In many parts of the world, electric bikes are limited to a top speed of 20 mph (32 km/h) – any higher, and they'd no longer be legally classified as bicycles. While that may keep the speed down on commercially-produced e-bikes, such is not the case with one-offs. A case in point is Russian blogger Ivan Tulupov's twin-motored Desperado.
Desperado is built around an existing pedal-powered beach cruiser bike, made by California-based bicycle manufacturer Nirve.
Tulupov, however, has added two external motors with gearboxes, both made by Headline Electric. Left- and right-hand throttle switches allow the motors to be controlled separately, although it's also possible to control them both via one throttle. Their combined 5-kW output makes a calculated top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) possible, although Ivan informs us that he has yet to put that to the test.
Power is supplied by a 20-Ah lithium-ion battery, that can be charged in about two hours. It has a range of about 80 km at 30 km/h (50 miles at 19 mph) or 25 km at 60 km/h (15.5 miles at 37 mph).
Data such as current, voltage, speed, and GPS coordinates can be displayed on a linked Android smartphone, with basic functions being controlled using a 5-button control panel. Gear-shifting is handled by an 8-speed Shimano Nexus SG-8R20 rear hub transmission.
Desperado tips the scales at 43 kg (95 lb), and cost Tulupov about US$3,000 to build.