The fabulous evolution of e-bikes

Fotolia_53439666_MMore and more people switch to e-bikes these days. And those electrical bikes are not just popular among those more advanced in age, they’re useful companions for the sporty and adventure-seeking. Sales are not booming as a whole yet, but have been showing steady increase in America and in Europe in the past years.[1] The advantages are obvious: heavy head winds and agonizing ascents lose their threatening character when one flies over the tarmac or even off-road terrain. The progress e-bikes have been making recently is remarkable, but there’s much more to come in the future.

Digital, of course!

Why do I have to get a bicycle that has an electric engine? Why can I not simply buy a bicycle and then get a portable electric engine and install it on the bicycle? Or on my friend’s bicycle? Yes, many people wonder why one has to invest lots of cash in a bicycle while often it’s only the engine that’s new about it. Well, here’s the solution: the company ShareRoller designed a portable motor that can be installed on nearly any bicycle’s front wheel.[2] It only weighs around 3kg and has the size of a standard first-aid kit. Now you can electrify any bicycle, literally. However, the most promising new feature of e-bikes is the internet. Yep, e-bikes have electricity (!) so why not connect them to the digital land of possibilities? Slick, slim, and fast: Swiss e-bike company Stromer are pioneers in e-bike technologies. One of their latest models, the ST2, is the first “connected” bicycle on the market. Stromer developed its own smartphone app called OMNI, which connects to the bicycle’s integrated computer as well as to the OMNI data cloud. This enables cyclers to lock their bicycles or block its engine wherever they are. If the bicycle gets stolen user’s can track it via GPS on their phone. The bicycle’s computer automatically saves data on the bicycle’s condition making it very easy for mechanics to bring it back on its feet when it’s broken. The app furthermore allows you to control the bicycle’s range and speed. It’s very fast, too and has an extremely long-lasting battery. No surprise then that the company says they’ve built something better than a car. There is one major problem, however. The bicycle’s SIM card costs around 250 Euros for the first three years. Add to that a buying price of 5690 Euros and the ST2 becomes a rather expensive experience.[3]

What type do you need?

There is not just one e-bike on the market anymore. There’s an e-bike for grabbing groceries, one for going off-road (check Fatbikes), and one for getting the kids home safely or transporting a small piece of furniture. Many complain about the heaviness of e-bikes. While this is true for most of them, there are plans for the first folding e-bikes weighing only around 14kg (GI Bike). It’s a truly exciting moment for such an old invention – the good old bicycle.

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