Simple, lightweight, and affordable, Propella e-bikes aim to bridge the gap between bicycles and electric bikes.
What's not to love about electric bikes? Other than the higher cost and heavier weight, that is...
Electric bicycles have come a long way over the last couple of years, and can offer a relatively sweat-free riding experience to those looking for a cleaner transportation option, but not everyone wants to pony up $1000 or more for a 50+ pound bike. And while it's totally possible to 'roll your own' affordable electric bike using any of a number of the DIY e-bike conversions currently available on the market, the average person looking to get in the saddle of their first e-bike is probably not going to want to build their own.
That's why a bike like the Propella Electric appears to have the potential to be a gamechanger, because it combines simplicity and a useful riding range onto a lightweight frame, and it costs about the same as a standard new bicycle from a quality brand.
The Propella e-bike weighs in at 36 pounds, has a removable 36V 6.6Ah Li-ion battery pack (which sits on the frame where a water bottle cage normally is) that is claimed to offer a riding range of 15 to 28 miles, driven by a 250W hub motor that delivers a top speed of about 20 mph in either pedal-assist or power-on-demand throttle mode. The bike is being produced by a Seattle-based startup that aims to bridge the gap between e-bikes and standard bikes by striving for simplicity with a minimalist design that allows the company to eliminate "unnecessary features" and to just focus on the essential elements of an electric bike.
Here's the video pitch:
According to GeekWire, this e-bike project grew out of the desire of one of the founders, Ben Tarassoli, a civil engineer, to find an electric bike "that measured up to his expectations for range, weight, and design," and when he couldn't find one, he and his partners set out to build one.
"Our focus is on affordability, reliability, and lightweight. We’re aiming for that sweet spot between electrically-assisted range and making the bicycle as light as possible. We’re not into bigger, stronger motors—that’s a motorcycle. If you’re calling it a bicycle, it should be minimal." - Tarassoli
The Propella is designed as a singlespeed bike, although with an assist from the electric internal hub motor, it allows for a much wider riding range than a standard manually-pedaled singlespeed does, but the company also offers a six-speed option for those who would rather have more gearing options. The Samsung Lithium-ion battery pack, which has an anti-theft lock and a USB output port (for charging other devices), is said to take 2.5 hours to fully charge, and is fully waterproof.
The bike is available in three different frame sizes, with four color options for rims, so you can get a Propella that fits your style (as long as your style includes riding a matte black frame), and it comes with a 2-year warranty for the frame and a 1-year warranty for the battery and other parts. Early backers on Indiegogo can reserve their bike for as little as $699 plus shipping, and can expect to receive their e-bike in the fall of 2016. Find out more at Propella.