There is an ebike in my future.
I was minding my own business yesterday, checking in on Twitter, when I came across a tweet by my friend Mike in Brooklyn. He was linking to an Indigogo campaign about an electric bike. I’ve been looking at ebikes for some time now and clicked the link.
Indiegogo, in case you don’t know, is a website that entrepreneurs use to raise capital for new products. They create prototypes, produce slick videos, and put information on the site that includes support levels and perks. The perks are usually versions of the products or a chance to buy at a reduced rate when the product becomes available.
The video for Mate, the ebike Mike linked to, was slick in a way that only Europeans can make them. In it, the Mate designer described the bike while video clips played, showing off how fun and practical it was. I watched closely; I was interested in two features: motor control and foldability. When both features appeared, I was sold.
But Mate has more features that make it perfect for my needs. It has a good suspension with all-terrain tires — that means it’ll work on rough road surfaces. (The video shows it riding on cobblestones.) It weighs in at less than 50 pounds. It has an onboard trip computer that helps control the motor and keeps track of distances. The rechargeable battery is hidden in the frame so there’s no bulky box to deal with. There’s an ergonomic handle that makes it easy to lift if you need to carry it up a flight of stairs. And on the top-of-the-line S model, the battery can take you up to 50 miles and an independent throttle can get the bike up to 20 miles per hour. In other words, this bike can go the distance.
Although Mate isn’t cheap, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than every other ebike or portable bike I’ve seen. Better yet, it’s a lot cheaper than the Honda Grom I’ve been looking at (about $4200) or the cost of getting my new used 100cc dirt bike street ready (about $1200). Yes, it won’t go as fast as either one of those, but I already have a road-ready motorcycle (and now a dirt bike) so I don’t need another fast bike. And with a Mate, I won’t have to worry about how I can take one of those motorcycles with me when I travel (the front hitch with bike carrier solution I was looking at would cost about $700). This will fold up and fit inside the Turtleback, my truck, or even — dare I say it? — my helicopter.
— Michael T. Rose (@MikeTRose) September 5, 2016
So I signed up for the Mate S. The way I see it, the money I saved by not going with any of the solutions I was already looking at paid for this ebike. And if it does fit onboard the helicopter, I’ll get a lot more use out of it. My only tiny concern is delivery; more than a few Indiegogo campaigns have failed to deliver in the past. This one looks pretty solid, though. I guess time will tell.
As for Mike, well his wife is getting one, too.