Many electric bicycle designs are clunky; they look like bloated regular bikes with motors. There are exceptions to that rule, like the arched PiCycle. And now we have the NCycle, a skinny concept foldable electric bike that comes with a handlebar locking system—no outside lock necessary.
Designers Skyrill and Marin Myftiu explain:
Doing away with cables, most of the system consists of the handle bar itself. With dual handles for multiple positions and comfort, the handle bar is appropriately loop-shaped to fit most of the poles and steel bars in the city. Closing the loop when locked is again a hardened steel tube sliding from one of the handles, which makes the locking [mechanism] virtually impossible to break or cut with any kind of man-powered pliers, in the end, making it almost impossible to steal the vehicle.
The concept bike endeavors to solve other problems plaguing cyclists, including object transportation (the bike is equipped with a retractable pocket—much more attractive than a basket—that slides between the bike’s metal plates), the awkwardness of foldable frames (supposedly this one can fold up in two seconds and still remain sturdy), and headlights, which are a part of the handlebar.
The bike also offers solutions to problems most cyclists didn’t even know they had. Built-in speakers connect via Bluetooth to music-playing devices. A holographic display on the handlebars can connect to smartphones, while the display itself is controlled by touch sensors in the bike’s rubber grips.
NCycle’s designers warn that their lithium ion battery-powered bike would be more expensive than traditional bikes, just like every other electric bike. That convenient foldable frame wouldn’t come cheap, either. And as Core77 points out, there are some things that the designers don’t even discuss, like gearing (not to mention, proving all their concepts could actually exist in reality). Because it’s just a concept, though, we can admire the beautiful design without worrying too much about the details and cost.
And the good news: until someone works out the kinks and manufactures the NCycle, there are plenty of other electric options out there, albeit ones that aren’t quite as sleek.