Once upon a time any bike you would see with small wheels was more than likely going to be a child’s bike. The advent of e-bikes has, in recent years, changed all that. Rather than being seen as child’s toys, small wheeled bikes – and e-bikes in particular – are clearly hot sellers.
It’s not just fashion either as small wheels have clear advantages. The bikes are easier to store, the small wheels accelerate quickly and make the electric acceleration even more fun, not to mention the fact they make the bikes more maneuverable too. This week’s small-wheeled e-bike launches are from longstanding US e-bike concerns Propella and Juiced and the latter also see the small wheeled phenomenon as appealing to younger e-bike riders in particular – it’s often wrongly assumed e-bikes are only for middle-aged or older riders. Whatever the reasons for their current popularity, expect to see more small-wheeled e-bike launches in future.
In this week’s news::
Mini – the new pint-sized e-bike from Propella
Juiced RipRacer – big fun in a small package
Bafang’s new hub tech now available and mid-drive success
New Brooklyn Bridge cycle lane boosts cyclist numbers
Now comes the Mini which, as the name suggests, is much smaller than their other models (around a foot shorter at 59” / 1.5m) and lighter (at around 33lbs / 14.9kg).
It’s a Class 1 e-bike (pedalling required to activate the motor and top assisted speed is 18mph) and it features a small rear hub motor with single speed gearing and a modestly-sized 250Wh battery.
It’s currently retailing at the eye-catching price of US$899 plus US$50 shipping and comes with a one year warranty.
JUICED GO SMALLER WITH THEIR LOWEST PRICED E-BIKE
Juiced Bikes have just announced the lowest priced e-bike in their current range, the RipRacer that promises to be the ‘ultimate fun-sized fat tire e-bike’. It will be available in class 2 (20mph) and class 3 (28mph) versions and Juiced are hoping it will appeal to younger riders in particular.
The 20” wheels are one way in which Juiced have made the bike smaller but much of the rest of spec shows they haven’t skimped on their trademark big power. There is a 52V battery in either 520Wh or 780Wh capacity to power a chunky looking 750W rated rear hub motor (with a max peak power rating of 1300W on the class 3 version). Despite its small size the RipRacer is rated for riders up to 120kg / 265lbs.
Juiced are also keen to keep up with competitors who offer a wealth of accessories and carrying options to make the most of the bike. With the RipRacer Juiced offers front and rear racks, cargo crates, passenger seat, phone charger, water bottle holders and even more add-ons. There are also integrated lights and hydraulic disk brakes as standard though only a single gear is offered.
The RipRacer is due to ship in March 2022 but you can preorder now at a $100 discount of $1399 (class 2) or $1599 (class 3).
BAFANG UPDATE – INTEGRATED HUB AND AEG MODELS APPEARING
Bafang have been in touch to let us know that their innovative sounding H700 integrated rear hub and gear system announced at Eurobike last September is now available.
H700 features a built-in automatic dual speed drive system, rated at 250W and 32Nm of torque. Bafang say ‘The motor automatically adjusts the gearbox ratio by detecting the speed of the bike during cycling, so that the rider gets improved cadence without manually shifting, and enhanced riding comfort without the motor’s power being affected.’⠀
There’s also a new version out of their powerful looking e-mtb mid-drive, now labelled as the M510. Like its predecessor, the max torque of M510 remains 95N.m, but, say Bafang, the weight is reduced by 18% while the max power output is increased by 20%. Max cadence support is extended up to 120RPM.
Certainly it appears that Bafang are making inroads with their more budget mid-drives in the UK and Europe – their ultra powerful mid drives are certainly commoner in the US than Europe where they are largely outlawed on public roads. A good example of their more powerful mid-drive is the Ultra which EBR reviewed on the QuietKat Apex and liked very much.
Trade barriers have also acted to stop the appearance of many lower-priced, lower powered Bafang mid-drives in Europe and the UK but this looks like it might be starting to change; EBR has already reported on the launch of Eskute’s Pro range of mid-drives in the UK, which use the Bafang M200 system.
The Prophete Trekking e-bike from Germany is another very competitively priced mid-drive and is available via the German Poco supermarket chain. For the currently discounted price of around 1350 euros ($1550) you get a 250W mid-drive e-bike with 375Wh battery, fully equipped and featuring hydraulic disk brakes. Whilst the motor is branded AEG – a longstanding consumer electronics giant that is a household name in Germany – it appears in fact to be a ‘rebadged’ Bafang mid-drive.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE BIKE LANE BOOSTS CYCLIST NUMBERS
Streetsblog USA reports that ‘Cycling is skyrocketing on the Brooklyn Bridge since the city built a new bike-only path on the historically dangerously overcrowded span, with the number of trips up 88 percent this October compared to the same time last year, the Department of Transportation said on Monday.’
And there’s more good news on the bike lane construction front with Bicycle Retailer and Industry News reporting that ‘More money for bike lanes, trail construction and climate change reduction will be available when President Joe Biden signs into law the nearly $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Congress finally passed the package Friday that awaits Biden’s signature. It calls for $11 billion of federal funding for transportation safety, including bicyclists and pedestrians.’
CANNONDALE’S NEW EUROPEAN FACILITY AIMS TO TRIPLE OUTPUT IN 2022 WITH MORE DETAIL ON NEW GEORGIA PLANT TOO
Cycling Industry News report that ‘The production output from Cannondale Bikes assembled in Europe will triple by the first quarter of 2022 thanks to Cycling Sports Group’s investment into a new facility in Almelo, The Netherlands.’
Cannondale are part of Cycling Sports Group (CSG) who also divulged the forthcoming plant in Rincon, Georgia plant is scheduled to open in Q3 of next year. Combined production at both facilities should allow an annual output of around 500,000 units.