An Electric Citi Bike?

New device claims to electrify bike shares

The race to remove exercise from cycling is on. Last year we brought news of the Copenhagen Wheel, a rear wheel that turns your bike into an e-bike.

But if your bicycle of choice happens to belong to one of the many bike sharing schemes sprouting up all over the world, then you may now be in luck—for a price.

The ShareRoller is a briefcase-shaped e-bike converter made to fit the standard bikes used by bike shares in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and other cities, according to a Kickstarter campaign launched by its inventor Jeff Guida.

The 6- to 7-pound device clips onto the front of the bike, and a motor-powered friction roller drops down to power the front wheel. The device is controlled by a clip-on throttle (see below) and its inventor says it can propel a rider at speeds up to 18 miles per hour without pedaling and last for 12 to 20 miles of travel. It’s powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and—a bonus—has built-in headlights.

If this suddenly makes bike sharing sound more attractive, you might want to wait until you see the price tag. A $995 pledge on Kickstarter (the goal: $100,000) will get you a ShareRoller from the first production run, slated for this summer. The retail price will be approximately $1350.

Guida claims via the Kickstarter page that the ShareRoller is nearly production-ready, and beta versions will ship as soon as April. However, there appears to be no third-party verification that the device works as advertised.

There is also no definitive word on whether major bike share operators will allow the device. The Kickstarter page has the following disclaimer: “While we believe ShareRoller currently complies with all Terms of Use of major bike share programs, there is always the chance that these are later modified to prohibit the use of ShareRoller on bike share bikes.”

Better get that one worked out, guys.

Images via Kickstarter