As the electric bike market continues to pick up steam worldwide—especially in Germany, The Netherlands, and China—North Americans are increasingly adopting the convenient, hybrid bikes. The ability to pedal as you would with any traditional bicycle or comfortably tool around while propelled by a clean electric motor gives riders choice and convenience. With sales swelling and greater competition among manufacturers, who are now clamoring to meet the demands of eBike enthusiasts, some exciting new trends have been introduced to the electric bike market, and are worth exploring if you plan to purchase one in the coming year. Check out these 3 hot electric bicycle trends that are rolling in just in time for 2016:
With uber clean lines and new, streamlined designs, today’s breed of eBikes showcases a greater emphasis on simplicity. From the early “fixie” styles to the first hefty eBike prototypes, today’s electronic bicycle designs demonstrate novel integrations that dramatically reduce “busy” designs into simplistic and decidedly elegant models. For instance, the LightSKIN seat post includes lights that are seamlessly integrated into the seat. Without the need to mount lights on the bike, the designs retain their streamlined appearance. Some models boast built-in brakes whiles others simply strip away all superfluous details to arrive at a design with nothing but the bare essentials.
It isn’t just the frames of today’s eBikes that have cycling purists considering these motorized bicycles; the controls of today’s eBike incarnations have become simpler as well. Although the motor and battery may be placed in different spots on the bike depending on the manufacturer, the throttle (if part of the design) is usually placed right on the handlebars. Newer eBikes simplify this process even further by removing the throttle altogether and require the rider to pedal before the motor can be initiated.. If you prefer uncomplicated controls, you’ll want to ensure you select an eBike that boasts simplistic operation. As trends go, the simple style has staying power because it’s perfectly adaptable to an urban or rustic setting. Ebike owners can add enhancements or accessories in accordance with their own preferences and lifestyles, and they don’t have to fear that their bike will be an obviously target for theft because it looks like an ordinary bike.
Even though eBike designs are getting simpler, electric bikes, overall, are definitely getting smarter too. One of the most recent trends to hit the eBike scene is the emphasis on navigation and fitness applications integrated right into the eBike’s brain, if you will. From location-based apps to fitness trackers, eBike designs will incorporate connectivity into their designs in a way that traditional bikes never did and likely never will. Some bikes are connected with Bluetooth and literally offer an onboard computerized experience that provides riders with navigation guides, fitness applications, and even notifies riders of texts sent to their smartphones. Industry experts believe that connectivity is an important modification for eBikes to embrace, particularly as more and more electric bikes are sold in North America for the purpose of transportation and not merely recreation.
It’s true that early incarnations of modern eBikes were heavy—very heavy. The frames themselves were heavy and there wasn’t much to be done to lighten the load of the battery and motor in early designs; however, that story has changed now that many eBike manufacturers have switched to carbon fiber frames. Carbon fiber is durable, but incredibly lightweight. The use of carbon fiber helps offset the added weight of the battery and motor, which makes the overall design much less heavy and bulky than those earlier styles. Even batteries are now being developed for the eBike that are much less cumbersome to tote.
If you are concerned about bike weight, you’ll want to check out eBikes that are made with carbon fiber or make sure the design is simple enough that there is not a large amount of unnecessary weight. Manufacturers have realized that users like to take their bikes on the go by attaching them to their car or boat, and may even need to lift them in order to safely and securely stow them away. These activities are far easier to manage with the new lightweight eBike styles.
If you’ve been on the fence about trading in an older model electronic bike or are purchasing your first eBike, now is an exciting time to shop. With these new trends taking hold, 2016 looks to be a pivotal year for electronic bikes as they become increasingly sophisticated and attract greater numbers of biking enthusiasts. Whether you bike for fitness, fun, transportation, or all of the above, you’ll want to see these trends for yourself when you shop for your eBike in the coming year.