Having witnessed the arrival of the electric powered children’s trials machines quite a while ago, I have followed the progress of them with much interest. The move to producing full-size adult machines has been hampered by the size, weight, price and performance of the batteries which in turn affected the retail price of the machine, making them too expensive to market. Progress waits for no man though, with developments in this area of the batteries and their performance going forward at a very rapid pace. Spain’s Jordi Mila is putting the finishing touches to his new electric brainchild, the Mecatecno T14, and he invited Trial Magazine over to Spain to witness the machine in action before he finally pushes the button on the imminent production.
Spain and in particular Barcelona is always very welcome as in certain small regions of the area the bulk of the world’s trials machinery is produced. I was in the company of Mecatecno UK importer Caroline Sandiford and the families of the young test riders, who had been invited along to evaluate the new electric machine and give it a ‘Shakedown’ test before production commences.
Very proud of the company she has created in the UK, Caroline’s product knowledge is second to none and on the flight over to Spain I soon had the required information from her. She needs no introduction to the trials scene as her father before her, the late Jim Sandiford, was the successful businessman who started Montesa on its global success story in the early seventies. This is where her connection with Jordi Mila began when he came over to ride in the Scottish Six Days Trial in 2008 – naturally on a Montesa.
After the introduction of the smaller Mecatecno electric machines, the T8 and T12, Jordi had his sights on the production of a physically bigger machine to attract a larger potential market to the electric machines. The T14 came to fruition just over twelve months ago and has seen extensive testing over this period.
An industrial design engineer by trade, his dreams began to come to life as he started to use the dynamics of the active mind to design and then develop his ideas into the new machine.
First he started with the frame design to optimise the location point of the most important components: the battery and the motor. A tubular frame was fabricated to ensure maximum stiffness with the minimum weight. Various prototypes were tested before the present design was arrived at.
He is very proud of the fact that all the components are sourced in Europe. The next job was to find a suitable electric motor and batteries to connect to it. A high performance Spanish-made Doga motor with its 1,500W, 48V, IP 67 performance was ideal and it also came as a fully waterproof unit. After initial testing this unit was deemed to be ideal. Once again it was a home product from Spain that would provide the power to the motor. The Lithium battery’s performance was incredible as it offered 48 Volts with 20 Ampers per hour.
The design of the frame also allowed for an easy and fast battery change. All this was run through a Spanish manufactured motor controller, which was CNC machined from aluminium to allow for better heat dissipation whilst also offering nine different performance maps.
On further inspection the whole package looks very neat, to say the least. The rear single-shock suspension system uses one of the popular Olle branded hydraulic units found on many adult machines, is connected directly to the swinging arm and is fully adjustable to suit the rider’s weight requirments.
It’s the same at the front end with hydraulic forks offering compression on one side and rebound on the other for a superior performance. Aluminium fork yokes, which accommodate ‘Fatbar’ style handlebars, complete the suspension package.
The braking system is Shimano and using, once again, a home sourced Spanish brand, NG, for the front and rear discs ensuring that it has maximum braking performance in all conditions. On the machine we had to evaluate the styling was not 100 per cent finished, but it certainly reflects the flair of its enthusiastic Spanish designer!
By the time you read this article the machines should be rolling off the production line with a target of producing a limited run of only 200 units in 2014. The battery comes with a twelve-month warranty and the machine a twoyear one, to give the potential customer the peace of mind necessary when purchasing the machine that it’s not going to give any problems.
After visiting the new production facility and witnessing at first hand the enthusiasm of the team behind this new machine how long will it be before we see a full-size adult electric machine from this Spanish brand. We will see!
Prototype frames lie on the bench Production is imminent T12 – Supermoto!
Ryan Shepherd – Age 9: “I believe the new T14 will be excellent. The steering and the dynamics of the machine certainly gave me confidence and inspired me with good usable power.”
The Team with, on the right: Jordi Mila and Caroline Sandiford
Morgan Shepherd – Age 7: “I can certainly win on this machine. It gives the rider a good positive feel, and what I liked was the fact that the suspension can be tuned to suit each rider’s weight. This was a superb opportunity to test the machine before...