Think of an e-bike that sports pedals and something like Rimac's pricey Greyp G12S or the cheaper, but not quite as stunning, Hard Tail from Dyson Bikes may pop into your head. The scooter-like Chameleon from Daymak probably wouldn't even register a blip on your brain's radar. Yet this LED-packing, smartphone-controlled, PV-boosted electric bike is being pitched as the "most enjoyable e-bike you'll ever ride," and features a turbo mode that allows a rider to pop the kind of wheelies Gary Rothwell would be proud of.
Toronto-based Daymak has been in the e-bike business since 2002 and is no stranger to Gizmag, previous innovations including the world's first wirelessly-controlled electric bike, the fat-wheeled Beast and a solar-powered conversion kit called the DDS. Its latest creation, the Chameleon, takes aspects from all of those and more and mashes them up into a 200 lb (90 kg) smart scooter with pedals.
The smart part of the equation is supplied by an iOS/Android control app running on a Bluetooth-connected smart device. The My Ebike app allows riders adjust the Chameleon's performance to match specific needs, such as whether the vehicle is being used in the city or off-road and torque tweaking to cater for a steep incline on the road ahead. The app can also lock the motor as an anti-theft measure, engage eco mode to get the most out of the battery or dial in the turbo mode for extra electric grunt.
Supplying the e-bike's juice is an 84 V/12 Ah battery pack, which is reported to offer a range of up to 37 miles (60 km) – depending on rider style – in exchange for between 6 and 8 hours hooked up to a charger, though a fast charge option of 2 to 3 hours is also available. Upgrading to an 84 V/24 Ah battery pack boosts the range to over 75 miles (120 km). If the battery does run flat mid-trip, however, riders can pump the pedals for the rest of the journey home.
The company says that electric bikes with pedals (power-assisted bicycles) can be used on roads without insurance or a license so long as they have a 500 W motor (though readers would be wise to check local regulations before jumping in). The Chameleon's 500 W brushless motor is said to give it a top speed of 40 mph (62 km/h), though that's set to a more city regulation-friendly 20 mph by default.
Elsewhere, the key ignition e-bike packs a built-in alarm, digital speedometer, 16-inch tires, hydraulic disc brakes, headlights, rear brake lights and turn indicators and a double kickstand. It's being offered in three flavors and in three colors, to cater for different needs, budgets and tastes.
The Deluxe and Ultimate editions come with a rear-mounted storage box fitted with 15 W PV panels and programmable RGB LED light strips. As the Chameleon trundles around the streets or stands and bakes in the sun, the panels will trickle charge the battery for a little extra range (between 6 - 9 km per day, according to Daymak).
To bring what it describes as "the smartest, fastest (street legal) electric bike" into production, Daymak has launched a flexible funding crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. A Standard model is currently listed at a US$599 pledge level, which doesn't include shipping costs but does represent a substantial saving on the expected regular price of $1,999. The Chameleon Deluxe is pitched at $699, while the Ultimate model is up for $1,699, representing savings of 70 and 50 percent, respectively, on the post-campaign price.
If all goes to plan, delivery of the first Chameleon e-bikes is expected to start in February 2016.
You can see folks zipping around town, pulling wheelies and brightening up the night-time roads in the campaign pitch video below.