Porsche eBike X+: A bike that could change your way of life

Are you the competitive type? Are success, status and prestige important to you regardless of whether it’s work or play? And are you ready to fight for it? Then we’ve got some disappointing news for you: some fights can’t be won. But you don’t always have to always win anyway…

Porsche eBike X+ | € 9,911 | 140/140 mm (f/r) | 22 kg

Which Porsche do I buy if I’ve already bought over 200 of them? This is a question only a handful of people on this planet have the luxury of asking themselves. One of them is our good friend Erik Bötzle. Erik is the Managing Director of ESG EuropService, an international company specialising in the long-term rental of premium cars. Since Erik can remember he’s dreamt of Porsches – he calls himself “Porschista”.That quickly becomes apparent when you enter the premises of his company in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen – incidentally also the hometown of Porsche. Unobtrusive yet somehow ubiquitous: whether in the wardrobe, the picture frames on the wall, the display case, the magazine rack or in the fridge, everywhere you look, you will find Porsche memorabilia in the form of model cars, René Staud portraits, Christophorus magazines, t-shirts, baseball caps or jubilee champagne. But it doesn’t end there – you’ll find plenty of actual cars in the company’s various garages.

For Erik, Porsche is no longer just a car brand but a lifestyle. Intangible values such as the company’s history, service and countless experiences made driving previous Porsches are just as important as their raw performance, design and exclusivity.

 As this isn’t meant to be an advertisement for Porsche, let it be clear at this point: Erik isn’t always completely loyal. Occasionally he drives a Bentley or a Range Rover, and he’s also got a model BMW 3.0 CSL and Lamborghini sitting on his desk.

The answer to the question posed at the beginning, “Which Porsche do I buy when I’ve already bought 200 of them?” is a particularly tough one, because the singular original has been replaced by a much larger range. Of course, the purest of all Porsches, the 911, represents the core of the brand and is probably the car most people have dreamt of at one time or another. It’s a desire as unreasonable as it is emotional, but maybe one day it’ll simply be the reward for your success.* However, we have to warn you that there’s a new Porsche model to add to your wishlist.

In case you’re thinking Erik is a billionaire, that’s not the case (at least we don’t think it is). Most of the cars belong to the company for its high-end car rental business.

The new Porsche eBike X+ is an exclusive limited-edition eMTB with just 250 units available. It’s based on the Rotwild RX+, featuring a unique design and specced with only the best components that money can buy. It’s hard to believe, but it’s exactly this “Porsche” that fundamentally changed Erik’s life, as his wife Gabi tells us. Whether she sounds annoyed or happy is hard to tell. Both, perhaps. Since getting the eMTB, Erik has spent a lot of his evenings and lunch breaks in the saddle and it’s made him a more balanced and relaxed person. He has embraced this new world of ebikes full of enthusiasm and a childlike sense of wonder and curiosity, fiddling with the componentry and even buying himself a torque wrench for his workshop, his most proud acquisition. Yes, the stereotype that Porsche drivers are perfectionists, fascinated with mechanics and technology, is true. But Erik’s day to day life has changed in many more ways than that.

 His Porsche eBike X+ beats a GT2 RS in a drag race – at least from 0 to 2 km/h. After that the GT2 RS pulls away! But his grin is the same, whether he’s in the GT2 RS going from 0-100 in 2.8 seconds or on his ebike going from 0-15 km/h in 2 seconds.

The new ebike has also allowed him to explore completely new terrain and travel in a different way. Peak traffic? No problem. Finding a parking spot in the city centre? No problem. A little cardio during the lunch break? Go ahead. Need to get out of the office for a bit? With pleasure. A quick ride after a long day at work? Yes, please. Take in the sunset? Of course. Enjoy the feeling of freedom. Absolutely. Play in the woods like a child? Yes… A change in approach can help you solve a long list of problems, stress factors and obstacles when choosing the right tool for the job – and often an ebike is the best tool!

“There is nothing the busy man is less busied with than living.” Seneca knew how easy it is to forget how beautiful the little things and experiences in life can be when you’re too busy being in search of recognition, status and success. Quality of life has very little to do with your bank account balance. The true value of something is not measured by its price tag but by how much you’re able to enjoy and appreciate it.

