E-Bikes Look Just Like Bicycles on the Outside, but Ride Like an Electric

Practical, stylish, and powerful, Ampler’s e-bikes conceal a smart electric drive system within the bike itself.

Electric mobility solutions are a dime a dozen right now, with new electric skateboards, scooters, and bikes hitting the market almost every single day, but as Lloyd points out, “Why are we putting batteries in everything?”

To truly ‘move the needle’ in personal mobility, perhaps it’s time to make the electric bike experience as seamless and as natural and bike-like as possible, starting with the look and feel (and weight) of our two-wheeled steeds. After all, all of those bells and whistles and “fancy stuff you see on the Kickstarter bikes” are probably more to satisfy our culture’s craving for the new and different than they are for everyday practical purposes.

E-Bikes That Look Like Normal Bikes

One e-bike startup from Estonia, Ampler, is taking aim at these over-the-top electric bikes by offering its own interpretations of the e-bike, with one of the most notable features of the company’s bikes being that they just look like a bicycle. There’s no dashboard, no extra controls or levers or throttles, no obvious battery or control system, and (hardly) any extra weight when compared with other electric bikes. The bikes are designed to just be ridden as you would a conventional bicycle, with the pedal-assist feature kicking in seamlessly and smoothly as needed.

Ampler is billing its e-bikes as the “cleanest-looking” electric bikes, because the battery and electronics are all stealthily hidden within the aluminum frame (the on/off button and charge port are the only obvious signs), and the rear hub motor (250W) is virtually invisible at first glance. The 48V 5.8 Ah Samsung lithium-ion battery pack is said to take just three hours for a full charge, and to deliver an average range of about 70 km (43 mi), while the motor enables the rider to boost their speed to about 25 km/h (15.5 mph) without breaking a sweat.

Charging, Apps and Pricing

Because the battery is enclosed within the frame, which unfortunately doesn’t allow for it to be removed for charging or to secure it, it is said to be protected from the elements for longer life, and the company claims that the battery is “so durable that even after cycling for 30,000 km (18,640 mi), you still have 70% of the original capacity left.” Replacement batteries, after the initial 2-year warranty period, are said to cost about $350 USD.

Of course, what would a smart electric bike be without an app? Ampler is designed to be used with an app (though it isn’t strictly necessary to use the app to ride the bike), where riders can adjust the rate of acceleration, the maximum assist speed (above which the electric assist isn’t in play), and the level of assist. Along with these control features, the app also offers an estimated range display (based on current state of charge in the battery), a navigation/maps option, social sharing features, and the ability to receive and apply updates to the bike’s electronics.

Currently, Ampler is in a crowdfunding phase, with the company’s Indiegogo campaign offering two e-bike models to backers, starting at $1990 USD. The Hawk, an “aggressive-looking urban commuter” bike, offers a carbon fiber fork and a relatively light weight (14 kg / 31 lbs), in two frame geometries and sizes, while the Bilberry, an “elegant and comfortable town bike that combines a great ride with a classic look,” features an upright riding position and a slightly heavier configuration (17 kg / 37 lbs), also in two different geometries and sizes. Find out more at Ampler.