technology

Ultima Multipath, a very promising French electric bike

French electric bikes have multiplied in recent years. That said, many are assembled in France, but see most of their components coming from Asia. Ultima Mobility’s bet is to offer a VAE produced 90% in France and 98% in Europe. This is how the young company based in Saint-Priest (Rhône) offers its Multipath, a customizable and connected electric bike.

The frame is made of an alloy of plastic and carbon, Ultima promising 100% recycled plastic from 2025. It is produced using an injection process, avoiding welds between the different elements. A single size is offered, but the manufacturer promises comfort for cyclists measuring 1.40 to 1.90 m. The Multipath can be fitted with a dropper post for quick adjustment — always handy when more than one person rides the same bike.

By default, the Ultima Multipath is equipped with a rigid fork. Nevertheless, the Frenchman offers a trekking version with a flexible fork, which is somewhat reminiscent of Cannondale’s Lefty forks. However, you should not expect the same performance as that of a real suspension fork, Ultima guaranteeing here sufficient comfort for the urban environment. The fork change is offered even after purchase, which is interesting if you want to upgrade your bike. Above all, Ultima offers cargo forks capable of accommodating a transport box or a child seat. If the manipulation induced by the change of fork is not too complex, this could give real versatility to the French electric bike.

A long-awaited Valeo engine

We’ve been waiting for it for years and it finally seems to be on the market: the Valeo engine used by the Multipath. A model that is full of advantages on paper, starting with its gargantuan torque of 130 Nm. This value is much higher than the 85 Nm displayed by the best-selling motors of competitors, such as Bosch or Shimano. In short, enough to ensure excellent crossing capacity, even when the bike is loaded. Another major advantage of the French engine is the integration of gears. Their passage is carried out automatically thanks to a gearbox integrated into the engine block. An automation that makes driving more flexible, always getting the best performance possible and limiting the transmission to a minimum.

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Ultima has chosen here a chain transmission with a single pinion on the rear wheel. Too bad not to have simply opted for a belt that requires even less maintenance. The Multipath also benefits from all the advantages of Valeo’s Smart e-Bike System. Ultima’s electric bike thus benefits from anti-theft technology that deactivates the transmission in the event of unwanted movement, while ensuring remote location and “learning” of the cyclist’s behavior to adapt the electric assistance.

The battery also comes from a French company, Neogy, based in Mérignac (Gironde). The Multipath is available in two versions: one with a 500 Wh battery, the second increasing to 630 Wh. Ultima announces a range of 50 to 75 km for the smaller of the two batteries and 70 to 105 km with the larger one.

Our neighbors lend a hand

Among the list of French partners chosen by Ultima, Mavic provides the rims, Hutchinson offers the tires, while Look provides the pedals. The handlebars are offered by Baramind, a company based in Villeurbanne. The Rhodanians market a handlebar that offers flexibility capable of reducing shocks for more comfort on the handlebars of the Multipath.

Our European neighbors are also involved. The Germans from Ergon provide ergonomic handles and their compatriots from Busch + Müller take care of the lighting. Also from across the Rhine, Hebie offers its mudguards, while Magura deals with hydraulic disc brakes. Our Italian friends are also on board with saddles from SelleItalia and a kickstand from the Ursus catalogue.

Overall, the Ultima Multipath comes across as particularly enticing. The good surprise comes from its selling price which is between 2990 and 4990 € depending on the versions and equipment chosen. These prices obviously remain high in absolute terms, but not so much if we consider the characteristics offered, the Franco-European origin of almost all the parts and a cycle market in the midst of an inflationary crisis. A good example that it is possible to produce beautiful electric bikes in France, without falling on totally unaffordable labels.

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