First Impressions: Faraday Porteur

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The Faraday is a sophisticated city bike with the classic posture of an English 3-speed blended with the modernist design of the Dutch Vanmoof. With its Gates Carbon Belt Drive and Shimano Alfine 8 internally geared hub, it is a super low maintenance machine designed to get you from A to B in style.

Oh, and it has a motor.

Yes, the Faraday is an e-bike, though you might not notice at first glance. Born here in Portland from a team of industrial designers who wanted to make the ultimate city bike, Faraday first enlisted the help of master framebuilder Paul Sadoff, better known as the guy behind Rock Lobster Cycles. The prototype was entered in the 2011 edition of the Oregon Manifest challenge where it collected the People’s Choice award. The team wanted to give the people what they wanted, so they launched a crowdfunding campaign in 2012 that was fully funded within a week and went on to nearly double its initial target.

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That capital led to the bike you see here. Available in three sizes, it sells for $3,499 as pictured, with accessories like a frame-mounted basket, a rear rack, secure axle nuts and more extras (each sold separately). You can custom spec a Faraday just as you’d like it on the Faraday website, then have it delivered ready-to-ride to your nearest dealer.

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The steel frame houses a 250Wh lithium-ion battery inside the downtube, though it was originally designed to fit inside the second top tube. The motor is a 250 watt unit at the front hub, which allows the rest of the bike to use conventional, off-the-shelf parts.

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The battery is not designed to be removed, though it can be if it needs servicing. This means you don’t have the ability to take the battery with you to charge it while the bike is parked somewhere else. A full charge takes approximately three hours. The charger attaches to the gray box at the rear of the bike, which houses the “brain” of the system. Holding down the button turns the bike on, and powers the full-time LED headlight and taillight.

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The thumb switch controls the power boost, with three settings: off / low / high. Next to the thumb switch is the LED battery indicator light, which is fairly difficult to see (and photograph) during the day and impossible to see at night.

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At 42 pounds, the Faraday isn’t the massive tank that many other e-bikes can be. In fact, I’ve been riding it quite a bit with everything turned off and it gets along just fine. On terrain that is flat or even remotely downhill, I switch off the motor to conserve the battery.

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This is my first time commuting on an e-bike and I am completely smitten by the Faraday’s ability to get me where I want to go with minimal fuss. I think I’m going to have a hard time returning it when I must.

Keep an eye out for the full, long-term review in a future issue of Bicycle Times. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, order a subscription today.

 

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E-bike legislation progressing in California, stalled in New York

Courtesy of People For Bikes

Two bills that will modernize California and New York’s vehicle and traffic laws for electric bicycles have progressed in their respective state legislatures with just a few steps left to go into effect. Both bills will clarify confusion at the state level to define and regulate electric bicycles as bicycles, not motor vehicles, and create safety and operational criteria for their use.

In California, AB 1096 (Chiu, D-San Francisco) passed the State Assembly on May 22 with 74 in favor and 0 against. Before reaching the Assembly floor, the bill sailed through the Assembly Committee on Transportation hearing as well as the Appropriations Committee, also without opposition. The bill faces a bigger hurdle in the Senate and will be heard by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee in late June. California advocates and industry have been meeting in order to craft the regulatory framework that best enables more people to ride bicycles in California.

The California bill defines three classes of electric bicycle: Class 1, with a 20 mph top assisted speed and pedal-assist; Class 2 with a 20 mph top assisted speed and throttle assist; and Class 3 with a 28 mph top assisted speed and pedal assist; all with a maximum power output of 750 watts.

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Products like the Haibike Xduro we reviewed would be classified as a Class 1 e-bike, because the electric assist is limited to 20 mph.

 

In New York, S.997-Dilan, which would amend the vehicle and traffic law for electric bicycles but not define classes, passed the State Senate, 59-3, on May 19, after a 15-4 vote in the Committee on Transportation, but the identical bill, A.233-Gantt, did not make it to the Assembly floor for a vote in the recently-ended session. It is expected that the bill will be heard in the next 2016 legislative session.

Although A.233-Gantt carried wide ranging support from the New York City Department of Transportation, a majority of Assembly members, national bicycle manufacturers and New York retailers, the bill faced many challenges, including changes in leadership in the Assembly and Senate, a difficult sponsor, and opposition from the City of New York.

