Bikes are an area of constant innovation, with their simplicity and popularity making them ripe for adaptation. But how much functionality can you squeeze into one bike? Cycle firm Gi has tried to find out by creating what it says is "the lightest, safest, folding smart eBike."
Gizmag has featured a number of folding electric bikes, such as the Voltitude V1 and the BigFish Line+, but Mariano Bossana, COO of Gi, says that the GiBike was created to fill another gap in the market. "GiBike is a result of our own necessities," he explains to Gizmag." We couldn't find a bike which identifies with us, which represents our feelings as cyclists."
Those necessities include portability (with the GiBike claimed able to be collapsed and readied for carrying in three seconds), powered assistance (giving the bike a range of 40 miles/64 km and a top speed of 15 mph/25 km/h), and smartphone connectivity that allows it to provide directions, connect to social networks and charge the user's phone.
The bike also features an anti-lock system that automatically secures it when the user moves more than 10 feet (3 m) away and can be controlled remotely via a smartphone app. Built-in wheel LEDs cater for visibility when cycling in the dark and carbon drive belts aim to reduce maintenance and help prevent dirty clothing.
There are actually two version of the GiBike. The electric-assist model, weighing 37.4 lb (17 kg), and a standard pedal-only model that weighs 26.5 lb (12 kg). When folded, the GiBike measures 3 ft (900 mm) long by 2 ft (660 mm) wide and, when set up ready for use, it measures 5.5 ft (1,700 mm) by 3.3 ft (1,020 mm). It rides on two 26-inch wheels.
According to Gi, the bike was designed specifically with city-use and commuting in mind. "Our aim is to give people the chance to not worry about bike maintenance any more," says Bossana. "The Gi uses a toothed belt, with no maintenance required, no more dirty or ripped jeans [and LED system lights integrated on both sides] to ward off lateral accidents."
Bossana explains that the team looked at hundreds of different designs during the development process, ultimately settling on one that looked minimalist, but still featured a mono fork and a fast folding frame. The team also placed a high priority on ensuring quality and durability during the design and development process.
The GiBike is currently at the prototype stage and Gi is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign in early April to fund its production. Should the fundraising target not be met, Gi plans to examine feedback gathered and make a decision as to whether the project remains feasible. "If the Gi is a good product for people, we will produce and sell the GiBike anyway," he says.
No price details have been released as yet.