The Question: How can Optibike justify the claim of being the best electric bike?
I want to start by saying that if long range, high top speeds, powerful hill climbing, and unbelievable handling are not important to you- DO NOT BUY AN OPTIBIKE. You can save youself the money and buy another electric bike- that bike will be the “best” for you. We at Optibike defining the “best” as being a bike that does not limit what you want to do, it enables you to do anything you can dream of. If you want the best, in terms of what is available- you get an Optbike. Now on to the matter at hand, how I can say that and get away with it:
Longest Range available.
To have the longest range, you need a big battery, and an efficient motor system. Optibike has both.
Biggest Battery- The Optibike has a 20ah Lithium Ion battery at 36v. (20 times 36v =720 watt hours.) This is the biggest battery offered in an electric bike, period. A big battery is like a big gas tank- you can drive further between fill ups. Some other electric bikes have 9 ah batteries, or maybe even 12 ah batteries. Optibike has 20 amp hours. Oh, and did I mention the 3year/30,000 mile warranty on the battery? Winner, Optibike.
Efficient Drive Line- The Optibike uses the Patented Motorized Bottom Bracket (MBB), which combines human power (you) with DC motor power to form a Human-Electric Hybrid. Optibike is the only electric bike that combines your pedal power with the motor power, and drives that power through a 9speed derauiller system. Imagine riding a fixed gear bike up a big hill, or driving your car around in 3rd gear all the time, and that is what a hub motor feels like. The MBB allows you and the motor to enjoy the efficiency of the derauiller system which means the best hill climbing, the best efficiency, and the best acceleration. In terms of efficiency, the Optibike is just as efficient climbing hills as on flat ground. Example: An Optibike 800li will run for 1 hour on flat ground or climbing the steepest hill you can find. A hub motor uses much more power when climbing hills to make up for the inefficient lack of gearing. Winner, Optibike.
Highest Top Speed
An Optibike on motor alone will push you along at 20 mph. This is to comply with the federal law. What makes an Optibike different is that when you pedal, your pedal power is combinied with the motor power and you can go much faster. This is also legal. There is no upper limit on speed when pedaling an electric bike. Most other electric bikes have a motor that is seperate from the rider, so the motor and your legs have no way of communicating speed to each other.
This means that with another electric bike, if the motor is pushing you along at 20 mph, if you want to pedal to increase your speed- you have to ‘outrun” the motor first. Its kind of like having a “Flinstones” car with an engine in it. If you are Fred cruising at 20 mph and put your feet down to push yourself along faster- your input does nothing until you push faster than the motor. With an Optibike, the rider is fully integrated so you can pedal as much or as little as you want to. Winner, Optibike.
Best Hill Climbing available in an electric bike.
We have already discussed how the Optibike MBB allows both the rider and the motor to take advantage of the derailleur gearing to maximize efficiency. The MBB (and the 9 speed derauiller) also make for the absolute best hill climbing available. Imagine driving your car around in 3rd gear all the time- how would your car feel at 30 mph? (pretty good) how about at 45mph (about to redline!) how about starting from a dead stop on a hill in 3rd gear? You would have to put the gas pedal to the floor and ease the clutch out to have any hope of making it. At this very instant- your car is using much more energy than it needs to to get up a hill- it would be much easier (and use much less energy) to simply put your car in first gear and gradually accelerate!
Hub Motors use the Brute Force Method- they have to dump all kinds of precious battery power into the motor to accelerate on a hill (or even climb one for that matter) The Optibike uses the much more civilized approach and simply allows you the courtesy and ease of downshifting.
Using this technology- the Optibike rode to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado! Unmatched in hill climbing. Winner, Optibike.
Having the best handling requires 3 main pieces. You cannot have excellent handling without ALL 3. This is not an either/or situation.
1) Light Wheels. Low Center of Gravity. Excellent Suspension, tires and brakes. (Ok, so its more like 5 things)
Light Wheels- If you have heavy wheels, you have to absorb more abuse and handling is worse. When wheels are heavy, the mass is accelerated towards the rider whenever you hit a bump. The heavier the wheel, the more you get beat up. Nothing to argue about here, its physics. Ford Motor Company once offered Jim Turner (Optibike inventor) a million dollars to take 1 pound out of the wheel of a car! They knew that one pound out of the wheel of a 3000lb car would make a huge difference, can you imagine that some electric bike wheels weight 17 lbs?!? Optibike uses only top of the line Mavic wheels that are light, responsive, and super durable. Go to a bike shop and ask about Mavic wheels, they are the best. Lightest wheels offered in an electric bike, Winner- Optibike.
2) Lowest Center of Gravity
The Battery and the motor make up most of the weight of an electric bicycle. Carrying that weight low and in the center of the frame (look at motocross bikes) makes for the most responsive and most agile handling. Do other electric bike has a lower center of gravity. Winner, Optibike.
3) Suspension, brakes, tires.
People often ask why Optibike uses such expensive components, our answer is this: Mountain Bike Downhill racers travel at 30-50+ mph downhill on bikes that weigh 50+ lbs and they need equipment that works perfectly, everytime. An electric bike like the Optibike weighs 58lbs, travels at 30+ mph (faster downhill) and many of the riders do not have the experience of a Professional Downhiller.
Fox Racing Shox are used by more professional mountain bike racers than any other suspension. They are the best. They work perfectly. They are most suited for a bike of this weight, and capable of these speeds. Some “other” bikes use some crappy no-name suspension just so they can say they have suspension. Optibikes are designed by engineers with a passion for performance, not marketing people who are trying to add features.
Tires and Brakes.
Again, Optibike uses Hydraulic Avid Disk Brakes designed for serious off road use. These are the best brakes suited for an electric bike. Would you put cheap brakes on your car?
Optibike uses only Schwalbe brand tires. These tires are made in Germany by tire fanatics. You can tell a difference, these tires retail for $65 each- for good reason. They are the best.
Best handling, safest components- Winner, Optibike.
Craig, et al’,
I really like your opening paragraph. Your response is very comprehensive and you can hear the passion behind your reasons. I appreciate that Optibike stepped right up to the question on this forum and and broader discussion on the TF forum. Emphasizing your 90 day guarantee is also a bold offer behind the statements. You make an Opti owner proud and more satisfied.