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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Downtown 5 from Breezer is a fun little townie bike with lots of included features for not a ton of dough.
My typical ride involves riding to the grocery store, about a mile away. This is the perfect type of trip for the $550 Downtown 5, as the upright riding position and easy turning give you good line of sight and maneuverability in places like full parking lots. With an easy twist shift and five gears to choose from on the Shimano Nexus 5 speed internal hub, there is just enough gearing to make things easy and not so many shifting options to make it confusing.
Full front and rear fenders grace this sweet, teal blue beauty and there is even a full, retro-styled chain guard to keep you trousers clean. Touch points like grips, saddle and pedals are all of nice quality and have a refined, retro feel that’s is aesthetically pleasing to me. Even the Breezer brake levers, with rubber finger pads, feel nice when engaging the linear pull brakes. The Downtown 5 also comes with a bell, kickstand and rear rack, making this stylish and comfy bike quite utilitarian to boot!
All in all, I’m really pleased with my time aboard the Breezer Downtown 5. Look for my full review in Issue #27 of Bicycle Times.Tweet Print