Friday, October 10, 2008

Interbike Expo - eBikes

Las Vegas, NV - Frankly, the phenomena of the electric bike, or so-called eBike hybrid because it can be ridden in either motor-assist mode or as a conventional bike, is completely lost on me [then again, as a bike snob the idea of the traditional hybrid, the cross between a road and a mountain bike, was lost on me]. But the numbers are hard to argue, and they are staggering.

According to the Electric Bikes Worldwide Report, 2008 Update, 20.8 million eBikes were sold worldwide in 2007, a total expected to show only modest worldwide growth in 2009 to 21.6 million units. However, eBikes represent the fastest-growing bicycle category within the U.S., Europe and a number of other regions.

For example, U.S. eBike sales are projected to hit 220,000 units in 2009, a two-year increase of 83 percent from 2007 U.S. eBike sales of 120,000 units. Projections for Europe are even more robust, with eBike sales in Europe expected to hit 750,000 units in 2009 a three-fold increase versus 2007 sales of 250,000 eBikes in Europe.

As I walked around the Interbike expo floor, it was difficult not to run into some form of an electronic powered bicycle. Established manufacturers, like Schwinn, which currently boast six models in its electric bicycle line, with the Tailwind expected to arrive in dealer stores in early 2009, and new companies specializing in eBikes were practically around every corner.

We take a look at three companies in this bicycle category, ranging from simple conversion to the scooter like A2B.

Bionx
Bionx (pronounced like bionics) specializes in electric bike motor conversion kits that are manufactured in Quebec, Canada. The kits are reliable, lightweight and offer a range of up to 60 miles to a charge.

"The standard Bionx system includes a control console, a battery and a wheel/motor. The Bionx system can be installed on most bicycles by replacing the rear wheel with the Bionx motor-wheel. The system can be retrofitted on just about any bicycle type: road, mountain, tandem, folding and recumbents."


eZip & iZip
These eBikes powered by Currie Technologies take the prize for attempting to take the stigma out of riding a truly conventional looking bicycle that in actuality is an electric powered one (Again, why?). Their cleverly placed battery, some models have their battery shaped like and embedded in the bike's down tube, can easily be mistaken for rear panniers or the tray of a rear rack.


A2B
The heart of a bicycle. The soul of a scooter. When we spotlighted Ultra Motor's A2B back in August, it was touted as looking "very much like a regular bicycle, except that it has some very heavy-duty looking components." But up close, I can see why their marketers were worried about people confusing it with a scooter. It's sturdy. I can only imagine what it's like to pedal?

"The A2B offers unassisted power on demand for up to 20 miles at a cruising speed of 20mph. Plus, the A2B can be easily upgraded to double its range to 40 miles with the addition of a secondary battery pack and increase its carrying capacity with the addition of baskets and rear carrier bags."


Photos: Leonard Basobas

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm w/ you Granny. The beauty of a true bike is it's self-sustainability and thus the independence it gives the rider!

Granny's 30 said...

thanks for that one anon, preaching to the choir!

Nolan said...

For someone that is an advid cyclists, these electric bikes seem counter intiutive however, commuting with a regular bike is not always practical. Hills, heat the workout....especially if you need to arrive looking good. These are a fantastic alternative and hard core cyclists should not frown (in my opinion) on interested parties. They are getting mor and more people on bikes and could be the next big thing in cycling very soon. I bought on of the Currie izip models more then one year ago for about $800 and it has more then paid for itself. My wife, who has not been on a bike since she was 12, rides one too, to the store and just for fun 3 or 4 times a week. www.izipusa.com for more information.

Granny's 30 said...

Thanks for the firsthand knowledge Nolan. I'd be interested to hear how often you or your wife actually pedal the bike as opposed to having it in motor assisted mode?

Anonymous said...

