Category Archives: future e-bikes

some fantastical, some practical



Another Crowd Sourced Bike – the Visiobike shows where the very best e-bikes will be

To quote Visiobike : “We wanted Visiobike to be a stunning blend of futurism and elegance. So we designed an innovative frame that contains and hides the electronics and drivetrain. The motor and battery are artfully integrated under the naked carbon fibre skin.”

This is another following the idea “how would be make an e-bike if we had no preconceptions and were starting from scratch”

It is another project to be funded by the “crowd”

It is a neat design and has the very best available components, and as such represents a high tide mark for future e-bikes with

  • built in central motor with claimed 45kmh
  • battery within frame with claimed 100km range
  • belt drive
  • continuously variable gears
  • wifi controls to mounted phone including rear view, GPS, Google maps, speed and travel data, bike lock, emergency call
  • rear view camera with automatic accident recording
  • carbon fibre frame
  • automatic lights

I don’t expect many of you will ever get this one at 5050euro for 250W (~$au7500) or 5550euro for 500W plus the cost of shipping one to Australia, but it does show where the future of e-bikes is going.  The website is worth a look. Maybe you can contribute $50 for a T-shirt for support.


Gi e-Bike, Another KickStarter Project


When you start to design an electric bike without any preconception of what an electric bicycle should look like (and more and more seem to be doing that) and only knowing that it should have a seat to sit on, pedals somewhere within reach of that, a wheel, or 2 or 3 or 4, a motor somewhere somehow making a wheel go around, a battery somewhere to power it, and maybe some way of steering the bike, you might come up with something like this :

So far we’ve seen bikes having
wheels without axle like Yike Bike
(also has steering behind the seat)
single strut forks that makes the folded bike more compact (Jive Bike, this Gi, and others)
batteries within the frame (this Gi and others)
motor completely hidden within the frame (Vivax)
motors replacing bottom bracket (this Gi, first BionX and now many other mid drive central motors, Bafang BB replacement kits)
shaft or rubber belt drive, and even no drive
powered pedals ( Britt pedals)
motor, battery and controller all within a wheel, and without wires (FlyKly wheel, Copenhagen wheel, Wize e-bike)
autonomous power control by tiltmeter and torque sensor (Copenhagen)
wireless control by wifi to/from phone (some of the above) for
speed, distance, GPS, readouts and locking of the bike by the same phone
vertical plane folding (Jive, Gi, and others)
what next?
a bike with wings? maybe even that . [ I was posting some “spun” articles (!!!yes, I know) and was amused by the result when “trip on my bike” was changed to flight on my bike]
here’s the story of Gi bike under development by KickStarter (more and more seem to be produced by the crowd) . You could subscribe and be one of the first to get one, for about $3300, which seems to be the price for top notch these days.

Check out the Gi bike here

excerpts :

Folds quickly

Then wheels along like a suitcase

It only takes 1 second and one motion to fold. After folding, it is easy to carry, like a wheeled-luggage, you just grab the handles and go.

Smart controls

Smartphone integration, GPS, social networking, a full control of Gi’s features and an integrated USB port connects you to your city like no other.

Easy to lock, easy to share. The Gi-Bike's integrated anti-theft lock has a feature that locks automatically once you walk 10 feet away from your bike. You can also add users to your Gi, so it’s super-easy to share with friends and family.

a wheel rim that glows

Highest percentage of urban bicycle accidents are car side-hits. Gi’s frontal wheel smart LED lights turn on at night, gaining visibility in darker hours thus making the safest ride possible.

and more

If you go and subscribe to support the project you can get an earlybird bike for about $3300, or about $330 less than the production bikes.

A pair of pedals that ARE an electric bicycle conversion

Convert a Bike by adding a pair of pedals!

I just found out about this, and I think it’s a brilliant invention. Wish I’d thought of it. See the image below : a pair of pedals that ARE an electric bike. The pedals turn the bike into an electric bike. but how?

pedal e-bike conversion
these pedals convert a bike

Have you ever had a pedal jam and not rotate? It’s annoying. As the crank goes around the stuck pedal rotates under your foot and makes it hard to pedal. These pedals have the opposite effect. The motor inside makes them rotate with respect to the crank but your foot keeps them horizontal, and that forces the crank to rotate.
Obviously there are limitations in getting motor plus battery into something as small as a pedal. If you have seen my post on the Vivax Assist motor that has 200 Watt motor within a seat tube you know that getting a motor small enough is not such a problem, but getting a battery small enough, and useful enough is.
Therefore these will not replace a 250 Watt conversion nor go as far as a typical 36V 10AH battery but will give some “help”…an extra one third of your power and for 15km they say.
The main benefit of these pedals is that they can easily be added to a bike, any bike, and taken off and put on another bike, and require no battery or wiring. This is similar in effect (but less clever or powerful) to the all-in-one wheel conversions such as FlyKly wheel that I mention in another post here.
Another advantage is that the pedals are in effect a “central motor” because they work on the chain and through the bike’s gears as a central motor does.
The on/off happens by flipping the pedals over. So they are alway on, or always off. There not being a throttle or PAS is a disadvantage.
Find out more about these at Britt technologies


an electric bike from VW

VW E-bike

An e-bike from Toyota

Toyota E-bike

An electric bike produced by Smart (division of Mercedes)

Smart E-bike

An ordinary e-bike from porsche

Porsche E-bike Come on Porsche give us an eb-911! -

An E-bike from Mercedes. The Smart e-bike is smarter

Mercedes E-bike

An e-bike from Lexus.

