Liteville is a boutique German brand with a reputation for (over) engineering everything they make. The result is an idiosyncratic line-up of bikes that have collected a legion of rabid fans for their riding characteristics and premium quality - and this 301CE is their first pedal-assist machine.
The 301CE shares an awful lot in common with their human-powered 301, but the addition of the latest Shimano Steps motor creates a long-travel bike that sits at the upper end of the e-MTB price range but has a respectable weight, due in part to the carbon fibre front triangle paired to aluminium rear.
Like the meat-powered 301, the CE has a unique upper suspension linkage design that sees the seat stay driving a rocker link mounted on the top tube and driving the shock beneath it, with a conventional four-bar back end that delivers 160mm of travel. The shock linkage also features two pins which align to indicate the ideal rear sag when the rider is on the bike.
The 301's reasonably short 442mm chainstay should keep the bike feeling nimble despite the extra kilos motor and battery dictate. The chainstay also gets some innovative engineering at the rear pivot to create a bike that can run a 29" or 650b rear wheel setup while maintaining the geometry between either, while it's designed around a 29" front wheel with a 170mm fork.
There are also a whole host of other cool details, such as a built-in down tube protector that limits steering lock as little as possible, an optional 4mm thick motor bash guard to protect your drive unit, airstream cooling for the 630Wh built-in battery and a 'Chain Tunnel' that claims to increase chain life by 20-50%, presumably by keeping spray from the rear wheel away from it. You can also fit in a 600ml water bottle inside the front triangle too.
The £7499 'Factory' spec machine at 22.7kg comes replete with Shimano XT stop and go hardware and Schwalbe Magic Mary footwear. There's only this complete bike spec and two sizes - medium and large - to pick from though. Liteville’s obsession with engineering means that they don’t entrust anyone else with their finishing kit, so the 301 CE is outfitted in parts from their own Syntace brand.
Liteville-301CE-first-look-107.jpg, by Liteville
One exception to the in-house mantra is the integrated dropper post that Syntace co-developed with Eightpins. It's essentially a suspension stanchion in the seat-tube and it's designed to feel as solid as a rigid seatpost yet offers 228mm of travel with user-configurable lower and upper limits.
Selected Liteville dealers also offer a 'Kit Build' option that enables you to shave a little weight starting from £7,199. At these prices, the 301CE will not be for everyone, but it's not outrageous by the standards of top-end e-bikes. Throw in the 10-year transferrable warranty and meticulous build quality and you might even be able to convince yourself it's good value.
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