Motorized Bicycle - Current Trends

Current Trends

Today, motorized bicycles are still being developed both as complete designs and as add-on motor kits for use on standard bicycles, either by part-time hobbyists or by commercial manufacturers. With the development of new, lighter, and more powerful batteries, electric motors for power assist are increasingly popular, often using hub motors to facilitate after-market conversions. Converting bicycles or tricycles has proven useful for some people with physical disabilities such as knee injury or arthritis.

In 2003 production of the French gasoline-powered VELOSOLEX ceased in Hungary. However, production continues in China and has restarted in France. In the United States, Velosolex America markets the VELOSOLEX worldwide.

Currently there are several companies manufacturing aftermarket internal combustion engine (ICE) motor conversion kits for conventional bicycles. These include both four-stroke and two-stroke gasoline engine designs. Among these, Golden Eagle Bike Engines currently produces a rear-engine (rack-mounted) kit using a belt to drive the rear wheel. Staton-Inc., a motorized bicycle manufacturer of long standing, also uses a rack-mount with either a tire roller-mount (friction drive) or a chain-driven, geared transmission. Other manufacturers produce kits using small two- or four-stroke gas engines mounted in the central portion of the bicycle frame, and incorporating various types of belt- or chain-driven transmissions and final drives. Some of these brands include Jiangdu Flying Horse Gasoline Engine Factory Ltd., EZ Motorbike Company, Inc., Mega Motors Inc., and Grubee Inc.

Motorized bicycles using electric motors have also re-entered the market. Electrically powered bicycles use batteries, which have a limited capacity and thus a limited range, particularly when large amounts of power are utilized. This design limitation means that the use of the electric motor as an assist to pedal propulsion is more emphasized than is the case with an internal combustion engine. While costly, new types of lithium batteries along with electronic controls now offer users increased power and range while reducing overall weight. Newer electric motor bicycle designs are gaining increasing acceptance, particularly in countries where increasing traffic congestion, aging populations, and concern for the environment have stimulated development and usage.

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