Although some cycling purists may sneer at them, electric bicycles certainly do come in handy when hills need to be climbed on morning commutes, or loads need to be hauled. E-bikes can be quite expensive, however, plus their motors and batteries make them heavy and clunky when their electric-assist feature isn't being used. That's where the Ridekick ...well, where it kicks in. The motorized trailer quickly hooks onto an existing bicycle, pushing it to speeds of up to 19 mph (30.5 km/h), for a distance of about 12 miles (19 km) per charge. When you want your regular ol' human-powered bike back, you just unhook it and go.

The Ridekick has a 24-volt sealed lead acid battery pack that takes four to six hours to charge, and that powers a 500-watt electric motor. A chain drive runs from that motor to the axle, at the left-hand wheel. Speed is controlled by a handlebar-mounted throttle, that is hardwired to a microprocessor in the trailer.

Initial installation of the mounting mechanism on the bicycle's rear axle is said to take under 12 minutes for most bikes, with subsequent hook-ups and releases of the trailer taking less than 15 seconds.

In a clever bit of engineering, the trailer has some extra cargo space, so it serves as more than just a receptacle for the motor and battery. Riders can cram in a maximum of 11 US gallons (42 liters) of stuff, then secure the lid using its built-in combination lock. The trailer weighs about 45 pounds (20 kg), without any rider-added cargo.

The Ridekick can be purchased via the company website for US$699, and can be seen in action in the video below.

Source: Inhabitat