The Felt Electric line has been selling in Europe for three years, and for 2015 it’s coming to North America. The line uses Bosch’s motor integrated into the frame with downtube mounted batteries.
For the US market, they’ll have four models – a fat bike, full suspension and hardtail mountain bikes and a city bike with standard and step through frames. The idea is to simply offer an alternative way to get around, making cars a little less necessary. All use the same 350watt motor and 400 watt-hour battery and all are pedal assist, meaning they need to be pedaled for the motor to kick in. Across the line, spec is very impressive, suggesting the bikes are made as much for performance as for convenience.
For example, the full suspension DUALe 10, above, gets a 6061 alloy frame, Rockshox Revelation RL and Monarch shock, KS eTen dropper post, Shimano hydraulic brakes and Easton Vice 27.5″ wheels wrapped in Schwalbe Nobby Nic Snakeskin tires…
Considering the Bosch e-bike motor system adds about $3,000 to the cost of the bike, the $5,799 asking price makes sense. Yes, it’s expensive, but if you want an e-bike that can make your commute a helluva lot more fun, here ya go. Across the entire line, most of the cables and wires are run internal through a head tube port, keeping the bikes pretty clean looking.
The 29er hardtail NINEe 20 gets a double butted 7075 alloy frame with Rockshox Reba RLT suspension fork and Shimano XT group. Wheels are Easton EA70 XL with Schwalbe rubber. Other than the obvious changes required to fit the motor (which forces a longer chainstay, too), the frame is very similar to their regular alloy NINE series mountain bikes. Retail is $4,699.
The LEBOWSKe is the one we want the most, and their fantastic lifestyle video certainly doesn’t do anything to diffuse our enthusiasm. Say what you will about e-mountain bikes, this thing rocks.
The LEBOWSKe 10 fat bike has a 6061 alloy frame with a custom fork that they’re quite proud of. It’s suspension corrected, meaning the bike’s ready for a Bluto suspension fork if you want, even sharing the same axle configuration to make swaps as easy as possible. The legs are hollow hydroformed, leading to a crown with massive amounts of clearance. This one was fitted with 45NRTH tires, but OEM spec will be the new Schwalbe Jumbo Jim (or possibly Vee Rubber Vee 8 120tpi) fat bike tires on double wall rims. The rest of the spec includes an XO1 group, SRAM Guide brakes and Reverb Stealth dropper post.
This test model has seen some abuse.
The 150×15 thru axle is Bluto ready.
Bosch’s e-bike system encloses the motor in a weatherproof housing that drives the crank spindle to assist your pedaling efforts.
You can choose the level of assist and see basic metrics on the center-mounted display. Retail for the LEBOWSKe is $5,799.
For more traditional commuting, the SPORTe models include a traditional frame…
…and a step through model. Both use Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, wheels, SLX shifters and XT rear derailleur. A Selle Royale Lookin gel comfort saddle is a nice upfit, as are the Schwalbe Kevlar EnergizerLite tires. Retail on both is $3,999.
All models have the same controls.
It’s not shown here, but both SPORTe models get half-length chain guards to keep slacks from brushing against the chain.
The first models start shipping in two weeks, launching first on the West Coast in cities like Portland, Seattle and San Francisco. They chose cities that have a solid cycling infrastructure and with dealers that will go through training and service courses so they can hit the ground with a full fledged program. They’ll expand east soon enough and continue to grow as it makes sense.