This, my friends, is the future of the electric bike.
The Optibike is a purpose-built e-bike with all the electronics, batteries, and motor built right into the frame. The base model has a 400 watt motor and NiMh battery pack that will scoot you along at 20+ mph for about 20 miles, and the high end model, with an 800 watt motor and Li-Ion battery, will go 30+ with a little pedaling for almost 60 miles!
The Motorized Bottom Bracket® (MBB) is a patented design that keeps the mechanicals of the bike as simple as can be, allowing the use of standard bicycle equipment to get variable gear ratios for different terrain, which is something you can’t do with most e-bikes. The motor is available with output levels that vary from 400 to 850 watts, depending on which model you pick. The aluminum monocoque frame is unique, providing protection for all the electronics, and making for a stiff yet lightweight bike.
All in all, a very slick looking bike that has the potential to become a good alternative mode of transportation for a lot of people. The biggest obstacle of course is the price — $5,000 for the base model, up to $13,000(!) for the limited production OB-1 custom model. I guess bleeding-edge technology usually comes with a high entry fee. I doubt I’ll be able to talk the CFO at my house into spending that much money on an e-bike any time soon… But here’s to hoping that volume, economies of scale and competition will help to bring the entry price down out of the stratosphere. Soon.