Electric Dimensions At Bike Friday

Electric assist takes center stage towards a full line of options to fit you!

We are finding that electric assist gives a whole new perspective on what a cycling experience can be and adds a completely new dimension to Bike Fridays. This multi-stage project started several years ago with the goal of a complete line of electric assist products. Inspired by customers persistently asking us for e-assist, Alan Scholz (Bike Friday co-founder) has been using his 50 years of cycling experience and 40 years of bicycle related design experience to research, experiment and design the best electric pedal assist kits for each of the Bike Friday line. Alan has completed the first 2 stages of this multistage project. He is now deeply into the 3 stage and moving into the 4th.

Read a summary of the first 2 stages in a previous blog post! Click here

Stage 3 Update: Mid-Drive Electric Pedal Assist on the Haul-a-Day

This winter four of us at the factory have been riding our own electric pedal assist Haul-a-Days with mid-drives for testing and enjoyment. Alan continues his testing of multiple batteries and controls, Hanna does daily errands, Walter commutes and Michael takes his 3 year old to school. We all conclude a happy thumbs up! This is a great daily transport city bike set up!

“I have used my e-assist Haul-a-Day for groceries, picking 70lbs of plumbs and hauling friends across town. I found it helps me feel more confident to ride even when I am tired and in a hurry. I still pedal and get exercise more than I thought I would as the pedal assist just helps me go faster than I could on my own. When I feel strong I don’t turn the assist on and the bike still feels like the great bike it is!” -Hanna Scholz

Hanna often rides her own Haul-a-day to and from work. She doesn’t always need the electric assist, but appreciates it when she needs it!

We have also delivered several mid-drive electric assist bikes to customers who elected to be early beta testers. We have gotten great feedback and stories. Stay tuned for a wonderful story in the next newsletter about how the electric assist Haul-a-Day is changing a families life.

We will officially release the Mid-drive system for the Haul-a-Day and Family Tandem shortly. Stay tuned and let us know if you are interested to learn more.

Stage 4 in process: Adding the electric assist dimension to the New World Tourist and Pocket Rocket.

Customers have been asking for a simple light and packable electric assist system for their New World Tourists and Pocket Rockets for years. Alan has been testing options to find the best kit to add this powerful new dimension to these Bike Fridays. We have one beta tester on the road and will be offering retrofits shortly. More information will be coming soon! Let us know if you are interested in these new products!

Alan Scholz has now ridden another 1,000 miles on his e-assist and had another leap in perspective for this project. He will be publishing his findings and insights in a continued series of Blog posts this spring.

You can read his previous posts on this topic here:

The Mystery of Electric Assist

The Enigma of Electric Assist

Here is his latest writing on Another Leap in perspective on Electric assist for cyclists:

Living in the Sweet Spot. Go with the Flow!

How 2018 is a grand conjunction for the multi-dimensional bicycle.

By Alan Scholz

What drives my many years as a designer of bicycles and cycling products is my belief in sharing my own feelings of flow with others.

Many top level athletes talk about being “in the zone” or as it is called “Flow”.  It is a positive experience of energized focus and enjoyment in the process of an activity. It is incredibly common for cyclists to experience flow and many do so regularly. It’s one of the major reasons why they ride. They may say they ride to eat, or they ride to stay fit but often they really have a relationship with cycling that is akin to a positive addiction to looking for their next experience “in the zone”!

I am just such a cyclist. There are plenty of other reasons to see the world from a bicycle that are all valid, but those reasons are all enhanced by the emotional effects of cycling.

Here is Alan with his Haul-a-Day. This bike is currently one of his “test beds” for the electric assist systems we are researching and testing at Bike Friday.

I have been riding this bike to the shop (Bike Friday H.Q.) everyday for the last 3 or 4 years with all kinds of loads and often a trailer too.  I raced it in 3 DRTs (Disaster Relief Trials) and managed to place in 2! I believe 15 to 18mph is the sweet spot for touring and commuting. The Electric enhancement makes that possible for anyone! To the surprise of the local bike club I ride my Haul-a-day (cargo bike) on road rides up to 50 miles on the weekends with them, riding comfortably with the fast group on a bike nearly twice as heavy as everyone else! The motor is very quiet and I remind them fairly often that I am not actually Superman and I need a sip of electricity now and then to keep up. They seem to be cool with that and occasionally I’ll provide a fellow rider having trouble keeping up with a boost on a challenging climb. They are not disappointed as in their minds: ‘Keeping up is great’!

