Meet Coleen, an E-Bike Modelled After a Classic Jean Prouvé Design

©. Coleen

C'est magnifique.

In 1941, Jean Prouvé was in occupied France and was temporarily out of the building business; he kept his workshop busy by making charcoal-burning stoves, cookers adapted for poor fuels, and a clever bicycle design that could be made out of sheet metal, which was easier to get than tubular steel.

prouve bike auction at Christies

Christies sale of Prouve bike/Screen captureThey are quite the collector's item today; the last time one sold at auction it went for more than $100,000 (€72,400).

Blue Coleen

© Coleen

Now Audrey Lefort and Thibault Halm have introduced Coleen, an electric bike modelled after the Prouvé bike, a bargain by comparison, starting at €4,690 or USD $5,409. It is a thing of beauty.

Coleen has taken up the challenge of bringing lightweight together with premium quality to create a product whose technical performance is matched by its distinctive design. Coleen has developed and perfected its own technical components to deliver on its promise of sustainable, safe urban mobility.
coleen motor

© Coleen motor

The basic model has a 250 watt motor in the rear hub to comply with EU maximums for pedelec bikes, but it is not the usual setup:

With claimed efficiency of 94%, Coleen offers an operating range per charge that is around 25% more than traditional motors. This technical feat has been achieved through the use of ground-breaking electronics that control the motor in real time (1,000 times more signals per second). A new generation of silent motor weighing less than 2.5kg delivering 50Nm of torque with fully integrated sensors. This French motor is unique in today’s market and is designed to meet the demands imposed by automotive industry standards.
Coleen outside

© Coleen

There is also a 500 watt version that can get up to 45 km/h (28 MPH) for people who want to terrorize everybody else in the bike lanes in North America, where such things are allowed. It goes for €7,500.

The bike has a range of 100 km, thanks to a battery with 42 cells at 3.6Ah per cell for a 529Wh total, and all the electronics run at 48 volts, which provides more torque. "As a result, the Coleen can cope with more sustained acceleration and braking cycles without overheating, and the same is true of extended climbs."


© Coleen

Thanks to the carbon fibre frame and lightweight motor and battery, the entire bike weighs only 18 kg (40 pounds). It's beautifully detailed, right down to the leather saddle made by Voltaire.


© Audrey Lefort and Thibault Halm of Coleen

I smiled when I read that it has a keyless ignition system and that you unlock and start the bike with your phone; this bike will definitely be subject to the fifty pound rule:

"All bicycles weigh fifty pounds. A thirty-pound bicycle needs a twenty-pound lock. A forty-pound bicycle needs a ten-pound lock. A fifty-pound bicycle doesn't need a lock at all."

Place your order at Colleen.