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smart ebike: mobility on two wheels

Mobility is quickly becoming the new “it” word in the world of wheels. I touch on it in my review of the 2013 smart fortwo electric drive. Getting around has never been more about smart efficiency than it is now in the 21st century.

smart is all about smart transportation, and so it is now positioning itself as the urban mobility provider par excellence.

For some, even the fortwo is a bit much. For them, smart introduces the ebike.

The ebike is a stylish bicycle designed with two-wheel performance and comfort in mind. Other than its uniquely sculpted frame, what makes the ebike stand out is its 423 Wh lithium-ion battery.

smart ebike
Photo: smart

I'm trying hard to avoid Lance Armstrong analogy but I now know what it's like to have Olympian-like leg power. The ebike gives you a boost up to 25 km/h. Essentially, after only a moment of pedaling, the rear-wheel hub motor from BionX switches on for an extra kick.

The ebike is really a hybrid where action on behalf of the rider is required to get things moving. There are four power-level modes for the rider to choose from. As well, the rear hub has three integrated gears. Depending on the selected settings, the battery can provide up to 100 km of assistance.

Below 25 km/h, the ebike's battery is ready and willing to give you a push. It takes a few take-offs to get used to how quickly (especially in the highest power setting) the hub motor begins its assistance. If you’re in a crowd at a traffic light or stop, best lower the amount to avoid possibly rear-ending someone. Above 25 km/h, the rider is on his own to power the otherwise heavier than average two-wheeler.

Beyond these details, the ebike rides like a normal bicycle. The hydraulic disc brakes provide immediate bite and when being used, transform the hub motor into a generator, much like a typical hybrid car.

As bikes go, the ebike is definitely cool. I'm especially enamored by the Brabus version as it is made with carbon fibre and will have a more powerful battery. As Brabus things go though, it'll be more expensive.

The base bike will cost $3,240 and will arrive in smart dealerships sometime in July. The Brabus will likely cost twice as much given the exotic nature of the materials. No news as to when it will be available.

For this price, the bicycle also comes with a USB port which enables various accessories to be powered by electricity. A smartphone holder is obtainable and with the help of an iPhone app, the ebike becomes fully connected.

The battery itself is portable for easy recharging or storage. As I’ve mentioned, the smart ebike is heavier than a regular cycle, and so carrying it up to a third-floor apartment may not be ideal. Best find safe storage on the ground floor.

The smart ebike is loads of fun as it allows the rider to get some exercise while limiting the amount of sweat produced. For those looking for two-wheeled mobility without pedaling, smart will soon be releasing the escooter.

La batterie portative facilite la recharge et le rangement. Par contre, la lourdeur du vélo le rend moins attrayant si l'on doit monter plusieurs paliers d'escaliers. Un endroit sécuritaire pour le remiser au niveau de la rue est donc conseillé.

Drôlement amusant, le smart ebike permet de faire de l'exercice sans trop suer. Si vous préférez quelque chose d'un peu plus rapide qui ne demande aucun pédalage, smart lancera prochainement le « escooter ».