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Product Review: Sanyo Eneloop Bike, the hybrid electric assist bicycle

Want to bike but don't want to get tired and sweaty? I got to take a spin on the Eneloop Bike, a hybrid electric assist bicycle by Sanyo (the company that makes iPhone batteries and other battery/charging products).

Eneloop bike2 It's a normal bike, until you turn on the motor. Using battery power, it gives the rider a boost of power while pedaling. Features include a mode to automatically boost pedal power when going uphill and a mode for assist when transporting a heavy load. The bike weighs less than 50 pounds and comes with a headlight, brake light, bell, rear carrier rack and three-speed gear control. Light-weight battery lasts about 40 miles, recharges going downhill. Battery is removed with key and comes with wall charger.

But it ain't priced like your normal bike. It's retailing now for $2,299. (In South Florida you can find it sold at the Electric Bicycle Store.)

With the help of the engine, the rider only needs to pedal with a third of the energy normally required. The engine makes up for the rest with a 1:2 human-to-engine assist ratio.

It won the Best of Innovations award for the Consumer Electronics Show 2010 in the Eco-Design and Sustainable Technology category. It's good if you want an everyday commuter bike to go to work or the store. You can save gas and the Earth by cutting back on driving, and save yourself from getting tired and sweaty.

It's also an option for less athletic riders who want to get out and bike but could enjoy it more with a little push from the battery. My contact at Sanyo told me that people over 40 are making up the majority of his sales in the U.S.


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