Pikaboost turns any bike into an ebike in less than 30 seconds
These days, cyclists wanting to give their rides an electric boost have a number of ways to do so, with conversion kits featuring swappable wheels, motorized rear racks and handlebar-mounted battery bags just a few examples. The newly launched Pikaboost from bicycle gear outlet LIVALL is among the simplest solutions yet, however, offering simple tool-free installation from a backpack-friendly package.
Where many ebike conversion kits consist of sensors, special wheels and separate battery packs. LIVALL's Pikaboost packs everything you need into a single unit weighing 3 kg (6.6 lb). That includes a 234-Wh battery, a 250-W electric motor and a locking mechanism that secures the unit to the seat post in under 30 seconds.
From there, the Pikaboost drops a small rubber wheel onto the rear tire to deliver up to 30 km (18 miles) of pedal assistance. This could mean maintaining a steady speed in “Cruise” mode, pushing you up steep hills in “Roll” mode or even adding extra resistance to work up a sweat in “Exercise” mode.
While it takes three hours to charge up the Pikaboost’s battery, the system also features regenerative braking. This engages on downhills and also even terrain in certain ride modes, collecting energy from the spinning wheel and using it to keep the battery topped up to minimize recharges. Further, the pack uses 18650 size batteries, meaning fresh ones can be swapped in if you’re in a pinch and need a boost getting home.
At the heart of the Pikaboost is what LIVALL calls its Automatic Adaptive Rate (AAR) technology. This combines an array of sensors with a purpose-built algorithm to automatically tune its level of assistance on the fly. This might change in response to inclines and declines, the user’s pedaling frequency or changes in terrain, adjusting the level of power output intelligently to ensure a smooth ride free of jerky starts and abrupt stops.
These sensors have a role to play in the safety of the Pikaboost, automatically detecting braking behavior and switching off the motor to prevent brake failure. The system also features fall detection through its accelerometers and gyroscopes, shutting off the power when the bike tilts to an angle greater than 45 degrees. Further, slip detection recognizes when traction is lost between the tires and the road and switches off the motor in response.
Other features include an automatic brake light, a USB outlet for charging devices using the Pikaboost’s battery pack and Bluetooth locking to keep the unit safe from would-be thieves. A mudguard is a thoughtful inclusion to keep the Pikaboost clean from water and mud, though the unit does have an IP66 waterproof rating for peace of mind.
LIVALL is planning a retail price of $599 for the Pikaboost, but is initially looking to raise funds for production through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickbooster, where early bird pledges are available for US$299. That price includes the Pikaboost unit, battery and brake sensor, along with a Type-C USB cable for charging. Shipping is slated for March 2023.