As e-bikes become social norm and rich kids and yuppies take to them, do you see a bunch of west coast choppers and chip fooses coming out of the woodwork and sculpting custom bikes and whatnot? Before you laugh, think of the innovative ways cutting edge companies are hiding the batteries and electric components for the high end models. Some day there may be an e-bike that is completely silent in operation and impossible to distinguish from a regular bicycle.
And just for my own knowledge is some of that already going on with regular bikes? Are there people hand building bikes from scratch and lending their name to it with a nice mark up?
Base of the Rocky Mountains, Canada. Wonderous things!
2010 Cannondale Hooligan 3
You can already go out and get all sorts of crazy/cool bike designs, chopper bikes, penny farthings (or ratty farthings!), all sorts of crazy stuff. I think there's an alt bike thread or forum somewhere on the site here. A store here in Calgary called Power in Motion sells a great looking chopper bike (I cant remember the name of the brand, but these guys are starting to get pretty famous), and they'll electrify it as well. You can get crazy laser cut rims for the wheels too with any design you want inside them. Big thief magnets = )
So far as completely silent and nearly indistinguishable, i've seen this one bike in Banff a couple of times which is definetly electrified, looks like they're using one of the nano hub motors, which as their name implies are quite tiny. The kit is so well integrated its almost impossible to tell even with knowledge of what e-bikes look like! Not an old bike, but designed very much like one, sweeping frame lines, smooth black finish with golden brown detailings and a fine leather saddle. Very very good looking. Envy inducing even, but i'd be afraid of even taking the thing out on the street and getting it dirty.
As far as hiding the batteries, I think the "Pi" bike is my favourite. Maybe not so much for value or practicality, but its a good stealth design and the bike looks so wierd that riding it around would be a treat, regardless. Maybe.
I think custom bikes have become a lot more popular lately, but the cost of custom making a frame is much higher than a factory made one so I can't see it becoming anything standard soon.
Not custom from ground up, but upgrades. Better motors, controllers, chargers and packs...
In these parts the moped-style ebikes are selling like hot cakes (since legalized one year ago.) Labels say 500w-rated, so underpowered for these chubby vehicles... Poor design as a pedal bike. Most just fold up the pedals or remove (kept handy on the vehicle to satisfy the legalities.) Sadly, we are going through a learning process, and I get the sense that most new owners (of the chubby ebikes) have never experienced a "classic" open-frame pedal bike w/power-assist. How performance might improve as the vehicle gets lighter... How lighter can be more practical... Most of these things are still running Pba, and the ambient temps are dropping with fall here now. Many are driven am to work then sit chained and *not* plugged in all day... They need lighter Lipo packs that can be removed easily and taken indoors for charging and warmth.