Ever been looking up the incline of a steep hill and wished you could swap your pedal bike for an electric one…just for a few minutes? Me too. That’s why I was thrilled to learn about Rubbee, a portable high-efficiency electric friction drive that can take any bike from analog to high-tech in seconds flat.
If you find a decent bike conversion kit, your ride will likely end up looking like a bizarre science experiment. But not with this gadget. Now gathering funding on Kickstarter, Rubbee aims to make it easy for just about anyone to convert their regular bicycle into an electrified vehicle without a lot of wiring or stress.
The genius of the Rubbee lies in its design, which totally changes the way a normal bicycle is converted into an electric one (and how that conversion can be reversed!).
Using an integrated clamp mechanism, Rubbee attaches to a bike’s frame right below the saddle. This allows the device to extend out over the back wheel like a splash guard. But it does much more than protect your butt from unsightly splashing.
Rubbee’s polyurethane cast friction wheel aligns with the bike’s back tire. Switch on the integrated battery pack, and the cast wheel begins to turn, propelling the bike forward. “The lifespan of this pack is over 2000 cycles – this will make sure you can recharge Rubbee every single day for 5 years without loosing any range,” explain the designers. “We also integrated a custom made electronic battery management system just to make sure the battery pack delivers what is expected.”
An integrated suppression system makes sure Rubbee always provides a constant force on the tire of the bicycle thus allowing minimum slip even in wet conditions, and the built-in LED tail light helps keep you safe as you cruise around town at speeds up to 15 miles per hour–even uphill!
The only thing even mildly disappointing about Rubbee is the price–over $1,000. But since you’re basically being given the ability to transform any bike into an electric vehicle (and back again) in a matter of minutes, we think it’s justifiable.