Classically styled e-bike — with rust
THERE are interesting electric bikes popping up nearly every day, but arguably the most interesting this month is the Italian-designed, Swiss-built e-bike from Velocipede Fogliaverde.
Their designers took the idea of a classically styled e-bike even further, featuring a lowprofile design dressed up with leather, wood and even rust.
“Velocipede Fogliaverde” (Italian for “green leaf velocipede”) founder Peter Grünblatt explains on Kickstarter he sort of stumbled into the e-bike business with a journey that started about two years ago.
In looking for a stylish, classy city bike to ride with his daughter, Grünblatt was unimpressed by the bikes available.
He turned to a quarter-century-old racing bike he found in his in-laws’ basement, stripped the old bike down and sunk money into building it back up to his own spec. After getting all kinds of positive feedback, Grünblatt decided to pursue a commercial version, complete with electric assist.
He teamed with an Italian designer and Swiss mechanic to make the bike a reality.
The 65 cm frame now packs batteries that drive a 250 W Zehus Bike+ rear hub motor that is good for 25 km/h. Kinetic energy is recovered during braking and on descents, eliminating battery drain and the need to plug in. Recharging the 160 Wh lithium-ion battery takes two hours.
Instead of a built-in computer, VF relies on the Zehus app to connect the rider with the electric drive. The iOS/Android app provides mode selection, trip data and a locking function, with the app relying on a Bluetooth connection with the Bike+. Other design elements include the spring leather saddle, leather handlebars, woodplatformed pedals and bamboo fenders. The basic setup weighs 15 kg, which VF suggests makes it “probably the lightest e-bikes on the market”.
VF offers two styles of bikes, and both models feature the same build and accessories, the difference being in the styling — the Piacevole Corsa base model comes in a variety of two-layer, pearl-effect colour options, while the La Specialita Ruggine skips the paint and wears actual rust. VF explains that the frame undergoes a controlled rusting process before getting sealed with a transparent coating that suspends the rusting in a superficial state, giving each bike a one-of-akind rusty look without any actual frame degradation.
The Piacevole Corsa starts at about R47 680, and the Ruggine at R58 100, sans shipping.
The varnished rust costs extra on the old school La Specialita Ruggine, which currently pledges for about R60 000 on Kickstarter, with shipping.