There are lightweight electric bikes and then there are really lightweight e-bikes. But the new Hummingbird Flax folding e-bike is even lighter than those. At just 22 lb. (10 kg), this plant-based e-bike isn’t just friendly to your back – it’s apparently vegan-friendly as well.
A plant-based e-bike?
The company says that the Hummingbird Flax is the lightest folding electric bike in the world. That prize is thanks largely to its novel frame design.
Constructed of flax fiber, the e-bike uses a sustainable plant-based design that is ultra lightweight and ultra strong.
Plant fiber has seen growing interest in the automotive industry as an even lighter-weight option than carbon fiber. With carbon fiber e-bikes seemingly a dime a dozen these days, flax fiber might just be the big new thing to score those critical buzzword points.
The Hummingbird flax isn’t just light on the poundage – it’s also light on the power.
The rear hub motor may look large but is only rated for 250W of power. That’s 1/3 horsepower, for those keeping score.
The larger size of the motor is due to the inclusion of the batteries inside the case. Stuffing the motor, controller, batteries, and other necessary hardware all into one package helps offer a more streamlined look for the bike. It also means all of the weight is at the rear of the bike, but at least it’s down low!
The battery is rather small too at just 158 Wh, but the company still claims a maximum range of 50 km (31 miles). There’s no throttle, so that’s the human-assisted range.
With the European-legal top speed of 25 km/h (15.5 mph), that small battery may just last for the whole 50 km, at least if you’re pushing fairly hard yourself.
Some photos seem to show the e-bike with a belt while others give it a standard chain drive. Both could be an option, but it certainly seems that it’s designed as a single-speed either way.
A plant-based electric bike doesn’t come cheap, starting at £4,995 in the UK (US $6,050) with a 20% VAT included. For the rest of the world, the bike is priced at £4,162 (US $5,040). Part of that cost is likely due to high-priced components like the carbon fiber seat post with titanium hardware. Of course you could easily spend that much on a normal old-fashioned aluminum e-bike, so whose to say that’s even considered expensive anymore?!
Okay, I’ll bite. It’s interesting, though I’m not sure anyone was really begging for plant-based e-bikes. I think an aluminum e-bike is just as vegan-friendly, though I don’t know enough about the supply chain to say which one is less energy intensive overall. Aluminum isn’t exactly ultra-cheap to produce either.
Having a super lightweight e-bike is certainly an asset for commuters that have to carry their e-bike on occasion. Whether up the stairs or onto a bus, lifting a 23 kg (50 lb.) e-bike isn’t fun. Something half the weight like the Hummingbird Flax does sound like it would be a lot nicer to carry.
That being said, I’m kind of inclined to look more toward a micro e-bike like the JackRabbit, which costs 20% of this price. It may not have all the same bells and whistles, but I can buy five of them for the same price.
That’s got to count for something, right?!
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