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The rise of the machines?

| Blog, Cycling Plus, News | 27/08/2010 10:50am

This weekend Rubens Barrichello will be driving his 300th Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. So, what do you give a millionaire Brazilian F1 star who (probably) has everything to celebrate such a landmark? An electric bike of course!

Now, for dedicated roadies it’s easy to be a little sniffy about electric bikes. Why on earth do we need a battery and a motor when we’ve got legs and lungs? (And, to be honest, in the recent past electric bikes haven’t exactly been objects of desire.) But with many big brands adding presentable e-bikes to their ranges, new companies making bikes that don’t look like mobility aids and high street giants like Halfords going electric, powered pedalling is on the up.

Ruben’s electric bike is pretty special – it’s a one off Storck Raddar Multiroad Carbon painted up in the colours of his Williams-Cosworth FW32. The road bike afficionados amongst you will, of course,  know German brand Storck because of it’s high end superbikes. And the Raddar is a high end e-bike –  it weighs less than 18kg, has a carbon fibre frame, advanced gear shift electronics,  hydraulic disc brakes and is powered by 250W sport specification Swiss-made electric motor.

Rubens Barrichello gets an electric shock!

The standard Raddar will be on sale in the UK soon and it will join an ever increasing number of e-bikes – including the bespoke electric bikes from GoCycleEbco Eagle and A2B Metro. Huge companies including Trek are also going electric – the American giant has its Ride+ range which are essentially ordinary urban bikes with a power pack and motor. Giant too is powering it’s bikes with the Twist range. And my wife can’t speak highly enough of the power boost she gets when riding a Halfords Urban Mover Mounatin Bike up Bath’s steep hills. You can even power buy a powered sportive ride – although that might be considered cheating – by investing in a Cytronex powered Cannondale Supersix.

Ruben's Raddar in it's Williams-Cosworth colours

Finally remember the silly rumours about Fabian Cancellara and his ‘powered’ rides at this year’s Spring Classics? You could always fit a Gruber Assist motor for the ultimate in discreet power. It certainly looks as if electric bikes are on the up – there’s even a British Electric Bicycle Association – and if they’re good enough for a bloke with 11 GP wins to his names they’re good enough for us!

Look out for a test of the latest e-bikes in an upcoming issue of Cycling Plus.

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