The Spoke Word: E-Bikes Coming Into Their Own

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Interesting story from CNN today about the booming market for electric bikes. There were 200,000 of them sold in the U.S. alone last year. We still haven't caught up to Europe, where e-bikes are reportedly the fastest selling category in bike shops, or China, where there are 100 million of them in use. But 200,000 in one year is impossible to ignore.

Based on visits to a few bike manufacturers this summer and the Interbike trade show last month, I can say e-bikes are a constant topic of conversation in the industry. Major brands like Trek, Giant, and Schwinn all have electric lines now, and they're being joined in the U.S. market by new and established e-bike manufacturers like Sanyo and Kalkhoff.

Is there an e-bike in your garage or in your future? Yes, they can look a little clunky sometimes. But they don't have to. The photos below are of a working prototype I saw at a Trek dealer event this summer, styled to look like a pre-1910 Harley Davidson—right down to analogue gauges and a “gas tank” to conceal the battery. 

—John Bradley
Twitter: johnwbradley

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