On the advice of the expert team of lobbyists who counsel the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, New York Bicycling Coalition, and PeopleForBikes on this bill, there is opportunity to take the time between sessions to build a strong base of support outside the bicycling community to ensure passage in the next session. Between now and early 2016, the team will work primarily to cultivate a coalition partners – environmental advocates, tourism groups, chambers of commerce, business groups, and consumer protection groups – that can demonstrate wide-ranging support for the bill; hold regional legislative hearings; host community board meetings in New York City; connect district members with strategic coalition partners; engage local elected officials in strategic districts; and lead a community grassroots effort in support of electric bicycle legislation.

The group will also consider modifying A.233-Gantt’s language and potentially finding a new Assembly sponsor for the bill. Currently, the New York bill is consistent with the existing federal definition of electric bicycles, with a 750-watt maximum power output and a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.

In addition to California and New York, electric bicycle legislation has advanced in other states. So far during the 2015 session, bills to regulate electric bicycles like traditional bicycles passed in Nebraska and Montana. A new law governing electric bicycle use also passed one chamber of the state legislature in South Carolina, and will be taken up by the Senate in January 2016. BPSA and PeopleForBikes also intend to advance state electric bicycle legislation in Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee and Utah in late 2015 and 2016.

Updated regulations open thousands of bicycle paths to electric bicycles and allow people to understand where they can ride by removing confusing and restricting rules. These bills will encourage more consumers to purchase and use electric bicycles and make it easier for independent bicycle dealers to sell electric bicycles to new and existing bicycle riders.

This work is the result of a partnership between the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, PeopleForBikes, and local advocacy groups to monitor and improve electric bicycle regulations and to support the efforts of local and state level advocacy organizations.

 

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Faraday launches less expensive version of Porteur e-bike

With its unique twin-top tube silhouette and hidden battery pack the Faraday Porteur stays apart from the crowd of futuristic-looking e-bikes on the market. The latest version, the Porteur S, includes most of the same features of the original model but lowers the price $700.

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Gone are the carbon fiber belt drive and leather grips, and in their place are a regular chain and cork touch points. The 8-speed internal hub has been swapped for a 5-speed to save money and the fenders are made from aluminum rather than bamboo.

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Nearly all of the other components remain though, including the integrated LED lighting, 250-watt motor, chromoly frame and twin-arm centerstand. Rather than a bulky battery held on the exterior of the frame, the Faraday tucks them into the downtube, though they are easily removable via a trap door underneath. Even with the motor and battery the bike weighs less than 40 pounds.

The Porteur S will be available in two colors (white or gray) and three sizes when it goes on sale later this summer for $2,799.

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MotoGP champs given e-bikes for paddock use

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Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. and Winora Group have presented the new Haibike SDURO e-bikes to the Yamaha MotoGP teams today at the Circuito de Jerez de la Frontera in Spain ahead of this Sunday’s event, the fourth on the racing calendar.


 Check out our first impressions of the Haibike we’ve been riding for a few months now!


The German specialty bicycle manufacturer supplied three Haibike SDURO e-bike models to the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team—home of nine-time world champion and currently series leader Valentino Rossi—to be used as environmentally-friendly paddock bikes at the European rounds of the 2015 MotoGP season.

Winora was established in 1914 and Yamaha has been supplying Power Assist System E-KITs for the high-tech Winora model e-bikes since 2013. Winora presented nine e-bikes in total, equipped with Yamaha E-KITs, to the Yamaha MotoGP teams during a ceremony on the main straight of the circuit in Jerez.

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“The Haibike SDURO e-bikes fit Movistar Yamaha MotoGP perfectly, not only thanks to their special color schemes matching the team’s design, but also due to the models’ refined yet exciting character,” said Susanne Puello, Managing Director of Winora Group. “The Haibike line is the high-end brand of Winora and the SDURO model is especially designed for sporty customers such as Rossi and four-time World Champion Jorge Lorenzo, making the transportation within the paddock areas fun and stress free.”

Yamaha has been a pioneer in the development of electrically power-assisted bicycles since 1993, when the company became actively involved in building the e-bike market in Japan. In Europe, Yamaha supplies its E-KITs to several bicycle manufacturers, including Haibike.