Full-on Porschista: Erik’s bike equipment is stowed away in a premium Weekender bag made by Porsche Design.

Of course, sometimes Erik loads his bike into the back of his Panamera E-Hybrid and drives off to the Alps for a weekend of biking, but you don’t always have to travel far for worthwhile experiences. A short after-work ride on his home trails, a cold beer at the Bärenschlössle, the chirping of birds and the sunset on the horizon – it’s the little things that make life worth living!

But there’s more to it than that. An eMTB makes for a perfect practical SUV for the concrete jungle – safe, fast and sexy, attracting attention wherever you go.

Seeing and being seen: anyone who rides into the pedestrian zone with the Porsche eBike X+ will get envious stares thanks to its sustainable, sporty and prestigious image. That’s not (yet) something you’ll see every day.

The Porsche eBike X+ in detail

Erik is increasingly enjoying the things money can’t buy and appreciating what he’s already got. Sure, prestige is still important, but status isn’t everything to him any more. Erik has realised that the things he does and experiences in the moment are much more important than owning things or impressing other people. On his ebike, Erik is invisible and inconspicuous, yet somehow he also stands out amongst the crowds. People regularly look on with fascination, approaching him with interested eyes: “Is that a real Porsche?” “What does an ebike like that cost?” “Where can I buy one?” Yes. € 9,911. At the Porsche dealership and in select bike shops. You can tell he gets these questions a lot. During the time we spent with him in the city around the exclusive Breuninger shopping mall in Stuttgart, he was approached three times. Maybe Erik should change jobs and get into the ebike business too? From insiders at Porsche, he knows that Porsche plans to grow their ebike segment in the future.

The Porsche eBike X+ features sophisticated DT Swiss suspension, a Shimano XTR drivetrain and brakes, as well as the powerful Brose Drive S motor and a 648 Wh, removable battery. The four support levels can be customised using a smartphone app.

Forks DT Swiss F535 ONE 140 mm
Shock DT Swiss R535 ONE 140 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 12-speed
Brakes Shimano XTR 203/180 mm
Handlebar Crankbrothers Cobalt 2 760 mm
Stem Crankbrothers Iodine 65 mm
Seatpost Crankbrothers Highline 125 mm
Tires Continental Mountain King Protection 29×2.3”
Wheels DT Swiss 29 HX1501 SPLINE ONE
Motor Brose Drive S
Battery IPU.R.660 CARBON 648 Wh
Sizes S/M/L/XL
Weight 22 kg

Keep cool!
The Air-Cooler motor cover’s vents help manage the Brose Drive S motor’s temperature.
Battery to go!
To charge the battery, the IPU unit can be removed from the downtube by loosening just one screw. If the bike needs to stay in the basement or the garage (next to the other Porsche), this is a really helpful feature for charging the battery off the bike!4
Comfort and safety
The Porsche eBike X+ offers 140 mm travel on the front and rear
Smooth
The Shimano XTR 12-speed drivetrain offers a large gear range and super-precise shifting!

 I couldn’t have imagined that eMTBing could be so much fun and have such an impact on my quality of life. Ebiking is awesome – of course, driving a GT2 RS is too! said Erik, and quietly sped away…

The great thing is that ebikes are so accessible – you’re out in the open and fresh air, you’re more flexible, it’s a healthier way to travel and it’s much easier to get into conversations with people. And is that not what it’s all about anyway? It is an illusion to think that we must always have our guard up and project a certain image. True winners don’t need to prove themselves but find fulfilment in what they do. This is what projects authenticity and authority. If you understand that, you’ll always be a winner – no matter if you’re driving a Polo, a GT2 or riding your eMTB**.

** we have to admit: it’s particularly easy with an eMTB.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Porsche eBike X +, you will have to be quick as the limited run of 250 bikes is nearly sold out. You won’t find them at your regular bike shop, only through Porsche Centers in Germany as well as some exclusive bike shops. If you’re interested, you can send us an email at porsche@ebike-mtb.com, and we will forward you directly to Porsche.


