I mentioned Henry Chong in a 2010 post about electric bikes that were pushing the boundaries of the category, so it is no surprise that his latest e-bike doesn’t look like the ones you see on the market today. Unlike his speed oriented Panasonic e-bike concept, the Revelo LIFEbike (Lightweight, Intelligent, Flexible, Electric bike) is a “minimalist, chainless, e-bike with a front wheel pedaling configuration.”
The front wheel mounted cranks are a distinctive feature of the design, but Henry points out that it is not just an updated penny farthing concept. The design “incorporates a patent pending dual mode crank that allows you to alternate from cruising to pedaling, and the floating crankarms also enable the LIFEbike to feel a normal bike by neutralizing the steering feedback caused by having the wheel between your feet.” Basically, you can pedal when you want to, but when you are only using the throttle, the pedals can both be in the down position to serve as footrests (as shown in the picture below).
This is definitely a compact electric vehicle that is geared toward short urban commutes. It weighs just 15.4 kgs (about 34 pounds) and folds quickly to a compact size thanks to the 20 inch front, and 16 inch rear wheels. With its 250-watt geared brushless motor and 36V 10Ah lithium battery, Henry points out that the LIFEbike can travel 30 km on a single charge (using about 5 cents of electricity).
There is a short video that shows the bike in action on the LIFEbike Indiegogo page, or you can watch this longer video where Henry talks a bit more about his design and the new company that he founded to bring it to market. The Indiegogo page is the best place to learn more about the design, so check it out…and support the project in its last few days if you are so inclined.