As difficult as it is to imagine an electric bike as anything other than a lazy man’s chariot, it does present a practical solution to the challenge of a long-distance commute. Imagine the guy who drives 15 miles to work every day. Maybe he bikes it a few times a year, but it’s a pretty hefty jaunt for a daily routine. Throw a little electricity behind those pedals and suddenly a 15-mile commute feels a little closer to a 5- or 10-mile commute. It’s still a decent haul, but not nearly so intimidating.
To that end, Optibike is making the world–or at least that 15-mile stretch–a little bit easier. The Colorado-based company is custom producing bikes with more rugged chutzpah than you’ll find in the typical electric model. By the company’s measure, they’re offering the most powerful battery of any electric bike on the market. It’s the same one used in Tesla electric cars.
I took the Optibike for a spin around Manhattan, and as an avid bike commuter, I felt like a cheat. Of course, my daily ride isn’t nearly so long as to require a motor. Even with the bike’s aluminum frame, it’s still a little heavy to comfortably haul up the stairs that occasionally impede my journey, but revving it up strip of grass alongside the stairs, I had a moment’s feeling I was goosing a dirt bike. The motor kicks. I hit a top speed of 28 mph on flat ground, which was fast enough to outpace all other riders on the street. Clearly the bike is bulkier than the carbon fiber road bike I’m used to, but by no means is it too cumbersome for an open road.
Overall, it’s a fun ride, and certainly worth considering if ….More
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