I’ve seen a couple of these A2B machines running around town. I finally spotted one on display at a scooter store. That’s my electric bike parked next to it. Some yahoo wanting to purchase an electric scooter to drive from his yacht at one end of a dock to the mailbox at the other end had waylaid the proprietor so I never got a chance to test ride it. You can find a video of a test ride done by the WSJ here.

From the above video:

“…after people ride it for a while they sort of quickly migrate through that phase of …[pedaling] …and, and usually when that surprise is, is discovered [that the pedals are mostly for show] it comes with a little, ‘Wow!'”

I would describe the A2B as an electric moped disguised as an electric bicycle. Note in the video that it is described as an electric bike. Mopeds are scooters with pedals. In most, a gasoline engine provides the power. The engine is limited to something less than one horsepower, which allows you to ride one without a license in most states. The pedals are a necessary evil to help you get up hills and to get rolling. There is no way you would want to try to pedal one home if you ran out of gas. The same is true for the A2B unless home is at the bottom of the hill you’re on.

Mopeds also differ from a scooter because, like a bicycle, they have larger diameter wheels. A tiny wheel diameter will help you get up hills and to get started from a dead stop, but it requires a lot of RPM to go fast. RPM is limited on bikes by our human geometry, thus the bigger wheel diameter and poor hill climbing ability–a trade off for speed on flat surfaces. RPM is less limited on mopeds, thus the slightly smaller wheel diameter, and scooters with high RPM single-stroke engines can get really high revolutions, thus the really small wheels.

Why market the A2B as an electric bike? Bicycles are often chosen over scooters because the law treats scooters like little tiny cars (sans armor plating). But riding a scooter in traffic is viewed by many as a death wish. Bicycle laws provide a measure of flexibility to protect riders from cars. They can ride beside the road, mix it up with pedestrians on pathways, and in most places, on sidewalks as long as pedestrians are given right of way. A bike can also go off-road if needed, be thrown on a bike rack, or lugged into your living room.

The A2B will stick out like a sore thumb on a bike trail or sidewalk, especially since most people apparently don’t bother to pedal it.

A bicycle that you have to pedal (where the electric assist really is just an assist) is no more of a hazard than any other bicycle adhering to speed limits but lines have to be drawn. We can’t let scooters and motorcycles on pathways just because they keep it under 20 mph. IMHO, if you are not using your legs to move you should not be on a bike trail or sidewalk.

If you are forced to ride this thing in traffic at all times, why not bite the bullet and get a scooter?

The battery only has a one-year warranty. This is the problem with virtually all-electric vehicles at the moment. The batteries suck. I’ve been using mine for three years with no noticeable lack of performance but you can’t get these on a commercially produced bike …yet.

Cross-posted from Biodiversivist