When I first saw the Faraday Porteur at CES in January, 2014 I called it the prettiest electric assist bicycle you will ever see. It had all the looks of a classic European delivery bike; you can hardly tell that it is wired, with the batteries hidden in the downtube. It's a pedelec rather than a full e-bike, giving you a boost when you need it. Faraday founder Adam Vollmer told me "it should feel like a bike- it is a bike."
Since I saw the bike, Adam Vollmer shaved his beard off, went through a successful Kickstarter campaign, refined the design a bit and now is has the bike available for purchase. The frame is made in the USA and the bike is put together with high quality parts, with an 8-speed shifter on the rear and a 250 watt motor on the front. Kent Peterson, a bike blogger I follow, gave it a test ride and a rave review:
The Faraday Porteur is an amazing bicycle. It's the only e-bike I've ridden that basically feels like a normal bike. It's a bike where the weight of the electronics are so well integrated into the bike, you can easily forget they are there. But when you engage the power assist, the bike becomes more than a bike. When you ride the bike without the e-assist, it feels like a very, very nice bike. When you engage the e-assist, it feels like flying.
Court Rye of Electric Bike Review (and TreeHugger here) called it "one of the smoothest, quietest, most beautiful electric bikes I’ve ever tested." Those are two very good references. Court addresses a concern I had about putting the motor in the front hub:
While I usually prefer a rear mounted motor for improved traction, frame strength and decreased impact on steering, I’m a fan of what Faraday has done here. The motor is mounted to a steel fork for improved strength, it offers great traction for use with the optional front Porteur rack and is light enough that steering feels normal.
It's wonderful to write about a success story: a young designer takes the time to put together a beautiful bike and gets it onto the market to a round of applause. It's not cheap at $3500 but it looks worth every penny. A happy tale; get yours at Faraday