In a parallel hybrid motorized bicycle, such as the aforementioned 1897 invention by Hosea W. Libbey, human and motor inputs are mechanically coupled either in the bottom bracket, the rear wheel, or the front wheel, whereas in a (mechanical) series hybrid cycle, the human and motor inputs are coupled through differential gearing. In an (electronic) series hybrid cycle, human power is converted into electricity and is fed directly into the motor and mostly additional electricity is supplied from a battery.


“At $500 apiece,” he says, “the company would be selling e-bikes at a loss, once they factored in product liability insurance, quality control, regulatory compliance, safety testing, and post-sales service and support. Chinese e-bikes could certainly ‘leak’ into the U.S. market near that cost, be sold as a loss leader, or be marketed directly on eBay, but a fully costed business model could potentially lose up to $250 per bike.”

Rachel L. Davis is an avid bicyclist. But as a working mother of two, with a third child on the way, she doesn’t have time for long bike rides. “In my world, getting my exercise has to be part of my daily life,” says Davis, 36, who owns a marketing strategy company based in Washington. “I live in a hilly part of D.C., and as I’ve become more pregnant, more tired with more children, I don’t have as much energy to be biking 40 miles or biking to Alexandria.”


Electric bikes are here in a big way. Liberated from some of the normal constraints of standard bike design like weight and gearing, e-bike design has exploded; if you can imagine it, someone has built it. From cargo bikes to city bikes, messenger bikes to mountain bikes, road bikes, and even beach cruisers, there is something for everyone. The beauty of e-bikes is they make the joy of cycling accessible to so many people in so many ways.
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