E-bikes at Vancouver Bike Show

The Vancouver Bike Show on Sunday, March 3rd had a big contingent of electric-assist bikes to tempt the pedelec-curious. Here’s a few that caught my eye. – CK

Coolest bikes of the show? Without a doubt the retro rides from Vintage Iron Cycles of East Vancouver

The faux gas tank contains the bike’s battery.

At the other end of the spectrum, these e-mtbs from DeVinci and many other major manufacturers point to an electrification wave in recreational cycling that may prove inexorable, and many find objectionable.

But it’s difficult to overstate the impact an army of commuter bicycles capable of near-effortless 30 km/h travel like this Specialized version, might bring about for our cities, our environment, and our health.

What remains to be seen is whether there’s a market for machines that blur the lines between a mountain bike and a motor bike.

So much plastic and carbon and embedded energy feels in conflict with the core values of simplicity and sustainability the bicycle has for many. But it’s also less polluting than a throttle-twisting 250cc four-stroke, gas-powered dirt bike, if that’s the alternative.

Vancouver e-bike retailer Motorino (You’ve seen and cursed their scooters on the Central Valley Greenway) had one of the biggest booths at the show. No scooters on display to their credit, but rather an extensive selection of pedelecs from fixie style to folders.

including the novelty of this feather-weight e-bike.

28 pounds is the correct answer.

Custom frame builder Sam Whittingham. His bikes are works of art. Is making one bespoke e-bike at present according to a random comment I saw on Facebook. This isn’t it. This is a 29+ steel hardtail handbuilt on Quadra Island.

Another bike builder with magic hands, the ever-genial Chris DeKerf was on hand to show off his real steel creations. Chris told me about a one-off electric assist bike he built for a client with mobility issues. There’s another benefit electrification can provide in expanding the cycling pie.

I just liked the name. I googled to check and of course there are at least two heavy metal bands rocking out under the Juggernaut banner.

Mid-drive systems are showing up in a variety of forms, such as this design with the motor enclosed in a casing.

More than one booth rep wanted to tell me hub drives like this rear drive above are dead. I’m not so sure. I base my opinion on this post by some pretty smart e-bike experts from right here in Vancouver. I personally like the backwards compatibility and long life-span the somewhat standardized existing bottom brackets can bring to bicycle use and re-use.

Another mid-drive variant. How would you retrofit a human-power only bottom bracket? I predict some interesting homebrew solutions in years to come.

I would love to see the strong, sensible design for front racks seen here catch on in a big way. What’s required is 4 braze-on points on the headset. Much better steering and braking performance by securing the load to the frame rather than  wheel and fork

Ohm is a local marque that has been around for a long time. I love the idea of e-assist bike touring. The added range and load capability could shrink some of the distances and time required for touring in big places like British Columbia.

Another approach to the headset front rack design. I’m a little obsessed with these I admit. The size of the small base is deceiving. These set-ups can carry a significant load.

I feel all  about that sentiment.

What did you like/love/hate at the Bike Show? Let us know in the comments!