This article is from E-MOUNTAINBIKE issue #018

 

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10 Facts About the Spanish Armada

The Spanish Armada was a naval force sent by Philip II of Spain in May 1588 to join up with a Spanish army coming from the Netherlands and invade Protestant England – the end goal being to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I and reinstate Catholicism.

The Armada failed to join up with the Spanish army, however – let alone successfully invade England – and the engagement has become a defining part of the mythology of Elizabeth and her reign. Here are 10 facts about the Armada.

1. It all started with Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn

If Henry hadn’t wanted to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn then it’s unlikely the Spanish Armada would ever have come about. The Tudor king’s desire for divorce was the spark for the Reformation, which saw the country move from Catholicism to Protestantism.

Spain’s Philip was the widower of Catherine’s daughter and Elizabeth’s half-sister and predecessor, Mary I of England. Philip, a Catholic, saw Elizabeth as an illegitimate ruler because Henry and Catherine had never officially divorced under Roman law. He is alleged to have plotted to overthrow Elizabeth and install her Catholic cousin Mary, Queen of Scots, in her place.

In our first-ever History Hit Live in association with the British Academy, Dan talks to Diarmaid MacCulloch about Thomas Cromwell, whether or not the Reformation was like Brexit, and what is wrong with Putney.LISTEN NOW

Whether this was true or not, Elizabeth retaliated by supporting a Dutch revolt against Spain and funding attacks on Spanish ships.

2. It was the largest engagement of the undeclared Anglo-Spanish War

Though neither country officially declared war, this intermittent conflict between England and Spain began in 1585 with the former’s expedition to the Netherlands to support the Dutch revolt and continued for nearly two decades.

3. It had taken Spain more than two years to plan

Spain was the global superpower of the day in 1586, the year that Spain began making preparations to invade England. But Philip knew an invasion would nonetheless be extremely difficult – not least because of the strength of the English naval fleet which he had helped to build up while his deceased wife, Mary, had been on the English throne. And he wasn’t nicknamed “Philip the Prudent” for nothing.

These factors, combined with an English raid that destroyed 30 Spanish ships at the port of Cadiz in April 1587, meant that it would be more than two years before the Armada would set sail for England.

4. Philip’s campaign was supported by the pope

Sixtus V saw the invasion of Protestant England as a crusade and allowed Philip to collect crusade taxes to fund the expedition.

5. England’s fleet was much bigger than Spain’s

Dan talks to Helen Castor about her book on Elizabeth I and the way she governed.LISTEN NOW

The Armada was made up of 130 ships, while England had 200 in its fleet.

6. But England was seriously outgunned

The real threat came from Spain’s firepower, which was 50 per cent more than England’s.

7. The Armada caught a group of English ships by surprise

In this first episode of our four-part audio drama an imprisoned Perkin Warbeck, played by Iain Glen, is interrogated in the Tower of London over his true identity, following the collapse of his rebellion.WATCH NOW

A fleet of 66 English ships were re-supplying in the port of Plymouth, on England’s southern coast, when the Armada appeared. But the Spanish decided not to attack it, instead sailing east towards the Isle of Wight.

The English gave chase to the Armada, up the English Channel, and a lot of ammunition was spent. Despite this, the Spanish fleet maintained its formation well.

8. Spain then made the fatal decision to anchor in open seas off Calais

This unexpected decision taken by the Spanish admiral, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, left the Armada open to an attack by English ships.

In the clash that ensued, known as the Battle of Gravelines, the Spanish fleet was dispersed. The Armada was able to regroup in the North Sea but strong south-westerly winds prevented it from returning to the Channel and English ships then chased it up the east coast of England.

This left the Spanish ships with no alternative but to journey home via the top of Scotland and down past the west coast of Ireland – a risky route.

9. The English fleet didn’t actually sink or capture many Spanish ships

The Armada returned home with only around two-thirds of its ships. Spain lost around five of its ships in the Battle of Gravelines, but a far greater number were wrecked on the coasts of Scotland and Ireland during severe storms.

There was some disappointment over this in England, but Elizabeth was ultimately able to work the victory in her favour. This was in large part due to her public appearance with troops in Tilbury, Essex, once the main danger was over. During this appearance, she made a speech in which she uttered the now famous lines:

“I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.”

