Kickstarting the Perfect Urban Electric Bicycle

By Bill Moore

Using a bicycle in the city is smart, but they do have their drawbacks: they take up space in apartments, they are under constant threat of theft, and drivers tend to miss seeing them. That's where the Gi Bike, designed in Argentina, enters the fray.

Remember that line from the 1996 Tom Cruise flick, Jerry Maguire: 'You had me at hello'? That's the way I felt when I saw how deftly and easily the Gi Bike folded up and stood balancing its seat in the company's Kickstarter campaign video . Then when I discovered the electric version weighed less than 40 lbs., we had to talk to these folks.

So, in a truly international, three-way EV World Dialogue we were able to get Eric Sevillia, the startup's CFO, who is based in New York City, and Lucas Toledo, the CEO in Córdoba, Argentina to talk about their company, their truly innovative bicycle, and their efforts to crowdfund it in a short 30 day window.

Both Sevillia and Toledo, as with much of the founding team, are originally from the same town in Argentina. They met through mutual friends after Sevilla had moved to New York City. While the design, engineering and fabrication of the prototype was largely accomplished in Argentina, the company itself, Gi Bike , is incorporated in the US as a Delaware corporation.

From the description of the bike, it is obvious that the team put a lot of thought into it, taking into consideration the limitation of space most urban dwellers live with; the fact that most live in high-rise apartments that often require carrying a bicycle up several flights of steps, the ever-present threat of theft; and, of course, the proclivity of drivers to smack into bicyclists from the side.

The Gi Bike pretty much incorporates all of these issues into its design. A simple flick of the lever and the bike neatly folds in half. The electric version - there will be both manual and electric-assist versions - weighs a mere 37.4 lbs. The manual is well under 30 lbs. Because it is a smart phone-connected bike, when you walk away from it, it automatically locks itself. And because most bicycle-car collisions happen when drivers turn laterally into riders they missed seeing, the Gi Bike incorporates side lights built into the front wheel, as well as the pre-requisite front headlight and rear tail light.

The other intriguing feature, the first that we're aware of, is the Gi Bike app also enables you to share the bike with friends and family, another cultural trend in the growing 'urban collaborative economy.'

The electric version of the bike utilizes a 250W hub motor and a lithium battery that gives it an estimated 40 miles of range. Full recharge time is around 4 hours. European regulations limit the top speed with electric-assistance to 25 km/hr, while US regs allow assistance up to 20 mph. The electric-version can be pedaled without assistance.

The first 10 production bikes have already been spoken for and Sevillia has pledged to deliver them in the Spring of 2015. Details as to where production will take place are still being worked out.

On a technical note about the Skype video, there are points at which the video, itself, freezes, but the audio portion continues. Also in editing the video, we inadvertently misspelled Eric's last name in the introductory title. It is Sevillia. Our apologies. The nearly 40-minute long dialogue is divided into three sections. We also encourage you to check out their Kickstarter video for a demonstration of how the bike operates. It is very cool.

As I write this, they are just over a quarter of the way to their goal of $400,000 with 12 days to go. Jump in there and give them a hand.

Video Part 1

Video Part 2

Video Part 3

Gi Bike in folded position

Times Article Viewed: 8594
Originally published: 30 May 2014


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