Affordable or Luxurious?: The Developing Spectrum of eBikes

 

Article by Alison K. Lanier | 694 words

Electric bikes are, simply put, bicycles installed with electric motors. True to their name, they use electric charges rather than fossil fuels to make bike riding easier. Some models use that power to provide pedal assistance while others only give power on demand, like a kind of scooter throttle.  Sites like ElectricBike.com are highly optimistic about the potential transformations the typical eBike might undergo in the near future. The rapid-fire innovations are making them more efficient and more affordable for entry-level consumers.

The Storm eBike

The Storm eBike glows on its Indiegogo fundraising page, next to a spectacularly successful fundraising bar: over $3 million of its $75,000 goal was raised in just nine days. The money will go toward funding the production of this affordable and efficient electric bike. Named after its creator, Storm Sondors, the bike was originally called Sondors, but his first name has taken the moniker’s place.

Storm eBike

Credit: TechCrunch.com

TechCrunch recently described the Storm eBike as a convenient entry-level electric bike. If your commute is flat and under ninety minutes, there is a good chance that the Storm eBike will help you get where you need to go, says the TechCrunch tester. It’s at the low end of the price range at $499. That’s five hundred dollars toward saving the environment while also saving you from embarrassing sweatiness after riding your bike to work.

“Comparable bikes I’ve tried cost a few hundred dollars more,” the TechCrunch reviewer explains, “and if you really do want things like fancy industrial design and regenerative braking, you generally have to pony up well over $1,000.”

eBikes like Storm are an intuitive, eco-friendly plus for casual travel and especially for commuters. It eliminates some of the strain from the basic concept of riding your bike to work but, unlike a moped, eases the exercise element without eliminating it altogether. For instance, the bike makes small hills easier to manage.

However, the Storm does have some notable drawbacks when compared to an ordinary bike. The heaviness of the battery seems to outweigh the benefits of the Storm’s accelerator on especially steep hills, writes TechCrunch.

Do Electric Bikes Have an Affordable Future?

You could think of eBikes as small conveniences that make eco-friendly commuting just that much more appealing to the average, less-than-athletic office-goer. However, the price tags don’t make these convenient purchases for most commuters. You could think of the high prices as nothing more than a sign that the technology is relatively new. Smartwatches, tablets, and e-readers all saw their prices fall into more affordable ranges once the tech became less of a novelty.

The lightest and the most efficient eBikes will likely take their sweet time coming to the affordable range, though. eBikes will likely be slower in sales than, say, tablets and e-readers. Since they probably won’t have as much demand, the bikes could remain expensive novelty items for several years. The youngest generation of any new tech will usually be the clunkiest and most expensive.

The Most Grandiose of Electric Bikes

Terminus eBike

Credit: M55-Bike.com

But for customers whose wallets simply ooze money, the wait for the best and the most beautiful eBike isn’t mandatory.

Besides the (hopefully) affordable Storm, there is another extreme where luxury eBikes are already alive and well on the market. Luxury eBikes like the M55 have “unmatched power” equipped with “the king of brakes,” at least according to the product homepage for the beautifully sleek Terminus bike.  The Terminus and its royal brakes don’t come cheap though: the bike boasts a starting price of roughly $38,000.

A Broad, Transforming Spectrum of Options

The developing eBike market certainly isn’t all-or-nothing, though. ElectricBike.com is looking optimistically at a range of eBikes that will go on the market in the next year. For instance, the Currie Technologies bike, which the site places at number eight on its “10 E-Bikes of the Future” list, has just been bought by European eBike maker Accell Group. This company has transformed their aesthetic from heavy, unpleasant and inefficient to affordable and sleek.

eBikes show every sign of lowering prices and raising efficiency. This year—once the snow melts—could be a great one for electric-aided, slightly-less-sweaty bike rides to work.

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