10. England responded with a “counter-Armada” the following year

This campaign, which was similar in scale to the Spanish Armada, is little talked about in Britain – no doubt because it proved a failure. England was forced to withdraw with heavy losses and the engagement marked a turning point in Philip’s fortunes as a naval power.

The military expedition is also known as the “English Armada” and the “Drake-Norris Expedition”, a nod to Francis Drake and John Norris who led the campaign as admiral and general respectively.

WHAT DID THEY DRINK ON THE TITANIC?

More than a 100 years after the Titanic hit that fateful iceberg, we’re still fascinated with the legendary steamship—as much because of its glamour as its tragic ending. The pride of the White Star Line and the largest passenger ship in its day, it was modeled after the Ritz Hotel in London, with a gymnasium, Turkish baths, a squash court, four restaurants and 416 first-class staterooms.

titanicThe Titanic was 882.5 feet long, or about the length of four city blocks. At the time of its launch, it was the largest passenger ship in the world.GETTY

Now Titanic expert Veronica Hinke has gone back in time with The Last Night on the Titanic: Unsinkable Drinking, Dining and StylePart cookbook, part first-person narrative, part anthropolical study, it uses cuisine, cocktails, dress decor and other cultural threads to dive into our obsession with the ill-fated ship and the Edwardian era as a whole.

Bartenders in the dining car saloon would have been whipping up cocktails like the Rob Roy, the Robert Burns and the Bronx to tony travelers like John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim. Some 850 bottles of spirits were brought onboard, and the ship’s wine cellar was stocked with 1,000 bottles—including a lot of Champagne and Bordeaux, apparently.

0831_Titanic_lunch_menu_03An original lunch menu saved by a passenger aboard the Titanic, just hours before it began to sink, will be up for auction on September 30, Lion Heart Autographs.LION HEART AUTOGRAPHS
Lavish 10-course meals were the norm for first-class passengers—chilled spring pea soup, chicken in cream sauce, Oysters à la Russe—and each dish was paired with a glass of wine.

“It’s absolutely incredible that we have menus that Titanic passengers and crew tucked away in their pockets and letters they wrote home describing their meals,” Hinke tells Newsweek. “These letters and menus provide rare and precious glimpses at life and food aboard the Titanic, and also throughout the world in the early 20th century.”

Her recipes, curated in narrative form, include dishes served on the ship as well as Hinke’s moden adaptations. She filled in the gaps by looking at menus from other steamships of the day, as well as from bars and restaurants that were au courant when the Titanic went down—like the Waldorf Astoria and Knickerbocker Hotels and Delmonico’s restaurant (where Hinke had her book launch this week).

“By seeing what someone like John Jacob Astor IV might have eaten while dining out in New York City, we can imagine what he likely would have eaten while on a steamship like the Titanic,” she says.

One drink we know for sure that was served on the Titanic is Punch à la Romaine, a shaved-ice concoction popularized by famed French chef (and spiked slushie fan) Georges Auguste Escoffier. Made with rum and Champagne, it was served as a palate cleanser between courses. Light, refreshing and citrusy, it can easily stand on it own.

Below, try out the recipe for Punch à la Romainé included in The Last Night on the Titanic

1 egg white
1 oz. white rum
½ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. fresh orange juice
2 oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
Crushed ice—enough to fill the glass
Twist of orange peel, for garnish

Add the egg whites to an empty cocktail shaker and shake until frothy. To the cocktail shaker add rum, simple syrup, lemon juice, and orange juice and shake vigorously. Mound crushed ice in a coupe glass and pour mixture around it, being careful to leave enough room for the Champagne.

Top with Champagne and garnish with orange peel. The cocktail should be liquid and frothy enough to drink without a spoon.

Punch à la Romaine

Punch à la Romaine

The Honda Mean Mower 2

Honda-Mean-Mower-Mk-2-01-1087x725

The Insane 134MPH Mower

If there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about going fast, it’s the folks at Top Gear. And that doesn’t just mean in cars – as was evidenced when they set a Guinness World Record for building the world’s fastest lawnmower with Honda back in 2014. Unfortunately, they were dethroned shortly thereafter. Now, however, they’re looking to ascend again with the Honda Mean Mower Mk. 2.

