Bicycles

Rubbee turns any bike electric

The Rubbee's polyurethane roller engages the rear tire, making a motor-only speed of 25 km/h possible
The Rubbee's polyurethane roller engages the rear tire, making a motor-only speed of 25 km/h possible
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The Rubbee is waterproof, and features aluminum construction
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The Rubbee is waterproof, and features aluminum construction
The Rubbee includes a leather carrying handle
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The Rubbee includes a leather carrying handle
The Rubbee's throttle remains attached to the bike at all times
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The Rubbee's throttle remains attached to the bike at all times
The Rubbee's polyurethane roller engages the rear tire, making a motor-only speed of 25 km/h possible
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The Rubbee's polyurethane roller engages the rear tire, making a motor-only speed of 25 km/h possible
Power comes from an integrated 14.4-volt 280-Wh battery pack, that can be fully charged from empty in two hours
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Power comes from an integrated 14.4-volt 280-Wh battery pack, that can be fully charged from empty in two hours
Two Rubbees in use
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Two Rubbees in use
The Rubbee's battery charger
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The Rubbee's battery charger

There are likely quite a few people who think that an electric bicycle might come in handy sometimes, but who aren’t willing to buy a whole other bike or permanently convert their existing non-electric model. Well, that’s why the Rubbee was created. It’s an electric drive unit that attaches to a regular bicycle in only a few seconds, and that comes off just as quickly.

The waterproof Rubbee clamps onto the seatpost via a quick release lever, and extends over the bike’s rear wheel. A shock absorber-like arm keeps it pressed down, so that its powered roller is able to maintain contact with the top of the tire – hence the name Rubbee. It reportedly even works on bikes with rear suspension.

The roller is made from a “special polyurethane compound mix” that is said to allow for a good grip between it and the tire, without excessively wearing away at the tire in the process.

Power comes from an integrated 14.4-volt 280-Wh battery pack, that can be fully charged from empty in two hours. Although it can be used to augment the rider’s own pedaling power, in “motor only” mode the Rubbee is able to deliver a top speed of 25 km/h (16 mph) and an average range of 25 km. It offers 800 watts of peak power, and weighs in at 6.5 kg (14 lb).

Two Rubbees in use
Two Rubbees in use

Riders control the motor’s output level via a handlebar-mounted throttle that stays attached full-time. Should they wish to ride with the Rubbee on their bike but not in use (if they run out of battery power, for instance), it can be flipped up so that its roller isn’t touching the tire.

The device’s London-based designers are currently raising production funds, on Kickstarter. The early bird pledge level of £699 is already gone, but backers can still get a Rubbee for a pledge of £799 (US$1,227), when and if they reach production. More information is available in the pitch video below.

Cyclists interested in quickly adding electric power to their traditional bike might also want to check out the $699 Ridekick – it’s a small battery-powered trailer that pushes the bike to which it's attached.

Sources: Rubbee, Kickstarter

27 comments
Mike Stokes
There was a gas motor on the United States market in the 1960s operated almost exactly as this unit. The major difference was that it powered the front wheel
Buellrider
I just got done with the first day of Ragbrai and lo and behold everyone was peddling using muscles and staying fit or getting fitter. Now make one of these things so that you can power your tv while you peddle and you might have something that is actually for the betterment of the human race. As is, I see the human race racing towards the future envisioned on WALL-E.
asdf
Awesome, but whats with that price tag? its huge!
asdf
I just visited their kickstarter page and I must say, I'm impressed! These3 guys with determination have come some way. Keep it up :)
Mia Holton
Buellrider, not everyone uses a bicycle for exercise/sport/leisure, it actually has other uses like transport, and when you cycle to work you don't want to get there hot and sweaty (not every workplace has a shower), or maybe you live in a very hilly area, or you're older and the body is less able, but you still want to enjoy the ride. Electric bicycles solve this problem and make it more feasible and enjoyable to get people out of their cars and onto bikes. Do you not see the connection with more people enjoying themselves on bicycles (regardless of how they power them) and less people in cars? = better for traffic, better for environment, better for health and wellbeing. I don't understand why people see bicycles so one dimensionally. You don't have to wear lycra and sweat to make use of bicycles in a way that's better for the human race.
Gadgeteer
The big problem with a unit that comes off in seconds is that it can be stolen in seconds. There doesn't seem to be any kind of lock on this to secure it against thieves, so you'd have to lug that 14 pound brick everywhere any time you leave the bike outside. Personally, I would prefer the mid-drive units on the market like the Cyclone or the GNG. The advantage is running the electric motor output through the drivetrain allows the motor to run closest to its most efficient speed. That helps, even though electric motors are supposed to have pretty wide power bands when compared to internal combustion engines.
Freyr Gunnar
Regular bikes are fine if you live in a flat area, but not if you have to climb hills to go to work in a suit. Incidently, most bicycles (and scooters) sold in China today are electric. Although it looks good from an engineering point of view, considering the price of a full electric bike, I found the price tag of the Rubbee too high, and it looks more like a solution looking for a problem: If people need a e-bike to ride around, they'll just buy one instead of buying a regular bike + a Rubbee for the same amount of money.
Vincent Bevort
From the images I can't see how to connect it to a European standard bike with a luggage holder on the back and/or a mudguard on that wheel. Mounting it (if possible) on the front wheel will for the same reasons also be impossible as a lot of people have a basket on the Handle-bar and a mudguard As stated before it needs a protection to keep it from being stolen when you're waiting for a traffic light Idea = OK Use = NOK @Mike Strokes We also had a version of that motor in Europe. They still run in collector groups called Solex and was originally produced a France. maybe you're talking about the same machine?
martinkopplow
I like it. This could be a compact solution for temporary use. Riders could still decide to leave it at home if they want the exercise of pedaling. Easy to take along for charging under the office desk, so there is little risk of theft here. Only, what if your bike has fenders? They would get in the way, would they? And the driving wheel would spread mud all over the place if you run through puddles? Room for a bit of improvement here, still not a bad concept as such.
Daishi
Most people already own a bicycle that this device could be added to and decent eBikes still cost $3,000 or more so its still a much cheaper solution. One thing I would like to see more of is rear motor mounts like this one: http://i.imgur.com/aqR56am.jpg It allows people to bolt kind of what ever they want to the rear and not have to worry about aesthetics or width. Gas or electric is fine and the electric motor can be can be housed separately from the battery and there isn't a need for it to be compact so it is easy to upgrade etc. Most of the ebikes and such I have seen lack "interchangeable parts" and that is really the larger problem that needs to be solved before we will see any real breakthroughs in ebike pricing.