Introducing the superbicycle for the cyclist in a hurry

Introducing the superbicycle for the cyclist in a hurry

10th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

An eye-catching new bike can be seen whizzing around the streets of Berlin these days. But this is no ordinary bike. It’s cycling but not as we know it. Meet the eROCKIT.

A revolution in transport has arrived. So Stefan Gulas, inventor of this 'electric-motor-bicycle', believes.

The new vehicle combines characteristics of the humble bicycle and the motorbike, along with some technological innovations of its own.

In terms of handling, it is a bicycle: the rider pedals to accelerate and keep the vehicle in motion, and brakes using handlebar rear and front wheel brakes. However, it has power comparable to that of a motorcycle, with a top speed of 80 kph (50 mph). But how?

eROCKIT in profile

Revolutionary propulsion
The secret is the machine’s revolutionary propulsion system. The bike's proprietary electronics monitor the rider’s pedalling and multiply their muscular effort by a factor of 50. This souped-up force is transmitted to the rear wheel, propelling it to speeds far beyond that of any conventional pedal bike.

The advertising brochure sums it up nicely: it’s ‘cycling but way faster.’ And, if the marketers’ yarn is to be believed, the feeling that comes from riding at high speed driven by your own pedal power is really something special. With all the agility, intuition and familiarity of riding a bike but accelerating like you're on a motorcycle, you’ll feel you have ‘supernatural powers’.
Racing on the eROCKIT
Stefan Gulas leaving the traffic trailing behind

The bike can be driven on public roads and, since its top speed is higher than 60 kph, it is even legal to ride one on German motorways.

Green machine
So much for the ‘ROCKIT’ but what about the ‘e’? A crucial feature of the new bike is its electric motor, which makes it an eco-friendly alternative to carbon-fuelled vehicles: electric propulsion, no exhaust fumes and virtually no noise. In June, the design team participated at the World's First Zero Carbon, Clean Emission Grand Prix, TTXGP, furthering the campaign for green alternatives.

The designers have also strived to make it as energy-efficient as possible. An electric brake, in addition to the conventional mechanical one, captures braking energy—usually dissipated as heat—and uses it to recharge the bike’s battery. The energy released by the rider’s pedalling is likewise captured for recharging the battery.


The man behind the eROCKIT, Stefan Gulas, on NTD World News:

Yet Stefan Gulas, talking to NTD World News, thinks there’s something even more special about his creation:

“The thing I’m most proud of is that we’ve managed to make a cool electric vehicle. There are lots of vehicles with petrol engines that are cool. You just need to go and take a look at Ducatis or cars like Porsches and Ferraris: they’re cool vehicles but they all have petrol engines.”

But cool comes at a price, and it’s not cheap. Be prepared to part with a cool EUR 28,900, including a deposit of around EUR 14,000. Gulas expects them to appeal to “creative, successful people.” At that price, certainly, not everyone will be rushing out to buy one.

Ducati versus eROCKIT
The eROCKIT (right): as cool as a Ducati?

On the other hand, the price tag reflects the eROCKIT’s exclusivity. Only four prototypes have been built so far, with a limited series of 15 vehicles going into production this year; these machines are handcrafted in Berlin, not mass produced in China.

And nine of the series have already been snapped up, with orders coming in from across the globe: Austria, Monte Carlo, Czech and Canada, as well as Germany.

So it seems that there is a market for these eco-superbikes. Still, you can be fairly sure your neighbours won’t have one. The question is: who can afford to bicycool?

Anna Ritchie

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