I know alot of "cyclists" are anti e-bike, but as a 65 year old that has had my fill of cycling, I purchased an electric bike that looks more like a scooter. I love it. So for all those who are anti e-bike....give it about 30 or 40 years and you will grow into one...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Interbike Expo - eBikes

Las Vegas, NV - Frankly, the phenomena of the electric bike, or so-called eBike hybrid because it can be ridden in either motor-assist mode or as a conventional bike, is completely lost on me [then again, as a bike snob the idea of the traditional hybrid, the cross between a road and a mountain bike, was lost on me]. But the numbers are hard to argue, and they are staggering.

According to the Electric Bikes Worldwide Report, 2008 Update, 20.8 million eBikes were sold worldwide in 2007, a total expected to show only modest worldwide growth in 2009 to 21.6 million units. However, eBikes represent the fastest-growing bicycle category within the U.S., Europe and a number of other regions.

For example, U.S. eBike sales are projected to hit 220,000 units in 2009, a two-year increase of 83 percent from 2007 U.S. eBike sales of 120,000 units. Projections for Europe are even more robust, with eBike sales in Europe expected to hit 750,000 units in 2009 a three-fold increase versus 2007 sales of 250,000 eBikes in Europe.

As I walked around the Interbike expo floor, it was difficult not to run into some form of an electronic powered bicycle. Established manufacturers, like Schwinn, which currently boast six models in its electric bicycle line, with the Tailwind expected to arrive in dealer stores in early 2009, and new companies specializing in eBikes were practically around every corner.

We take a look at three companies in this bicycle category, ranging from simple conversion to the scooter like A2B.

Bionx
Bionx (pronounced like bionics) specializes in electric bike motor conversion kits that are manufactured in Quebec, Canada. The kits are reliable, lightweight and offer a range of up to 60 miles to a charge.

"The standard Bionx system includes a control console, a battery and a wheel/motor. The Bionx system can be installed on most bicycles by replacing the rear wheel with the Bionx motor-wheel. The system can be retrofitted on just about any bicycle type: road, mountain, tandem, folding and recumbents."


eZip & iZip
These eBikes powered by Currie Technologies take the prize for attempting to take the stigma out of riding a truly conventional looking bicycle that in actuality is an electric powered one (Again, why?). Their cleverly placed battery, some models have their battery shaped like and embedded in the bike's down tube, can easily be mistaken for rear panniers or the tray of a rear rack.


A2B
The heart of a bicycle. The soul of a scooter. When we spotlighted Ultra Motor's A2B back in August, it was touted as looking "very much like a regular bicycle, except that it has some very heavy-duty looking components." But up close, I can see why their marketers were worried about people confusing it with a scooter. It's sturdy. I can only imagine what it's like to pedal?

"The A2B offers unassisted power on demand for up to 20 miles at a cruising speed of 20mph. Plus, the A2B can be easily upgraded to double its range to 40 miles with the addition of a secondary battery pack and increase its carrying capacity with the addition of baskets and rear carrier bags."


Photos: Leonard Basobas

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm w/ you Granny. The beauty of a true bike is it's self-sustainability and thus the independence it gives the rider!

Granny's 30 said...

thanks for that one anon, preaching to the choir!

Nolan said...

For someone that is an advid cyclists, these electric bikes seem counter intiutive however, commuting with a regular bike is not always practical. Hills, heat the workout....especially if you need to arrive looking good. These are a fantastic alternative and hard core cyclists should not frown (in my opinion) on interested parties. They are getting mor and more people on bikes and could be the next big thing in cycling very soon. I bought on of the Currie izip models more then one year ago for about $800 and it has more then paid for itself. My wife, who has not been on a bike since she was 12, rides one too, to the store and just for fun 3 or 4 times a week. www.izipusa.com for more information.

Granny's 30 said...

Thanks for the firsthand knowledge Nolan. I'd be interested to hear how often you or your wife actually pedal the bike as opposed to having it in motor assisted mode?

Anonymous said...

I know alot of "cyclists" are anti e-bike, but as a 65 year old that has had my fill of cycling, I purchased an electric bike that looks more like a scooter. I love it. So for all those who are anti e-bike....give it about 30 or 40 years and you will grow into one...