Instead of following the 'pink it and shrink it' method of creating a women's bike, Karmic Bikes built its new Kyoto e-bike as a comfortable, high quality bike specifically designed for women riders.
Last year, Karmic Bikes launched its Koben e-bike with a very successful Kickstarter campaign, and delivered the finished bikes to happy backers this summer. Now the company is back with a new e-bike, and this time it's taking aim at the relatively empty market of e-bikes that are designed for women with its Kyoto offering. Sure, women can ride men's bikes, and other bike companies offer women's e-bikes, but all too often, their women's models are just slimmed down versions with a stepthrough frame, whereas the Karmic Bikes Kyoto is said to be a 'clean sheet' design that was built specifically for women, right from the get-go.
According to Hong Quan, CEO and co-founder of Karmic Bikes, the Kyoto "had to be made," not only because better e-bikes are the way of the future, but also because of the "#DudeManBros of the Internet" and the preponderance of MAMILs that feel like they deserve to rule the world:
"Cycling is a sport heavily geared for men. And it shouldn’t be. I hope this is just an American oddity, because in the rest of the world, women ride bikes as much as men. Only here in the States do we have this gender disparity. And it starts with the bike industry. We are new to the industry, but we aren’t just going to play along. So it is on us to question the way things have always been done, and examine the root cause of this disparity. We will change the bike industry." - Hong Quan, Karmic Bikes
"Our goal is to always design the best bikes possible and think about the rider first. Kyoto is really a love letter to all of the women in our lives. They deserve a quality ride with features designed specifically to their needs—not just a men’s version shrunk in a different color." - Hong Quan
The Kyoto, which is powered by the Shimano STEPS mid-drive system, is built on an aluminum frame and features an upright riding position, a very low stepthrough frame style (no top tube whatsoever), and comes in three sizes (extra small, small, and medium). The bike also comes with an 11-speed transmission for more granular control over pedaling effort, front and rear disk brakes, and the 500 Wh removable battery is said to have a whopping 50+ mile range. The positioning of the battery on the Kyoto's seat tube, instead of the down tube, is said to offer better weight distribution for optimal riding stability, and with integrated head and taillights and fenders, the bike promises to not only be a fun bike to ride, but a useful commuter bike as well.
Here's a look at the Kyoto:
The Kyoto is priced at $1799 for early bird backers, which is a full $1000 off of the expected retail price, and is expected to be delivered to Kickstarter backers in the spring of 2017. For more information, see the campaign page or the Karmic Bikes website.