HAR­LEY TO SELL SI­LENT BIKES

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - PHOTO: HIELE

TWO re­cent bi­cy­cles launched on fund rais­ing plat­forms show the world’s en­trepreneurs are in­creas­ingly tap­ping into a need for cheap, healthy trans­port in con­gested world cities.

WAVE EL­E­GANCE GOOD­BYE

In Cal­i­for­nia, Aaron Brady and Justin Brans­mit are rais­ing funds for what they wrongly call “the world’s most af­ford­able elec­tric bike, ever” at an early bird price of R6 588. The full price will be R11 981.

There are sev­eral cheaper elec­tric bikes on Chi­nese web­sites, while in Cape Town Relec­tro of­fers a seven-speed e-bike with a 250W front mounted mo­tor at R11 750, and around the cor­ner Ezee bikes sells demo e-bikes from R8 500.

Their er­ro­neous ad­ver­tis­ing pat­ter aside, the de­ci­sion by Brady, an or­gan­i­sa­tional psy­chol­o­gist and self-styled busi­ness guru; and Brans­mit, a “man­u­fac­tur­ing and mar­ket­ing ge­nius”, to cap­i­talise on Cal­i­for­nia’s need for cy­cles by slap­ping to­gether rel­a­tively old bi­cy­cles and a hub mo­tor shows there is money in them than moun­tain bikes.

Their Wave beach cruiser weighs a hefty 22,7 kg — and that is with­out the bat­tery. The weight does not mat­ter, how­ever, as a 750-watt hub can push the Cruiser bike’s thick wheels through sand and up to 45 km/h over smooth sur­faces.

A re­mov­able 48-volt 12-Amp hour Sam­sung bat­tery can be charged in five or six hours with stan­dard charger. At its most ef­fi­cient speed of 32 km/h it can travel up to 42 km on full elec­tric, and around 80 km with pedal as­sist.

LAY BACK, BUT STAND TALL

On the other side of the world, Aus­tralian man­u­fac­turer Hiele has cre­ated the Trivek — a fron­twheel drive semi-re­cum­bent bike that lets its rider sit high enough to look over most sedan roofs.

It has a patented steer­ing sys­tem that al­lows the trike to lean into turns, keep­ing the trike up­right even on cam­bered roads.

Hand con­trols on the un­der­seat han­dle­bar al­low rid­ers to ad­just the damp­ing of the steer­ing sys­tem on the fly to make sharper cor­ners in traf­fic but more grad­ual turns while mov­ing fast.

Lewis Freiberg, who co­founded Hiele in 2013, said: “We aimed to build some­thing that rides like noth­ing else. With our first prod­uct we’ve nailed it!”

He in­vites po­ten­tial dis­trib­u­tors to con­tact them on hiele.co The group is also rais­ing pro­duc­tion funds for the Trivek on Kick­starter, ask­ing $1 899 (R22 800) for a Trivek.

Australia’s de­sign brief for a re­cum­bent trike was sim­ple — make it higher and let it lean. Hiele is now rais­ing funds for this rather nifty ped­aller.

PHOTO: WAVE

Not ex­actly the cheap­est as ad­ver­tised, but this un­gainly as­sem­bled col­lec­tion of cheap bike parts shows Amer­i­cans re­ally will buy any­thing.

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