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Tag Archive: electric assist

Adaptive Use Electric Bike Makes Trails All-Access

Did you catch any of the Sochi Paralympics this year? Wowza. Olympic-level athletes are hardcore, but paralympians take it to a whole new level. Just goes to show that often, the only limiting factor of human ability is the speed of innovation and current technology. The human mind and body together can tackle the most demanding, rigorous sports—and that includes road and mountain biking.

This fact was most recently brought to our attention by a company from North Carolina, Outrider USA, which is launching an innovative adaptive-use bike, the Horizon. The electric cycle is a rugged all-terrain trike designed to allow riders of different abilities, including many paraplegics and quadriplegics, to get out on the roads and trails.

Though the company has been building electric trikes since 2011, it wasn’t until teaming up with Christopher Wenner, Ph.D., a quadriplegic adventurer, a little over a year ago that the Outrider team focused on adaptive technology. Chris Wenner wanted to recapture the feeling of riding his mountain bike prior to an injury that made the sport inaccessible until now.

“The driving mission behind the Horizon trike is simple: Just because an individual has a physical disability, doesn’t mean they don’t still crave the adventure and freedom of riding a bike,” says Jesse Lee, Outrider Co-founder. “When we combined that mission with our experience building the world’s highest performing electric bikes, the Horizon was born – and the feedback on the prototypes has been incredibly positive.”

The Horizon adapts to the abilities of the rider – from riders with full leg and arm function to riders with limited function such as paraplegics and quadriplegics. It is possible to ride the Horizon:

  • with full function of your arms and legs
  • with left hand/arm only
  • with right hand/arm only
  • with upper body function but limited leg function
  • with upper body function but no leg function
  • with limited function in both your arms and legs (you’ll need some amount of arm function for steering, braking and throttle.)
  • with any combination of the above

Horizon: Like No Other Electric Bike

Horizon is not your typical electric bike. Outrider describes the Horizon as “the bike for your super-hero alter ego.” With its adaptive-use design and powerful electric assist technology, Horizon is ready for adventures on the street or the road less traveled.

Features of the Horizon: Adaptable and customizable for a range of physical abilities

  • Foot Pedals or Hand Pedals (with foot-tray)
  • Standard hand controls or adapted use hand controls (tri-pin)
  • Actuated seat (rising) to make getting in and out of the seat easier
  • Fold down handlebars for side entry to the seat
  • Three wheels and low center of gravity make balancing simple

Electric assist:

  • Twist the throttle when you want a boost, pedal when you want, or do both together. It’s totally up to you.
  • Horizon is capable of tackling steep mountains and seriously long distances
  • Speeds reach up to 30 mph.
  • Forward and Reverse

In order to get the Horizon into production, Outrider recently launch a Kickstarter campaign to “help with the tooling and production costs of the first production run” and to get feedback directly from adaptive sports and rehabilitation centers. With the help of crowd-sourced funding, the Outrider team aims to get the Horizon into production and delivered by the end of the year.

Interested in learning more about the Outrider Kickstarter campaign? Read more here.

News: Change Out Your Wheel for a Smart Wheel!

Any of you bikey kids lookin’ to cut the sweat out of your long commute? Or maybe you’ve been thinking about e-pimping off your bike, but it just looks too tedious and technical to set up on your own? Well, check out this Euro-stylized invention coming out soon: the FlyKly Smart Wheel!

http://www.stickybottle.com/latest-news/this-ground-breaking-invention-just-may-be-about-to-revolutionise-commuter-cycling-forever/

“We want to make cities more livable, and more people, not car friendly!” – FlyKly on the Smart Wheel

I know there have been a butt-load of Smart-themed kickstarters and new projects out, but check the article if you’re interested. Plus there is gray-themed fancy people on bikes photos for your enjoyment, like this:

Thoughts, Cycle Ladies and Gents? Is the “Smart” fad more trouble than it’s worth… Smartphones unlocking your precious commuter bike and programming the speeds on your electric-assist rear wheel? Or is it the unavoidable future?

You know my thoughts, with my lack of texting and my dumbphone and all… Chime in with some comments, puh-leeze.

Review: Ridekick E-Trailer

Right after Interbike we got our hands on a demo unit from RideKick. If you’re not familiar with them, it’s basically a utility trailer that has an electric motor which in turn propels any bicycle forward giving it e-bike capabilities.

