Kickstarting a portable electric motor for city-share bikes

An entrepreneur is looking for $100K on Kickstarter to fund production of Shareroller, an ingenious, portable, snap-on electric motor for city-share bikes, like those in NYC, London, Toronto, Montreal, DC, Minneapolis, etc. The motor -- which weighs about 7 lbs and is the size of a ream of printer-paper -- clips onto the triangular docking prong on the front of the bike, and uses a retractable friction-wheel to impart energy to the bike. It also works on scooters and personal bikes, though these require a special mount.

Shareroller sports a big, powerful battery, and the inventor is alive to the possibilities here. It includes USB charge-ports for your phone and other devices, so you can charge while you ride. It also has a set of high-powered headlights. The 750W, 1hp motor has a maximum range of 12 miles at 18mph (it will go farther is you help by pedalling).

The device is reportedly ready for production. $1000 gets you one from the initial run. $1300 is full list price (more if you opt for the range-extending extra battery). They'll sell you one of their functional, pre-production prototypes for $2000, shipping as soon as the Kickstarter is fulfilled, and replaced with a production model when they are available.

The creator has a fairly impressive track record of making and shipping stuff, though, as with all Kickstarters, there is no guarantee that your money will get you anything.

I like the exercise I get from pedalling around on short-hire bikes in London. But I also like the idea of getting all the way across town in the middle of summer and arriving without being drenched in sweat. I don't know that I'd spend $1,000 (or $1,300) to attain that state, though.

ShareRoller uses friction drive to power the front wheel of your share bike, and attaches to the bike in a most ingenious manner (so much so that we've filed patents on it!). The secret is that ShareRoller slides on and mounts to the triangular mounting bracket above the front wheel of the bike. Simultaneously, the motor assembly swings out of the case and locks into position to securely and efficiently drive the front wheel (also Patent Pending!).

Then, you simply remove the throttle assembly from the case, clip it onto the handlebar (where it perfectly positions the variable throttle button for your thumb), and away you go. It may sound complex, but the whole process literally takes less than 10 seconds. And it's just as fast and easy to remove it when you've arrived at your destination (which you will do rather more quickly than before!).

ShareRoller: First Portable Motor for Share Bikes and More (Thanks, Ramone!)

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