The Palais des congrès de Montréal is an ultramodern convention and exhibition center in the heart of one of Canada's most cosmopolitan cities. Its colorful windows and cascading sunlight provide an artful backdrop for the Model E, the new eBike from Budnitz Bicycles.
Electricity is weightless (or at least this is a matter of great debate). Storing, harnessing and carrying this power, however, can be heavy. The Model E exemplifies the trend of lightweight eBikes that minimize electric storage in favor of a nimble ride quality and simple operation.
“The Model E is about simplicity and fun,” said Founder Paul Budnitz. “It feels like magic, you just hop on and go.”
That magic comes from the Bike+ rear hub from Zehus, an Italian startup that sprang from research at the Technical University of Milan (Politecnico di Milano). Wrapped in a shiny aluminum shell, the Zehus hub contains a 250 watt motor, 30 volt/160 watt-hour Lithium ion battery, and multiple sensors that control power output, monitor pedaling effort and deliver a boost of up to 15 miles per hour with a range of 20 to 100 miles per charge. Riders control the hub’s output with a smartphone app. While the range and power are smaller than some eBike systems with separate battery packs, it’s a slick and light technology with a bright – and colorful – future.