If more e-bikes looked like the new Raleigh Trace, we’d all be using them

Raleigh Trace
(Image credit: Raleigh)

Raleigh has announced its new lightweight Trace electric bike today, a super-light e-bike with a hidden motor and slimline design, weighing just 16.5kgs. 

This slender urban cycle is Raleigh’s lightest and one of its best electric bike models to date, with a 250W Ebikemotion X35 battery allowing for approximately 50 miles of riding on a single four-hour charge. All electrical assistance is hidden inside the frame using the Ebikemotion iWoc controller hidden at the top of the frame, just like other electric bike manufacturers like Ribble use. 

However, the slim frame design makes the Trace look to the untrained eye almost exactly like a traditional analog bike. It’s got a nine-speed derailleur system for a drivetrain and almost no, er, trace of the usual thick battery bulges other electric bikes are saddled with. In fact wouldn’t even register as a powered vehicle if someone didn’t know to look for the iWoc controller. 

At 16.5kgs, it’s easy to carry up a flight of stairs and store in an apartment hallway or balcony, or on and off a train, which is remarkable for a frame which incorporates electronics. Although in-frame electronics and lightweight e-bikes are nothing new, an impressive 50-mile range at under 17kgs, in a frame which doesn’t even look like an electric bike, is a neat little package. 

Raleigh Trace

(Image credit: Raleigh)

It retails at £2,199.00 in the UK from today, and although there are currently no details on future US and Australian prices, we want to see more e-bikes from those regions embracing this minimalist design philosophy.

Why? Because, even though it’s on the lower end of the power scale, a slender, lightweight electric bike at a reasonable price opens the door for more people to buy and use one. Electric bikes are set to become far more popular commuting tools as people turn away from fossil fuels and expensive cars, but they’re still in the ‘early adopters’ stages in many places. 

Most e-bikes either sacrifice range and power for weight or opt for a bulky, powerful build that looks like the powered vehicles they are – which can often end up looking pretty unsightly. 

A slender e-commuter model with a 50-mile range is a good starting point for minimizing the technology: after all, the dream is something with a 100-mile range that still looks indistinguishable from a push-bike. Is it really so far-fetched, when you consider how fast smartphones evolved in the mid-2000s?

Creating cheaper, lighter, more attractive versions of e-bikes will increase the rate of adoption everywhere, leading to more infrastructure and better bikes being produced at more accessible prices. If you’re looking for an alternative commuter to this light Raleigh right now, you can always check out the best folding e-bikes.   

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.