The Segway failed to become a ubiquitous commuting device and has instead been relegated to use by law enforcement officials, elderly tourists, and Gob Bluth
. There remain, however, other modes of personal motorized transport that don’t require the derring-do of Evel Knievel
. In fact, the electric bike is emerging
anew, with stylish models that allow cyclists to save on gas while sparing considerable amounts of sweat and exhaustion.
: Historically, electric bikes have been clunky, making potential riders hesitant to acquire a set of wheels that may be too cumbersome for frequent use. The Faraday Porteur
, however, is poised to alter perception with its clean, retro frame that recalls a classic Schwinn
. The design was initially entered into Oregon Manifest’s
biennial national competition that challenges innovators to create the ultimate utility bike. The design was so well received that one of its creators, Adam Vollmer, left his job at IDEO to launch a start-up called Faraday Bicycles
. The resultant Kickstarter-funded ride
flaunts turbocharged cruising options, a removable front-mounted rack, and LED lights that are controlled by ambient sensors.
: The more widespread adoption of electric bikes has been hampered by the notion that they're wimpy alternatives for people too lazy to ride a “real” bike. Marrs Cycles
, an Anaheim-based, boutique electric bike company, aims to set the record straight with a tough-looking, wood-finished model that bears closer resemblance to a Harley-Davidson chopper
than to Grandpa’s cruiser. The M-1
bike runs on rechargeable lithium battery packs, the smallest of which allows a 175-pound rider to travel up to 20 miles, at 20 mph, without pedaling. Unfortunately, with a $7,000 price tag, this is a ride that only the one percent will be able to afford.
BMW i Pedelec
: Even automakers are recognizing the potential impact that electric bikes can wield, particularly among urban commuters. On the heels of Audi’s introduction of the Worthersee e-bike
, BMW earlier this summer revealed its own concept design for an electric bike. Called the i Pedelec
, it was created as a complement to BMW’s new i3 electric car
, and folds compactly into the vehicle’s trunk. The idea is that drivers can keep the bike at hand for times when they have to go somewhere nearby, but don’t want to waste fuel or have to search for parking. It can even be recharged straight from the trunk itself.