Image credit: Kalkhoff USA
From Schwinn's good looking electric bikes to this $350 commuter bike with electric assist, we see plenty of pedal bikes packing an electric motor as backup these days. And folks seem to be finally accepting the idea that e-bikes replace car journeys, not just make biking easier for lazy people. Now a new e-bike is set to enter the US market, and it takes a slightly different approach to powering those wheels. Rather than connecting a motor directly to the wheels, German e-bike manufacturer Kalkhoff's system applies power from the center-mounted electric motor directly to the bicycle's drive train. The level of motor assistance is dictated by the amount of power the rider generates while pedaling (adjusted according to a pre-selected setting). The result, apparently, is a smooth, predictable boost when compared to hub-based motors.
Now the bikes are being imported into the US by Greenlight Bikes, and are available for sale through Kalkhoff USA. Greenlight's CEO Geoffrey Wagner believes these bikes will widen the appeal of electric-assist cycling to a broader range of commuters and recreational users:
"Kalkhoff e-bikes are designed to put riders in control of how much effort they wish to exert in any given situation. Someone wearing business attire on the way to an important meeting might decide to take full advantage of the power-assist system, whereas people riding to improve fitness might wish to rely more heavily upon their own power."
Those looking for a cheap ride will be disappointed. Prices range from $2,499 to $3,399. But they look like solid, dependable machines with a proven pedigree. And the more options there are out there, the more cyclists we'll see.