This was our demo unit. My daughter graciously help “model” these photos for me.
RideKick Review bikecommuters.com

Features/Specs

Pushes your bike up to 19 Mph
Lead Acid Battery Ridekick Trailer weighs 43 lbs and the Lithium Ridekick Trailer weighs 38 lbs.
Simple throttle gives you variable speed control
Ride 10-12 miles on a full charge on the Lead Acid Battery and 25 miles on the Lithium
Room for a briefcase or bags of groceries
Clicks on or off your bike in 15 seconds
Weather resistant storage case with combination lock
Installs on most any bike in under 12 minutes
Designed to be safe, stable in turns and when stopped
Your bicycle feels comfortable even with a full cargo load
Provides all the benefits of an electric bike or ebike conversion kit without modifying your bike

Cool little feature, the trailer has a built in LED tail light. Great idea, but it would have been great if it was bigger and brighter.
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The left drive wheel is powered by the motor via chain.
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To attach the RideKick, simply place it on the rear, loop the strap and run the throttle control to your handlebar.
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Access to the trunk/battery compartment is guarded by a combination lock. This area allows you to store all sorts of goodies like groceries, bags and whatever else can fit in there.
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On a depleted battery, it took 5-6 hours for the RideKick to fully charge. My top speed via GPS was 18.2 miles. The site says it can reach up to 19mph, but I’m sure that could be easily achieved with a lighter rider. I was able to travel 11 miles on a single charge. One of the things I liked about the RideKick was its throttle. Most e-bikes will surge forward as soon as you twist or hit the throttle. But the RideKick will gradually increase speed. So that means if I’m at a stop sign, I hit the button; it will start moving and within a few feet will be up to 100%. It’s a bit of a safety feature if you think about it.

The RideKick is pretty fun device. It allows the rider to carry extra cargo in its trunk and get ample speed if needed. The price for the trailer ranges from $699 to $1359, depending on features. To some this may be steep, but if you compare it to other e-bikes out there, it’s relatively affordable. Most e-bikes start with a price point over $1000, and they’ll charge you an extra few hundred for battery upgrades and etc.

So how does this feel when you ride it? It’s a blast! The Ridekick is very stable and when you weigh it down with load, it will bounce less. During our testing period, we took it through various terrains such as street, grass, dirt and gravel. On the street is where the RideKick excels, but on wet grass or loose gravel, the drive wheel will spin out due to lack of traction. But then again, I really don’t think it was made to ride over that terrain. The only thing I really didn’t like about the RideKick was its size. Granted, it’s a trailer, but having to store it if you’re not using it or even when charging it will require some space. Lucky for me, I have garage with ample room, but for folks with limited space who live in apartments or smaller homes, this might become cumbersome.

I need to mention that our demo unit suddenly died during one of our tests( jumping off the curb). I sent an email to the folks at RideKick and a person named Mike W. responded. He reassured me that the issue I had was nothing but a connection that had gone loose (from all the times we were hopping the curb). All I had to do was open the battery bag and reconnect it. Sure enough when I check it, that was exactly the problem. So if you decide to get one of these, you’ll be in good hands if you ever have any technical issues.

Overall, we were pretty pleased with the RideKick Trailer. It performed well during our tests and their customer support was excellent. So if you’re in the market for an e-bike, you may want to consider the RideKick Trailer for the mere fact that you’re investing into something that will attach to any of your current bikes and gives you room to carry a small load. The advantage of going with this trailer versus getting a whole new e-bike is repurposing your current bike.

Our disclaimer.

Interbike 2012: E-Bikes are Still Big!

A few years ago we saw this huge wave of electric/e-assist bikes that came out. At one point I thought that it was a “fad” and that it would eventually die out. Well, to my surprise, E-bikes are back at Interbike with further developments in battery and motor technology. Here are a few examples:

Yuba has a beautiful cargo bike that has an electric motor kit that is powered by Bionx.
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Bionx is known to be the leader of e-bike technology. In fact, they even offer regenerative braking. So that means if you’re going down the hill while applying your brakes, it recharges your batteries.
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Our friends from Urbana have a redesigned e-bike, also powered by Bionix.
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E-Bikes On the Rise (Again)

We just got this tidbit from one of our PR industry friends…an article from a new digital magazine put out by GE called The Txchnologist. The following article is on the continued rise of electric and electric-assist bicycles in the U.S. market:

No news story or movie about China is complete, it seems, without images of throngs of people riding two, three and four abreast down the street on bicycles, both manual and electric. This latter type, known as the e-bike, has seen exponential growth in recent years; one estimate had 100 million e-bikes plying China’s roads in 2009.

Now Americans, prompted by high gas prices and growing eco-consciousness, are slowly embracing the e-bike, too. E-bike sales in the U.S. have been growing at a 21 percent annual clip – albeit from a modest base – and could reach 785,000 a year by 2016, according to Pike Research, a clean energy market research firm.

Read the rest of the article by visiting the Txchnologist site. We’ve been talking about the rise of e-bikes here for a while now, especially the past year or so. Still, I haven’t seen too many “in the wild” — and absolutely ZERO since I moved to Ohio. Have any of you noticed more e-bikes on the streets where YOU live?