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Zeitgeist's electric bike aims to distinguish itself on design and range

Zeitgeist's electric bike aims to distinguish itself on design and range


Crowdfunding campaign launches today

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Zeitgeist’s electric bike is not aimed at wooing hardcore bicyclists. Rather, it’s for people who want a cool-looking bike to help them commute. And to that end, the company has launched a crowdfunding campaign for its $3,999 electric bike.

The electric bike market is getting crowdedFewer millennials are buying cars than their parents, which may explain the explosion in electric bicycles. Not only are the bikes cheaper than cars — important for a generation crippled by student debt and whose wages were heavily impacted by the recent economic recession — but they’re easier to find parking for. The sell on electric bikes is that it’s possible to commute under your own steam, without requiring a place to change and shower afterward. Basically, they can help you get where you’re going while still looking professional. The market is getting crowded, from the Greyp G12 and the Trefecta DRT to the VanMoof Electrified S.

As a way of distinguishing the bike in this market, Zeitgeist commissioned Brian Hoehl — who’s won awards for other work on bikes — for design. It’s striking enough that during my test ride, I received shouted compliments from strangers. That always feels nice.

The model I rode was missing a torque sensor, so the motor didn’t kick on (the motor only works when you pedal). The Zeitgeist handles pretty much like a regular bike, except for one thing: the 500W motors on the back, which make the back wheel feel abnormally heavy. However, the bike is light for its class, probably at least in part because of its carbon fiber frame. At about 44 pounds, including its battery, it’s comparable to the VanMoof Electrified S. That’s too heavy for me to lift with one hand.

The removable lithium ion battery is the black part of the frame, and the company says charge time from zero to full is about four hours. As for how long a charge will last? That varies, depending on how the user sets the assistance, from 80 to 100 miles. This is unusually long: the Electrified S, for instance, has a range of 75 miles. The maximum speed on the bike is 28 miles per hour, according to the press materials.

The first ten units will ship by May 31st, and the campaign will end June 18th.