Friday, Jan. 9, 2009 | 6:38 p.m.
Beyond the Sun
What could be less high-tech than the humble bicycle?
Especially a Schwinn bike?
Electric bikes are not big news, says Schwinn spokesman David Politis, demonstrating the Tailwind, an electric bike, AKA a pedal-assist bike at the CES Expo this afternoon. To operate the bike's motor, say to help you get up a hill, you have to turn it on, and you have to be pedaling. In other words, it's not an oversized retro-looking moped.
The new thing about this eight-speed "eBike hybrid" is that its cartridge-style removable battery can be fully recharged in 30 minutes and can be recharged up to 6,000 times.
But why, if you don't live in San Francisco, would you want an electric bike?
"It's not made for cycling enthusiasts," Politis says, while pedaling at about 9 mph. "It's made for somebody who would like to get some exercise, for somebody who would like to commute. But the problem with commuting on bike for most people is that you get to work and you're all sweaty. So either you stink all day, or you give yourself a little sponge bath. With this bike, you can be as leisurely as you want, and be all fresh."
Schwinn's no-sweat bike will be in stores by February, and will retail for $3,200. It comes in any color you want, as long as it's white or silver.