Traditionally, it's fair to say that electric bikes have been quite hard to get excited about. Potential e-bike buyers will have to wade through a sea of mundane designs, many of which are awkwardly adapted regular bikes.
Still, it's not all doom and gloom, and here at BikeRadar we are seeing an increasing number of well executed and refined e-bikes of all types, shapes and sizes. With that in mind, here are five unusual bikes that we think are worth knowing about.
For the fast commuter
German company Electrolyte has a particularly interesting line of e-bikes, and this, the Strassenfeger or ‘road brush’, is a great example.
A slim alloy frame holds one of motorsport’s greatest liveries, a cheeky hint from the firm at this bike’s sporty intentions. Those intentions aren’t unjustified either – not if weight is anything to go by. That’s because, at a claimed 16kg (35lbs), the Strassenfeger is one of the lightest e-bikes we know of.
The clean looking, minimal build includes a belt driven two-speed Sturmey Archer transmission and accompanying coaster brake. Unusual bullhorn handlebars sit above a chunky single-sided fork – the company’s own design, it houses a 36V battery and a 250w motor.
For the off-road hooligan
This is the Brinco from reborn Spanish motorcycle brand Bultaco. Strictly for off-road use only, the Brinco offers a way to quietly access where motocross bikes would normally be frowned upon.
From the Magura disc brakes to the long-travel suspension at either end, the Brinco borrows plenty of parts from downhill mountain bikes, which no doubt contributes to the 39kg total weight figure.
A 2Kw motor mounted at the rear wheel provides up to 60nm of torque and a 37 mph (60 km/h) top speed. Depending on which of the three performance settings used, it's good for a claimed 50km, 75km or 100km of action.
For the sensible yet sophisticated
The €1,999 Biomega OKO is an e-bike that’s fully optimised for commuting duties. Its carbon frame features integrated mudguards and houses a 36v battery in its top tube.
Power assistance goes directly to a 250w (350w if you’re in the US) motor at the front wheel, while a Gates belt drive quietly puts your effort through either a SRAM automatic 2 speed or Shimano Alfine 8-speed transmission at the back.
The motor is good for assistance for up to 40 miles. yet a respectable weight of 18.6kg (41lbs) means that running out of juice needn’t ruin your day.
For the ex-military lottery winner
The Trefecta DRT is an electric bike like no other and at present it’s the most expensive e-bike on sale with a price tag of $25,000. Designed primarily for military use, the DRT treads the ever-blurry line between an electric bicycle and an electric powered motorcycle.
A 4Kw motor supplies an insane 250Nm of torque, enough to get 160kg (353lb) of rider and cargo up a 45 percent incline. Electronically adjustable suspension at each end plus brakes borrowed from downhill mountain bikes means the DRT can boldly go where few electric bikes dare travel. Look out for a closer look at the DRT later this week on BikeRadar.
For those short of space
JIVR folding e-bike
Born out of highly successful Kickstarter pledge, London-based JIVR has produced this folding, chainless e-bike. An integrated battery holds enough charge for a 20mile (30km) range and can be fully charged in 90 minutes. Electric power is delivered directly to the front wheel while a chainless drive to the rear wheel can supply extra pace and makes the JIVR a true hybrid. Weighing in at under 33lbs (15kg) and can be folded to a fraction of its size in four simple steps. You can read more about the JIVR in our first look article, here.