If you like the idea of riding an e-bike, but don't want to admit you're getting a little motorized help, German bike builder Rose has the solution: a single-speed electric bike with a drive system so well hidden, you'll have to be really looking hard to spot it.
As BikeRumor (opens in new tab) reports, the delightfully named Rose Sneak+ (opens in new tab) looks almost exactly like a regular single-speed, with the exception of a tiny power button on the top tube and super discrete rear hub motor. The battery is hidden completely – fully integrated into a downtube that looks no thicker than a conventional one.
Sneaky e-bikes aren't a complete novelty; in fact, race organizers at events like the Tour de France use methods like thermal imaging cameras (opens in new tab) to detect signs of 'mechanical doping' (ie using a motor). Even though it'll add precious grams to the weight of a racing bike, a tiny hidden battery pack can give unscrupulous riders a secret hidden advantage on tough stages.
Out in the real world, e-bikes generally seem to be splitting into two camps. Some wear their batteries with pride, sporting minimalist branding, built-in lights and ride computers, and noticeably thicker frames (the Cowboy 4 and WAU Bike are good examples).
Then there are 'stealthy' e-bikes like the Ribble GCR AL e and Ampler Curt that could quite easily pass as purely pedal-powered at a glance. Few consumer bike builders are taking things quite as far as Rose, though.
Sneakily does it
The Sneak+ doesn't weigh as much as a typical e-bike, either. Tipping the scales at a mere 14.5kg, it's almost as light as the Ribble Hybrid AL e. Perhaps most surprisingly of all, Rose has managed all of this without sacrificing range. The Sneak+ is packing a 250Wh battery, and can run for up to 62 miles between charges, which is very respectable.
It's designed for use in the EU, so it won't exceed 12.5pmph with the motor engaged, and the power will only kick in when you're pedalling yourself, but that just adds to the illusion that you're doing all the work yourself. If anyone asks, you can put it down to a new training plan.
The Rose Sneak+ starts at €2,350 (about $2,600 / £2,000 / AU$3,500), or you can upgrade to a version with a Gates carbon belt drive for €2,600 (about $2,900 / £2,200 / AU$3,800).