Gruber Assist is a Stealth Electric Bike: No One Will Know But Your Mechanic
Would you know there's an electric-assist motor hiding in the seat tube?
In honor of bike to work week, here's a product to help the hill-plagued bicycle commuter - Gruber Assist, a 200 watt electric-assist motor which hides in a bike's seat stem. I am of two minds about any bicycle that is not human powered: 1) why would I get an e-bike when part of the reason I ride is for the continuous exercise? and, conversely 2) wouldn't it be nice to have a little help climbing this/that/the other hill? The contradictions continue - while I hate getting passed on the bike path myself with anything motor-equipped, extending the range of my bike to places I seldom travel now is enticing. So, would Gruber Assist be a guiltily purchased but highly practical bike accessory, or just a too-fancy gadget?
Gruber says the beauty of its electric assist is that it allows you to "discreetly" convert your favorite bike into an e-bike, as long as your existing vehicle has a straight, continuous seat tube with a diameter of 31.6 milimeters (.14 inches) or larger, and importantly, a Shimano crank set (Hollowtech II). A nickle-metal hydride battery rides along in a little saddle bag. Gruber says the system is suitable for mountain bikes, trekking cycles or touring bikes. Or you can also buy a Gruber bike - city bikes styles such as the Comfort shown above - and have the electric motor factory installed. One of the best things about a Gruber bike with the electric assist motor is the weight - the motor weighs just 900 grams, the battery about a kilo. While an e-bike like the Schwinn Tailwind can weigh up to 50 pounds, the Comfort with motor is just 14.3 kilos - around 32 pounds.
The assisting motor gets turned on and off with a button installed at the end of your handlebars and adds 200 watts of additional power to your pedaling. Disappointingly, though, Gruber says the assist will only give around 1.5 hours of continuous assist - that's certainly not enough to help you for an entire day's riding.
Unfortunately, Gruber Assist also completely falls down on price - the cost of the kit with the electric motor and all else needed for installation is a pricey $2,473. That's too much for most casual riders and even dedicated cycle commuters might choke on it. Especially since the U.S. market is about to get a flood of e-bikes to places like Best Buy as the over-saturated Chinese e-bike market looks for more export potential. But if you crave letting someone else eat your bike dust, and you want to do it on the sly, Gruber Assist might be just the boost you are looking for. Via: DviceRead more about electric bikes on TreeHuggerGo Cycle: The Electric Assist Bike We Have Been Waiting For?The $350 Electric Commuter BikeA Resolution for 2009: Around the World in an Electric BikeUniversity of Washington to Create Electric Bike Share ProgramWayback Machine 1947: Electric BikeSchwinn's New Line of Electric Bikes