These New E-Bikes Don’t Even Look Like E-Bikes
Often times it’s not too difficult to spot an e-bike. Many modern commuter e-bikes are fairly obvious in their battery-powered intentions, in fact, some even store said batteries on a rear luggage rack or within bulky chassis components. Of course, they work—often times quite well—but they leave a bit to be desired from a design standpoint. For those of discerning aesthetics, San Francisco’s Faraday Bikes builds some of the prettiest pedal-assist bicycles around, beginning originally with the elegant Porteur (above) and now a new step-through Cortland bicycle. By the company’s own admission, they don’t build the fastest e-bikes or those with the most range; instead, their e-bikes are built to be enjoyed, deliver many smiles per hour, and look great in the process. RELATED: Check Out Ford Motor Company's Edgy New e-Bike
Named after British physicist Michael Faraday, the company began in earnest in 2011 designing an e-bike for competition in Portland’s Oregon Manifest bicycle design contest. With the help of a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, which raised over $175,000 worth of funding, the firm kicked off production of the sleek Porteur e-bike. Earlier this year, a second round of successful Kickstarter fundraising has resulted in the debut of the step-through Cortland, which is expected to reach customers towards the end of summer 2016.
Like the looks? The performance is quite eye-catching too. Both the Porteur and Cortland cleanly integrate their Panasonic lithium-ion battery packs into their bike frames, leaving little hint that they’re e-bikes at all. Both weigh in at a relatively lightweight 39 pounds and both provide 20 miles of pedal-assisted riding range, courtesy of a 250 watt front hub motor.
RELATED: The Bolt M-1 Blends Motorcycle and e-Bike in One!
To get going, riders need only start pedaling and then select the level of assist the bike provides (enabled, disabled, or “Boost”), via the handlebar-mounted thumb switch. Hold on though, smiles are bound to follow.
A number of different accessories are available for each bike, including front and rear luggage racks, a Brooks leather saddle, bamboo fenders, and eventually a GPS tracker and auxiliary battery pack that doubles range all while looking like a leather satchel.
Different hubs and gearing help delineate the four models, with the top-of-the-line Porteur and Cortland models ($3,499) featuring slick Shimano Alfine eight-speed hubs and carbon drive belts, while the less-expensive Porteur S ($2,499) features a Sturmey Archer five-speed chain drive setup and the Cortland S ($2,499) boasts a Shimano Altus 8-speed chain drive.
RELATED: The Specialized Turbo S is Like Biking with Superman's Legs