Folding electric bicycle packs in everything a cyclist could need
The Gi Bike is a folding electrical bicycle packed with features that give riders almost everything they might need while out on a bike ride.
The Gi Bike wants you to have it all. No, not career, family and leisure time necessarily - it wants to pack in everything a cyclist might possibly need into a compact, lightweight frame.
"We all know that bicycles are the most efficient and eco-friendly way to commute throughout the city, but we found out that there is no bicycle with all the features that satisfy all the needs of the everyday commuter," the bicycle's New York-based creators write. "In fact, there has not been any major or real innovation since its original creation in the 1800s. That is why we invented The Gi-Bike, by carefully challenging every aspect and design of the traditional bike."
We're not sure how accurate that claim is -- after all, the Gi Bike still operates in exactly the same way that it has since the 1800s, with a pair of wheels powered by pedalling -- but it does have a large suite of additional features that make it look pretty attractive for city cyclists.
For a start, well, you don't actually have to pedal. The bike comes in an electric model powered by a lithium-ion battery that can carry you 64 kilometres (40 miles) without having to pedal using electrical assist with a maximum top speed of 25kph (15mph), which is particularly useful for hilly areas. A smartphone app allows you to control the speed.
That electric motor -- which, unfortunately, doesn't seem able to be powered by pedalling, only USB charging -- has a few other tricks up its chassis, too. You can use it to power your phone while you're riding, and it has safety lights at the front and the rear for high visibility in low-light conditions, also controllable via the app.
It's super lightweight, coming in at just 17kg (37.4 pounds) thanks to its (still quite strong) aluminium frame. This is good, because it also folds in half for easy storage and portability -- and no one wants to lug around a heavy folded bike.
Of course, more moving parts means more that can go wrong, and the Gi Bike team has been careful to work in some failsafes. For instance, the bicycle locks open when weight is placed on the seat (as little as two kilograms), and if it runs out of power, it can still be cycled like a normal bike. The team is in the process of setting up partner stores that can service the bike in the event that something should go wrong, and it's weather-sealed to protect the electronics from rain.
The electric Gi Bike is currently being offered as a Kickstarter reward for a minimum early-bird pledge of $2,990 (normal price $3,390), and a manual version, without the electrical assist, lights and smartphone connectivity for a minimum pledge of $2,590, with an estimated delivery date of March 2015. Those prices convert to £1,779, £2,017 and £1,481; and AU$3,184, AU$3,609 and AU$2,758.