Electric bikes based loosely on mountain bikes (such as the Terminus and eSpire) might be well-suited to forest trails, but for increased stability through sand dunes and snow and ice, as well as steep rocky climbs, you're better off riding a fat-tire bike like the Hanebrink electric bike we featured back in 2010. The company has now pulled back the curtains to reveal two new models for 2012 – one with added rear suspension for improved performance on steep or rocky trails, and the other designed specifically for golfers.
As capable as the original version of the Hanebrink electric bike was, the company's Chief Product Engineer Dan Hanebrink felt that there was still something missing. To fill this void, the eight inches (20 cm) of adjustable travel in the dual crown triple clamp forks from previous models has now been joined by five inches (12 cm) of travel at the rear of the Hanebrink III, courtesy of Ducati-inspired RockShock air suspension for improved performance on the very steepest of rocky trails.
The unique frame-integrated rear shock is said to have been inspired by Ducati's trellis rear suspension system, designed to increase the traction of the back wheel. The RockShock air suspension also gets progressively stiffer as it moves upward, to soak up small bumps while offering stronger resistance over big rocks and drops, making for a smoother ride.
"It is a multi-tubular approach," says the Southern California company. "Instead of one or two large beams, the trellis suspension creates wider triangulations with a multiplicity of tubes to form a large structure without having a massive increase in weight. The system spreads the load over a wider area creating more stiffness, but lacks the weight associated with large slabs of metal. "
The Hanebrink III features a 750-Watt sealed, brushless electric motor with seven-speed integrated gearing (although a 14 speed low-range gearing version is also available), and a 36V/9.6Ah LiNMC battery with a 20 mile (32 km) range. There's a 6061-T6 aircraft seamless aluminum tube frame, hydraulic disk brakes front and back, and a Shimano derailleur. The chunky 20 x 8-inch (50 x 20 cm) tubeless tires surround monocoque aluminum axles with sealed bearings.
Have a look at the following video showing the Hanebrink III prototype being put through its paces in the Santa Monica mountains:
The 90 pound (40 kg) Hanebrink III is available in black, orange or custom colors from a starting price of US$6,750.
Unfortunately at the time of writing, we've not been able to gather much in the way of details about the Links BRINK golf pedelec model. It's said to have been developed in response to requests from folks in the golf industry. It offers users a tad more exercise than they would get from a bog standard electric cart, as well as being a somewhat cleaner option thanks to the elimination of problematic lead acid batteries and dripping oil from the running gear.
The frame looks to have been tweaked for easier mount and dismount action and the rear rack has been replaced with a mechanism to connect a caddy behind the bike, which also allows it to remain upright while you take your best swing. It's not known when – or even if – this model will become available, but we'll update you when more information is made available.