February 20, 2015
Electric assist bikes, we seem to either love them or hate them. I'm not here to take sides on the matter or debate the ethics of e-bikes, so if the subject puts you in a dark place, I would like to escort you over to this corner of the internet where you can continue enjoying your day.
Moving forward, we're going to look at EVELO's Omni Wheel. For anyone who currently owns a bike, and is entering a stage in their lives where an electric assist bike seems appealing, this is an excellent gateway drug to the world of e-bikes.
The Omni Wheel is a front wheel that can transform just about any bike into an electric assist bike. The wheel is available in both a 700c and 26-inch wheel sizes, and fits into a standard fork dropout with 100mm spacing. For those of you running disc brakes, an optional disc brake rotor can be purchased that is compatible with the Omni Wheel. For the most part, this is a tidy package, and it includes a handlebar mounted wireless dispaly that allows you to adjust the level of assist, and displays speed and distance information.
What I love about the Omni Wheel is that it is not restricted to just one bike. If you've got a fleet of bikes in your garage, you can swap it around from bike to bike pretty quickly. By electrifying the front wheel, you also don't have to worry about swapping cassettes around. While I'm not the best candidate for an electric assist bike, I can see where it would be beneficial when occasionally hauling heavy loads around town.
These start at $999, which is seems a lot for a front wheel, but keep in mind that this is half the cost of an entry level e-bike. They are available for pre-order now, and you can check out their promo video to see it in action.
Photos compliments of EVELO
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's memberservices department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.