Project image
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$681
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
6
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, November 7 2014 10:57 PM UTC +00:00
$681
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
6
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Fri, November 7 2014 10:57 PM UTC +00:00

About

I’m building a better electric bicycle, designed to solve the limitations of most current e-bikes; a new kind of e-bike that is comfortable, capable, durable and attractive. 

Surge Cycles: The next generation of electric bicycles.

I believe that people need and want a cleaner, more affordable form of transportation. Cars are expensive to purchase and operate, public transit is often lacking, and other options like motorcycles and scooters come with continuing expenses for insurance, licensing, registration and fuel. Some people have looked into electric bicycles as an option, but are quickly disappointed when they discover that most e-bikes have limited range and limited carrying capacity, and generally struggle with hills. 

This is not due to any inherent limitation of e-bikes, it has to do with the design choices made by most e-bike vendors. The vast majority of e-bikes are made using hub motors attached to bicycle frames that have been re-purposed into e-bikes using inexpensive and low-quality batteries and controllers. The few e-bikes that are purpose built have their own design limitations, such as extreme expense and/or weight, and often run at power levels far beyond legal limitations, making them better defined as electric motorcycles.

I think that e-bikes could be better, and should provide at minimum:

* Hill climbing ability, and not just little hills, but long, steep grinding hills that go on for miles. Just like the ones you see in the real world.

* Excellent range, 20 miles minimum with a full load, including substantial hill climbing.

* Real cargo carrying capacity, a maximum payload of 250 pounds between rider and cargo.

* Comfort, following a long ride you should arrive relaxed and refreshed, instead of tired and sore.

* Long battery life, not only per trip, but in number of charging cycles, 2000 charges or more between battery replacements.

* Batteries that can be replaced by the user (this one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised at how some very pricy e-bikes handle this!)

* Non-proprietary components that can be serviced and replaced by any competent bicycle mechanic.

* All in a package designed to be a BICYCLE and not a small motorcycle, and compliant with federal and state laws regarding electric bicycles; meaning no license, registration or insurance fees.

What if someone could deliver an e-bike that has all of these features, along with a look that pays homage to the classic cruiser style? Something purpose built from the ground up to be a classic design that makes no compromises whatsoever on quality? Something a bit like this?

The E-Trekker by Surge Cycles, shown with optional saddlebags.
The E-Trekker by Surge Cycles, shown with optional saddlebags.

Introducing the E-Trekker by Surge Cycles, the world’s most capable cruiser-style e-bike. 

The E-Trekker doesn’t just look amazing, it IS amazing. It is the result of combining best-in-class components from the world of e-bikes, components like Astroflight motors, Shumaker drivetrains, Castle Creations controllers, Cycle Analyst computers and lithium batteries by Allcell, a combination of components that when combined will deliver exceptional performance, reliability, durability and safety. The E-Trekker climbs hills that other e-bikes can only dream of climbing, while carrying a payload that most other e-bikes simply cannot handle, and going 20+ miles while handling multiple hills and grades along that distance, a minimum of 1000+ feet of climbing AND 20+ miles of linear distance traveled all while carrying a 250 pound payload at 20 miles per hour; see what other e-bikes can do compared to those specifications!

The E-Trekker at Riverfront Park, Spokane
The E-Trekker at Riverfront Park, Spokane

Next Generation transportation:

How many times have you hopped into your car, turned the key, and gone less than ten miles down the road to pick up a few groceries or something from the hardware store? How many times have you sat in traffic, engine idling and burning gas every minute, commuting back and forth to work every day? What kind of impact could a truly capable electric bicycle have on your life?

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular by the day, but the electric bicycle market in the United States has been lagging far behind when compared to the growth of e-bike sales in Europe and China. It is my belief that the primary cause of this lack of growth in the U.S. market is mostly due to the failings of the products being offered. Simply put, Americans have transportation needs that are not well met by the current products being offered in this category; this is where the E-Trekker excels, being designed from the ground up to fulfill the needs of the American market.

