Cycling as a means to commute to and from work is becoming more and more popular and this is accelerated with concerns about global warming. However, many people are scared off by the potentially long commute that relies on pedal power. An obvious answer is an electric bicycle, but they can be heavy, cumbersome and limiting.
Product Designer, Max Wehebrink, is developing an alternative called the fiftyfifty. It is an electric bike component that attaches to an existing bike and converts it into an electric one. The component includes the battery, motor and gearing and it fits into the front wheel of a standard bicycle. It weighs just 2kg and has a range of 15km. The main advantage being that you do not need to buy a dedicated electric bike. Instead, you can continue to use the bike that you know and love. You can charge the battery overnight and if you are eco conscience, you can use a green electricity provider to ensure that your mode of transport remains environmentally friendly.
I asked Max a few questions about the fiftyfifty electric bike wheel:
How did you come up with the idea?
I do a lot of cycling and am a bit of a bike geek. As such I am very specific over my bike components such as a frame, gears, wheels and so forth. Unfortunately the choice of electric bicycles is limited and as a result component choice is EXTREMELY limited. As I use my bike to commute I like the idea of an electric assist so I don't have to arrive sweaty, with the added possibility of needing to shower and get changed, etc. The electric wheel allows you to ride whatever bike you are comfortable with and in a less sweaty way to get from a to b.
Is the product going to be developed further?
It's been a long road and it is still under development
Will the product be available to purchase in the future?
I hope so!
Do you have any other cycle related products in the pipeline?
Not cycle related specifically, but as part of my job I design a number of different products.
What other accessories do you recommend for cycling or mountain biking?
I recently discovered SPD/ clip less pedals as a great way to give you a boost. I would warn however that they acerbated injuries sustained in a bike accident I was recently involved in. As a result I've gone back to normal pedals during commuting! But in the right situation, especially on bumpy terrain they give you much better control over your bike.
How can people contact you should they have any questions about the product?
Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find how more about what Max is up to at www.wehebrink.com