Coboc impersonates non-electric bike to take Gold Award at Eurobike
Although slapping a battery pack and the requisite electrics to a conventional-looking frame to create an electric bike seems to be a path well traveled by a large number exhibitors at Eurobike 2013, there were a few designs that see the various electric components integrated into the frame. One example is the Coboc 3.0, which took out the Gold Award in the eBike/pedelec category at this year’s Eurobike.
To come in a choice of black or black, the Coboc 3.0 from Coboc eCycle sees all the electric components, including the battery, motor control and sensor, integrated into the down tube of the bike’s 7020 aluminum alloy frame. The only exception is the 250 W geared hub motor on the rear wheel that supports speeds of up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph). Despite this, the Coboc team has managed to keep the frame size free of any unsightly bulges so that at first glance it appears like a non-electric bike.
The integrated 36 V, 8.7 Ah battery pack is made up of Panasonic cells and is charged by way of an external charger that connects to the bike via a magnetic plug located on the underside of the top frame tube. The battery level indicator and on/off switch are on the top of this tube near the handlebars.
While this approach does enable the Coboc’s clean looks, the downside is that the battery can’t be removed for recharging, which Coboc says takes about two hours to provide up to 60 km (37 miles) of range. However, the company says the positioning of the bike’s various electric components and hub motor provides a balanced weight distribution.
The Coboc eCycle is a single-speed bike weighing just under 14 kg (31 lb) and will come in three sizes (S/M/L). All sizes will sell for the same price of €4,200 US$5,560) with sales set to begin in 2014 in Germany, Norway, Austria and Switzerland.
The Coboc eCycle's creators introduce their bike in the following (German language) video.
Source: Coboc (German)
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Acceleration was incredible, and the response to pedaling amazing. The clean and bare cockpit is a refreshing change to information overload that the average ebikes give you. I enjoyed this bike even though I'm slightly overweight (I come in at 196 lbs) fortysomething.
As for the price, a bit steep, but you pay for what you get.
No battery, no gears, no wires, no throttle.... just you and the road. Pure biking exhilaration.
But this isn't what an electric-assist bikes are really about. Aside from some of the more esoteric "racing" designs, E-assist is not for going fast. In Europe, unless strictly off road, you're going to be legally limited to a relatively slow speed and low wattage motors. So forget the "speed" idea and comparisons; non-assisted bike is MUCH faster !
E-assist (in Europe) is for practical, utilitarian purposes like pulling trailers or carrying loads or riding in fancy clothes that you don't want to get sweat stained (on the way to work or some formal occassion). Perhaps you are getting older and this is the best/only way to stay in the saddle a few more years? The Dutch "Spartamet" serves this market specifically.
So, get an assisted bike for the right reason and you may find it makes you very happy... depending on how much you paid for it.