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…
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.
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.
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.