News Treehugger Voices Shared E-Mobility Company Bird Is Now Selling E-Bikes Because the future of transportation is electric. By Lloyd Alter Lloyd Alter Facebook Twitter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Updated August 21, 2021 11:53AM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Bird Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Bird is known for its e-scooters and e-bike sharing but it is now going to sell its own designs of e-bikes directly to the public because not every city or town has bike-share programs and a lot of people want e-bikes these days. The company shares: "Bird is continuing to expand its services to over 300 cities worldwide, helping to decongest the air and streets with zero emission vehicles. The launch of the consumer Bird Bike brings Bird one step closer to its goal of making eco-friendly transportation options available everywhere to everyone." Bird They are nicely equipped bikes with a Bafang rear hub motor of 250 watts for Europe and 500 watts for North America, and a 36v/12.8Ah removable battery, with an estimated range of 50 miles. It has a Gates Carbon belt-drive, disc brakes, an aluminum frame, Kenda puncture-resistant tires, and of course, Bluetooth and app connectivity. There is a neat set of gauges built into the frame if you do not want to be looking at your phone while you ride. They are not unreasonably priced for a bike like this at $2,299. There's also a “Bird Boost thumb throttle that adds an extra burst of e-acceleration whenever riders need it." In the strange world of American e-bike regulation, if it is a full independent throttle then the bike falls into the Class 2 category, which is banned in certain areas like national parks, where the rules say: “The intent of the regulations is to allow visitors to use e-bikes for transportation and recreation in a manner similar to traditional bicycles. As a result, the regulations prohibit operators of Class 2 e-bikes from using the motor to propel the e-bike for an extended period of time without pedaling, except in locations that are open to public motor vehicle use.” If the throttle boost only works when one is pedaling, then it can be considered Class 1. How anyone can tell them apart is something that I have never figured out. We have asked Bird what class it is and will update when we hear from them. Man riding bike with top tube. Bird The bike comes in two models, one with a top tube that seems to be modeled on the VanMoof bikes, where they visually extend the top tube past the head tube and the seat tube. Why have men's and women's models?. Bird Stereotypically they show a man riding one of these, and a woman riding the step-through model. After years of the industry trying to end this idea of a "woman's bike" and get more men on step-throughs because they are safer and easier for older people, this is disappointing; there is no good reason to sell e-bikes with top tubes. Dutch cycling organization Fietsbond, which wants to make all bikes step-throughs, says “the terms men’s bikes and women’s bikes are outdated” and that “gender-neutral bikes are the future we should be focusing on.” Bird doesn't say they are for men or women, but the pictures do. Bird is a serious player in the so-called sharing economy, and it seemed a bit of a leap to go retail, which is a different business model entirely. We asked about it and received a statement from Bird’s chief corporate social responsibility officer Rebecca Hahn: "We think there is opportunity for people to both rent and own micro-electric vehicles as they look to shift to eco-friendly transportation. It does not have to be either or. For example, a person might live in a city where Bird does not operate but wants to have the “Bird experience” so ownership of a Bird e-bike or e-scooter makes sense. When that individual travels to or visits a city where Bird operates its shared service, they are accustomed to the brand and will hopefully choose Bird over a gas-powered car trip to reduce their carbon footprint.. Data about the growth of the retail e-bike market — a market that grew 157% year-over-year and is projected to reach $23 billion by 2023 — supports our vision of cities and towns with fewer congestion inducing, gas-powered car trips. We want to make sure Bird is positioned to meet that demand. The more options we offer consumers, the more flexibility people have to rely on more sustainable modes of transportation." The bike can be ordered online now, but both step-through and step-over versions will be available this fall from "leading retailers in the US, followed by European retailers later this year." If the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) stays at $2,299 in stores, then this will be a very big deal—there are not a lot of good e-bikes in that price range in bike shops.