It wasn't long ago that we tried out the FlyKly Smart Wheel,
a motorized rear bicycle wheel that instantly turns a regular bike into
an e-bike. Given that it goes in the back, however, it's a little
tricky to put on and take off, plus it leaves you stuck with just one
gear. Belon Engineering's new Electron Wheel avoids those problems, by
replacing the bike's existing front wheel. We recently got to try out an advance demo unit, and it works just as advertised ... although it's a bit of a monster.
Fat bikes and electric bikes have been two of the biggest trends in bicycles over the past few years, and they've even mated to create a new category. Electric fat bikes like the Defiant Big Easy and Pedego Trail Tracker blend the advantages of big, floaty oversized tires and electric muscle. Italian motorcycle manufacturer Fantic is getting in the game, using its knowledge of powered, fat-tired motorbikes in launching both off-road and urban fat e-bikes.
Self-driving technology isn't solely the domain of cars and trucks – bikes are getting in on the act too. We spied the latest example at Eurobike in Germany, where CoModule showed a smartphone-controlled, three-wheeled e-bike prototype. The concept is designed to stimulate a conversation about the sorts of practical applications this technology could find in the real-world.
Ever wonder why you don't see things like recumbents in the Tour de
France? Well, it's because of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI),
which is the world governing body for bicycle racing. Among other
things, the UCI places unwavering restrictions on the design of racing
bikes. While this is intended to keep some racers from having an unfair
advantage, many people feel that it also holds back the evolution of
bikes designed for non-racers. That's why Specialized’s Creative
Director, Robert Egger, created the fUCI concept bike. It's a speed bike
designed without UCI restrictions in mind ... and we'll let you figure out what the F in its name stands for.
For generations, mountain bikers have had to make the sometimes difficult choice between affordable, nimble-climbing hardtails and fast, cushy full-suspension bikes. German company Altinsoy Manufaktur has a different idea. Its Bees Bike has a completely modular design that lets you quickly change over from hardtail to full suspension. You can also adjust sizing and positioning with ease.
We’ve seen electric full-suspension mountain bikes before, and we’ve also seen electric trekking bikes. Flyer’s new TX-Series, however, is something you don’t come across too often – an electric full-suspension trekking bike. Gizmag checked it out at Eurobike.
While not everyone is wild about adding motors to all-terrain bikes, if there’s one sub-type of ATB that could sometimes benefit from an electric boost, it’s the snow- and sand-slogging fatbike. We’ve certainly seen some electric fatties before, but the Xterrain500 adds what is quite a unique feature – the ability to run a custom 10-inch-wide front tire.
Although purpose-built electric bicycles are becoming increasingly popular, we’re also seeing more products that are designed to give regular bikes an electric boost. Some of these take the form of a motorized wheel, while others are motors that engage the bike’s existing rear wheel. One of the most recent examples of the latter group is go-e’s ONwheel, which hangs beneath the bike.
We've covered plenty of folding electric bikes and a few electric fat bikes. What we haven't previously seen is a folding electric bike with fat tires. The Fat Bad from Italy's Bad Bike launches with claims of being the world's first. Its thick, knobby tires are secured to a folding frame and powered by up to 500 watts of pedal assist.
Although electric bicycles are becoming increasingly popular for
commuting, a lot of people still don't like the idea of completely
shelving their perfectly-good human-powered two-wheeler. That's why
companies such as Superpedestrian, Evelo and Hycore
have developed electric-assist wheels containing a battery pack and
motor, that can simply be installed on a regular bike. Although most of
them are still in the "pre-order" stage, FlyKly's Smart Wheel
is now actually reaching consumers. I recently got to try one out, and
it definitely does help with the hills ... although at least one tweak
is still needed.