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E-bikes were ubiquitous at Interbike — possibly the only growth sector in a dwindling show making its last appearance in Las Vegas (next year, it’s Reno, Reno, Reno, Honey, Reno, Reno, Reno). The huge e-bike test track sponsored by Bosch covered a large percentage of the show’s total floor space, and it was busy the whole time with riders whooping it up.
Most noticeable to any brand-conscious human was the big presence of Yamaha with a bunch of prototype e-bikes. Obviously, one can assume that Yamaha would know how to motorize a bicycle, and Yamaha wanted to also let everyone know of some history; it claims to have built the first electric-assist bicycle in 1993. [related title=”More from Interbike” align=”right” tag=”Interbike”]
All Yamaha e-bikes are slated to be Class-1 pedal-assist bikes, meaning they have a governor to cut the engine at over 20 mph, and they have no throttle, so you don’t get any extra oomph unless you’re pedaling. The official launch of its four models will be in 2018; this was called simply a “brand launch.”
In my estimation, the Vintage Electric bikes, one of which pretty much looks like a motorcycle, were by far the coolest. They elicited the strongest “I want one” reaction from me.
The weirdest e-bike was CoolRun, which has offset hub axles. You can adjust the hubs so that the wheels either spin around the center of the wheel as is customary, or around any number of points off-center, making the bike bob up and down as it moves. These seemed to be producing the most giggles on the test track.