If you're looking for an e-bike that blows away pretty much everything else on the market, take a peek at Juicer Bike's electric motorbicycles.
The current trend of electric bicycles seems to be moving toward bikes that look just like a conventional bicycle, but with the power of electric mobility hidden in the design, which may help get more cyclists riding them. But another school of thought is to build electric bicycles that stand out, that offer a huge helping of style, and that make no bones about the fact that they're powered by a motor. And by catering to the market of people who want a distinctive and powerful two-wheeled transport option, it may help get people who might otherwise not ride a bicycle (i.e. motorheads) to adopt an electric bike as one of their modes of transportation.
LA's Juicer Bikes seems to have solidly captured that niche with its hand-built electric cruisers, which look like they would be right at home on the motorcycle board track race courses of a hundred years ago. The company's bikes, which aren't cheap by any means, are definitely powerful and eye-catching, and could end up spearheading a new breed of electric bikes that emulate the style and nostalgia of the past, but with one foot firmly in the future. Based at the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Juicer displays several styles of electric bikes on its website, as well as the option to build a completely custom motorbicycle to meet the customer's desires.
Juicer Bikes is the brainchild of Dave Twomey, who hand builds the electric cruisers out of durable old-school materials such as steel and copper and aluminum, and leaves the plastic and other 'throwaway' materials for those other e-bike companies to use. And instead of just adding an electric motor to a bicycle that you still have to pedal, Juicer builds bikes for those who would rather ride than pedal, and for those who would rather have a repairable and user-serviceable bike.
"When the EV museum is 50 years old, what will be in the collection of today’s era? I don’t think it’s going to be the plastic scooters or bikes that have disposable battery packs. I’m trying to make something that is repairable, customizable, and serviced by the end user. This seems like an old fashioned idea today, where we throw away our devices as soon as they stop working or the next new thing comes out." - Dave Twomey
The Juicer cruisers are built on TIG-welded steel frames, with powerful mid-drive electric motors powered by LiFePO4 batteries that emulate the V-twin cylinders of gas-powered motorcycles, and have riding ranges from 22 to 30+ miles without pedaling. Prices range from $4,000 to $7,000 and up, weights on the bikes range from 70 to 90 pounds, with top speeds of 30 mph, and each one is built to order.
"Looking a bit further ahead, Juicer has anticipated that electric cyclists will want to ride more than pedal, and ride far. The design implications of that are larger battery packs and a more comfortable sitting posture. These considerations demanded that we use many of the criteria early motorcycle designers employed, but with modern, high-tech components. The result is a fully modern bike that looks at home among the most cherished bikes in history." - Juicer Bike
In an interview with ElectricBike.com, Twomey shares a bit about his approach to designing electric bikes:
"In 2010 when I built the first Juicer, eBikes seemed to have been designed the cheapest way possible, namely, put the motor in the rear hub and the battery on the rear rack. Often the sales pitch stressed how hidden the power elements were, as if to reassure the rider that “no one will know you’re cheating.” To me, that approach was ludicrous. First, the weight distribution was a disaster, and second, why shouldn’t an eBiker be proud of what his ride is made of? In my mind, the answer was to find the beauty in the electro-motive materials and to come up with a time-tested design with integrity that showcased the power-plant. Subscribing to the notion that form follows function suggested putting the heaviest elements (the motor/batteries) low and between the wheels, and the lightest elements (electronics) higher. Today we see that the best performing electric bikes are mid-drive rides with packs either along the down-tube or the seat-post tube, or both, in the case of Juicer."
Learn more about these head-turning electric bikes at Juicer Bike.