Developed by British inventor Clive Sinclair in 2006, the original A-Bike was an instant design classic with a telescoping structure that meant the entire bike could simply and quickly fold up and fit into a backpack, under a desk or be carried on public transport. Now a team in London has unveiled the A-Bike Electric, which features the same distinct, lightweight, compact frame, but includes an electric motor that will travel 15 miles on a single charge, making for a smoother, easier urban commute.
A-Bike Electric teamed up with the A-Bike’s original product designer Alex Kalogroulis to develop the e-cycle, which remains very loyal to the original design. When folded up the A-Bike Electric is just 21 x 40 x 70cm (8.25 x 15.75 x 27.5 inches), and can be unfolded and ready to use in just 10 seconds. At 26lbs it weighs more than twice as much as its non-electric counterpart, but for that extra 14lbs you get significantly more from your ride.
While the range on a single charge isn’t huge—15 miles or so—it is more than enough for a standard commute, and the small 24V battery can be detached from the bike and charged at one’s desk. A simple system of four LED lights informs the rider as to how much battery power is left, and should it run out, the designers note you can also just pedal your way to your destination.
And in spite of its tiny wheels, the design ensures that one doesn’t need to pedal in a frantic manner, as the company explains on their Kickstarter page: “The dual chain drive has been optimised so that the rate of pedalling matches the rate the wheels turn, this makes riding A-Bike Electric feel like riding any other bike.” The chain itself is enclosed, reducing the risk of getting oneself coated in grease during the folding and unfolding of the bike.
A-Bike Electric Ltd. just launched their Kickstater campaign, and within 48 hours they have exceeded their goal by $20,000. But there’s still a chance to sign up for one of the first of their bikes, which cost £589 (around $912) and will be shipped out from October 2015.