If they had electric bicycles on The Flintstones, is this what they'd look like? Perhaps. Actually, though, the e-bike you see here is a real-life bamboo-framed prototype developed by Calfee Design. What's more, you may soon be able to buy one for yourself. Yabba-dabba-doo!
Currently on display at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Salt Lake City, it features a Bafang motor capable of 1,500 watts, powered by a 54-volt/250-Wh battery pack. It also has a dynamo hub in the front wheel, which generates electricity for the 12-volt LED lighting system.
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In the rear wheel is a highly-geared Sturmey-Archer hub transmission. Working in concert with the Bafang, that makes a motor-assisted top pedalling speed of 40 mph (64 km/h) possible. How often you take it to that speed is obviously going to effect its battery range, but perhaps a more pressing matter is, will it be legal?
"Technically it's a moped, but we'll wait until the authorities catch up with us on that one," Craig Calfee told us at the show.
Designed to be compact and nimble in urban environments, the e-bike also has a suspension fork and seatpost, plus 20-inch BMX wheels (with bamboo spokes!) and a handlebar stem that allows the bars to be turned 90 degrees when the bike is parked – this means that they could sit flat against the wall of a small apartment, where space is at a premium. And at a weight of approximately 50 lb (23 kg), it could be carried up a set of stairs without too much effort.
"It's for people who don't necessarily have a garage, but they want to have a stylish bike to get around town and travel a pretty long distance with it," said Calfee.
If all goes according to plans, the as-yet-unnamed bamboo e-bike could hit the market by the end of this summer (Northern Hemisphere) at a price somewhere under US$5,000.
Company website: Calfee DesignView gallery - 9 images