Ambition is written with big letters at Decathlon. Being one of the World’s biggest sporting goods retailers is clearly not good enough for the French company, which is now determined to help shape tomorrow’s mobility. The Magic Bike concept study incorporates many clever ideas that are supposed to improve safety and comfort. But how far is Decathlon’s concept bike from being ready for the market?

Not only is the French sport goods giant extremely ambitious but also incredibly keen to provide a level of industry expertise that goes far beyond selling sporting goods. For the Magic Bike concept study, Decathlon brought together four developers from different industrial backgrounds and asked them to solve the riddle of what keeps the urban population from using an e-bike. What are the needs and fears of commuters and how can we address them with an e-bike? It quickly became clear that safety plays a crucial role in this equation. According to Decathlon, the probability of a crash with an e-bike is four times higher (per hour travelled) than with a car. As a logical consequence, e-bikers not only feel, but also are more vulnerable than car drivers. Therefore, visibility is key and it’s crucial for e-bikers to both see and be visible in traffic. Given that a bicycle is stolen every minute in France, the developers of the Magic Bike dug deep into their bag of tricks to ensure a high level of theft protection. Moreover, the bike should be as versatile as possible and strike a harmonious balance between comfort and handling to ensure a well-rounded concept.

Safety, comfort, versatility and ease of use: the Magic Bike concept study wants to combine all of the above. Although it only took Decathlon 6 months to develop the bike, the result is impressive.

Just a dreamy glimpse into the future? Decathlon’s Magic Bike in detail

With the Magic Bike, Decathlon’s development team produced a feasibility study that aims to go beyond just having a production-ready e-bike and is primarily about experimenting and responding to the emotions and needs of e-bikers as well as identifying problems and finding a matching solution. The Magic Bike is intended to be a showcase of technical possibilities and thus drive technological development among bike manufacturers. Ultimately, the developers want the entire bike community to benefit from the clever features, whether it’s in the shape of a Magic Bike or another bike from the competition.

Although the actual model name of the Magic Bike is BTWIN Concept_01, the developers like Magic Bike better – and so do we 😉
The rear wheel is secured to a single-sided magnesium swingarm that also houses the belt drive. The enclosed system protects the belt from dirt and grit, thus minimising servicing.
The Magic Bike forgoes a conventional rear derailleur and relies on an automatic gearbox instead.
The display is neatly integrated into the stem and does more than simply tell you which support mode you’re using. Instead, it serves as an information hub that works like the networked onboard computer of a car.
The dongle is positioned under a see-through plastic cover and establishes the connection to location services, enabling the smart connectivity features of the bike, e.g. theft protection. However, it’s still unclear whether the dongle will be as exposed and easily accessible on future production bikes.
The front and rear racks can be clipped on and off as required…
… allowing you to run a modular rack system with panniers, boxes and even a child seat.
The removable battery system is modular and can be configured with up to three batteries. Decathlon presented the Magic Bike with two batteries and a built-in charger, which lets you connect the bike directly to a plug.
The Magic Bike uses just one brake lever for both brakes.
The brake features sensor-assisted brake power distributor which distributes the braking force between the front (60%) and rear wheel (40%).
The dual kickstand holds the e-bike upright while loading and serves as an immobiliser, locking the rear wheel when activated. If someone tries to steal the bike, the kickstand triggers an alarm. The system can be activated via a smartphone, which allows you to unlock your e-bike without even touching it: magic!
The handlebars are the widest part of modern e-bikes. Decathlon’s developers take advantage of this, installing a flashing light into both bar ends and thus allowing you to indicate before turning or changing lanes, making you more visible to other road users.
Not only does the tail light make you visible from the rear but also shines onto your back, ensuring excellent visibility together with the turning lights at the front.
The headlight features several functions including a side-flash and stationary pulsating mode and can be attached magnetically to the front rack should the load on the rack obstruct the light beam.
Next level awareness! Not only does the Magic Bike make you visible with its lighting system but also allows you to sound a horn in dangerous situations.

Visions are a preview of the future! Will the Magic Bike just remain a dreamy showcase of technological possibilities or will it find its way into one of Decathlon’s 1,700 shops? Unfortunately not! As innovative and forward-thinking as it may be, Decathlon’s concept study won’t make it into production. However, the Magic Bike ignited the creative fire of developers, who are already working on the concept study for the Magic Bike 2.0, which will serve as an example for the trekking bike sector just as the Magic Bike did for the urban sector.

Words: Rudolf Fischer Photos: Manfred Schmitt