An SUV, Portland-style

stokemonkey_in_action

Clicking through my feedreader today I came across a great post and inspiring photos by local cyclist and inventor Todd Fahrner. Taking advantage of a glorious break in the weather, Todd followed his neighbor to the store to pick up groceries with her two kids…all by bike. The trip was was made smooth and easy because of Todd’s revolutionary new product, the Stokemonkey Human Electric Hybrid Drive.

His Stokemonkey kit works in concert with the Xtracycle system to create a bicycle that is by far the best car substitute I’ve ever experienced. Once installed, it gives your bike enough power to carry huge loads at speeds comparable to neighborhood driving, while making almost no sacrifice in stability and control. And I speak from experience; Todd has ridden his at around 30 mph with me (180 lbs) sitting comfortably on the back.

If you’ve ever dreamed about zipping through town on a bicycle, loaded with kids and groceries, or any type of cargo, you can stop dreaming and get in touch with Todd via his website.

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todd
todd
16 years ago

thanks for the plug, jonathan! i should say that it’s highly unlikely that i took you up to 30 that day. here’s a video clip from the passenger’s viewpoint doing 25, which is about tops with such a load unless you’re lance: http://todd.cleverchimp.com/blog/images/passeye.avi

unithraxer
unithraxer
16 years ago

I noticed my post was removed from todd censorchimp.

todd
todd
16 years ago

check your mail unithraxer. your “dangerous as hell” comment (on my blog, not jonathan’s) didn’t impress me as thoughtful or constructive, and your off-topic comment here about manslaughter and cyclists running lights and drunk drivers suggested to me that you were non compos mentis, so i deleted your comment from my blog. try again in the morning?

nathan
nathan
16 years ago

the legal limit for not having to license or insure electric bikes in oregon is a max speed of 20 mph :p

etta-tron
etta-tron
16 years ago

my father and i saw one of these parked outside of the fred myer’s on hawthorne a few weeks ago and we stopped and inspected it for a few moments. we were both very impressed with the motor and the saddlebag system. are the saddlebags part of the kit and if not, where do you find them? it’s so neat to see stuff like this coming out of potland!

todd
todd
16 years ago

Nathan, Stokemonkey can be configured to conform to arbitrary speed laws: http://cleverchimp.com/products/stokemonkey/faq/#iisl . Oregon law states that 20 MPH is the limit for the motor, without discussing the speed of rider + motor. Since fit cyclists can generally exceed 20 MPH all on their own, well. The motor puts out much less than the legal 1,000W limit for an electric bicycle. If you want to equip your ride with compliant headlights, turn signals etc., you can register it as a moped, too.

todd
todd
16 years ago

etta-tron, the saddlebag/rack system is from http://xtracycle.com/

laura
laura
16 years ago

hey jon, this is laura from SB (then Portland, now SB again). that’s my friend juliette and her 2 kids in the photo. i got a link from her to your site…6 degrees of separation! this bike looks awesome, i may have to get mine rigged up with a seat for sophia and extra big saddlebags before i leave town this week to go back to CA. i’m driving a uhaul, might as well save the shipping costs! say hi to juli and the girls from us!

Cate
Cate
16 years ago

I’ll be curious to see what the police do on the speed issue as more of these bikes are in use. I had a moped (max 30 mph) years ago and was pulled over several times because the moped was not licensed or insured. I sold it to my cousin in California. In Califonia (at that time) mopeds were considered bicycles and no license or insurance was required.

If Oregon is really interested in reducing car traffic, they need to look at their laws that potentially limit people using mopeds or motorized bicycles.

Andrew Jacobs
16 years ago

I don’t think the cost of licensing and registration for a ride so unique and effective is such a stiffling consideration. The main benefit here is that you’re reducing emissions and space needed in motion and parked. The fact remains that you’re using DOT based facilities for transportation. Perhaps the real goal shouldn’t be in eliminating these laws but ensuring that the funds accrued from owners and riders are directed to works projects that benefit their contributors.

todd
todd
16 years ago

i support enforcement of laws regulating the speed of all vehicles, including bicycles, that are appropriate to the conditions. i oppose laws that prohibit the physical capability of exceeding those speeds, particularly for ultralight vehicles such as bikes, especially when the speed limit is below what a fit human can exceed without motor assistance. sometimes absolutely the safest thing to do is move at the speed of heavier vehicles, or even faster. similarly, i’m glad that emergency vehicles can do 80.

another messy area is manufactured vehicle vs. DIY/aftermarket kit. i would probably expose myself to significant liability if i manufactured complete assisted bicycles configured as i happen to prefer them personally. with an aftermarket conversion kit, the installer/user bears responsibility for the configuration. as the kit manufacturer, i could invest resources into some kind of speed hobble, but i would naturally depend on the user not to attempt to defeat it. if the user doesn’t want to go too fast, he or she should simply not do so, and leave off the expense, weight, complication of a speed sensor/hobble. i’m not cavalier at all about safety, though: http://cleverchimp.com/products/stokemonkey/warnings/

Nazhuret
Nazhuret
16 years ago

Duuuude…..

I’m looking into getting a bike for commuting to work (new seasons bakery / pastries) in the wee hours before busses are running. This looks freaking awesome.

Kind of spendy right at once. I think the beauty of it is that I can get it all piece by piece as I get the money.

Very nice. Thanks for the heads up and links!