If it can get an electric motor, then it will. At least that’s what it seems on one vein of bicycle concepts that I’ve seen lately. Not that I’m totally knocking the idea, there are definitely moments when having an extra pull/push of a motor would be great – espeically when the commute includes additional weight or deodorant-defeating hills. Are the concepts that I’m seeing indicative of a movement, or just a means of throwing research and development on a wall to see what sticks in the marketing department.
For example, I take a look at Ford’s e-Bike Concept. Compared to many bicycles from manufacturers, this one seems to have gotten some hearty nods from those who bike a lot more. Basically, this is a bike looking at a different process of creating the frame, and then adding a motor that would allow the rider (am guessing commuter, but the bike seems less geared towards them given some of the components) to get over and through roads with ease.
I just wonder what’s the best application of that motor. Is the electronic motor augmenting the pedal power that you already put down? Or, is it mean to take over for short periods (a quarter to a half mile) while you catch a breather during a commute? I remember when doing a ride in the Danville, VA area and I was totally riding on fumes when I saw another riding, but he had a Trek model with an electric motor. I started to throw a face, but then I realized he was smiling and I wasn’t.
Then you have the parts of concepts which include the application of a mobile phone as a route recorder, GPS, and social connector. I thnk that’s great And could totally do with that kind of integration. I’m just not sure that such efforts to integrate the bicycle into mobility are thinking wide enough (in terms of how many types of phones folks that would use this most would best use). There’s some part of this where I’m like "yea, this makes sense." And another where I’m basically thinking, "no, this isn’t it."
I’ve beefn feeling more and more like I’m in the mode of riding everywhere. Granted, some items keep me from doing more than simply riding, and that’s caused me to think about riding in a somewhat more detached manner. A motor on a bike, sure, that makes sense, only if the motor is charged from me pedaling before. Lights that show a visible safety area around me while on a busy street makes sense. As does the bike like Ford’s which is able to adjust the suspension based on my riding history and road conditions.
If the concepts can go far enough to provoke a dream, then get me out riding towards making that dream reality, then the marketing’s gotten me sold.