From the tropics to the polar caps, Stark Drive is designed to handle a broad range of temperature conditions with a ruggedized frame and high quality battery pack as well as all terrain tires (standard) or even our fat tire model. Take Stark Drive with you wherever you go. When Designing Stark Drive in Stockholm Sweden we were very conscious of the fact that weather effects battery life on your electric bike so we designed our electric bike with this in mind.
On the other end of the pricing spectrum (although not as high-end as possible) falls the Riese & Muller lines. The Nevo line, which features a Bosch motor, hydraulic disc brakes and speeds up to 28 mph also has a roughly $5,000 sticker (a variety of models allows for a cheaper price). Using a carbon belt and Nuvinci grip shifter, maintenance worries lessen. The German-made premium models are hand made to specifications and comfort reigns supreme.
The Netherlands has a fleet of 18 million bicycles. E-bikes have reached a market share of 10% by 2009, as e-bikes sales quadrupled from 40,000 units to 153,000 between 2006 and 2009, and the electric-powered models represented 25% of the total bicycle sales revenue in that year. By early 2010 one in every eight bicycles sold in the country is electric-powered despite the fact that on average an e-bike is three times more expensive than a regular bicycle.
By 1898 a rear-wheel drive electric bicycle, which used a driving belt along the outside edge of the wheel, was patented by Mathew J. Steffens. Also, the 1899 U.S. Patent 627,066 by John Schnepf depicted a rear-wheel friction “roller-wheel” style drive electric bicycle. Schnepf's invention was later re-examined and expanded in 1969 by G.A. Wood Jr. with his U.S. Patent 3,431,994. Wood’s device used 4 fractional horsepower motors; connected through a series of gears.
Is it worth $1700? I’ll let you be the judge. I don’t have a lot of experience with commuter ebikes so I don’t know how it compares. I do know that most of the ebike conversions I’ve seen look like science experiments. The Buffalo could pass for a normal bike, and look a little more accessible to a first time ebike user. So, although I’m not planning on riding this, I am planning on using it. So I’ll keep it around for a while and let you guys know what I think long term.
Because e-bikes are capable of greater speeds for longer periods of time than standard bikes, you want extra control. Wider tires provide traction and some bump absorption with little penalty. You also want strong brakes to slow you (and all that extra weight) easily. It's worth looking at the quality of the brakes and investing in bikes with better ones if you can.