With the 2023 Rapcon Pmax TQ, Austrian manufacturer SIMPLON has just launched the second ever light e-MTB with a TQ HPR 50 drive system. The motor is integrated neatly and discreetly into the frame of the proven Rapcon frame platform, which promises to deliver endless trail fun with its progressive geometry and generous suspension travel.
The cycling world is spinning faster than ever, with lots of new light eMTB models being released over the last few months – mostly using the new Fazua Ride 60 drive system, as featured on the Haibike Lyke SE and GHOST Path Riot Full Party. Now, several new bikes with the TQ HPR 50 motor system are joining the party. Trek’s exclusivity agreement with TQ Systems has finally expired, giving other manufacturers the chance to integrate TQ’s quiet and natural drive system into their own frames. Austrian manufacturer SIMPLON have integrated TQ’s 50 Nm motor drive system into the proven frame platform of their analogue Rapcon enduro bruiser, which offers a generous amount of travel, and secured victory in last year’s “Best Enduro Bike of 2022” group test. SIMPLON have also announced a shorter-travel version with 150 mm travel front and rear.
The analogue and light e-MTB versions of the Rapcon, respectively called the SIMPLON Rapcon 170/165 and Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165, look almost identical and can only be told apart upon closer inspection. Both the HPR 50 motor and 360 Wh battery are neatly and discreetly integrated into the full carbon frame. In typical SIMPLON fashion, the Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 is available in several pre-configured spec variants, which can be customised according to your needs and preferences using SIMPLON’s online configurator. Prices range between €8,599 and an eye-watering €14,309. Our favourite configuration sets you back a whopping €13,000 and tips the scales at a very reasonable 19.5 kg, despite having robust downhill-oriented components.
The SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 2023 in detail
Not only does the Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 feature the same styling and geometry as its analogue counterpart, but also employs many of its clever frame details, which have already proven their worth on previous occasions. A generously sized, ribbed chainstay protector prevents chain slap and paint chips, protecting the frame against impacts and ensuring a quiet ride. Moreover, a huge TPU plate shields the down tube from stray rocks while a small mudguard on the seat stays protects the main pivot from mud and grit.
All of the cables are bundled together and routed into the frame through the special Acros headset, which ensures a tidy look but also makes it harder to service the bike. The cables are securely clamped at the ports and don’t rattle against the frame, even at the transition from the main triangle and swingarm, where they’re routed externally. The Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 also features a bottle cage mount on the down tube and tool mount on the top tube.
The TQ HPR 50 motor
TQ’s harmonic pin-ring transmission (HPR), provides a maximum torque of 50 Nm and max. nominal output of 300 watts, which roughly corresponds to the ECO mode of a Bosch-league motor in terms of performance. Using the minimalistic remote on the handlebars, you can switch between the three support levels (ECO, MID and HIGH), activate walk mode, or turn off motor support altogether. The 2″ display is integrated nearly seamlessly into the top tube and shows the selected support mode using circle pictograms. Unfortunately, the system isn’t the most intuitive, but you’ll get the hang of it after a short while. The display also shows the battery charge level in bars, and double-clicking the button below the 2” display allows you to scroll through the following information:
- Real time speed and average speed
- Battery charge status
- Remaining distance in km and riding time in the respective support mode
- Rider and motor performance in watts
TQ also have a partner app in the pipeline, which will allow you to adjust the motor settings. The 360 Wh battery is permanently integrated into the down tube of the Rapcon Pmax TQ and can be expanded with an optional 160 Wh range extender, which retails for € 600 and can be carried in the bottle cage. Just like a normal charging cable, the range extender can be plugged into the main charging port above the motor.
The spec variants of the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 2023
As already mentioned, the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 2023 will be available both as a long travel version with 170/165 mm travel (f/r) and a shorter-travel version, which combines 150/150 mm both front and rear – both models with 29″ wheels. For the paint finish, SIMPLON rely on simple colour schemes, offering the Rapcon Pmax TQ 2023 in either grey or matt sand finish.
The SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 2023 is available in four pre-configured spec variants, whereby the only difference is in the drivetrain. The rest of the spec is thrown together a bit randomly. SIMPLON allow you to change individual components using their online configurator. This way you can easily tweak the spec of the pre-configured models to suit your needs and bank account – provided you have the necessary know-how. That being said, we’d like SIMPLON to offer more sensibly-specced pre-configured models in the future, in order to provide better orientation and make it easier for prospective buyers to choose their bike.
The spec of our test bike
Our 19.5 kg Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 2023 test bike was provided by SIMPLON exclusively for our magazine. Retailing at €12,999, it’s based on a pre-configured spec variant with electronic 12-speed SRAM XX1 AXS drivetrain, which we customised by swapping over several components using SIMPLON’s on-line configurator. The suspension consists of a FOX 38 fork with superior GRIP2 damper and matching FOX X2 air shock, both of which are from FOX’s top-end Factory series and offer countless adjustment options, allowing you to fine tune the suspension to suit your needs and riding style. SRAM CODE RSC four-piston brakes provide reliable and powerful deceleration and are combined with a big 220 mm rotor at the front and 200 mm discs at the rear – awesome!