 

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Yuba launches 20-city tour with electric cargo bike demos

While you can debate whether an e-bike is a “real” bike or not until your batteries are dead, we think cargo bikes are a perfect application for the latest electric assist technology. Yuba does too, and offers versions of both its Mundo long-tail cargo bike and Boda Boda “mid-tail” with the Bion-X drive system.

This summer the company will take them on tour to 20 cities across the country to give folks a chance to experience them firsthand. Even the cynical bike journalists here at Bicycle Times got have gotten plugged in to e-bikes after spending time on them. Yuba says the goal is to give parents, small business owners and others a chance to sample the bikes in their own community so they can get a better idea of how they can replace a car or other vehicle.

Yuba says the first leg of the year-long “Power Up” tour will visit Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Austin, Dallas, New Orleans, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta and many more cities between. It is also planning to visit several festivals and bike shops on the way, including Kiddical Mass in Houston, Phoenix, Atlanta and Miami. It will also join rides with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the South Florida Bike Coalition and join a Save Haiti fundraiser ride in Miami as well as the annual Blinkie Awards in Atlanta.

If your tots are a little small to be piloting a cargo bike of their own, Yuba will also have the Flip Flop balance bike available to demo, and you can compare the electric-assist bikes back-to-back with their pedal-powered versions.

Read more: You can read our long-term reviews of the electric-assist Mundo cargo bike and Boda Boda.

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All event dates

  • San Luis Obispo, California: January 17, 2015
  • Santa Barbara, California: January 18, 2015
  • San Diego, California: January 22, 2015
  • Phoenix, Arizona: January 24,2015
  • Tucson, Arizona: January 25, 2015
  • San Antonio, Texas: January 28, 2015
  • Austin, Texas: January 29, 2015
  • Houston, Texas: January 31, 2015
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: February 2, 2015
  • Mobile, Alabama: February 3, 2015
  • Pensacola, Florida: February 3, 2015
  • St. Petersburg, Florida: February 4, 2015
  • Sarasota, Florida: February 5, 2015
  • Naples, Florida: February 6, 2015
  • Fort Myers, Florida: February 7, 2015
  • Miami, Florida: February 8, 2015
  • Jacksonville, Florida: February 11, 2015
  • Savannah, Georgia: February 12, 2015
  • Atlanta, Georgia: February 14, 2015
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee: February 15, 2015
  • Nashville, Tennessee: February 16, 2015
  • Memphis, Tennessee: February 17, 2015
  • Little Rock, Arkasas: February 18, 205
  • Dallas, Texas: February 19, 2015
  • Flagstaff, Arizona: February 19, 2015
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: February 21, 2015
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First ride on the Lapierre Overvolt FS900 Bosch-powered e-bike

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If you don’t think e-bikes are a real mover in the bicycle marketplace? Look no further than the entry of Bosch in the marketplace to prove that some big brands are willing to invest serious resources in the growing market. For 2015 it has paired up with a few key brands to bring e-bikes with Bosch motors and control units—already a huge hit in Europe—to U.S. dealerships. Look for bikes from Haibike, Felt, and Lapierre, including this Overvolt FS900.

Read the full story

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Review: Currie Tech eFlow E3 Nitro

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Curie Tech is not a newcomer to the electric bike market. Started in 1997 as an e-bike only manufacturer, the brand is now owned by the Accell Group, an international corporation with a growing portfolio of over a dozen bicycle brands, including Redline and Raleigh.

Regardless of ownership, Currie has over 15 years of experience building e-bikes, and it shows in the Nitro. Unlike many e-bikes that give off a utilitarian vibe, the Nitro looks and feels sporty. The oversized oval tubing, integrated head tube suspension and all-black components add up to a sleek, sturdy and speedy-looking bike.

Read the full story

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Copenhagen Wheel now on sale

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The internet has been abuzz about the Copenhagen Wheel, a self-contained unit that snaps easily onto the back of any ordinary bicycle and turns it into an electric hybrid. With extra power at the riders’ feet, regenerative braking and advanced control systems, the wheel promotes cycling so that long distances or steep up-hills are no longer a barrier to a comfortable ride.

See it in action and how it works here

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