We love electric bicycles, and the EV grin is alive and well in that industry!
The 2017 Electric Bike Expo is off to a great start. 140 electric bicycles and more test rides than we could count were recently offered in Long Beach, California, to a delighted public ranging from teenagers to very happy senior citizens.
Backed by the Electric Bike Association, whose mission it is to communicate best practices for businesses, the expo will travel throughout the country throughout the year. Check out for the dates and places near you. I’m sure every event is a worthwhile visit.
The E-Bike Industry is Vibrant & Fun!
If the world of electric cars has lost some of its enthusiasm and innocence, this is not the case in the e-bike industry. Each year yields a better crop of e-bikes. 10 years ago, Pedego may have been the only show in town, but there are now plenty of electric bicycle makers with innovations and yearly improvements.
The feel of this tightknit and inviting community is heartwarming. Companies are sharing with each other, talking to one another, and showing a camaraderie rarely seen elsewhere. This was a welcome relief for me and showed industry confidence.
One of the reasons for could be that the e-bike industry is not in the limelight of mainstream news media. This might help with investors not making harsh demands as they do with EV carmakers, often time, to their detriment. Perhaps, this is one of the many reasons why the e-bike industry innovates yearly, listens to real needs and delivers in a creative way.
And Then The Gocycle Landed on Planet Earth
And then, there is Gocycle. It’s difficult to place Gocycle in this industry because it is so bold and different. A magnesium-body foldable bicycle with no apparent cables that can be tucked away in a 3 by 5 foot space and that you can roll away on after about a minute of work is an engineering feat. No gear selector, nor intrusive speedometer — everything is neatly tucked inside a LED display on the handlebar. I calculated roughly six Gocycles could fit in the trunk of a Tesla Model S.
We were fortunate enough to hastily interview Richard Thorpe, its famed designer. Richard’s passion and top-notch engineering is a testament to this striving industry. My apologies for the microphone not working well.
Riding the Gocycle G3 is a unique experience. Although we might never see “autonomous riding” in the e-bike world, the Gocycle is a step in that direction. Sporting a lithium-ion 13.5Ah, 22V, 300Wh battery pack coupled to a 500W continuous electric motor, the Gocycle uses a gearless three-speed system that calculates pedaling torque and adjusts the gears seamlessly.
The Gocycle G3 starts out at $4,449 and tops out at $4,899. And for the good news, Richard says the company is looking to the next version at half the price. The Gocycle is the perfect last-mile solution, imho.
Bulls E-Bike, Power, Quality, & Performance
Next on my 2017 Electric Bike Expo fun list, Adam Anderson, who handles sales for Bulls in the US and Canada, explained what makes Bulls one of the best high-end e-bikes available on the market.
My test ride of the E-STREAM EVO FS 3 27.5 PLUS, which sports a Brose 250W electric motor and a 37V/17.5Ah/650Wh battery pack, etched a permanent EV grin on my face. The e-bike dominated the obstacle course with stability and ease. It’s offered at $4,699.
The next Bulls test ride was the LACUBA EVO E8, which is more of a street e-bike that is geared towards longer rides to work (or for leisure). It is offered at $3,999.
Smartmotion Seamless Fun
Smartmotion is another great e-bike company. It was well represented at the event by Chris Head, who is in charge of sales in the US. Chris is one of the e-bike industry’s pillars. Chris is such a friendly person — he personally introduced me to everyone nearby, even outside the company, and went well beyond sales duty by answering all my questions. I found Smartmotion to be one of the friendliest and versatile e-bike companies on the market.
I test rode the Vista, which sports a 500 watt Dapu geared hub 48 volt motor and battery. The e-bike is very ergonomic, with an integrated controller and LCD embedded onto the top part of the frame. It took no time getting used to the Catalyst. The e-bike eagerly accelerated, matching the intensity of my effort without being intrusive. It handled the obstacle course in a dynamic way. This is the fun bike you can take anywhere, which starts off at $2,899.
Emotion Tackles AWD
One booth I had a lot of fun with was Emotion’s. Emotion offers a wide portfolio of e-bikes, and one which I couldn’t pass without a closer look. Meet the biggest bad boy of the electric bicycle world — the EVO Big Bud PRO AWD!
When it comes to cars, we’re used to all-wheel drive. But I never experienced an all-wheel-drive bicycle. The EVO Big Bud PRO AWD rests on those big tires, which I feared would make it heavy to handle. Thanks to generous 350W rear and 250W front wheel motors, this bike was oodles of fun accelerating in a straight line and cornering. This is the kind of bike you can take to the beach, on wet surface, mud, gravel. Whatever you throw at it, it will take it and bring you along for a fun ride. This one comes in at $3,499.
The other bike I test rode from the company was the EASY GO Race Ultralight. This is a light, single-gear e-bike meant for quick city runs. It’s priced reasonably at $1,299, making it one of the most affordable e-bikes at the event.
And More, And More, And More E-Bikes
Ohm was represented by Daniel Handerson, showing an intriguing BionX D 500 electric motor mated to a 555Wh battery pack with Bluetooth connection. The Bion motor is a little unusual, as it takes up to 75% of the back-wheel space. It’s essentially a big electric motor with an insulating heat conductive material that makes it very flexible for various e-bikes. In fact, Elby uses the same motor on a user-friendly and ergonomic frame it says will fit most people.
Tempo had a cool carbon fiber e-bike, amongst many that cut down on excessive weight. Here’s a pic:
It would take many articles to do justice to all the e-bike makers at the Electric Bike Expo of 2017. All offer market-specific solutions — front-loading cargo space, back cargo space, etc., etc. The only thing missing were three-wheeled e-bikes or RT3s.
All in all, it was amazing to see how many people came to test ride these bikes on a rainy Sunday.
Check out the Electric Bike Expo of 2017 if it comes near you. It will show you an invigorated industry with 140 e-bikes to test ride. Electric bikes may not be the first thing that come to mind when you think of electric vehicles, but they are a big and growing part of the market.
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