We’re huge fans of bikes here at EarthTechling, the more innovative the better. Biking is a great way to burn calories and reduce your carbon footprint, but sometimes it seems silly to geek out over a bike that costs the same as a car. For all that money, it seems like you should get a little bit more than just two tires and a frame.

Electric bikes pack the extra punch we’re looking for. You’ve got the option of pedal-power to get from A to B, and when B happens to be on the top of a hill, you’ve got a zero-emissions motor to help push you to the top. Even electric bikes have a carbon footprint, since they depend on electricity most likely supplied by fossil fuels or nuclear power. But not the one-of-a-kind SolarCross mountain bike. Now all you need is a sunny day to be on your way with minimal effort.

Image via Terry Hope

Unlike some electric bikes, which can cost thousands of dollars, Terry Hope (self-described inventor/designer/builder) put the SolarCross together for about $700 (which includes buying the brand new bike he started with).

“The custom freewheel crank consists of three sprockets,” explains Hope on his website. “Starting on the outside is the 80T (tooth) chain sprocket which the electric motor drives. Then behind the 80T sprocket is another sprocket 42T and behind this is another which is just 22T. The two sprockets rotate the rear wheel by regular bike chain, the smaller 22T sprocket has a top speed of 22 kph without any need to pedal by the operator. The larger 42T sprocket can achieve +40 kph or over 50 kph with operator providing pedal input.”

The bike also features three photovoltaic solar panels, custom designed by Hope. Two fold over the front tire in a V-shape while the other is positioned on the handlebars like a dashboard. Although these solar cells provide enough energy to transport the rider without any pedaling, it seems like they could make it a little hard to see the road ahead.

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