Electric bicycles, particularly those known as electric-assist that only provide power as directly called for by the rider, have big market potential, especially in hilly urban areas. We’ve certainly seen a number of electric bikes out there already of interest, but one up on Kickstarter getting a lot of attention right now has caught our eye for its path to this point as well as its stylish and innovative design.
The Faraday Porteur is the work of one Adam Vollmer, a former lead designer of well respected design firm IDEO. The firm teamed Vollmer with Rock Lobster Bicycles out of Santa Cruz, California, according to the Oregonian, to enter the original design for this cycle in an Oregon hand built cycle design event. It won the “People’s Choice Award,” later becoming Vollmer’s new focus to take it from concept to actual production status.
“Inspired by the classic European delivery bikes of the 1940’s and 50’s,” according to Faraday Bikes, the Porteur is a beauty of an electric cycle. Laser engraved trim, wood fenders, and a custom aluminum chain guard are just a few of the designer touches of note. The bike has a laundry list of interesting features I mention below, but it also isn’t inexpensive, pricing for around $3,800 normally. Those who are among the first 250 to pony up $3,500 over at Kickstarter to help Faraday Bikes get off the ground will get one of these bikes, while a $10,000 offering gets you “an authentic replica” of the design that won the original award and comes with some additional bells and whistles.
The goal of the Kickstarter campaign? $100,000 raised by August 11. At the rate pledged amounts are rising as of the time of the writing of this article, they shouldn’t have a problem meeting that and will, in fact, likely go over before the pledge period closes.
Most noteworthy of the features on the American-made Porteur is the electric pedal assist system and associated battery pack. Built somewhat into the frame of the bike so as to be less noticeable, operation of the system is said to be “as simple as hoping on, flicking the handlebar thumb switch to ‘ON’ and pedaling away.” You can, of course, pedal the bike in manual mode as well by keeping the switch off. What’s of particular coolness with this system are built-in sensors that are said to “measure how hard you’re working,” matching the electric motor’s output to your needs.