It’s been a while since I got to do a fun demo on some kind of electric vehicle, so last week we took a trip to Golden Gate Park with the Storm eBike.
It’s a electric bicycle designed to be cheap and practical. It’s the 1987 Honda Civic of electric bikes, stripped down to the basics. There’s no regenerative braking, or a fancy housing to disguise the massive batteries needed to give bikes any kind of range for commuting.
While the frame isn’t anything special, the tires that come with the bike certainly draw the eye. They’re big round tubes that probably aren’t doing the motor any favors but provide a stable, smooth ride on different surfaces. Going over pavement with cracks, paths with crunchy branch bits, and dirt the bike maintained a solid grip and could instantly get going with a push of the accelerator.
I didn’t get a chance to test the Storm eBike for the entirety of its battery life, but I did get to drive on a few different grades of hill to see how it performed. If your commute is mostly flat (or if you just want to take it to the beach sometimes), it offers a fun ride with assistance that’s also not too hard to pedal.
If you live in an area with particularly steep slopes, the Storm won’t completely eliminate the struggle. I had to max out the accelerator and pedal a bit to get up a hill that I probably wouldn’t have struggled with too much on a lighter bike without a battery.
Storm says that the bike can go 30 miles on a 90 minute charge. While the total distance available will likely drop off a bit over a few years of use, the quick charge time means it’ll still be practical if your trips regularly take you somewhere with an outlet for topping off.
At its $499 launch price on Indiegogo, the Storm eBike seems like a solid entry-level option. Comparable bikes I’ve tried cost a few hundred dollars more, and if you really do want things like fancy industrial design and regenerative braking, you generally have to pony up well over $1,000. It seems ideal for those suburban commuters who could either bike or drive to work — this would certainly make cycling the preferable option.