Lexus E-Bike

A folding E-bike from Honda

Honda E-bike

An electric bike from Ford

Ford E-bike

An E-bike from BMW

BMW E-Bike - will it fit in your SLK? - yes

Audi E-Bike

Audi E-Bike


I’ve seen reference to about 10 electric bicycles concepts or planned productions by carmakers – Audi, VW, Mercedes and other european makers plus Ford.

It beats me why car makers want to make electric bikes. Cars and bicycles are as different from one another as are washing machines and refrigerators.

Two are “transportation” and two are “appliances”. Maybe it’s branding in the same way Gucci can sell perfume or a handbag and Hermes a scarf or a briefcase. Either way they make a lot of money – more than the no name brands can dream of. So don’t expect a low priced e-bike from Audi or Mercedes.

It seems to me that the biggest departures from what has been the usual bike shapes that have slowly evolved over the last century and more have come from designers outside the bicycle industry.

Car makers too are likely to design a bicycle with a fresh perspective.
This is what Smart say on their site :

smart stands for innovation, functionality and joie de vivre. Our smart products have an unconventional design, high technology demands and are your ideal companion in urban regions.

No doubt there are some brilliant and unconventional  designers in the Daimler-Mercedes-Smart group. What can they come up with for an electric bike?

Here is video of Smart e-bike being made

Apart from the usual specifications for a european e-bike (PAS with 25kmh limit) it has some interesting trending features

  • the usual bike chain is replaced by a belt drive
  • control and a multitude of functions by smart phone – and immobilised without it
  • automatically varying gear ratio
  • regenerative braking



This is another available soon that is following the trend away from bicycle frames as we have known them.

Jive Electric Bicycle
Jive Electric Bike

Jive say that this bike will be available to the first 100 people who sign up and take delivery in London about end of March. This is another crowd sourced project. Crowd sourcing for innovative designs is becoming more common. (the FlyKly wheel was another).

The design is more a work of art than a typical bike frame. Much thought has been put into making a neat design. It’s light at 15kg and at 25kmh as fast as is allowed in europe. The range is said to be 32km, so I guess the lithium battery is about 7AH. The drive train is a notable departure. It is a folded shaft within the frame. Jive may expect that the customers won’t be the type who will do their own servicing, so they will service the apply some grease to the drive train for them every year.

The design is all the more neat for there being just the cable to the motor and no other electric wires showing. It’s not that they are tucked inside : it’s because the controls and feedback are wifi-ed to and from a smart phone on the handlebar.

The folding is also very neat, with the added advantage that the folded bike can be pushed along.

Jive bike folding
Jive bike folding

Jive-5 Jive-6 Jive-7Jive electric bicycle being folded

At 1500 pounds ( ~ $Au2830) it would be too elite for all but a few aussie buyers so I’ll keep to my 20″ folding bikes at less than half the price and greater range.


PennyFarthing-1retro-1What would the first pedal cycle have looked like if its 19th-century pioneers had enjoyed access to today’s advanced materials? This modern version of an 1865 design was a demonstration by German chemical giant BASF of the wide range of modern materials they produce. 1865 was the year of BASF’s founding.
It’s a one-off. You can see videos of it being ridden
but they are not likely to go into production.
This modern version incorporates a detachable battery in the seat
and 24 innovative new materials.

“Penny-farthing” type e-bikes are not likely to be e-bikes of the future. Not only are they ungainly but they are inherently slow…
(and don’t try going uphill on one…you’d need a big, big push on the pedals). One turn of the pedals on most modern bikes will turn the bike’s wheels about 3 times, but for a penny-farthing it is obviously only one turn of the big wheel. That big 39″ wheel is 50% larger than a 26″ wheel so one turn of its pedal will take the bike about half as far as one turn of the pedal of a 26″ bike.

Read more :  Concept 1865 – Rethinking Materials

or imagine your self riding this



From, a Korean company.

Their description claims they want to promote “a new way of moving”, “a mobility lifestyle, not just another vehicle”, “human focussed design”.

