Crowd sourcing isn’t anything new. As a word, it was coined back in 2005 but as a concept it has been around since the early 1700’s when the British government offered a public prize to whoever could solve a particular navigation problem.
Basically crowdfunding is a way for someone with a good idea to get exposure for their product and invite those that are interested to bring something to the table in exchange for a piece of the pie or some other perk.
Crowdsourcing and E-bikes: A Common Affair
If you are reading this then I don’t have to tell you that e-bikes are growing in popularity every day in this country. The people that enjoy them do tend to have a very heavy DIY grass root enthusiast base.
Some guys just like to build their own e-bikes because, until recently, that was about the only way one could get the desired performance. Some find that they do so well at building e-bikes that that others want them to do it for them.
On the other side of this equation are the people that just want to go pick one out and call it a day. Somewhere in between are the people that are interested in e-biking but don’t know which end of a pedal wrench to hold, but at the same time feel the need to be a part of the project. They want to be a part of something new and potentially life changing, and while they may not know how to wrench very well, they do know how to contribute to the cause. This is where crowdfunding comes in; if you search hard enough you can find a project that puts you in where you feel comfortable.
The most popular crowdsourced e-bike project was the Sonders fat wheeled e-bike. It wasn’t a fast, particularly good looking bike, but it was a concept that people liked. The Sonders e-bike was HUGELY successful. When it was first introduced as the Storm it raised nearly six million dollars in funding! The company has since delivered and you can now find the Sonders e-bikes for sale.
Today we are going to look at some of the better and more interesting crowdsourced e-bikes and e-bike projects that are ongoing and seeking contributions.
Check out this Indigogo project – The FLX: Electric Bikes with Attitude!
The FLX is a much sexier beast than the Sonders, even though it only raised $1.7 million in funding.
The same type of batteries that power the Tesla powers the FLX! This monster packs quite the punch with a 1350 peak watt mid mounted motor. The FLX also features our old friend the Bafang motor.
Don’t let that discourage you, it has a higher top speed than what you find on most e-bikes, 35mph! You can get to that top speed by either using the pedal assist or throttle.
Since this project began, the company has started their own website where you can find three different models with prices ranging from $1799- 3799.
Reinventing the Wheel
The Geoorbital isn’t exactly an e-bike, in the conventional sense.
It is a kit that, as stated on their site, lets you convert any bike into an e-bike. I’m mentioning this particular product because the people running this company are very persistent when it comes to crowdsourcing. When the product appeared on Kickstarter, they raised a paltry $1.2 Million, (that’s sarcasm, in case you can’t tell), but that didn’t slow them down.
That is a great deal of money for what is basically just a wheel.
Next, the owners of Geoorbital managed to get themselves exposure on national television in the big money version of crowdsourcing, Shark Tank!
As mentioned, the Geoorbital is a powered wheel that you can attach to any bike and enjoy the benefits of having an e-bike. At 500 watts, this wheel has enough power to pull you up any incline you would likely come across.
One feature I particularly appreciate about this design is that the battery is actually a part of the wheel and can easily be removed when parking or, you can just take the entire wheel with you.
Straight Outta Copenhagen: The Mate!
The Mate is the brainchild of a brother sister pair from the Netherlands. Because biking is such a large part of Dutch culture, they thought it would be a good idea to bring that unique part of Holland to the rest of the world in the form of the Mate electric bike.
At $849 + shipping this foldable e-bike is the most affordable on the list and with an estimated range 50 miles, it also has one of the longest ranges I’ve seen.
Even though it isn’t the largest e-bike on the list, it offers a lot for people looking for something more portable and practical. As I mentioned, it is foldable. It fits in the back of a Fiat 500. That is tiny!
So storing this bike will not be a problem for anyone. The bike has a range of 50 miles and can be ridden using either pedal assist or straight throttle.
Check it out, Mate!
Let’s Trike That Again
If you find yourself longing for days past and feel yourself wanting something you can drift like you used to on your old Big Wheel or Green Machine, and you aren’t terribly concerned with what others think, then the DC-tri Stand Up Bike is the treasure at the end of your nostalgia quest!
Once again our friends at Bafang provide the front hub motor, rated at 250 watts and limited to 15 mph.
Speed isn’t everything though, and because this is a stand up trike, going 15 mph while standing will feel pretty fast.
Also, because you are on an electric trike, you will have fun trying to drift this trike at every opportunity!
Screw practicality, get one of these and master your Tokyo drift moves!
Back to Reality
We’re back to reality with another funky foldable offering from Europe.
Velo Bike is a small-wheeled foldable e-bike that offers something I’ve never seen on any other e-bike.
It claims to be self-charging!
That is not the only unique feature on this city e-bike. Even the folding system is revolutionary. It is a quick release magnetic system that allows for immediate breakdown. Also, all of the drive systems are controlled by a Bluetooth connection, so you don’t have to worry about components breaking off of your bike’s controls.
If innovation is what drives you, this is the bike you want!
Do you know of any other awesome crowdsourced e-bikes in the works? Tell us about them in the comments.