Automotive Innovation for Cycling

Automotive Innovation for Cycling

McLaren’s Automotive Innovation Comes to Cycling 

McLaren electric mountain bikes are the most powerful trail-legal electric mountain bikes in the world and are also some of the first to bring automotive design and engineering to cycling. 

McLaren’s designers invested more than 1,500 hours in designing the McLaren Extreme and Sport electric mountain bikes, giving these bikes the same care and attention they would to a new McLaren hypercar or Formula 1 race car. The outcome is a bike that is every bit a McLaren, from its performance to its head-turning looks. 

While every aspect of the Extreme and Sport received careful attention from McLaren’s team, the front end, including the handlebar and stem – a key point of connection between bike and rider – was identified as an opportunity to bring an automotive performance look, feel, and design to the bikes.

Within the front end, McLaren’s team focused on three areas where there was an opportunity to elevate bike design to the level of a McLaren performance vehicle:

  • Integrated LED Lighting System
  • One-piece bar and stem
  • Class-A surface finish





Integrated LED Lighting System

Creating high-performance hypercars requires designers to relentlessly focus on pushing the envelope of power, performance, and speed. A high-performance driving experience also means thinking of the driver’s safety, to ensure that the cars can be confidently pushed right to the limit of performance. 

To bring this same ethos of performance and safety to McLaren’s electric mountain bikes, designers took the groundbreaking step of integrating a lighting system into the handlebar, an unheard-of addition to an electric mountain bike. The lighting system blends seamlessly into the carbon fiber handlebar, just as a McLaren hypercar’s headlight blends into the grill. The system is hardly noticeable when turned off. 

When turned on, the lighting system has two settings – a bright 1,250 Lumen setting for riding on lit trails and roads, or a blinding 1,550 Lumen setting that can light even dark, forested trails for safe and fun night riding.

The bike’s central control panel, integrated into the handlebar, lets riders operate the lighting system without reaching far from the grips. Unlike traditional, third-party bike lighting systems that strap onto a handlebar and require a dedicated power source, this one draws power directly from the bike’s main battery. 



One Piece Bar and Stem

While most mountain bikes sacrifice appearances and front-end stiffness by using a traditional handlebar and stem, the McLaren Extreme and Sport use a sculpted one-piece system to optimize control and improve the bikes’ appearance.

Like a McLaren steering wheel, the electric mountain bike’s one-piece handlebar and stem puts the most important controls in the rider’s hands. With their hands on the grips, riders get a solid connection to the bike, creating instantaneous control and telepathic handling that lets riders conquer any trail. The electric mountain bike’s controls are integrated into a screen in the center of the bar. That puts the motor and light controls within easy reach. The bright, easy-to-read screen displays remaining battery power, distance, speed, and other ride data, and riders can see it with a glance. 

Designers chose to mold the bar and stem out of carbon fiber to create a shape that’s unmistakably McLaren, especially when viewed in profile. 



Class-A Finish

To make sure that the Extreme and Sport are as visually appealing as they are fun to ride, designers applied the same design standards they would to any other McLaren, achieving a class-A finish. This high standard for design ensures that McLaren electric mountain bikes will stand out at the trailhead and on the singletrack. 

Unusual in bicycle design, a class-A finish is a set of freeform shapes that create smooth, continuous curves. You can see this kind of shaping in the subtle arc created by the integrated handlebar and stem where it flows from the top tube. Also known as Bézier curves, this type of shaping has been part of automotive design since the 1960s, when it was first used by Renault designer Pierre Bézier. 

To achieve the class-A finish, designers use discrete control points to create continuous curves that arc through the bike’s design, just as they do for McLaren cars. The design communicates the great care that went into the bike’s design; a level of attention intended to complement the impressive performance of all McLaren electric mountain bikes and show anyone who sees one that it is a McLaren, through and through.