These three new models should contribute to the growing popularity of battery-powered bicycles.
Electric bikes certainly are not new. In the late 1890s, at least three inventors drew up plans and applied for patents. But their machines couldn’t compete with the automobiles that arrived on the scene at about the same time, and so electric bikes never caught on. But now they have: An estimated 35 million will be sold worldwide by the end of this year. Their popularity shouldn’t be a surprise. They can offer all the health and environmental benefits of a standard bicycle, but if you don’t want to break a sweat when riding one, you don’t have to. Here, we spotlight three top new models that show the range of designs and possibilities for electric bicycles.
Budnitz Model E
Power Source: Rear-hub 250-watt electric motor and 30-volt lithium-ion battery, which recharges as you glide or pedal backwards; motor is paired with Budnitz’s grease-free carbon drive belt. Performance: The electric motor can propel the bike as fast as 15 mph, and the battery provides a range of 100 miles in the right conditions. Frame: Customized for each customer; made of titanium alloy or chromoly steel and features Budnitz’s signature twin-tube cantilever design for shock absorption; available in brushed metal or virtually any color. Weight: 29 pounds (titanium model). Pedigree: Vermont-based company was established in 2011 by Paul Budnitz, the founder of the art-toy company Kidrobot and the social network Ello. Price: Starting at $3,950.
Power Source: Rear-hub 500-watt BionX motor powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can recharge as you ride. Performance: Motor enables a top speed of 20 mph; battery provides a range of up to 90 miles in the right conditions; bike is available with a 9-speed or single-speed drivetrain. Frame: Step-through design made of aluminum alloy and equipped with front and back LED lights and hydraulic disc brakes; available in black, white, blue, gray, or orange. Weight: 55 pounds. Pedigree: California company established by auto-industry veterans Frank Stronach and Fred Gingl. Stronach founded the auto-parts manufacturer Magna International, and Gingl ran BionX, which makes motors for electric bikes including the Elby. Price: $3,699 (9 speed); $3,499 (single speed). Contact: (elbybike.com)
Power Source: Mid-mounted 250-watt Brose motor powered by a Panasonic battery, which can be removed for recharging. Performance: Bike is available in three styles—Elegance, Hi-Tech, and Dynamic—each of which offers a different amount of torque; motor’s maximum speed is 20 mph. Frame: Made of carbon fiber; handlebar, seat post, and wheels are also made of carbon fiber; equipped with hydraulic disc brakes; aerodynamic body style is based on wind-tunnel testing. Weight: 35 pounds. Pedigree: Pininfarina, the Italian design house best known for its work with Ferrari and other automakers, designed the E-voluzione, and the Dutch bicycle brand Diavelo will build it. Price: $5,500 (estimated; bike will not arrive on the market until early next year). Contact: (pininfarina-evoluzione.com)
Robb Report | Dec 2016