To be driven in the world-record attempt by stunt driver, Jess Hawkins, this second iteration grass-cutter features some major improvements over the original. For instance, the output has been nearly doubled – that means 190+ bhp from the new 999cc SP1 Fireblade engine onboard. The team building it is also shooting toward a dry weight of only about 440 lbs, which means – when paired with the engine output – this lawnmower may be able to do 0-60 in under 3 seconds. Whether or not they shatter the record remains to be seen, but by all accounts this is promising to be an impressive machine.

 

 

 

The Battle of the Little Big Horn, A First for Custer Firearms

Top-selling-lot-at-High-Noon-was-this-1874-Sharps-that-has-been-forensically-linked-to-the-Battle-of-the-Little-Big-Horn

A cartridge case discovery leads up to an auction sale of the first firearm forensically proven to have been used at the 1876 battle site.

The “first firearm forensically proven to have been used” at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, as the auction catalog noted, hammered down for a quarter of a million dollars at Brian Lebel’s High Noon in Mesa, Arizona, on January 27.

Collectors of artifacts tied to George Custer-—who history best remembers for his decisive defeat in June 1876 that led to the deaths of him and a detachment of 7th Cavalry troops—first widely learned about this Sharps 1874 rifle in a 1988 article written for Man at Arms Magazine by historical archaeologists Douglas D. Scott and Dick Harmon. They discussed not only the supporting forensic evidence, but also the pitfalls of verifying Custer battle guns in general.

custer's last fight poster
Another lot tied to the 1876 battle is this film poster for the 1912 silent short, Custer’s Last Fight, which a collector got for a winning bid of $2,750.

An accidental range fire in 1983 paved the path for a 1984 survey of the Montana fight site. Southeast of Lt. James Calhoun’s position and also on Greasy Grass Ridge, archaeologists recovered empty .50-70 caliber cartridge cases, among cases from other firearms, on known Indian warrior positions. The ballistic comparisons of two Martin-primed cartridge cases provided near-certain proof that the 1874 Sharps sold at the auction was fired on Custer’s battlefield. 

Further evidence of the rifle’s strong provenance is the unbroken family chain of custody. The rifle, bearing serial C54586, was shipped on April 23, 1875, to Schuyler, Hartley and Graham, one of Sharps’s largest agents who shipped many early rifles west for the buffalo hide hunting trade. It was found on the Little Big Horn battlefield in 1883 by rancher Willis Spear and stayed with the family until it was sold at the auction.

Western movie actor Tom Mix’s personal batwing chaps and framed carnival cards topped the celebrity lots at the auction, with a $17,000 bid.
Western movie actor Tom Mix’s personal batwing chaps and framed carnival cards topped the celebrity lots at the auction, with a $17,000 bid.

If any doubt could be raised on this being a Custer battle gun, it is the fact that the rifle was not found closer to the battle date. Some could speculate that it was fired in 1883 or even afterward, since access to the battlefield was unrestricted, says C. Lee Noyes, a retired U.S. Customs officer and former editor of the Custer Battlefield Historical & Museum Association quarterly newsletter.

“And there is at least one known and photographed instance of a military firing demonstration there, in 1886, during the 10th anniversary of the Custer battle. In addition, Capt. Edward S. Luce, a 7th Cavalry veteran and long-time park superintendent, reportedly ‘salted’ the battlefield with cartridge cases and other ‘relics’ for tourists to find,” he adds.

Other Custer battlefield guns before this one, however, had shakier provenance, as they relied solely on historical documentation. As Scott and Harmon wrote, the combination of modern crime laboratory firearms identification procedures with archaeological evidence allowed for this 1874 Sharps to become the “first gun in history that has been scientifically proven to ‘have been there.’”

Collectors who lost out on the chance to bid for a Custer battle gun have another opportunity—at the James D. Julia Auction this April 11-13. A Model 1873 Colt Single Action Army revolver, serial 5773, is one of three that 7th Cavalry Capt. Frederick W. Benteen reported unserviceable after the 1876 battle. This revolver has a “pure Little Big Horn pedigree,” Noyes says.

Collectors earned more than $1.25 million for their Old West artifacts.

