When technology and cycling collide it makes pedalling easy

30 Jul 2015

Cycling is becoming bigger than ever with more and more cities around the world reshaping their streets to accommodate the growing numbers of cyclists. With that, comes a surge in technology.

Electric bikes are a niche market at the moment. They’re a bit clunky, weigh an awful lot and tend to cost a good chunk, too.

There are many DIY attempts to make cycling easier, too, with people adding motors to pedals in order to up the speed, and reduce the effort, of the cyclist.

Vela, however, looks a good bit beyond that. Up on Indiegogo for a few days now, the bike is powered by a Li-ion battery stored in the bar under the saddle.

It can last for 32km and can quadruple the input of a regular cyclist, with 350w worth of power to help you get up that dastardly hill. If you click on the image you can see it in a bigger format.

Vela electric bikes

There’s GPS tracking and an anti-theft alarm system, as well as a control panel with a USB port, battery life LED indicator and charging port.

A lot of this works in conjunction with a phone, with the alarm system motion detecting, so it alerts the user when the bike is moved.

There’s an impressive-looking light on both the front and back of the bike, with the whole thing weighing about 20kg, double that of a standard road bike but down on many other electric city bikes.

But most of all, it looks great fun. For example, here are a bunch of people having a go on the bike for the very first time:

It costs US$1,000 for the basic model on the Indiegogo page, without a stand, bell or ‘customised’ rack, which is a decent price. Although the future price of US$1,899 seems a bit nuts, even if it is considerably down on other models.

What’s nice, though, is it ships worldwide.

The US$1,000 mark (around €900) is interesting because, in Ireland at least, that’s often the price point many people on the Cycle to Work scheme end up reaching, after they’ve gone for all the extras that they feel the need to buy.

“We created Vela with the urban commuter in mind — it’s a practical, budget conscious, and elegant solution to high gas prices, elevated pollution, and traffic jams,” said Victor Cruz, CEO of the company.

So far the team has received 40pc of its US$35,000 target and, with over a month remaining, it’ll probably make that with ease. Hopefully we can get our hands on one to give it a proper review…

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic