When first covering the Faraday Porteur after seeing it at CES in 2014 I called it “the prettiest electric assist bike you will ever see.” It had all the classic elements of a European delivery bike but gave you a boost when you needed it, thanks to its 250 watt motor. It was set up as a pedelec, where power kicks in as you need it; Faraday founder Adam Vollmer says “it should feel like a bike- it is a bike.”
Now they have introduced a new model, a step-through called the Cortland. The original Porteur set a high bar, literally and figuratively, Step-through’s are easier to get on and off. It has all the high quality features that make the original bike such a joy, the hydraulic brakes, the belt drive, the built in lighting.
Personally, I think the Cortland (top image) looks a bit less elegant; on the Porteur the signature double top tube extended past the seat tube to hold the controller package; now two bits of tube just sort of hang out there, looking sort of stuck on. But the step through design does have its advantages and they nail their three design ambitions:
- Make a bike that is as easy-as-possible to mount and dismount, and offer lower seat tube heights than the Porteur to better fit shorter riders.
- Offer a higher handlebar (more upright riding position) than the Porteur while preserving the nimble and intuitive ride quality that makes all Faraday bikes so much fun to ride.
- Create a design that is visually unique and iconic, but still feels instantly identifiable as a Faraday.
According to Faraday, the 290 Wh batteries will provide up to 25 miles of range, but they have also introduced a cute little accessory battery pack that can double it. Another new option is GPS tracking, and given that the bike costs upwards of $ 3500, it’s probably a good idea. And it seems you can’t sell a bike without an app these days, so they have added one of those, even though they make fun of them in their cute Kickstarter video. (They have already blown through their target)
There is also a slightly cheaper model, the Cortland S, that has mechanical brakes, a chain drive and an exposed derailleur. It’s not quite as pretty or aspirational but it saves you a few hundred bucks.
Dutch style bikes are popular in cities because they are sturdy strong and stable, can carry a lot of stuff and they are easy to ride; When we talk of bicycle urbanism, about bikes as day to day transportation, these are the kinds of bikes that we imagine filling the roads. Adding a motor makes life easier for older riders and those with long commutes or big hills. Both Faraday models offer all of that. Yes, it is a bit pricey, but it is a thing of beauty and if it is your daily commute, why not travel in style? More on Kickstarter
Here is Adam with the original: