The first on the list is one I was super excited about, then there was a little controversy of some kind, and it fell off of my very overwhelmed radar. But it survived the ripple, Kickstarted successfully, and now it's available for outright purchase. And it has one very big distinction from the other 5 bikes featured - its frame is purpose-built for a mid-drive motor. (I drooled a little as I typed that.)
The Karmic Koben is a beauty that looks more expensive than it is. It is also very cool for a $1899 bike. (There is a more expensive version - the Koben S - that costs quite a bit more, has a bigger battery, and will do 28 mph, but I am featuring the base model since it falls into falls into our sub-$2000 range. FYI, if you're looking for a step-through frame, Karmic is currently Kickstarting their Kyoto model.)
Impressive stats for both models!
The big deal about mid-drive is better weight distribution, a different type of power distribution, and it's a whole lot easier to change a flat tire. The big downside is wear and tear on the drivetrain and sprockets. One reason many people choose mid-drive is to take advantage of a bikes many gear combinations, but the base Koben is a single-speed model. Hmm. (I know I said that I would not talk about the Koben S - but that's a phenomenal spec list - check out that CVT rear hub!)
The Koben S with the cool NuVinci hub!
Strangely similar and radically different from the Karmic Koben is the Riide. It's pretty elemental: single speed, throttle only (no pedelec), no fancy display boards, no removable battery. You don't find many e-bikes that are so close to being a plain, old, everyday bike. If you are trying to simplify BUT you really want an e-bike, this is the machine for you.
It has a 36 volt 250 watt power train. The battery is inside the frame. It has a top speed of 20 mph and a range of 25 miles. It weighs 40 pounds. It does not come in lots of colors. It doesn't come with lots of options. It's a take-it-as-it-is-or-don't-take-it-at-all bike. I like it a lot, but it may be that I was drawn in by their spoken-word Kickstarter video: (I just don't know if I am cool enough to ride it.)
What don't I like about the Riide? Two things - the lack of a removable battery pack and the lack of pedelec system. As a guy who parks on the first floor and works on the third floor, I am a big fan of having my battery to go. (I really like that on the GenZe.) And I like the subconscious push of a pedelec over the very conscious choice of a throttle.)
For those of you wanting an e-bike but struggling to come up with the lump sum to buy one, Riide does have a fairly appealing finance program to help get you on your way - they call it the RiidePass program. [Blogger note: Don't create debt for yourself! Yes, Admiral, it is a trap!]
And now for something completely different: the Vela. Nope, it does not come in matte black. Nope, the bars aren't flat and this thing does not look fast when it's sitting still. But it does have a certain Downtown Abigail appeal and it comes in at a pretty low price. It even has free shipping for you peeps living in the USA.
The removable 36 volt battery pack hangs out in the seat tube and carries the bike about 20 miles. The motor is a geared 350 watt rear hub motor. It has a USB port for charging your stuff and it has a built-in burglar alarm. Yep, I said it.It comes in four different colors. It's all pedelec - no throttle at all. It weighs a respectable 42 pounds. And it's as cute as a buginarug. AND, it comes with built-in front and rear lights!
So, how about you? Which one airs up your tires? Can you see yourself leaving the car at home and flying to work on one of these? Me? I got an email from the Radwagon people yesterday - it now comes in blue! (But I think I still like the orange one better.
May you find some way to quit burning fossil fuels and to enjoy life more. Thank you for reading!
PS. I will shoot for a super-cheap e-bike post in the near future for you broke cheapos like me!