I have 50 + years as a commuter, tourist, racer, father of children who are now cyclists, and 10s of thousands of customers who have ridden my bicycles, pulled my trailers, grown up in my trailers, or used one of the 100s of special components or accessories I have designed. I especially prize the thousands of kids who have learned to cycle in Safe Routes to School programs around the US on the OSATA bike I designed specifically for a purpose like class instruction.

I have come to understand that some of this wide and fairly unique perspective is something I should share. Doing so now is because of a convergence of factors that I have been watching and wishing for all my life. The triggering event was finally seeing through my own blinders the wide value of electric assist enhancement to the cyclist.

I again thank the Bike Friday customers who encouraged and hounded me to find out how we could offer it here at Bike Friday. I have been at it now for nearly three years. The original project was to find the answer to an enigma,” The main mystery of Electric Assist for bicycles. Why is it not more popular in the US? It is wildly popular other places. What do they know that we don’t?”  I think I now know a large part of that answer.

I am very energized to announce this blog series where I will share what I have learned and why I am now convinced that cyclists can find enhanced value, enjoyment and utility through electrically assisted bicycles. In my next piece I will explain to you why Bike Fridays have always been Multidimensional bicycles and how ETBs (Electric Travel Bikes) can add an additional dimension to the bicycles of folks in the know.

I’d love to know what questions our customers have about Electric Assist and how you feel about Bike Friday’s moves into this exciting market. Please leave your feedback, questions and opinions in the comments below, your feedback energizes my work!

Best in Cycling!  – Alan Scholz Cofounder & Designer at Bike Friday (& father of the CEO/President of Green Gear!)

Flow (psychology)From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – In positive psychology, flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.

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9 thoughts on “Electric Dimensions At Bike Friday

  1. David Pledger

    We are at the point where e-assist is essential for my wife if we plan to travel with little regard for location. We have looked at ebikes.ca and love the idea of a package that we can fly with, still fit in the suitcase, and still be under the 50 lb. weight limit. Unfortunately their package does not presently meet our needs. I look forward to your thoughts on this and the ability for continuing cycling adventures. Bike today owners, David and Sharon Pledger

    Reply
  2. Lin B.

    To keep the purest sense of cycling while having the added option of assist: http://www.shareroller.com/

    I will be getting my this Spring to use with my pakiT. On/off in 10 seconds. No wires. Total weight including controller and batteries: 4.5 lbs for the shorter range, 6 lbs for the longer range. Pops off in 10 seconds for security, can easily be carried in a sling bag, backpack or pannier or by the built-in handle. Also can charge cell phones. My pakiT e-bike will weight in at less than 24 lbs!!! Perfect if you want to fly with it.

    BF should consider something like this.

    Reply
    1. Jac Thomas Post author

      I believe that Alan has in fact experimented with systems similar to this, and while we see the convenience, I don’t think we will be offering systems such as these. Our current e-pakiT system from Grin Technologies is also a great option if you want to fly!

      Reply
  3. jerry cleveland

    I have tried a few different e-
    bikes. I find them enjoyable and exhilarating, As I get farther into the idea of being a senior citizen I think there may come a point where an assist might be necessary for health and safety. I will probably include an electric option with any new bike I buy just to be prepared for the time when it might be necessary. I have met people who like riding together but are unevenly matched. Having an electric boost makes riding more enjoyable for them and puts them on a more even footing. Any chance you have an electric option for my bike Saturday?

    Reply
    1. Jac Thomas Post author

      Our goal for 2018 is to offer electric assist upgrades on all of our bikes. While it’s hard for me to say for certain if we’ll be able to retrofit your older model, I would guess if you contacted our Designs Consultants they can work with you to try and find an electric assist system that will work for you!

      Reply
    1. Jac Thomas Post author

      While the mid-drive system we have set up on Alan’s Haul-a-day is not permissible on airplanes, we do have a system from Grin Technologies that fits on our pakiT line of bicycles and is allowed on airplanes!

      Reply
  4. Bill Weedon

    I think the travel issue with lithium batteries is most easily solved by sending your battery ahead, if you stay in the contiguous US. Outside the US, I would think about buying another battery or renting one once arriving at the destination. This would work easily in the EU where there are lots of electric bikes that have compatible batteries.
    I had a bike friday pocket llama outfitted with the bionx 350. Loved it and now have 3 electric bikes and have covered over 15000 miles over the last 27 months despite arthritic ankles. Yea!

    Reply

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