The Kind Shock (KS) LEV INTEGRA dropper post of our test bike offers a generous 200 mm travel and can be fully inserted into the frame, ensuring good freedom of movement on the trail. However, SIMPLON’s configurator allows you to choose from other dropper post models with a similar amount of travel: we recommend picking the BikeYoke REVIVE, which is extremely easy to bleed thanks to its unique design. The cockpit consists of SIMPLON’s own brand 800 mm carbon riser bars and short 35 mm SIMPLON ZERO 3 stem.
For the tires, SIMPLON rely on German manufacturer Schwalbe, combining a Magic Mary at the front and Big Betty at the rear, with their robust Super Gravity casing and soft ADDIX Soft rubber compound. This combination allows you to run lower air pressures, thus providing more traction and better damping qualities while at the same time minimising the risk of punctures. Both tires are mounted on 29” DT SwissHXC 1501 carbon wheels.
SIMPLON Rapcon PMAX TQ 170/165 2023
Motor TQ HPR 50 50 Nm
Battery TQ HPR Battery V01 360 Wh
Display TQ 0-LED
Fork FOX 38 Factory 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX Float X2 Factory 165 mm
Seatpost KS Lev Integra 200 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE RSC 220/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM XX1 AXS 1x12
Stem SIMPLON ZERO3 35 mm
Handlebar SIMPLON Carbon Riser 800 mm
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Gravity Soft/ Schwalbe Big Betty Super Gravity Soft 2.5"/2.4"
Size S M L XL
Weight 19.5 kg
Perm. total weight 140 kg
Trailer approval nein
Kickstand mount nein
optional Range Extender with 210 Wh
The geometry of the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 2023
The new SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ is available in four sizes, S to XL and features a short seat tube across the board. While this is rather unusual for eMTBs, the compact dimensions of the TQ motor make it possible, allowing you to choose the frame size based on your desired reach. Like the analogue Rapcon, the Rapcon Pmax TQ has between 435 mm (size S) and 495 mm (size XL) reach, which grows in 20 mm increments from size to size. The electric version also shares the same slack 64° head angle and steep 78° seat tube angle with its analogue counterpart. SIMPLON also adapted the kinematics and progression of the rear suspension to suit the respective frame size and the approximate rider weight each size is supposed to cater for. The Austrian manufacturer also changes the chainstay length in proportion to the frame size to ensure consistent handling across all sizes.
The SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 2023 o the trail
Fancy a quick spin on your eMTB without anyone noticing you’re riding electric? Not a problem with the new SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 2023! At least when we tested the bike, no one really noticed, and neither the frame silhouette nor the quiet motor gave us away – only the display integrated into the top tube and the well-hidden charging port reveal its electric nature.
With its comfortable pedalling position, the Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 persuades you to convert a quick post-work spin into an epic backcountry expedition. In ECO mode, even heavier riders weighing around 100 kg can achieve distances of over 30 km with more than 1,000 vertical metres, despite the heavy tires. You only become aware of the subtle support when you turn off assistance altogether, which makes the SIMPLON a quiet and discreet riding companion. The rear suspension is pedal neutral yet very efficient, making it easy to negotiate even technical climbing sections. That being said, the Rapcon Pmax TQ still requires significantly more physical effort than a conventional eMTB. Moreover, the TQ motor provides assistance most efficiently at high pedalling cadences, so every ride is a bit of a workout, despite the motor assistance. Just want to lean back and let the motor push you up the hill in HIGH mode? That’s not gonna happen with the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165!
However, it quickly becomes evident that the TQ motor wasn’t designed as a powerful shuttle assistant, but rather to offer a natural and quiet riding experience that is reminiscent of an analogue mountain bike, especially on descents. Even downhill, the motor ensures a pleasant ride feeling, providing assistance when sprinting out of corners and always keeping composed without jolting forwards abruptly, while at the same time providing enough power to leave your riding buddies behind in a cloud of dust. As for handling, the Rapcon is composed at high speeds and yet agile in tight trail sections, displaying the same excellent all-round qualities as its analogue counterpart. With its stiff rear suspension, the Rapcon offers plenty of support and yet is easy to pull into the air, allowing you to generate speed through rollers and berms with an active riding style. Less experienced riders will enjoy the SIMPLON just as much, because the intuitive handling and balanced riding position make it easy and safe to ride, even after a long day in the saddle.
Our conclusions about the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 2023
Yes, the SIMPLON Rapcon Pmax TQ 170/165 2023 ticks a lot of boxes! While SIMPLON’s online configurator might not be as intuitive at first, with a little patience you’ll be able to put together a very sensible spec. The TQ drive system enables discreet and seamless integration and delivers a flawless performance, always working discreetly in the background. On the trail, the Rapcon Pmax TQ is composed yet agile, delivering an impressive overall performance and a coherent package of motor, spec and handling.
- Coherent overall package
- Both composed and agile on the trail
- Discreet look and excellent system integration
- Getting the most out of the configurator requires a little know-how
- The display is not very intuitive
For more information about the Rapcon Pmax TQ 2023, please visit SIMPLON’s website.
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Words & Photos: Peter Walker