The Chainlink

It's not really a normal eBike. What exactly is this thing supposed to be?  Who is it for? I hope to not get passed by one on the LFP.  20 mph with a hand throttle?

From the manufacture:  

Hassle-free and tons of fun

• Easy for anyone to use, even without prior experience
• No license or registration required
• Skip traffic, ride on bike lanes
• Low maintenance (no complex bike or motorcycle parts)
• Charge anywhere with removable battery
• Travel with it: take it on trains, cars
• No parking problems (park on sidewalks, in homes or offices, completely free, always available)
• No restrictions: go anywhere with fat knobby tires (sand, dirt roads, concrete)

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I went to an e-bike expo at Lincolwood town center a couple weeks ago and test rode lots of e-bikes. I was skeptical but they can be *really* fun to ride. The good ones are like riding with a strong tailwind all the time ( the bad ones are like having someone randomly shoving you from behind, the bad ones are really bad and scary). I won't be getting one any time soon but they are really compelling and I expect we'll need to be having lots of discussions about where these things belong.
How is it not a normal E bike? It's not uncommon for a normal ebike to have some of all of those features in that checklist.

I guess that one of the first things that comes to mind is the very low gear ratio for a single speed bike.  In a normal (IMO) eBike there are gears. It's a bike first with electric assist.  The machine in this thread is gonna be a hard pedal in almost any situation. To me, that says this is not intended to be a bicycle first.

I rode a folding electric bike where it had a throttle just like this, and where it had a low gear ratio and no gears and was hard to pedal normally, just like this. None of which is a good thing (and in my experience most E bikes arent easy to pedal with the assist off or no throttle, there are just varying shades of "bad to worst" when it comes to how impractical they are to move around when you're out of juice, and the folder in my example was toward the "worst" end of the spectrum). But again this is not out of the ordinary to me, and even if it was these aren't exactly good distinctions.

So I'm struggling to see the allure of this thing or why it's all that unique.

It looks like a rat ride cafe racer motorcycle/moped (especially with the fat tires), rather than something a grandpa would ride on the local trail in Boca Raton.  Besides that, function-wise, probably little to no difference from many ebikes out there. 

They're tapping into a look and style that people deem cool enough to through down $2 to $3K. Pure marketing based on aesthetics, but that's true of a lot of things in the bicycle world. 

It looks like they're trying to revive the old school mopeds that had pedals, but were really meant to be ridden like a motorcycle (think 1970s era Puch Maxi). If that's what they're doing I'd rather they take to speed governor off and license it as a moped. I can see the appeal for an e-assist bike that rides like a bike and I see the appeal of a moped with an electric motor instead of a 50cc engine, but this is a strange in between.

Well, but that's the hook, right?  If it's an ebike moped, which you can (for now) ride on bike paths and bike lanes.  You can also lock it to bike racks.  Enforcement is obviously an issue at times in Chicago (and probably NYC to a degree) with full mopeds in bike lanes, but you can't ride in bike lanes legally with a true moped, and this presents a work around to that issue.   

So, they're selling the moped style in something that goes slightly slower, but with the advantage of slicing through traffic by being able to use the bike lanes.  I'm not buying one, but to be honest I can see why they seem to be selling well to a certain sect of people. 

It looks like a mini bike that someone forgot to put a lawnmower engine on.



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