Karmic rolls out the Kyoto, an e-bike for women

Karmic Bikes today began accepting pre-orders for their newest model, the Karmic Kyoto, a “pedelec” (or pedal electric bike) designed for women.

The upright street bike features a 500Wh battery, Shimano’s SLX 11-speed components, a step-through frame, fenders, lights, and hydraulic disc brakes. It is available in white, light blue, and purple.

The Kyoto was created in collaboration with Joe Murray, a cyclist and bike designer who was the first mountain biker inducted into the U.S. Bicycle Hall of Fame.

With the 500Wh battery, the Karmic Kyoto gives a rider 50 miles of range in real world conditions using the bike’s “normal” boost mode. A slightly lower-powered “eco” mode can get more miles from one charge

Karmic founder and CEO Hong Quan said, “E-bikes equalize the activity of riding bikes, so if you’re a semi-pro cycling nut and your mom has not ridden a bike for 20 years, this is a great equalizer, and you can finally go riding together.”

The company is offering the Kyoto at $1799 for early backers via a Kickstarter campaign, but will later sell the bikes at $2,799 direct to consumers online via their own site.

The pre-sale price makes the Karmic Kyoto more affordable than even the most reasonably priced women’s e-bikes on the market, for example, the Trek Lift+ Lowstep for women which retails for $2,799.

One key difference between the Karmic Kyoto and Trek’s Lift+ Lowstep, and frankly most other women’s e-bikes, is the battery pack position.

Karmic has placed their removable battery on the bike’s seat tube, so its weight is directly under the rider’s seat. The Trek Lift+ Lowstep positions the battery on the bike’s downtube, so that weight is low but slightly in front of the rider’s legs.

That required the development of a seat tube with a flat side to accommodate the battery.

The battery positioning contributes to the kind of handling women want when they ride, Quan said.

The CEO also noted that design considerations for women were very different than those for men, and he believes that e-bike makers haven’t been very good at designing for women, thus far.

“We interviewed a huge number of women, everyone from avid cyclists to people who would rather take public transportation than bike now. Everyone was thinking about safety. They also wanted a relaxed riding position, strong brakes and a low step over so you could put your foot down easily,” he explained.

Karmic claims its battery gives the greatest range of any pedelec built for women, meaning it can get a rider to work and back home again, easily, on one charge even over a fairly long commute.

Founded in 2014, Karmic generated $259,000 in pre-sales for their first electronic bikes, the Koben and Koben S, in an earlier Kickstarter campaign.

So it will be interesting to see if the company can reach their goal of raising $249,000 to make a product tailored for women.