About this project
The Karmic Koben is a modern electric bike that lets you ride faster, go farther, all while having more fun than ever before. We've rethought the standard battery and designed an exceptional bike around it. The Koben is obsessively crafted to be beautiful, intuitive, and delightful. This is the bike of the future, and it's available today.
The Karmic Experience
Regular bikes feel pedestrian. Karmic makes you feel superhuman.
The Karmic Experience is like having bionic legs. The Koben's pedal assist is simple and intuitive. It's as easy as riding a bike – you just get on and go. As you pedal, the motor seamlessly augments your input and gives you a supernatural boost for effortless power and exhilarating speed.
Change your perspective on electric bikes
Most people think electric bikes aren't for them. That's because there's never been one like this before.
This is the bike that will get you riding again. You'll no longer think: “too far,” “too hilly,” or “too sweaty.” Those concerns go out the window as you grab your Koben and head out the door. With the Karmic Koben, the E doesn't just stand for electric.
The Best Battery
An electric vehicle is only as good as its battery. No other electric bike offers our intelligent, compact battery technology. Karmic's battery is smaller and lighter, yet extremely powerful.
We use the best cells on the market so our battery is safer and stronger. Our custom BMS provides thermal management for increased reliability and a longer lifespan. The Karmic Battery comes with advanced LEV industry connectors that makes it future-proof. When ebikes become pervasive, our chargers can be shared and the Koben can be charged at ebike docking stations in cities around the world.
Virtuous Design Cycle
Other ebikes use bigger motors and bulkier batteries, which require a heavier frame plus heavy-duty wheels and huge tires to support all the weight. It's a vicious cycle of bad design decisions, and the end result is complicated, heavy, and a pain to maneuver around the garage, up a flight of stairs, or on and off a train.
The Koben’s smaller battery creates a virtuous cycle, allowing us to optimize every element and create one of the lightest ebikes ever made. We’ve also made the battery easily removable and light enough (< 2kg) to take with you. Finding a place to plug in when you're out on the town is a hassle. The Karmic Battery lets you charge wherever you are.
What You'll Get with the Koben
The Karmic Battery is optimized to deliver over 25 miles of real-world range, suitable for most commutes and joyrides. In San Francisco, you could ride from Ocean Beach to Mission Bay, and back again on a single charge. In our hometown of NYC, it's riding from Park Slope to Central Park, and back. In Seattle, you can ride round-trip from Bellevue Square to Pike Place Market.
There's never any range-anxiety — even if the battery runs out, the Koben still works as a regular bike.
Having designed cars and built bikes, we understand the importance of reducing vehicle mass for performance and efficiency. A lighter bicycle benefits its rider everywhere — on climbs, descents and cornering. Starting with a light aluminum frame, we only added what is absolutely essential. We pared everything else to create a intuitive, delightful riding experience.
Using a hub motor is the easy way to build an electric bike. We did it the right way instead. Our mid-engined layout is similar to hybrid-electric hypercars from Ferrari, McLaren, and Porsche.
Power is applied through the cranks, unlike hub motors that wash out in turns or slip on steep hills. Mid-drives also give you the best of both worlds, off-the-line torque and high-end power. A lower center of gravity gives the Koben well-balanced handling and a nimble feel that you'll appreciate on every ride.
An optional NuVinci N360 CVT has a wide range of gearing that allows you to climb any hill. The internal gear hub (IGH) has a clean chain line and doesn't suffer from the skips, clunks and jumps of traditional derailleur systems.
The standard hub is a single speed, but with 5 levels of boost it is effectively a geared bike with electronic shifting. This choice is also lighter and and less expensive than the IGH, and is suitable for cities with moderate topography, or strong riders who just need a bit of boost.
The Right Team
We are both hardcore cyclists with startup experience, and an unnatural obsession for bikes. We love bikes. We think electric bikes are awesome! But the really great ones are terribly expensive, and the inexpensive ones are simply terrible. We thought there should be a better bike, so we built it ourselves.
