Faraday Bikes e bike commuter townie (3)

Electric bicycles on mountain bike trails may be causing a stir, but the pedal assist market for commuting is booming. This may be more so the case in Europe where Eurobike was overrun by electric assisted bicycles, but the U.S. probably isn’t very far behind –  especially with new bikes like the Faraday Porteur making it to production. Originally part of a Kickstarter campaign, the Porteur is making its way into reality with a few changes. Compared to the original bike shown on Kickstarter the overall design hasn’t really changed, which is good – it’s one of best e-bikes we’ve ridden.

Find out why, next…

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Faraday Bikes e bike commuter townie (1) Faraday Bikes e bike commuter townie (2)

Mention the term e-bike and you’re bound to start a heated debate if the right people are around. I think e-bikes are a good thing – on the pavement at least. If a pedal assist (not throttle mind you), means someone is more likely to leave their car at home for a quick trip to the coffee shop, store, work, or play, then ultimately that seems like a win. Contrary to popular belief, e-bikes do provide a work out. Maybe not what you would get on a normal human-powered ride, but more than just sitting on a seat and twisting a throttle or pushing a gas pedal.

But perhaps what’s best about the Faraday is how well it rides with the motor turned off. With 20 miles of range out of its 350w battery, the Porteur should be great for quick trips or one way journeys where you can recharge, but what if you run out of juice? Many e-bikes feel like you’re pedaling a tank when the motor shuts off. The Faraday Porteur isn’t exactly a lightweight at 39 lbs, but the weight is hidden well meaning it pedals like a normal city bike even without the extra oomph. I could see this being used as a normal bicycle except for that one hill that you dread climbing on your way to work that makes you think twice about riding. Get to the hill, switch on the pedal assist, then switch back to pedaling. Overall, the Porteur is just a really fun, good riding bike that happens to have a little extra juice if you need it.

The Porteur is extremely simple to operate and includes a simple toggle switch to turn the motor on or off. The new battery is mounted in the downtube and is removable for service. Charging takes around 2 hours and the cable plugs into the back of the bike.

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Faraday Bikes e bike commuter townie (4)

The battery also powers the integrated lights front and rear making it a ready to go commuter right out of the box. Gearing is provided through a Shimano Alfine 8 speed internal hub with a Gates belt drive. Bamboo fenders help to limit the excuses not to ride even more. While the Kickstarter bikes included a made-in-the-US frameset, future production bikes will use a frame manufactured in Taiwan.

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Additional accessories include a front rack ($225) which mounts directly to the frame for easy transport of heavy loads, and a frame pouch ($60) which is a bit more classy than your standard seat bag though it looks pretty small.

The Faraday Porteur will be sold in two colors and in three sizes, S (51cm), M (54.5cm), and L (59cm). Pre orders are being accepted now for the January shipment, and the bikes will retail for $3500.

faradaybikes.com

8 COMMENTS

  1. I think e-bikes are going to have to come down more in price if they’re going to have a significant impact on the number of people we see on bikes. With that said, I hope they do have that impact.

  2. I was just down in Brasil this summer and there were tons of moto and e-bikes tooling around. These were absolutely working class bikes, delivering produce for shops, traveling a carpenter to a job site with a bucket of tools and a couple 2×4’s. I didn’t get to ask anybody about the prices, but these had the look of something selling for a couple hundred bucks. Lots of them looked like a Walmart class bike with a booster cobbled on. That is a the price point e-bikes need to hit to make an impact – to be a cost-effective alternative to a car.

  3. We had a customer recently win one of these Kickstarter Faradays in a contest. It was shipped to us for assembly. One of the nicest assist bikes we’ve ever encountered! The motor wasn’t “surgy” when kicking in or off. Smoothest transitions we’ve felt. Very nicely specked parts too.

  4. Jack may be right about the price point, but objectively it doesn’t make sense: the cost of buying, maintaining, fueling, and insuring a car is huge compared to the cost of a Faraday. The problem is that a lot of car owners don’t appreciate how much per year they are paying for their habit, and just accept it as a given. Of course, if you keep the car and also have a Faraday there are some fixed car costs that don’t go away, but as an aging bike commuter with a car, I can testify that you save a lot of money by using the bike as much as possible. And one of these days, if I live long enough, I will probably want something like the Faraday to prolong my ability to commute and run errands by bike.

  5. Seriously… Even discounting the cost of maintenance, insurance, and buying the thing in the first place, my commute is ~$12/day. It’d take ~15 months to make up the cost of one of these.

  6. I own a Faraday and was just diagnosed in June with Multiple Sclerosis. Even with MS and at my age (65) I find that I can keep up with my biking husband on our 20-25 bike jaunts. A winner for us baby-boomers and for those of us with disabilities.

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