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Styriette: From light Motorbike to Pedelec

A light motorbike from the year 1938 will re-appear on the market in 2010 as a light electric vehicle (LEV). The new Styriette is a modern, strong pedelec, based on an old, but long-forgotten concept. ExtraEnergy tested a prototype a while ago. This is what the test revealed...

Energy from Steiermark in Austria
The city of Weiz in the region Steiermark in Austria, is known as "the city of energy", but that doesn't stop it from being innovative. The energy flows from the firm Magna Marque, a company in the Magna Inc. Group. The driving forces behind Magna are two men who were born and bred in Weiz. The one is Frank Stronach, founder of auto supplier Magna Inc, and the other Mr. Gingl. Together they founded the firm Magna Marque in 2008 - exactly 80 years after the first Styriette rolled off the production line in Graz.

Gingl proved himself a visionary long ago. Over the last 44 years, he has developed a number of Magna technologies, including one of the most popular pedelec motors on the market today, namely the BionX. This engine opened the door for Magna Inc. to the pedelec market, via its subsidiary Magna Marque.
In typical Steiermark tradition, the firm Magna Marque then dug up a real treasure: the Styriette.

The original was a light-weight motorcycle, manufactured by the Steyr-Daimler-Puch Werke back then, with an internal-combustion engine. And this product has now been relaunched as a pedelec with a BionX motor.

The original Styriette of 1938
The people of the Steiermark first occupied themselves early on with the question how to get around their hilly region quickly and easily. In the 1930s the developer Marcellino developed a number of so-called "light motorcycles". The lightest of all was the Styriette. It had an Einkolben 2-stroke engine with a cylinder capacity of 60,3cc, 1,5 PS engine output and maximum speed of 35 km/h. What is more, it could climb 12% inclines.

The Styriette was conceived as a "motorcycle for the people" and sold 2,300 units in its first year on the market in male and female models. Production was interrupted by the Second World War and 15 years later the moped pushed the Styriette from the market. Today we have something called a LEV.

Modern-day marketing
Back then the unique frame was specially developed for the Styriette to fit into the product category bicycle. The Steyr-Daimler-Puch Werke wanted to target consumers older than 16 years, who were known to be mobile and quality- and style-conscious. Already in the 30s this was a valuable target group for marketers.

The marketing message of the 30s is still relevant and strong today. In 1938 advertisements for the Styriette said: "No tax, no need to insure, no driver's license required". That could have been a modern-day advertisement for a pedelec. So, Magna Marque linked up with the old marketing message, thereby linking modern communication with a classical design and outstanding motor. On the Styriette website everything is done to connect the new product with the original - with some success. The new product is awaited with big interest - judged by discussions on internet forums.

The look
Optically, the new Styriette reminds a lot of the orginal. It floats somewhere between a small motorcycle and the classical bicycle of the Hollanders. It makes a noble appearance, and makes no empty promises. The parts are of high quality. The rolled leather grips and leather seat are by Brooks, the "Fat Frank" tyres by Schwalbe and the aluminium cruiser handle bar reminds one of the era of small-engine bicycles of the 1930s. The vehicle builders didn't have to look around long for the retro look they were after - almost all parts were available in the trade. Only the mudguards and chain box were specially developed for the new Styriette. The parallelogram fork is particularly eye-catching and is typical for the small motorcycles of old.

Today, volt and watt are the decisive terms - and not PS. In the place of cylinder capacity, the new generation Styriette has the power of the BionX IGH3TM motor. The rear wheel hub motor fits perfectly into the style of the Styriette. One noticable difference, is the battery which sits on the luggage carrier. The original Styriette had the gas tank neatly tucked in between the back wheel and frame. The new Styriette solved the challenge of what to do with the battery in a simple, yet unobtrusive way: the battery was painted the color of the frame.

ExtraEnergy tested a prototype (only 10 units have been manufactured to date) and it was clear that - like its predecessor - the strength of the new generation Styriette lies in the mountains, and its powerful acceleration. The new one weighs less than the original. It comes in at 26,8 kg, which is less than one would expect looking at the bike, and roughly average for the bikes tested by ExtraEnergy to date.

All detail and the comprehensive test results will be published in March in the new ExtraEnergy Magazine.

Test results 2009 (also available in printed format upon request)
To register bikes for the upcoming 2010 Test
Copy: Nora Manthey
Translation: Christoffel Volschenk
Photo: Patrick Knappick

1 February 2010



7 - 12 September 2021, IAA, Munich, Testtrack

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