It is a neat elegant design for an electric bicycle but I think they are being a little too hypey. I think their claim of “cruise up 21 degree hills effortlessly” is an exaggeration, as is their claim to have the world’s first chainless e-bike. In their case “chainless” because pedals in the usual place drive a generator,  not a chain, and that charges a battery which runs the motor.

So, like many other e-bikes, pedaling is optional (quite evidently so in the videos). “Stylish fitness” they say, but it is a very stylish exercise bike – the first e-bike you can sit on and charge the battery.

It was designed as a “commuter vehicle for regular humans, not bicycle enthusiasts” and (so) has top speed of about 25 kmh and range of about 30km. (36v 8AH battery). They claim their riders have unique choice of pedal assistance or throttle.  That is very common, but it does have an intelligent automatic gear change,  and that is unique. It folds neatly, and rolls like a suitcase when folded.

Production status and price is not said, but expect about $4000, if it is produced. Read more :  the maker’s description or  article by Atlantic Cities with some videos of people riding, and folding the bike




(Model Ue from Conscious Commuter – otherwise as yet unnamed)

Designed by Gabriel Wartofsky to be attractive to all potential commuters.
It has a gender-neutral look with a low step-over height.
It’s another chainless e-bike. In this case driven by a shaft to rear hub.
The (small) battery is hidden in the frame.
It is light for an e-bike at only 12kg.
It folds easily, without a chain in the way, and is easily carried. It is a practical e-bike for riding to or from train or bus and taking it on the train or bus.
It’s not in production yet but some start up money has been raised on Kickstarter and is in “pilot construction” by Conscious Commuter in Oregon (quite a centre for eco-environment conscienseness and e-bike development).
It’s projected to cost about $3000.
A limitation seems to be having a small battery – therefore small range.

Read more: ( article in Atlantic Cities)

or on website of Conscious Commuter



A Yike Bike

O that name. They must have wanted anything rhyming with bike. This was designed in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Their very informative website lists many dealers in many countries,

There are more than 20 videos linked on the site. They do want you to see people using and having fun on a Yike Bike.

The Yike Bike is a very neat well thought out design, and incorporates innovations that we will see more of in future.

The most obvious innovation is the hubless wheel. That is re-inventing a wheel. The concept has been around but in a production vehicle is new (apart from the big hamster wheel vehicles with rider wholly inside). It is the rim that is driven and the weight is transferred directly to rim.  So there is no chain, gears or pedals.

Ergonomically the Yike Bike is more a motorised chair than a bicycle.
It’s a mini penny-farthing type but with with “handlebar” behind the rider. Posture is more like a chair also, as is getting on or off.

So, not having pedals, and having footrests this is not a bicycle in Europe, Australia and…most places, and therefore cannot legally be ridden on a road. In Australia it could not even be ridden on a footpath, or public space (like Segway type scooters)

It is very compact folding, light and easily carried, and thus probably would be accepted on public transport. If it weren’t for its inherent illegality it would be good for getting to/from both ends of a public transport commute, or short rides of a kilometre or two.

It is mid expensive at about $4000, but compared with a Segway it is
less than half the price, much lighter and transportable, more stable,
more useful, and more fun to ride.  Many cities in Europe have Segway Tours – maybe they can now offer Yike Bike tours.

Watch a Yike yiking


Future Electric Bicycles

Things change (to say the obvious)

Sometimes they stay the same for a long time and then change happens faster and faster.

The first cars were rather like the buggies they replaced and now are changing quickly into many shapes and types from Feraris to Smarts, from Rollers to Micras, from Teslas to Leafs.

The first computers were basement monsters with the mental capacity of an ant, much less than a basic phone, and computers now can be wearable and maybe soon will be smarter than you or I. At the pace that has continued for the last 50 years computers (we won’t call them that any more) will be intelligent specks that are all around us, on us, inside us, and do many tasks for us.

The first bicycles were either penny farthings that one was astride high up and pedalled a big wheel with little pedals or a velocipede that one was astride with feet on the ground pushing. Now they can be very fast, very light, very expensive or slow, heavy and cheap, or in between.

The first electric bikes were essentially an ordinary bicycle with an added motor and battery. For most of the electric bikes produced so far that is still the way they are. Particularly the many millions of them in China. Now that is starting to change. There are many purposefully designed electric bikes on drawing boards, or as prototypes,  and some are being produced, in as yet small numbers.

To design an electric bicycle without constraints is a very good exercise for students of design, as it involves ergonomics, novel materials, and production practicalities. Some design classes have been given that task, and many concepts and some prototypes have resulted from that. I’ve seen maybe a hundred proposed designs that are significantly different. Some will get into production, most won’t.

I will mention in posts here a few electric bicycles that are “different” and are being produced. What I aim to do is write about concepts that have some chance of making it. I’ll look for significant points of difference…for there are very many of a kind…city bikes, mountain bikes, 20″ folding bikes…that are different in only small ways.