When I first saw the Faraday Porteur at CES in January, 2014 I called it the prettiest electric assist bicycle you will ever see. It had all the looks of a classic European delivery bike; you can hardly tell that it is wired, with the batteries hidden in the downtube. It’s a pedelec rather than a full e-bike, giving you a boost when you need it. Faraday founder Adam Volmer told me “it should feel like a bike- it is a bike.”
Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
Since I saw the bike, Adam Vollmer shaved his beard off, went through a successful Kickstarter campaign, refined the design a bit and now is has the bike available for purchase. The frame is made in the USA and the bike is put together with high quality parts, with an 8-speed shifter on the rear and a 250 watt motor on the front. Kent Peterson, a bike blogger I follow, gave it a test ride and a rave review:
The Faraday Porteur is an amazing bicycle. It’s the only e-bike I’ve ridden that basically feels like a normal bike. It’s a bike where the weight of the electronics are so well integrated into the bike, you can easily forget they are there. But when you engage the power assist, the bike becomes more than a bike. When you ride the bike without the e-assist, it feels like a very, very nice bike. When you engage the e-assist, it feels like flying.
Court Rye of Electric Bike Review (and TreeHugger here) called it “one of the smoothest, quietest, most beautiful electric bikes I’ve ever tested.” Those are two very good references. Court addresses a concern I had about putting the motor in the front hub:
While I usually prefer a rear mounted motor for improved traction, frame strength and decreased impact on steering, I’m a fan of what Faraday has done here. The motor is mounted to a steel fork for improved strength, it offers great traction for use with the optional front Porteur rack and is light enough that steering feels normal.
It’s wonderful to write about a success story: a young designer takes the time to put together a beautiful bike and gets it onto the market to a round of applause. It’s not cheap at $3500 but it looks worth every penny. A happy tale; get yours at Faraday
Storm E-bike on Indiegogo/Promo image
Then there is the Storm e-bike, now called the Sondors ebike after getting sued by the company that owned the name Storm. When I wrote about it, asking Is the $500 Storm e-bike too good to be true? Looks like. I thought perhaps I was wrong, because Storm Sondors did come up with a prototype that people got to ride, and he kept raising money until it hit $ 5.45 million; clearly people were not buying the skepticism.
Until yesterday it took a team and there was another co-founder listed on the indiegogo site. Today there isn’t; Christopher Olenick’s photo and been sent down the memory hole. That’s because he is suing Storm Sondors for nonpayment of fees. He tells Dan Tynan of Yahoo, who broke the original story:
The contractual fraud stems from the fact that Team Sondors hired Agency 2.0 for its services, An agreement to pay for services on a set percentage at a set time should be honored. Agency 2.0 has done its part in raising $5.28 million and has not been compensated as per agreed upon contract. Team Sondors actions to date have shown that he did not ever intend to honor their contractual obligations.
I thought that if nothing else, Christopher Olenick did a damn fine job of marketing here. Sondors claims that he will be shipping in May, and it will be interesting to see what happens. Further proof that you should really be careful about crowdfunding.