Along with its unique rear suspension system, and tandem bikes that can be converted to singles, Calfee Design is well-known as a builder of bamboo bikes. One of the company's latest creations is a bamboo e-bike, packed with enough features that it could quite literally take the place of a car – hence its nickname, the Car Killer.
Although the specific bike that we saw at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show is a one-off design concept, a very similar model was built for a client in San Francisco. He uses that bike on a daily basis, in his job as a contractor.
As can be seen, the Car Killer has a strong-yet-forgiving all-bamboo frame, joined together by lugs made from a mix of hemp fiber and epoxy resin. Pedal-assist power is provided by a 500-watt BionX D Series rear hub motor, protected by a carbon fiber wheel cover. Users can select the amount of pedalling assistance, along with checking parameters such as battery life, via an LCD control module on the handlebars. There's no word on battery range.
Because it's a "working bike," the Car Killer has plenty of cargo space. The basket in front is large enough to carry a European-standard beer crate, while two steel boxes in the back can carry a wide variety of tools. There's also a shallower cargo compartment between those two boxes, for things like jackets and work gloves.
Besides its motor, some of the Killer's other electronic features include an audible alarm that goes off if the bike is moved while parked, high- and low-beam LED headlights, and dual tail lights. Those lights shut off once the bike's electrical system is powered down, so there's no chance of accidentally leaving them on and draining the battery.
If you're thinking that you wouldn't mind a Car Killer of your own, company founder Craig Calfee tells us that it would probably sell for about US$8,000.
Company website: Calfee Design