A Kickstarter Tale Of Two Different Electric Bicycles

What determines the success or failure of different products from the same niche consumer segment vying for your crowdsource fundraising dollars on Kickstarter? Yesterday we profiled Riide, an innovative electric bike that, as of this posting, had already greatly exceeded its $50,000 goal with a month left to go. By contrast, the Derringer electric cycle, with less than a week to go, is far short of its $75,000 need.

While you ponder this question, we will tell you about the Derringer, which Autoblog Green first brought to greater attention the other day. This electric bicycle is described as board track racing inspired and backed by a company in Los Angeles, California which specializes in this type of two-wheeled device. It really is a beautiful beast when you look at the pictures of it, but the price tag of $3,000 to start might be tough for some to swallow.

image via Derringer

image via Derringer

If you do have the cash to pony up for the Derringer though, you’ll be getting yourself a very powerful electric bicycle that draws energy from a 37, 52 or 63-volt lithium-ion battery, depending upon the trim level you choose. These correspondingly match to a 750, 2,000 or 2,800 electric motor that together offer solid riding range (22, 30 or 38 miles) and speed (20, 28 or 40 miles per hour).

Key features of the Derringer electric models include hand assembly, a battery enclosure “inspired by the fuel tanks from vintage board track racing motorcycles,” high quality body frames, a classically styled chromoly springer fork, battery recharge times of three hours or less, a twist grip throttle, leather saddle and, on the upper end models, a sophisticated computer to manually control system power output.

So, given what you now know about this electric bike, and comparing it to the Riide, why do you think there is such a discrepancy in crowdfunding support? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.

    • Chandlee Caldwell

      It’s pretty strange how successful Riide was in comparison. Derringer is an established company with a gorgeous product that outlines the specifications of their ebike quite well. Their kickstarter also rewards with actual bicycles as opposed to Riide’s. While the Derringer bike is expensive, its costs actually make sense with the component set and aesthetic value of it’s design. We’re not told a price with the Riide, but promised it will be cheap. The Ultra motor is a weaker version of the motor used on Stromers ST1, a $3400 ebike (with a very heavy motor). We don’t know what kind of sensor the bike is using for pedal assist (torque or cadence). The torque sensor is more expensive and better. A belt drivetrain is reliable and easy to maintain, but kind of expensive, and not great for hilly terrain.

      While the Riide seems like an amazing bike in theory, I’d like to see how they made a 35 lbs. ebike with a direct motor and then promise to keep the price down (under $2000?). It’s really unheard of in the ebike industry.

      I guess the marketing labels the Riides as a grassroots call to action in NYC which has laws against ebikes. Perhaps that helped with the investment?

      Either way, can’t wait for both bikes and looking forward to 2014 being the year of the electric bike!

      • Thanks for the thoughts – hopefully both bikes do end up making it to market!

    • Riide

      Hi All,

      Glad to hear you’re as excited about ebikes as we are! Just wanted to chime in with a few details.

      Riide is currently available on Kickstarter with a $1799 pledge and you can find us at this link: (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/riide/riide-the-bike-has-evolved-lighter-faster-electric).

      If anyone is in the DC area we’d love to have you take it for a riide and get your first hand review!


      Jeff + Amber
      Co-founders of Riide

      • Chandlee Caldwell

        Sorry. $1799. That sounds amazing amazing, Amber. Will the Riide use a torque sensor?

        • Riide

          No need to apologize, thanks for your kind words! Riide is throttle only. We found through customer interviews and hundreds of test riides that the simplicity of only having the throttle was heavily preferred by potential riiders. If you are in the DC area we’d love to have you see if it fits your riiding style!


          Jeff + Amber
          Co-founders of Riide

    • ScrewBot

      For Christ’s sake if you don’t want to pedal just buy a cheap motorbike.

      On the other hand:
      Every day, all over the world, millions of people ride millions of miles on bicycles WITHOUT motors, electric or otherwise. We are doing fine.

      If you really MUST consume electricity, and think you’re getting too much exercise – go ahead and buy an e-bike. But I have no respect for you.

      • E-assist riders are still outside of cars, so your respect is not needed nor wanted. Get their butts out from behind the wheel of 3700 pound (median US car) gas hog and riding a lightweight EV and you’ll make everyone walking or riding a bike safer.

      • Luigi Proud DemoCat!

        You must be a Republican. That’s the only thing I can think of that would make your dispositions so foul.

    • Benjamin Nead

      I’m going to guess that Riide is doing so much better with its crowdfunding model because it’s an unpretentious design. The frame geometry is pleasingly conventional and – unless you look closely – you might simply mistake it for yet another (non-electric) hybrid bike. It’s the sort of thing I would WANT to attempt to try out for a full 25 mile charge (full disclosure: I’m in my mid 50s and ride a comfortable 6 mile round trip work commute 5 days per week on a street-repurposed Montague folding mountain bike, which I’m a very happy owner of.)

      The Derringer, on the other hand, has a nostalgic antique motorcycle look that you’re probably going to either love or hate. As a former owner of a ’51 Chevy coupe, I happen to like it for what it is. But wouldn’t find it very practical to use to commute to work, or very comfortable on any road surface beyond, say, a smoothly-paved circle track. The idea of rolling over a pothole while riding it makes me silently say “ouch!” Perhaps if I was 30 years younger I would feel differently.

      At the end of the day, though, the Derringer is the the sort of thing you would see on the cover of a catalog that features nice, expensive but, ultimately, impractical gifts. The Riide is the one you gravitate towards if you know you’re actually wanting something that you know you’re going to use. There should be enough space in the world for both, but the Derringer is more of a niche appeal item.