SOC13: New City & e-Bikes from Swobo, Stromer, Kreidler & Breezer
Mountain bikes with 650B wheels were definitely the predominant theme at Sea Otter this year, there were plenty of other cool things for city dwellers, commuters and those that get to traverse a bit of dirt before becoming a city dwelling commuter.
Swobo has added variations to their existing bikes, a highlight being the Folsom. It’s essentially a coaster brake equipped adult BMX bike for playing in the concrete jungle. The frame is an oversized round- and box-section alloy tubed skid machine with a matte black finish, just like when you spray painted yours in the garage as a kid. The complete bike is just $589.99, framesets are also available. New for 2013 is that the frame’s belt drive compatible and has removable cable guides.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have a couple e-bikes and a slick new belt-driven Breezer…
Stromer comes to the US courtesy of BMC, and it’s as much of a performance bike as that brand’s carbon race rigs. It just weighs about 60 pounds and has a motor. The step-through frame is relatively new, but keeps the same hidden battery compartment in the downtube. It, and the Kreidler below, are both electronic assist only, so you can’t just throttle and go. Both also get pretty high end spec.
Kreidler e-bikes are high end motorized mountain bikes with Bosch batteries and motors built into the frame. Its drivetrain differs from the Stromer’s in that the motor is at the cranks rather than the rear hub. The upside is it allows for integrated sensors for torque and cadence (plus speed) to determine the level of power output. Three levels of assist are available, equivalent to 30%, 100% or 180% of your effort.
Granted, an e-mountain bike might leave trail riders aghast, but US rep Kenny Roberts uses it as a mix between commuting and mountain biking, hitting the trails in two parks between home and work. Where others are doing shuttle runs, he just motors up the hill and bombs down, then arrives at work without being all sweaty. He concedes it’s not going to replace your mountain bike, but it provides a good option for those in his situation. Or for those who may not be physically able to pedal hard but still want to get out into nature (rails-to-trails, national parks, etc.).
The frames also have rack mounts, and you could always throw slicks on it and have a more aggressive urban machine. The 29er chainstays are long at 20.25″, which means it should be plenty stable, even with a load. Retail is $4,200. Runtime should give you 25 to more than 140 kilometers of assist depending on mode and how hard your riding it. They’ll also offer a larger battery pack that extends it.
Breezer’s new Beltway Infinity looks like a great non-motorized commuter bike. It combines a Gates Belt Drive with Nuvinci’s N360 internally “geared” hub for smooth, quiet riding with infinitely variable gearing. It also packs a dynamo front hub to power front and rear lights, full coverage fenders and disc brakes. Want more?
How ’bout a hydroformed alloy frame. Still more?
How ’bout one of the sleekest frame breaks we’ve seen for slipping belt into the rear triangle. See it? Check the bolt facing upward into the seatstay, just above the rear axle. It threads into the stay, pulling it snugly into the dropout, making it all but invisible.
Full Specs: 700x35c Schwalbe Marathon tires with Green Guard, Tektro Auriga hydraulic brake set, full fenders with stainless fittings, B&M Lumotech LED headlight with auto sensor and B&M Toplight Plus LED rear light, Breezer Performance dual-density saddle, and aluminum tubular rear carrier. The Beltway Infinity is available in Gloss Dark Blue with Silver in a step-over model only — (S to XL). MSRP is $1,599