Imagine having an electric bike with components designed and built by the same company that produces motors for NASA’s Mars missions

Swiss high-end bike maker Thömus held an international unveiling event at its new store on Montana Ave on Thursday evening. A sizable crowd of invited guests from professional cycling, local businesses, media, the odd celebrity and even the Swiss Ambassador gathered at the 1314 Montana Ave store for cocktails, canapés and the unveiling of the Swissrider, a lightweight electric bike that weighs only 25 pounds, making it the lightest electric bike currently available.

Swiss precision engineering is already legendary with its history of extremely high-quality wristwatches. What makes this bicycle so special is that Maxon—the same Swiss company that makes the electric motors used by NASA for over 30 years, including the Mars Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter, together with the InSight lander—has designed and produced the motor for this new range of electric bikes. Pretty impressive stuff. No wonder then that these bikes start at around a $6,000 price point and each one will be built, on site, specifically to the customer’s needs.

“We strongly believe that the market in Switzerland and much of Europe, like Denmark or Belgium, where people commute every day is very similar to the area here [Santa Monica] it’s perfect to commute also, with good bike lanes and even some small hills,” said Berni Gonzalez, Partner at Thömus USA.

“People here want to be healthy, they’re trying to be healthy. And that’s why we’re here. We’re not just a sports brand, we’re not just a performance brand, we’re also an urban mobility brand.”

Joining Gonzalez at the event was Thömus CEO Thömu Binggeli, Group CEO of Maxon, Egen Elmiger and NASA Associate Administrator and CTO Thomas Zurbuchen.

“The Swissrider is an e-bike for life and is light enough to carry up the stairs and hang on the train without effort, yet with enough power to ride easily,” said Binggeli.

“We’re convinced that light e-bike drives have a lot of potential in urban life. This Swissrider relies on sleek design, super-light construction and electric tailwind from Maxon, a promising package for this market,” Elmiger said.

Thömus developed the Swissrider at its headquarters in Oberried, Switzerland, approximately 110 miles northeast of Geneva, where Binggeli started bicycle production on his parent’s farm more than 30 years ago. In July of 2022, the company launched the Lightrider E Ultimate, the world’s lightest dual-suspension electric mountain bike, which also marked the first collaboration with Maxon.

If an initial outlay of six thousand dollars is a bit much to begin with, Thömus rents out its bikes from the Montana Ave store as well. Simply visit or contact the store and provide a few basic details like what kind of bike you want to hire, for example, road, e-road, gravel, mountain, e-mountain or city e-bike, along with your height and frame size and they’ll do the rest.


Scott Snowden

Scott Snowden started with the SMDP in 2023 with a long list of journalistic experience. He has written local and international investigative work in Forbes, The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, The...