E-bike prices have been in the pipeline for a while but with Rad Power recently revealing the actual extent of them – up to 20% extra on quite a few models – at least now the US market will begin to be able to see if the higher price tags start to affect the phenomenal popularity of e-bikes.
Elsewhere firms like CST and Eminent are clearly hoping medium and premium priced e-bikes will not be affected by this trend to higher price tags as they choose year end to announce a range of powerful looking mid-drive machines. We also take a look at if potentially groundbreaking solid state batteries will ever arrive and the phenomenon of e-cargobikes in Europe.
CSC uses monster Bafang M620 on new fat tire model
Eminent mtb specialists go with Shimano’s EP8 for first e-bikes
E-cargobikes phenomenal Euro success
Solid state batteries – reality or pipe dream?
Updated UK trail guide for easy riders
RAD POWER DETAILS PRICE INCREASES
After announcing earlier in the year that its e-bike prices would increase across the board, Rad Power brought those changes into effect on December 29th. $200 price increases are apparent for several models (though a handful remain at the same price) with their range now spanning price points from $1199 to $1999.
It’s a pretty significant move as Rad Power is by some way the largest e-bike brand in North America and is often referred to as something of a bellwether in the US e-bike industry. There are still plenty of budget e-bikes with good reputations that have not followed suit and offer models around the US$999 mark – can they hold off price increases too? 2022 will tell.
CSC ELECTRIC BIKES LAUNCH MOST POWERFUL MID-DRIVE MODELS YET
Up until now California’s CSC e-bikes have had a relatively conventional line up of e-bikes, featuring fat-tire and cargo models. They recently announced a mega-powerfu mid-drive model featuring Bafang’s awesome sounding M620 mid-drive that boasts 1000W continuous output.
The FT1000MD also features a 768Wh battery, hydraulic disk brakes, 8 speed Shimano Altus derailleur and nearly 4 inches of travel on the front forks. Apparently the FT1000MD will ship in Class 2 mode (20 mph assist limit with independent throttle) but can be unlocked by the rider for a 28 mph, Class 3 pedalassist experience.
Release date is given as ‘early 2022’ and the full MRSP is $3,295 but there is currently a pre- sale offer of $2995.
EMINENT’S NEW EP8-POWERED E-MTBS
Eminent Cycles’ first e-bikes were teased earlier in the year but now full details of the two high spec e-mtbs is available, with each model having three component levels. Both models use the Shimano EP8 mid-drive.
Drive LT has 150/140mm front and rear travel and Drive MT 170/160mm. Prices range from $8,399 to $11,899.
Germany is by far the biggest market, with the national Bike Association (ZIV) registering 103,000 cargo bike sales in 2020. They are followed by Denmark (25,000), the Netherlands (16,000) and France (12,000).
E-cargobikes were still only a small slice of a very big European e-bike pie; 2% of the total German bike market was cargo bike in 2020. But with developments of a specific European cargobike standard – hopefully making carrying large loads safer and more effective – and plenty of national and regional subsidies the future looks rosy for e-cargo bikes in Europe.
There aren’t many electric bike battery jokes around but this one isn’t bad as battery jokes go:
‘We know exactly how far away solid state batteries are – they are always twenty years in the future…’
It’s easy to understand why solid state batteries, should they ever come to pass, would be such a big deal for any device currently powered by lithium based batteries, including, of course, e-bikes. A solid-state battery uses solid electrodes and a solid electrolyte (not involving lithium), instead of the liquid or polymer gel electrolytes found in current lithium batteries. In theory they could offer higher energy densities, quicker charging and safer batteries. In practice companies have poured millions of dollars into developing them with snail-like progress.
This recent Popular Mechanics article looks at the inherent problems and the progress made by the likes of Solid Power. Elsewhere Toyota have recently been teasing the possibility of a solid state battery for hybrid cars.
Solid state batteries could help alleviate the problems that are clearly on the near horizon as the world scrambles for the ‘white oil’ that is lithium. There are also concerns about the short supply of other elements that are often used in lithium batteries like cobalt and rare earths. And there are still plenty of solid state sceptics who think lithium is the foreseeable future. As ever the future looks rich with possibilities but also big pitfalls.
EASY UK RIDING FOR 2022
If you are a fan of easy rides along canal towpaths and old rail corridors, traffic-free style, and will be in the UK in 2022 check out this new guide from the UK’s foremost cycle route organisation Sustrans.