In most parts of the globe, we’re already into early autumn and that means that, soon enough, only the bravest of riders will still be out on their bikes, not discouraged by pouring cold rain and sharp winds. Those who will continue riding will have to recheck and reinvest in their cold-weather gear, which means additional expenses.
City commuters, on the other hand, after enjoying a relatively stress- and care-free daily commute throughout spring and summer will probably be retiring their bikes until next spring. This, in turn, will translate into heavier vehicular traffic: either more passenger cars on the road or increased occupation on public transport.
A solution could be something like a convertible e-bike (hat tip to New Atlas), one that offers plenty of protection from the elements for yourself and your stuff, without it being an actual car. The goal is to not contribute to the already existing issues of city traffic, namely congestion and pollution, and every bad thing they bring along.
It’s called the AllWeatherBike, or AWB, and it’s the invention of German cyclist and entrepreneur Tom Eisner, currently on display at Eurobike. Here, Eisner hopes, the AWB will generate enough interest with an actual e-bike maker to convince them to bring it into production. Eisner has a working, functional prototype, but the “convertible” e-bike still needs some polishing and financial backing to go into mass production.
Eisner’s proposition is that of integrating a curved frame into the e-bike. The frame is made of curved railings of aluminum and, onto them, you roll a sheet of transparent, tough plastic that protects you from the rain and the wind. The plastic is tough and remains taunt, so you know for sure it won’t get swept up by a heavier gust of wind.
Once you roll the cover all the way up, you latch it in place. If the rain or wind stops and you want to feel the breeze on your face again, as Eisner puts it, you simply unlatch the cover and roll it back in its roll in front. The mechanism is not unlike that of a roller blind, and it is, according to the inventor, guaranteed to keep you dry and comfortable without additional bad weather cycling clothes. Leg protection is included through a guard sheet integrated into the downtube.
The AWB is meant to be modular, adaptable to each user, though the product’s official site doesn’t specify how that would happen. The idea, however, seems to be that it could work for daily commuters and parents who must do the daily school drop-off for small cargo hauling and running errands. All these are possible: at a single look, the AWB resembles a cargo bike. Eisner hopes it will replace the car more often, including in bad weather.
The AWB features a Bosch bottom bracket motor and two 750 Wh Bosch Intube batteries for a combined range of up to 100 km (62 miles). Eisner doesn’t say how powerful the motor is or the kind of weight the frame and lower guard add to the bike, but if the AWB is built in accordance with current EU regulations, it probably packs a 250W motor. Whether that will be enough to take the entire contraption up a hill remains to be seen. You also get a Gates belt drive for minimal maintenance, disk brakes, a weather-protected front cargo rack, which could be substituted for a kid’s seat, a rear cargo rack, kickstand, fenders, and adjustable-height saddle. There’s no suspension on it, but Eisner says the relaxed riding position and thick tires should make up for it.
Being no wider than a regular bicycle, the AWB can be used everywhere you’d use a regular, non-assisted bike, including on existing cycle paths and in city centers where car access has been limited. But you would be rolling on a “visually attractive,” weather-protected e-bike like no other. Or so Eisner says.
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