Going all terrain with the Hanebrink electric bike


November 3, 2010

Those chunky tires help riders take sand dunes with ease

Those chunky tires help riders take sand dunes with ease

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With its chunky fat tires, 14-speed gears and centrally-located electric motor, the Hanebrink all-terrain vehicle looks like a fun ride. Built to cope with a multitude of off-road situations with style and speed, the pedal-assist electric bike is classified as a bicycle throughout the U.S. so should also be good for popping down to the local mall and hauling back the week's shopping on the rear cargo rack. It's also managed to claim first place in the very first Interbike Hill Climb Challenge. Let's have a closer look...

It will be of little surprise to learn that the Hanebrink all-terrain vehicle was designed by six time Mountain Bike national class champion and former U.S. National Team member Dan Hanebrink. It's based on 1993's Extreme Terrain fat tire pedal bike and is made to order at the Fortune Hanebrink workshop at Big Bear Lake, California. Echoing the philosophy of many electric assist bicycle makers, Hanebrink says: "We are not trying to replace standard bicycles, we want to replace cars and trucks."

The bike has its 600 Watt brushless electric motor positioned in the middle of the frame – just above the pedal crank – to optimize center of gravity, improve maneuverability and provide stability. The motor can power the vehicle up to 20 mph in the highest of the dual range 14 gears without pedaling but the rider should be able to get higher speeds with a little bit of clever gear know-how and a generous helping of rhythm.

"The motor is geared through the bicycle gearing so we recommend some pedaling to shift gears if you are looking to achieve the maximum speed from the motor," the company's Kane Fortune explained to Gizmag. "Power shifting is possible though because it is a bicycle we recommend pedaling through a gear shift. As long as you are in the correct bicycle gear, your pedaling will always allow you to add speed with just minor effort. In a great pedal rhythm, riders can reach speeds up to 35 mph."

The Hanebrink all-terrain vehicle's lithium ion 10 amp hour battery (LiFePO4) will give the bike enough juice for about an hour's use on a single charge, which will take three hours. The rear rack could have up to five batteries fitted which will extend the run time to over five hours. The wide aluminum rear rack is otherwise capable of carrying over 100 pounds of cargo.

The bike has a 6061- T6 aircraft seamless aluminum tube frame, hydraulic disk brakes and a carbon fiber handlebars where the throttle and motor controller is mounted. The pedal-power hardware comes courtesy of Shimano and the wheels and hubs are made by Hanebrink. Those impressive-looking 20 x 8-inch tubeless tires complete the specifications.

Both pedal-only and hybrid pedal/electric versions are assembled to order, the former weighing in at about 45 pounds and the latter about 80 pounds, depending on configuration. Fortune told Gizmag that there'll be more models added to the range next year and that the company is currently looking into securing availability from national and international dealers.

Until then, the only way to get hold of the Hanebrink all-terrain vehicle is from Fortune Hanebrink. Hybrid electric pricing starts at US$5,500 and Fortune told us that "both pedal and the pedal electric hybrid are considered bicycles in the majority of the U.S. but State laws do vary nationwide."

The bike recently took first place at the Interbike Hill Climb Challenge, a third of a mile sprint up a six per cent gradient hill. Fortune powered in front of professional riders to secure a decisive win in the first of an annual competition especially created for electric assist bikes. The race was sponsored by the Light Electric Vehicle Association (LEVA).

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

This is the first thing I bestow the \"Mr Stiffy Award\" on.

It\'s clean, neat, straight forward and practical.

It also has two wheels.

Mr Stiffy

Yeah. Neat.

But $5500?

You have GOT to be kidding.


my mountain bike cost about 5k. The price is not unreasonable. That said....

I have seen a lot of stupid electric bikes on here. I have also seen a lot of electric mobility devices. None of them serve a purpose, none of them I would buy.

THIS however, SEEMS great. I can think of countless uses for this, if it rides well I would buy it in a second. At first glance it appears to be both simple and functional.

I can\'t wait to try this and realistically buy it.

Michael Mantion

Yeah well - I didn\'t say I\'d buy it.

$5000 for that?

In Australia you can buy a decently cheap 750W 2 stroke generator for like $90.

I mean bicycle frame, electric motor and batteries, 2 fat tyres, and some pedalling bits?

And you can buy the cheapish Monkey Bikes for $200.....

I kind of fail to see how the asking price of this can actually be $5000.

Mr Stiffy

As a kid I always dreamed of putting pedals on a minibike frame. This comes the closest to it that I have seen. By the way, that was over 50 years ago!

Will, the tink

Its a good electric bike for dune surfing but I don\'t know about commuting. There are a lot of electric mountain bikes out there for under $3000 that will go farther than this one with a better ride and less maintenance issues.

Bert Cebular

Every time I see something cool like this I anticipate the disappointment as I scroll down to the price. This is as close to perfect for the vehicle i envision using to travel overland to my favorite fishing holes and rock hunting haunts near my home. But, alas....let the disappointment commence. $5,500? That is ridiculous. Mike, you may have a $5k mountain bike but my Schwinn High Sierra is going to be doing the same task with an electric conversion I am afraid. Personnally, i wouldn\'t ever let someone step me up to a bike that costs more than grand.

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