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The Faraday Porteur electric bike helps you reach your destination in style


July 18, 2012

The Faraday Porteur's batteries allow approximately 10-15 miles of full pedal-assist riding

The Faraday Porteur's batteries allow approximately 10-15 miles of full pedal-assist riding

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The Faraday Porteur electric bicycle stole hearts when it won the Oregon Manifest bicycle competition last year for IDEO and Rock Lobster, but was never intended to be sold. However, lead IDEO designer Adam Vollmer was so enamored with the fruit of his labor that he founded Faraday Bicycles in order to bring the Porteur to market.

The Faraday Porteur wears its geek-cred proudly on its sleeve and the company derives its name from 19th century British physicist Michael Faraday, who was instrumental in the creation of electric motors. The bike model, Porteur, refers to a classic functionally-styled bicycle first used by Parisian newspaper couriers in the early 1900s.

The pedal-assist technology of the Porteur promises to deliver an "electric tailwind" everywhere you ride, for a maximum of between 10 and 15 miles (16 and 24 km) depending on conditions. The 250-W brushless DC electric hub motor is powered by lithium batteries which are tucked away in the bike's double top tubes. The Porteur is said to charge in just 45 minutes and the fact that Faraday includes two chargers for convenience is a nice touch.

The Porteur has an on/off switch but no throttle setting as the bike simply adjusts to your own pace. There's also a boost mode to help the less fit amongst us struggle up hills and this can be activated by holding down a thumb switch. The bike's lights are activated by an ambient sensor when conditions require.

The standard production model of the Porteur ships with the following specifications:

  • Eight-speed Shimano Alfine internally geared hub
  • Avid mechanical disc brakes
  • Standard 26 inch (68 cm), 1.3 inch (35 mm) tires
  • TIG welded chromoly steel frame, handmade in the USA
  • Brooks B17 leather saddle
  • Waterproof bamboo fenders

In addition, the Porteur weighs 17.7 kg (39 lbs) without the front rack attached and comes in small, medium and large sizes of 51 cm (20 inches) 54.5 cm (21.4 inches) and 59 cm (23.2 inches), respectively.

The Faraday Porteur is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign which has a target of US$100,000 set for August 11. Though posters and t-shirts can be had for more modest contributions, the real action starts at $3500 for the standard production model of the bike, a reported $300 discount off the eventual retail price. For those with deep pockets, there's also a collector's edition available for a cool $10,000 which comes with improved parts and is handmade by Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster Cycles.

The cost of the production version is comparable with other desirable electric bikes like the Elmoto HR-2 and Schwinn Tailwind, though unfortunately the Faraday Porteur is only available to U.S. residents at present. The company does state a desire to bring its bike to other territories at some point in the future.

For more information on the Faraday Porteur, check out the promo video below.

Source: Kickstarter, via CNET

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

the first thing I saw of the neat tube battery housing is solar heat for batteries = bad. I wonder if they addressed this particular property.

Calvin k

I am actually considering an electric assisted bike for commuting but this thing is hideous! Not on my list of possible bikes.

Jon Smith

Great, now this bike is literally a pipe bomb. Shoving an easily exploding battery inside a pair of neat chromoly tube, niceee. This will just magnify the explosive force into the size of a small bomb.

Now not only you get a tailwind when you are riding this bike, you will also potentially get a tailwind through your lower part of your body when half of your body isn't there anymore when the batteries exploded from overheating.

At least then you will no longer be overweight.....


Beautiful! White body, brown leather, classic bicycle form all make for one seriously matured sexy looking bike. The hidden motor & Shimano gear train all make it so appealing. An undestated elegance with the tech well hidden.

Those pipe bombs under the seat can do serious damage. Just relocate those batteries somewhere else, maybe with a leather pouch?

Bamboo wheel arches? Wow!!


SpaceBagels: I think you'll find it is more like a cannon than a pipe bomb. It looks like the ends of the battery tubes have just a plastic cap on so when the batteries explode you'll shoot fire out the back like the batmobile! Now that is cool.


$3799....no. I can get a really nice bike AND a decent used motorcycle for that.

Or get a conversion for an existing bike for a bit over a grand with more energy and range. Try again.


We need more bike lanes then new bikes. But good luck, it is kind of clever to put the batteries in the tubes. There is some air cooling going on. How hot would it have to get to explode?

The Hoff
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