 

The Lost Art of Cassette Design

Steve Vistaunet’s Pinterest is a treasure-trove of photos of exuberant cassette spine designs from the gilded age of the mix-tape, ranging from the hand-drawn to early desktop publishing experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Ulfberht Swords, The All-Powerful Viking Swords

The all-powerful Ulfberht swords with blades so strong that it still baffles experts today.

Ulfberht Swords

When you think of medieval warfare, we think of swords. In the age before gunpowder, the best way to kill your enemy was usually just to stab him with a big hunk of steel.

But if you think that everyone was using swords, you might be a little off-base. Even if you tried to equip an entire army with swords, you would have quickly run into the biggest problem associated with warfare no matter the era: money.

Swords were incredibly expensive. Depending on where you lived, a good sword could cost about £1,200 to £24,000 in today’s money. Of course, it’s hard to directly translate the cost between the medieval period and today, simply because the economy worked so differently. But the bottom line is if you wanted a good sword, it wasn’t cheap.

But what if you wanted a really good sword? A sword that was so much better than everything else of its era that it was almost mythical? Then you needed an Ulfberht. And you had better bring some serious cash.

The Ulfberht swords, largely associated with Vikings, were basically like the Ferraris of their time. They were a symbol of wealth, status, and they would perform better than what most other people were using.

We don’t know much about who made the Ulfberht swords, but we do know that they were probably made in the Kingdom of Francia (around modern-day France and Germany). This was traditionally where the best swords were made, and the Ulfberht “brand” might have made the best swords in Francia.

These swords were said to have been sharper, stronger, and more flexible than anyone else’s. That gave the user a huge advantage in battle. You could block an enemy’s sword and trust that your blade wouldn’t shatter, which was a constant concern. And in an era where the best warriors wore mail coats, an Ulfberht sword would slice through that protection better than other swords.

It was the closest thing to a lightsaber in medieval Europe. And that’s actually a better comparison than you might think. That’s because the process used to make Ulfberht swords was centuries ahead of the competition. In fact, it wouldn’t be possible to replicate it on a large scale until the industrial revolution.

Viking Swords

The secret to Ulfberht swords was the distribution of carbon in the blade. Steel swords were made by mixing iron and carbon to produce steel. Add too much carbon and the sword becomes brittle and breaks. Add too little, and it will just bend. The Ulfberht swords used the perfect amount to produce blades that were sharper and more durable than anyone else’s.

But we’re still not entirely sure how the makers did that, though it may have involved borrowing some the techniques used by Arab smiths to produce the famous “Damascus Steel.”

The process involved using trace amounts of other minerals and heating them together with iron and carbon in a crucible to produce first-rate steel. And getting these materials from as far as India involved a global trade network you don’t usually associate with the period.

Were the makers of the Ulfberht swords using the same techniques? Possibly. If not, then they somehow produced something very similar to Damascus Steel on their own, with almost no impurities in the metal. And they quickly became famous, and probably rich, for it.

Most likely, steel was shipped up from the Arab empires or India through the rivers of Eastern Europe by traders. There, they were turned into swords in what is now Germany. Then they were sold to Norse and Frankish nobles who wanted a quality blade to use against their enemies. It’s hard to say exactly what an Ulfberht cost, but it was probably something only the richest noblemen could afford.

Ulfberht Sword Picture

There are about 170 true Ulfberht swords that have survived to the present day. They’re all in the traditional “Viking” style with a long, double-edged blade and a straight crossbar over the grip and all of them have the name “Ulfberht” stamped into the blade. Whoever was making the swords clearly understood the importance of branding.

But like any modern brand, the Ulfberht brand was quickly beset with imitators. Because Ulfberht swords were so famous, other people soon realized they could sell their swords for more by stamping the Ulfberht name on the blade, even if they didn’t use the same techniques. And since the people who bought these swords were relying on them for battle, this had deadly consequences.

Ulfberht is itself a Frankish personal name. That might imply that the original inventor was a man named Ulfberht. But since the swords were made for about 200 years, he certainly wasn’t the only one producing them.

And because there are so many imitation swords out there, figuring out who originally created the mythic Ulfberht swords or where they did it has baffled archeologists for decades, and will likely long remain a mystery.

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