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A Closer Look: Faraday Porteur Electric Bike

30 Oct

For someone who lives over 10 miles from my office, I’m pretty lucky to have alternatives as a bike commuter. If I want a workout, I can take an hour or so to ride the whole way and shower on arrival, or I can combine a train ride with a five mile bike ride that lets me wear my work clothes. If bike-friendly transit weren’t available, I’ve always assumed I’d have to give up daily bike commuting, saving it for when I had time and energy to spare.

But now I know what I’d do. I’d get an e-bike, like Jenny did for her hilly commute. But instead of her sporty Specialized Turbo, I think I’d go for the pedal-assist Faraday Porteur I test rode at the Los Altos History Museum. Pedal-assist bikes look and feel like regular bikes, except for an extra boost of power that feels like you have a great tailwind or powerful stoker behind you. I could use that to fight the stiff headwinds on the bay.

Faraday e-Bike

And with the Faraday Porteur, you get clean classy lines like none other. No oversized tubing or clunky batteries attached here, and it has a traditional city bike look that’s just my style.

For all the advantages of e-bikes for longer, hillier commutes or for carrying heavy loads of kids or cargo, in many places e-bikes fall through the legal cracks. They’re not as bulky or powerfully speedy as scooters or even mopeds, but they aren’t strictly legal to ride on most paved bike trails that specify “non-motorized vehicles only.” But with a stealth-looking e-bike like the Faraday, no one may be the wiser.

What do you think of e-bikes? The League of American Bicyclists is studying the issues and would like to know. If you have five minutes to spare, please take this short survey today.

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15 Comments

Posted by on October 30, 2014 in Bike Gallery, Gear Talk

 

15 responses to “A Closer Look: Faraday Porteur Electric Bike

  1. Denise Paterson

    October 30, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Well here in the Netherlands you have to put up with mopeds and disability scooters, let alone electric bikes on the bike paths! There has been some talk of banning mopeds from paths but it didn’t pass unfortunately. http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/the-moped-menace-in-the-netherlands/
    Sometimes I only realise someone is riding an electric bike when they pass me and I see they’re a senior citizen! The maximum speed of electric bikes is restricted to 15mph but my 84yr old neighbor is selling her electric bike because she’s now a bit scared by its speed and decided to stick to her regular bike. I’d love to get a electric pedal assist bike just to get up those pesky hills that we have in Nijmegen!
    Love your blog and wish I’d known about it when I lived in Sunnyvale – we moved here a year ago and love the cycling lifestyle and have no intention of buying a car any time soon.

     
    • gasstationwithoutpumps

      October 30, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      Hills, in Nijmegen? When I spent a month there over a decade ago, it seemed to me pretty flat (flatter even than the Midwest in the US). Of course, my having a 215m climb every day to work (~4% grade for 4.8km) makes most of the Netherlands seem pretty flat. Vaalserberg, the highest spot in the Netherlands, is only 322.7 m above sea level.

      On looking at a topo map online, I see that my memory is faulty. The ride up Oude Holleweg gets over 10% grade in places, and climbs 72m in 1km. I can see that being steep enough to want motor assist!

       
      • dpaterson60

        November 1, 2014 at 10:02 am

        Didn’t know about the Oude Holleweg and will now avoid it tomorrow, as the hotel where we’re attending a wine tasting is at the top of the road!

         
    • ladyfleur

      October 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm

      I wish you’d found my blog when you were still living in Sunnyvale. And now I’m jealous that you’re living in the Netherlands!

      I can see how older people would prefer to just take it slower on a bike than have to process the world around them at 7-8 mph vs 15 mph.

       
  2. fossilcyclist

    October 30, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    That just looks so right.

     
  3. No 16 Cycle Caps

    October 30, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Wow! That’s the first e bike I would actually want to own.

     
  4. Alfred Fickensher

    October 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Hmm, “no oversized tubing. . . ”

    Perhaps so to a lady inured to the well-casing size aluminum tubing and wishbone forks of modern performance (not to mention mass market) bikes.

    To an old guy still riding Chicago electro-forged Schwinns and old 3-spd English bikes, the tubes and fork of this bike appear cartoonishly large. Utterly ungraceful. Hardly elegant.
    alf

     
    • ladyfleur

      October 30, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      It’s all relative.

       
  5. Richard Masoner

    October 30, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    ” … they aren’t strictly legal to ride on most paved bike trails that specify “non-motorized vehicles only.”

    California law specifically lists e-bikes as prohibited on trails, unless the local jurisdiction otherwise allows it. UCSC, for example, allows ebikes on some of their campus bike paths.

    California State Parks rangers do cite those they catch riding an ebike on state parks trails. On the Golden Gate Bridge, you’re only allowed to ride across if the electric motor is off.

    And the Faraday is indeed a lovely bike and nice to ride!

     
    • ladyfleur

      October 30, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Given the number of e-bikes rented in San Francisco and the crowded conditions on the Golden Gate Bridge, I can see the rangers being sticklers. Have you talked to anyone who’s been pulled over for using an e-bike on a more ordinary bike path, like one of the river or coastal trails?

       
  6. TinLizzie72

    October 30, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    We saw SO many ped-elec bikes in Germany this summer! And got passed my many a retiree on them. If that means I can continue to bike until I’m 95, then I say, why not?! If the Europeans can do it…. That’s a beautiful one, too.

     
    • ladyfleur

      October 30, 2014 at 10:30 pm

      Who knows what they’ll have available by the time you’re 95.

       
  7. anniebikes

    October 31, 2014 at 6:39 am

    I like the idea of electric assist bikes. It’ll certainly broaden the range of users, new and old to a machine that eases hills and headwinds. But, I imagine for a stylish dresser like yourself that a step through style bike is better suited “pardon the pun) to your wardrobe.

     
    • ladyfleur

      October 31, 2014 at 7:01 am

      I definitely would prefer a step-through style. If these bikes (or ones like them) take off I suspect they’ll appear. If not I may just have to go with the NTS Works one.

       

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