Post Kickstarter

It’s been 2 months since our successful Kickstarter campaign and there has been a lot of activity and more PEBL sales since then:

1. We are happy to announce that we will be moving into our new production space in South Deerfield, MA in November! With easy access to I-91, a large parking area and quiet rural roads, it will make it much easier for folks to come and take a PEBL for a test ride. In addition, the large, open space will allow us to quickly ramp up production once we have all the necessary components in place, and our lease allows us to double our size at any time in the future. 
2. Our new molds should be ready to start producing beautiful, glossy bodies by the end of November. This is over a month later than we had anticipated, but the end result will be worth the delay. 
3. Once we have pulled the first body out of the new molds, we will be able to get a finalized frame to our fabricator. We need to wait on that first body to ensure that the contact points between the body and the frame match perfectly. They should then be able to start delivering our custom frames to us before the end of the year. 
4. While we are awaiting the frames, we will start producing the bodies, which will allow is to begin assembling PEBLs as soon as the frames arrive. This means we should be able to start shipping in January!

After we have moved into our new space and production is under way, we will be posting more photos and updates. In addition, we will start creating helpful videos on how best to ride and maintain your PEBL.

We are so excited to get the PEBL out there on the road in so many places (CA, OR, KY, CO, ME, WA, IA, TX, VA, NY, MA, Canada…), and to be offering a healthy alternative to driving.

We have received many inquiries from Europe and we are planning on designing an EU friendly drivetrain next year, possibly before the summer.

Thank you again for your support, we would not have been able to do it without you!

The better.bike team.

3.0 Complete!

They just get better and better. Trike #3 is complete and has exceeded our expectations. Using larger tires, slightly thicker polycarbonate windows, a geared motor, and tweaking the front geometry have all contributed to an even smoother, softer, quieter and more responsive ride. Trimming the interior with sound deadening materials, a maple dashboard and adding led lighting to the inside of the cargo space help us to achieve our goal of providing the comfort and utility of a car with the emissions-free, low cost, healthy and fun benefits of a bike. 3.0 has been purchased by a local couple and we look forward to seeing them riding around our beautiful valley. We've started 4.0, which will be living in Maine sometime late winter/spring. There really is nothing else like it. Ride on and be a part of the solution!

20 degrees out, but a fun and comfortable ride inside!

20 degrees out, but a fun and comfortable ride inside!

Doors

We're excited to report on the new doors we've had made! After trying for many months to produce hard doors that will seal well against the rain, while still remaining fairly lightweight and attractive, we've decided to use vinyl doors instead. We're glad we did. As it turns out they look great too and provide much more functionality:

-they weigh almost nothing

-quiets the interior

-they are always there when needed, but can rolled up out of sight

-the heavy duty zipper travels around the door frame to allow for adjustable venting

-you don't have to worry about scratching them when removing

-they don't take up any space when stowed (rolled up under roof)

-large, zippered window allows for great visibility and more venting options

We'll be working on a few adjustments to them such as hiding the snaps, and allowing it to roll up a little further out of sight, but we are very pleased with them.

Door down

Door down

Door up

Door up



Bolt 3.0

After a much needed vacation on the west coast, we are in full swing producing the third prototype and just about have the frame completed before laminating another body. Our trip out west generated a lot of interest in the Bolt, particularly in our favorite bike town, Portland, a perfect city environment for our vehicle. Lots of wide bike lanes and even a recently built bridge dedicated to pedestrian and bike traffic only. We even got to see the firework display for the dedication ceremony. We hope to be finished with Bolt 3.0 in November and will decide then if we will commit to the final mold or tweak it a bit more and produce a fourth one by hand. Either way, we are very happy with the continued performance of the second prototype which has exceeded our expectations.

On to the third prototype

BOLT 2.0 meets BOLT 1.o

BOLT 2.0 meets BOLT 1.o

BOLT 2.0 is complete and has already logged over 300 miles. Many lasting improvements over BOLT 1.0: multi-passenger, mid-mount motor, improved seat adjusting, trim package interior, sunroof, wider track width, improved wheel well design and more. Road testing with rear passenger has been very successful, even climbing some challenging hills. Handling, torque and comfort are better than expected, but most surprising to us is the range on a single charge. We would have been happy with 15 miles on a charge, but we easily doubled that with the standard single battery with moderate pedaling. With two batteries we went 70 miles continuously until it was time to plug it in and we live in pretty hilly western MA. We don't have any long stretches of flat roads, so we don't know what the range will be in that type of terrain, but it could approach 40 miles on a single battery charge. Since the BOLT can accommodate up to four batteries, we're looking at over 120 miles per charge with that option.