Every round trip on your E-trekker is another gallon of gasoline that isn’t being purchased and burned, another trip accomplished with an absolutely minimal impact on the environment when compared to the impact the average automobile has.

The Drivetrain:

The E-Trekker uses an Astroflight motor in a Shumaker reduction system, which then outputs to the rear sprocket. This is a two-stage reduction drive that outputs to the left-side of the rear wheel, hence it is known as a “left-side” drive. There are currently three ways to design a drivetrain for an e-bike; left-side drive, mid-drive aka "bottom bracket" drive, and hub motor, all have their pros and cons.

E-bike Drivetrains Compared
E-bike Drivetrains Compared

What I’m doing:

I’ve been working on this project full time since Spring of 2012. In that time I’ve taken multiple courses at United Bicycle Institute for frame building and am now also a certified bicycle technician. I purchased a copy of Solidworks and a CAD workstation to run it on, along with a milling machine, an HTP Invertig 221 welding machine, a tube bending rig, a metal-cutting saw and a large collection of specialized tools. With this I’ve designed two working prototypes, and am now working on design specifications for the third prototype, which will have multiple improvements and upgrades in preparation for mass production.

Your contributions will help me to complete the third prototype, and set up a basic production capability for bringing this to market early next year. The price for an E-Trekker is expected to be somewhere in the neighborhood of $6,000, depending on multiple factors, with an anticipated production rate of about 20 units a year initially.

What do I get for contributing?

You’ll be getting the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve helped contribute to the creation of something worthwhile; a new generation of electric bicycles that offer exceptional real-world performance, and offer an effective and pleasurable option of eco-friendly transportation that most anyone can make use of. I’m offering a t-shirt to every contributor who kicks in at least $100. 

A mock-up of what the t-shirt should look like
A mock-up of what the t-shirt should look like

I’m going to be using a fulfillment service that does printing and shipping, so there shouldn’t be a problem with getting these out to the backers shortly after the Kickstarter ends.  All I will need to do is to gather the names, addresses and shirt sizes of qualifying backers, and get that to the fulfillment service. I’m not looking to spend a lot of time peddling and shipping trinkets, I want to stay totally focused on making exceptional e-bikes. 

Thank you for reading this, and thank you for your support. Here's a Hyperlapse video of a recent test ride on the E-Trekker; over 25 miles and 1000 total feet of hillclimb, so that you can see from a first-person perspective what the E-Trekker is capable of:

 

Risks and challenges

Risks and Challenges:

With any manufacturing project, there are always potential risks, particularly with suppliers ending production of key components. Fortunately, this design is flexible enough to be able to be adjusted to handle almost any conceivable design changes that might become necessary due to supplier disruption. There is ample space within the defined enclosure area to be able to change to a different controller, battery or computer, and changes that might become necessary to the drivetrain would be compensated for by doing a redesign to the frame.

This is yet another advantage to doing small-scale manufacturing using modern CAD and CNC technology; it becomes possible to makes changes and adapt them to the production line in an incredibly short period of time, sometimes even in mere hours. Furthermore, all of the vendors that I’m currently using for this design are well-established vendors who have been in production for years; in the case of vendors such as Astroflight, a company that has been in business since the 1960’s, it seems unlikely that they are going to go away anytime soon. However, any disruptions to my supplies or suppliers will undoubtedly add at least some time to my production schedule.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    My heartfelt thanks for your support, and the knowledge that you are helping to make a new generation of electric transportation possible. All contributors will (if desired) be added to the Surge Cycles e-mailing list so that they can be among the first notified when the E-Trekker is available for purchase.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A Surge Cycles t-shirt, a custom made t-shirt with the Surge Cycles logo on it. All contributors will (if desired) be added to the Surge Cycles e-mailing list so that they can be among the first notified when the E-Trekker is available for purchase.

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    Ships to Only United States
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Funding period

- (30 days)