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Kickstarting e-bikes with good looks

 

                                        TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2012 AT 12:05AM
The Faraday Porteur electric bike reaches the $100,000 Kickstarter funding goal. The stylishly retro e-bike is packed with high-tech features. The key innovation is the placement of the batteries inside the frame's tubes. 
The e-bike carries a retail price of $3,800, but a pledge of $3,500 on Kickstarter will reserve your bike at a $300 discount plus extra branding goodies. The hand-built collectors edition is available for $10,000. The bikes can be picked up starting April 2013.
 
IDEO and Rock Lobster Cycles collabrated on the bike's design for the Oregon Manifest contest. The goal of the contest was to design and build the ultimate modern utility bicycle. Judging was based on three major categories: True Innovation, Design and Execution, and Functionality.  

Image: faradaybikes.comThe Faraday Porteur was the People's Choices Award winner as determined by voters online. What is quite notable about the contest was that the overall winner was also an e-bike created by Tony Pereira of Pereira Cycles. E-bikes may have found acceptance in the utility segment of the North American cycling world. 
 
The striking thing about this bike is the "lack" of battery pack. By using double top tubes, room is created to insert cylindrical battery cells within the frame. The result is a stealthy e-bike in a lightweight 40lb package.

The tradeoff is the relatively small 3Ah battery giving pedal-assist range of only 10-15miles. Range anxiety is solved by supplying the bike with two chargers so one charger can be carried at all times. 

The double top tube will make it a little more difficult to get on and off the bike or adjust the seat, but this issue is solved by making three different frame sizes to tailor fit the bike for each rider. 
Other innovative features include the LEDs which turn on automatically at night. The front cargo tray has a modular design and can be quickly detachable to prevent theft. Various attachments can be designed to integrate perfectly with the bike's mounting system. 
Image: faradaybikes.com
Overall the bike is an beautiful example of an e-bike that can get the attention of the public and help e-bikes continue gaining momentum in North America. The Kickstarter campaign rocketed to $70,000 within in the first 48 hours. The $100,000 funding target was reached in only 13 days.
  

One of the most requested features of version 2 was a front basket. The easy way is to attach a basket to the front fork. This is not a good solution as it negatively effects the steering. The proper way to attach a basket is to weld on some frame-mounted supports. The basket will stay in place while the front wheel is steered from side to side. 

The new "Front Accessory Mounts" are spaced 10cm apart and 6cm wide. It uses four 8mm screws to attach anything you can think of to the front of the bike. We will be manufacturing some accessories including a basket which will integrate perfectly with the bike.  

 Water Bottle Cage Mount

New on version 3 is support for a water bottle cage. We worked to place the cage out of the way, but it is still easy to insert and remove tall bottles. Also there are some interesting accessories that use this same mounting system like the Bike Spike GPS tracker. 

 

Improved Bridge Plates

The ODK has two kickstand bridge plates. Both side and center kickstands can be attached at the same time. The location of the kickstand bridge plates have been better optimized to work with the Ursus Jumbo double leg center stand. It is raised higher and flatter so when the kickstand is retracted, it is less likely to impact the ground during hard cornering. 

  Improved Rack Design

The rack is slightly shorter than the version 2 bikes but it has been made more functional. The 10 cm x 10 cm rack supports are beefed up significantly. We now have a super solid mounting surface for rack accessories. The rack now slopes more gracefully towards the seat tube. 

The seat tube is now lower which allows for a lower minimum seat height of 29.5" or 75cm. Also the seat tube is now using a more common 31.6 mm internal diameter which provides compatibility with mountain bike and suspension seat post such as the Thudbuster. The pannier rails have been offset and narrowed to allow for easier insertion and removal of the pannier bag's hooks.  

 

Improved Riding Geometry 

The overall riding position has been adjusted slightly to make the bike easier to ride. The bike feels more "bicycle-like" and familiar to new riders. The end-to-end length is slightly shorter which will give the bike a more compact look and feel. 

 

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