The bicycle is one of our best hopes when it comes to alleviating many of the world’s transportation issues. But even though they are cleaner, healthier, and more efficient to own and ride than an automobile, bikes simply don’t get the love they deserve.
That’s a design problem, says Agustín Agustinoy. His company wants to change the way we think about bikes: from big, dumb, and bulky to sleek, smart, and individualistic. His alternative is the Gi Flybike, a collapsible e-bike that aims to solve many of the practical design issues with bicycle owning.
According to Agustinoy, there is a number of issues that prevent people from commuting on bikes more. First, there’s the sweat factor: People don’t want to get sweaty exerting themselves when they’re heading in for a meeting or day at the office. Bikes are also inconvenient to lock up, pick up, or store when they’re not in use. Finally, Agustinoy argues that most bikes look 20 years old: They’re not modern looking, and so people don’t feel as comfortable expressing their personality through them in the same way as they do, say, a car.
The Gi FlyBike aims to solve all of those problems. First, it’s an electric bike, so you don’t have to exert yourself nearly as much riding it as you would a normal bike: On a single charge, the Gi FlyBike can make a bike ride of up to 40 miles feel effortless. It’s also got a futuristic look to it, something a little more concept car than rusty velocipede.
One of the major innovations about the Gi FlyBike, though, is that it’s fully collapsible, making it easy to haul up a flight of stairs or take on a bus. Folding bikes are nothing new, of course, but they usually come with design trade-offs. Most folding bikes have very small wheels that makes them look “like clown bikes,” says Agustinoy. They’re also, comparatively, a bit of a pain to fold. But the Gi FlyBike is different. It not only has full-size wheels, but it collapses just by flipping a toggle and rolling the bike forward on its wheels, all in a single fluid motion that can be accomplished in less than a second.
The Gi FlyBike is also smart. It connects over Bluetooth to your smartphone, which allows you to track your ride, but also to turn on the bike’s integrated lights, remind you where you parked, and unlock the FlyBike’s integrated lock. This last feat can be accomplished automatically when you get close to your bike: If you lose your phone, a conventional key can also be used to unlock it. You can also do cool things with the app, like lend your bike to a friend, just by sending them an invite. Agustinoy says a major design focus of the FlyBike was to integrate as many of the accessories people need for their commute right into the chassis of the bike itself.
None of this functionality comes cheap, although the price of the FlyBike is within swinging distance of many higher-end analog bikes. Now available on Kickstarter, the FlyBike’s pre-order price starts at $2,000, with an estimated July 2016 delivery date.