The Optibike

By on July 12, 2008

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.

Gadgetopia

Comments

  1. Hi Dave,

    You just hit it as bike systems may be an alternative to transportation as oil prices are soaring. I do not think that price should be an obstacle for 3 reasons:

    1/ bike costs can be as low as 2000 $ for robust ones 2/ all is about how the electricity is produced and dispatched and solar energy may come in rescourse to solve some issues 3/ may be you should take into account than the average usage of a bike is less than 2 hours/day unless you’re willing to make the “TOUR DE FRANCE” :-)

    Regards,

  2. With a max speed around 30 why do they have downhill/mtb type suspension? After seeing the downhill video it makes complete sense, barrel down the hill and instead of chair lifting back up or to crest to another downhill section, let the bike do the work. But for the everyday commuter? Just by changing this bike to a front suspension (meaning to a hard tail) you would save a ton of weight which in turn would improve the total mileage you can get on a “single charge”. Swapping out the downhill fork, (alot of travel) for something lighter or even go with a rigid fork you would again save alot of weight. Then there is the disk brakes, knobby tires, etc etc.

    The price would also drop alot if the above changes were made which would make the bike more appealing to your avg commuter.

    As the owner of three bikes (road, tri, mtb) that don’t cost a combined $5000 I really need to have someone explain the marketing and reasons for the choices they made in selecting the type of bike they did.

    Sorry.

  3. I’d have to agree, Mark. Can’t speak for the reasoning behind all the top-shelf components on the bike, other than guess that they knew the price would be way up there even without them, and put them on to help justify the expense and make it more appealing to a certain crowd. Only a guess.

    I read some info on this thing in a forum where someone estimated the component kit on the bike to be in the $2,000 range, so even bare-bones gear it’d still be plenty expensive. But it would definitely make the bike more affordable. Still out of reach for me, but a little closer.

  4. Hi Mark,

    The only way to understand the difference to other e-bikes is to ride it for yourself. It’s just so smooth, tough, super fast with an incredible range.

    Sure you could save the odd pound or 2 taking stuff off. The better way is to make it lighter by using the highest energy density battery possible. This way you get a lighter bike with a 60 mile range.

    Hans

  5. Jeez, if I were going to spend $5k on an electric bike, I’d get a Surly Big Dummy with a Stokemonkey and have something useful for actual commuting, where I often have to carry things that won’t fit in a dinky seatpost-mounted trunk. Heck, for $5k I could add a Rohloff hub and Magura Gustav brakes and still have money left over.

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