Tim Chin was one of the key employees at Energie Cycles, and developed ebikes that introduced mid-drive motors to the US market. After earning a PhD from MIT, Tim has been working on battery technology specifically for ebikes, and is now the CTO of Karmic.
Hong Quan started and sold a car company and has owned over 100 bikes. He is on an eternal search for the perfect ride. After trying an eBike last year, he wanted to buy one, but it was hard to justify a $6000 bicycle to his wife. Karmic's goal is to create a better eBike at a very affordable price. Now even his wife wants one!
Our design philosophy is fundamentally different. We've considered all aspects of the ownership experience, not just about selling you a bike.
The simplified build and smart parts selection allows us to price the Koben at an incredible value. We didn't cut any corners to design or build the bike, but our direct to consumer model does cut out unnecessary overhead costs and the typical mark-ups of a traditional retail channel.
Certified for Crowdfunding
Dragon Certified products have been thoroughly reviewed by Dragon Innovation engineers to verify Cost Of Goods Sold, manufacturability, and realistic timelines for delivery of crowdfunded products before they go to market.
Development and Delivery
We’ve gone through four different battery configurations and three distinct frame iterations. We've visited manufacturing partners and figured out our supply chain and shipping costs and logistics. The frame design and components specification are almost done, and we're ready to begin production.
We've established strong relationships with our manufacturing partners, detailed component (BOM) costs, and certified our electronics. We have a dedicated team in Asia with over 10 years of industry experience working with companies like Specialized and Yuba Bicycles.
We will continue working on the industrial design of our battery, with input from the community. We will be logging tons of test miles on prototype packs to ensure we're getting the power and range we expect. We will ship when we are sure we've got a product that is safe, reliable, and meets our high quality standards.
Thanks to the tremendous support of our Kickstarter community, the Karmic Koben was fully funded in just one week! We're really excited about being able to make this bike, and we want more people to join us on this journey. With that in mind, here are our stretch goals:
The Koben was launched with two signature colors: Electron Blue and Eddy Current Orange. We've selected three additional colors for the Koben. Now it's up to you to decide which colors we should make first.
You can always order your Koben in your favorite color, regardless of when you've backed our project. This is just a fun way for us to offer more color choices to everyone.
If we raise more than $350k, we will design an integrated lighting solution to keep Koben riders safe at all times. Now you can ride safely, day or night, and in all weather conditions (Hi, Karl the Fog). You'll never have to worry about your lights running out in the middle of a ride, since they are powered by the main battery. A front headlight can be left on as a daytime running light (DRL), while the rear tail light increases visibility to other vehicles behind you. Integrated lights are great for that early morning commute, or those late nights in the office. Shine bright like a Koben!
If we raise more than than $500k, we will offer the Koben in two different frame styles. A highly requested step-through frame design is already prototyped and currently being tested. This is a stretch goal because we would need to order a minimum quantity of each frame design, and in a wide variety of sizes to fit most riders (more on sizing soon!). There is some additional design and engineering work we need to complete on this second frame, but we will gladly make it if there is enough interest.
Believe in Karmic
Our goal is to begin delivering rewards in 2015, and every backer should have their Koben by Spring 2016. We've built in extra time for factory delays, supplier delays, assembly, shipping, and delivery time too. We've done as much preparation as possible before launching our Kickstarter to prevent any excessive delays in getting the rewards to you.
We've been bootstrapped until this point, using our own savings and some "friends and family" funds to cover R&D of the bikes. We are launching on Kickstarter to meet the minimums of our factory partners and to secure time on their busy production schedules.
We're very close, and now we need your help.
We've given over a hundred demos of our prototype bikes. Everyone comes back with a huge smile and tells us how much they love it. Help us make more of them, because we know that you’ll love them just as much!
Thank you for your support! Please tell a friend about the Køben.
Show the world you believe in Karmic!
Risks and challenges
We have experience starting transportation companies and shipping great hardware products. There will always be unknowns when creating something new, but we're up to the challenge and we won't stop until we deliver your rewards.
We take your trust in us very seriously. We fully intend to finish the job. We are not a big team, but we are the right team. We will make sure our Kickstarter backers are delighted about joining us on this adventure.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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