At Pedego Electric Bikes, stylish cruisers augment manpower with 500-watt motors strong enough to propel them up steep hills. Riders control the bikes with handlebar throttles that can direct motors to completely take over, or fall silent and let feet or pet pack mules do the heavy lifting. Fueled by lightweight but mighty lithium-ion batteries, the retro cruisers come in a rainbow of colors and with different embellishments, from Schwalbe Fat Frank tires that fend off flats to the Interceptor bike's 48-volt electric drive system, which was originally designed to propel police officers up to 20 miles per hour for 20 miles per charge. The motors are latched to rear axles, where the weight of most of the riders falls, and disk brakes on the front wheels provide smooth control, allowing bikers to easily transition from speeding to cruising to hastily braking at tumbleweed crossings.
US designers and manufacturers specifically fashion the cycles to be powered electrically, with motors that draw their juice from magnets. Also free of plastic gears, which erode rapidly, the motors enjoy longer life spans that their conventional counterparts.