Another exciting new feature is the bike tow. We've designed a bike tow that mounts to the handle on the rear of the aluminum frame. It allows for secure mounting of the front fork of a bike so that if you want to go on a ride somewhere far away, such as a beloved mountain bike trail, you don't have to use up all your energy getting there. The front tire can be hung on the bike or stowed in the back of the BOLT.

BOLT 3.0 has been purchased already and will include a solar panel roof. We'll also be trying out adding a little more camber to the front wheels for even more stability.

Evolution of the interior...

It's official, the Bolt is a multi-passenger vehicle!  We've configured the original cargo area into one that can be for carrying cargo only, such as 5-6 bags of groceries, or easily fold down into a smaller cargo space and bench seat.  The cargo space is still generous and the bench seat can seat a passenger the size of a medium adult (approx. 5' 10").  It could also seat two small children.  The total passenger/cargo weight can be up to approx. 300lbs. 

In addition, we are very excited about the "Trim Package" we are creating for the interior.  We are using various lightweight materials that are comfortable, sound reducing and aesthetically pleasing.  We want the interior to look as great as the exterior and to be a "soft space" that is very comfortable to ride in.  This includes headliner cloth, auto carpeting, layers of sound dampening materials and interior led lighting for night riding. 

Lastly, we are very pleased with the design of the dashboard.  We are currently using brushed/polished aluminum which will hold any switches not located on the handlebar, a voltmeter and have space to hold a smartphone.  It also does a wonderful job of hiding all of the steering and electronic components.  In the future, we will be exploring wood versions such as bird's eye maple and bamboo.

Look for photos within the next 4 weeks!

More on 2nd prototype

We're about 5-6 weeks away from finishing the 2nd prototype and it looks like we may be able to offer seating for an additional rider as standard.  We're working on making the front half of the rear cargo area be able to fold down into a bench seat when needed.  Currently finishing the door and hatch flanges, then on to the sliding door windows.  It was a lot of fun riding the heated first prototype in this bitter cold winter, but spring is almost here!

The 2nd Prototype

The frame for the second prototype is welded!  We're testing the possibility of a passenger seat behind the driver's seat by making the rear wheel dropouts and the bottom bracket adjustable.  By pushing the pedals forward and the rear wheel back, and using a 24" rear wheel, this should add 16-24" more room behind the driver's seat, enough for a teenager or small adult.  We've also beefed up the rear suspension on this one to accommodate for the added weight.  Can't wait to road test!

Is the body really made from plants?

It is.  One of the very unique features of the Bolt is it's body.  Besides it's distinctive, aerodynamic styling, it's also made from plants.  Since we are building a vehicle with no emissions, we also wanted to make the production as healthy and environmentally friendly as possible.   We spent hundreds of hours coming up with a combination of materials that would be good for us and the planet, and still provide a lightweight, strong and durable shell that is very forgiving to bumps and impacts.  It has great tensile strength while still being flexible.  Traditional fiberglassing methods are very toxic and produce large amounts of volatile organic compound (VOC's) which are known carcinogens and significant contributors to air pollution.  While strong, the product can also be somewhat brittle and prone to cracking.  The Bolt's body is make from a combination of 100% organic hemp cloth and a bio-based resins derived from plants such as pine, and soy.  The raw materials for the resins are also certified renewable and resourced.  In addition, we were able to find pigment for the plant based gelcoat (the initial layer of resin that gets sprayed into the mold and becomes the outer, visible surface) that comes in over 100 colors!  We love these resins.  No masks required, no hazardous waste and no environmentally damaging VOCs.  As a matter of fact, some of it is derived from other manufacturing processes as waste product, so it puts back into use something that would otherwise go to waste.  Another way to be a part of the solution.

The second prototype

We're busy at work on the second prototype.  Incredibly happy with the first, but we've learned a lot and have many ideas for improvements.  It's been two years to get the first one on the road, but the second should only take a few months.  Once we are satisfied with the design of the frame, we can make the permanent jig for welding and same goes for the body.  Once we feel satisfied with the design of the doors, windows, wheel wells and trunk, then we can start making our permanent molds for all those pieces.  Then, production can take less than a week!