Last weekend I made a trip down to the Toronto Bike Show. This bike show is more about people getting discounts on last year's models than about showing innovation in active transportation. Regardless, some innovation still shines through. I got to take a few crappy photos of these plus ride a handful.
The biggest trend in cycling is electric assist. This is no surprise. But as someone who is interested in utility bikes, I think e-assist has really helped the bike industry focus more on utility. There's a big range of price points for e-bikes now; from the lowly sub-$1000 import or Walmart bike to the high-end Tern or sub-$10,000 Reise & Muller. All are welcome if they put more people on bikes.
But I equally welcome that gone are the e-bikes ensconced in useless plastic, with vestigial pedals.
Mid-tails: Benno and Tern
I got to test the awesome Benno Boost and talked with friendly staff about the many thoughtful features on the bike that make it useful for many. The front rack is fixed to the frame to make turning more stable. The upright position with bottom bracket forward reminded me of my Workcycle FR8. After mentioning that to them, they mentioned that the Benno founder first started Electra Bikes which has a similar slack position.
I also got to try Benno's new moped-style prototype (a urban moped with 20" fat tires) to be lots of fun. Not as spacious for cargo or child, but bike still can carry quite a bit.
I also tested the Tern GSD. Tern also has lots of thoughtful details. The front rack is fixed to frame. It comes with a bungee. The handlebars fold over when not in use. The seat post telescopes up and down for a wide range of heights. You can even put the whole bike upright on its rear rack like a kind of awesome kickstand.
Both Benno Boost and Tern GSD are "mid-tails" and are quite nimble. They really felt like regular bikes when riding them. People are calling them mid-tails because they have shorter wheelbases than long-tails, actually much the same as regular bikes. But they are just as useful as the long-tails which explains how popular they've become.
I had an interesting talk with one of the founders of Tern, Steve Boyd, a down-to-earth guy. He explained how Tern was born out of a bunch of folks leaving Dahon when they disagreed with its direction, or lack thereof. Tern has been around for about ten years but has already grown quite quickly.
Fat e-trikes or e-fat trikes?
I love the e-tricycles with fat tires; they really look like all-terrain vehicles. Though the cargo area is not as large as on bakfietsen.
Another trend I noticed were the moped-style e-bikes. Aside from the new Benno prototype there were these budget bikes:
That was my visit to the bike show. I managed to avoid covering all the same old, same old bikes you could just see at any bike shop.
Keep on riding, whatever you ride.