A Ukrainian courier company has parlayed its experience with electric bike technology into the development of a long range e-bike with all the bells and whistles.
If the production models of Delfast's forthcoming models of electric bikes prove to live up to the company's claims, it could be a gamechanger for e-bike transportation, as its premium bike is rated for a range of up to 236 miles. That's longer than most of the current crop of pure electric cars, and could be a boon for those who'd like to be able to ride their electric assist bicycles on extended touring trips without having to stop for a charge during the day.
In the fast-moving electric bike sector, most companies plug one feature or another above everything else, with motor wattage, potential top speed, carrying capacity, or length of riding range taking the top spots for mentions in most e-bike marketing materials. And although those elements alone might give an indication of the bike's quality or suitability for a given situation, the worth of an electric bike is not just found in the sum of its motor, battery, and electronics, but is rather a function of its overall performance plus the desirability factor (Does it attract you enough to want to ride it every day?) plus the practicality and usefulness of it where the rubber meets the road. The fastest, longest-range, highest cargo capacity electric bike in the world isn't worth much if it just sits collecting dust most of the time, whereas a very basic and simple e-bike that gets ridden every single day in place of car-miles can be far more valuable than its more expensive counterpart.
This next line of bikes, from Delfast, looks targeted at making an impression on the market by virtue of its long range per charge, which could be a selling point for those in rural and off-grid areas where longer distances might need to be covered, or for touring riders who want to cover more miles per day with less effort, thanks to an electric assist system. According to the specs published by Delfast, its Premium model will have a riding range of up to a mind-boggling 236 miles (380 km) per charge, while its other models will have a range of either 174 miles (280 km) or 112 miles (180 km), with top speeds limited by the region (25 kph/15 mph in the EU, 32 kph/20 mph in the US, or "unlimited" for off-road use).
Delfast has been operating a delivery and courier business since 2015 in the Ukraine, Poland, and Kazakhstan, making deliveries of products ordered online with its fleet of electric bikes, but could be poised to break out of the courier sector with this new line of bikes.
"This isn't the first e-bike we built. Our extensive knowledge of e-bikes was gained from 3 years of manufacturing and using bikes for our own couriers, riding thousands of miles every day in 3 countries. Translation: we've been there and done that." - Delfast
"236 miles is not an artificial figure that the electric bike is able to pass in ideal conditions of the passenger or on a training stand. We challenged ourselves and went on a trip on the top model of Delfast. We charged the bike, took the camera and made a movie - from start to finish on one charge." - Delfast
The Prime model uses a 1000W motor paired with a 48V 64Ah battery that is said to be rated for 3000+ charging cycles, which enables a "cruise speed" of 25 to 28 mph (40-45 kph) and a top speed of 35 mph (55 kph). The bike includes GPS tracking, turn signals, front and rear lighting, brake lights, a locking feature with an alarm, an app, and more, and its full retail cost is estimated to be $5,190. The bike is no lightweight, either, and with a curb weight of 95 pounds (43 kg), it's almost halfway to a motorcycle in terms of its size.
"Delfast is a hybrid between a cross-country motorcycle and a mountain bike. With this bike you can ride around the city, off-road and, most importantly, for long distances." - Daniel Tonkopiy, Delfast CEO
The Top model, which looks even more like a motorcycle, weighs in at a staggering 137 pounds (62 kg) and incorporates a powerful 5000W electric motor and a 48V 50 Ah battery for an e-bike capable of hitting a top speed of 50 mph (80 kph) and a range of up to 174 miles (280 km). The full retail cost on the Top model is said to be $6890, so all of that power comes at a price.
The Delfast Lite model uses a 750W motor coupled with a 48V 28Ah battery for a top speed of 26 mph (42 kph) and a riding range per charge of about 112 miles (180 km). The bike lives up to its name in terms of actual weight, and although the 59 pound (27 kg) Top model is heavier than your average conventional bike, it's the lightest of the models offered by Delfast, and has the lowest retail price at $4160.
Delfast is choosing to use crowdfunding to accept pre-orders of its bikes, and the Delfast Kickstarter campaign surpassed its initial $50,000 goal in just a few short days, with more than a month left to run. Backers of the campaign can get a Lite model for a pledge of $2719, a Top model starting at $4349, or a Prime model starting at $3589, and the company estimates deliveries of the bikes in May of 2018.