyclists will have a new choice in the marketplace hopefully in the near future. Swedish company Stilride wants you to ride the Stilride 1, an electric scooter made of stainless steel and folded like origami by manufacturing robots. It’s like a piece of art that you can ride to work if you can afford its expensive $16,500 price tag.
Developments in electric motorcycles are almost a daily cycle. It seems like every day, there’s some new startup claiming that it’s going to change the world with some sort of electric motorcycle. Some of these bikes are truly great ideas, like the $1,500 electric motorcycle for developing nations or anything with a swappable battery. Others are more baffling, like that “robotic” motorcycle from a while back. Stilride wants to sell you something a little different. Its electric scooter has a frame built out of a single piece of stainless steel that was cut and folded by robots.
A Dream Realized
Stilride says it opened its doors in 2020 in Sweden. Its founders are industrial designer Tue Beijer with businessman Jonas Lindberg Nyvang. Their company’s team comprises designers and businesspeople from the likes of Scania, BMW, Ericsson, and more. Beijer says that he’s been in vehicle design for over 30 years. During that time, he designed an electric scooter back in 1993 (below) and at one point, he worked for Italian engineer Giotto Bizzarrini.
In an interview with lifestyle publication Scandinavian Mind, Stilride cofounder Nyvang said that the scooter is a dream realized:
In two years me and Tue have developed this brand, technology, and pioneering product, he tells, following our childhood dream of creating a worthy contemporary heir to the scooter heritage that we both love, but with a sustainable purpose.
The project is a tight collaboration with product development company Semcon, steel engineering workshop Brantheim, research institute RISE IVF as well as global stainless steel manufacturer Outokumpu.
The scooter is supposed to be a nod to the past and an ambitious plan for the future. Stilride wants to electrify personal mobility while revolutionizing how vehicles are made. The company says that its “STILFOLD” process is like industrial origami in that its metal folding process reduces production and material costs while also being cleaner to the environment.
Apparently, the company’s founders have been tinkering with folding metal for a while, but haven’t been able to put it to work until now, utilizing today’s advanced software and robotics. Nyvang explained to Scandinavian Mind:
In short we have cracked how to take a single sheet of steel and fold it to produce a frame with no waste. We do this through a cutting edge sheet metal shaping procedure using origami folding techniques, laser cutting and industrial robotics. Originally no more than a novel mind-bending concept, we are now simulating it, making ”produced here” not only viable, but to all intents a no-brainer for a wide range of products.
The company’s website explains that a design is created in software, turned into CAM instructions for its metal-folding robots to use, and the end result is that you can have a scooter frame built out of a single piece of metal folded into a desired shape. Stilride doesn’t just want to sell you a scooter, but it wants to license this production process out to other companies to be used to make boats, cars, furniture, or possibly even wind turbines.
So, with all of that in mind, what are you getting when you buy a scooter made out of folded stainless steel?
The Stilride 1
The Stilride 1 has been around in some form since 2020. Back then, Stilride indicated that the company planned to put it into production. Then the pandemic hit. In 2022, Stilride noted that the scooter, which used to be called the Sport Utility Scooter 1 (SUS1), would go into production later that year. Now, it’s 2023 and Stilride is saying that it’ll come out sometime in 2024.
This time around, the freshly renamed Stilride 1 looks a lot closer to something street-legal with practical motorcycle adornments like mirrors, a side stand, and a realistic seat. The company has also provided a full spec sheet and pricing details.
I’ll start with that frame. Stilride says that the Stilride 1’s frame is a single piece of stainless steel that was cut and folded into shape. Since it’s a single piece of metal, there are no welds and fewer parts involved in building the chassis. It’s quite the striking design and stainless steel is definitely a catching material to use for a motorcycle.
The one-piece folded stainless chassis is the main event of this motorcycle, but the rest of its specs aren’t bad, either. Located in the rear is a hub motor from Bosch.
It’s making 8 HP and can punch out 10.7 HP in bursts. Torque is noted to be 155 lb-ft with bursts of 207 lb-ft. This motor is air-cooled and it’s capable of getting the Stilride 1 scooter up to 60 mph. In my experience, this would make the Stilride 1 about on the level of a Honda Elite 150 scooter, which is quicker than you’d expect a small scooter to be.
Feeding that motor is 5.1 kWh lithium battery that Stilride says offers around 75 miles of range. It charges from 110V or 220V and Stilride says it’ll charge from empty to full in as little as four hours. It’s unclear if this battery is removable. Hopefully, it is because being able to charge your electric scooter at home would be a big deal for many apartment dwellers, myself included.
In terms of suspension, you get an inverted fork up front and a mono-shock in the rear. Stilride doesn’t say if these are adjustable, but you do get an adjustable seat. Stilride has published a base seat height of 31.9 inches, which is a little high for a scooter. Braking is handled by a 215mm disc with a 4-piston caliper up front and a 180mm disc with a 2-piston caliper in back. The Stilride 1 has regenerative braking and the company says that it partnered up with Swedish braking company ISR for the system. For another neat touch, the master cylinder is integrated into the handlebar for aesthetics.
The Stilride 1 rides on 13-inch wheels with Michelin City Grip 2 scooter tires wrapped around them. A completed Stilride 1 with its battery clocks in at 286 pounds. This is 2 fewer pounds than a Honda PCX, a gas-powered scooter more or less in the same category. In comparison with another electric motorcycle with a stainless steel chassis, the Ryvid Anthem weighs just 240 pounds. The Anthem is lighter and wasn’t built like metal origami.
When it comes to technology, the Stilride 1 uses CAN bus communications and operations are run through a vehicle control unit. Stilride says that this allows for easy updates in the future. It also has Continental dual-channel ABS. Overall, this scooter isn’t as light as it looks, but it does look like a piece of art. Stilride will also sell a rack to go on the back so it can be somewhat practical, too.
Sadly, I do have some bad news. Stilride says that its production process reduces cost and weight. Well, it’s not really lighter than existing scooters and the price is pretty far out. Production dates have not been announced, but Stilride says that it’ll cost you $16,500. To put that into perspective, it’s twice as expensive as the aforementioned Ryvid and more than four times as expensive as the Honda. Thus, this scooter is really a luxury item, which runs afoul of the mission of revolutionizing personal transportation.
Still, I love the look of this scoot, and if you’re the kind of person with $16,500 to spend on an art piece, Stilride says that reservation banks will open soon. It’s expected to go into production in 2024 with an exact date to be announced this summer.
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$16,500 buys a nice Honda Africa Twin or Suzuki Vstrom 1050XT, real motorcycles available now from manufacturers who have built great bikes for decades. Or this. Made of folded metal sheet – to save money? Maybe it will scale, as will customers. Or could be yet-another solution searching for a problem that has all the right buzz-words to attract funding. Stainless steel has one redeeming feature – it doesn’t rust. Other than that, whether talking 304,316, etc. it’s a pain in the ass to work, tool, fasten, weld, and it’s stiff and unforgiving. Good luck to these fellows.
The Universe created a global pandemic to defeat this over priced toy. Take the hint.
Sounds pretty sus, as the kids probably don’t say.
It’s an interesting idea, but outside of the “neat!” factor I’m struggling to see this making a mark. As you noted, it’s expensive and heavy (the comparison to the PCX is a little apples-to-oranges since the PCX offers a massive amount of onboard storage and a pillion seat), so if you buy this you’re really choosing style over substance. Which, to be fair, is a thing people do all the time so who knows?