Most electric bikes come with a futuristic look. That is understandable as electric bikes are the future. Some even claim that they are the future solution to traffic jams and vehicle pollution in our cities. The Vela is a crowdfunded electric bicycle that has gotten a lot of attention because of its looks. Ironically, it is not because it looks modern or futuristic but because it resembles a classic bicycle.
If you did not know better, you would have no idea that the Vela is an electric bike. It has no LCD display to indicate speed or even battery charge level. It has no buttons or switches to switch electrical components on and off. If you give the bike a very close look though, you might notice the motor mounted on the rear wheel or the slightly larger seat tube on the bike frame.
The motor itself is quite small and it has a shiny chrome finishing that blends right in with the wheel spokes. The wires that connect to the motor are well hidden. The slightly larger diameter seat tube hides the removable rechargeable battery. You can plug in the bike to charge the battery or remove it to charge externally. To remove the battery, you need to remove the bike seat first.
The battery is a 10,000 mAh lithium ion battery. The Vela is a pedal assist electric bike which means that you have to keep pedaling in order for the electric motor to kick in. Pedal assist electric bikes give longer range as the motor doesn’t have to work as hard. With the Vela, you can get about 20 miles out a fully charged battery which is fairly decent. With assistance from the motor, it can reach a top speed of about 20 mph.
To keep things simple and to retain that classic bike look, the Vela has no display or indicator other than a couple of small LEDs mounted on the control box right under the handle bar. The lights provide an indication on the battery charge level. However, the electric bike does have smart features and a remote control. The bike has an app that helps you track your bike in case it gets misplaced or stolen. The bike uses its built-in GPS to send its exact location to the app on your smartphone.
The remote control on the other hand functions very much like the remote that comes with cars. It can be used to toggle the security alarm system on the bike. The alarm has a motion detector and if someone tries to move the bike while the alarm is armed, a siren will go off and you also get an alert on your phone.
Last but not least, the control box comes with a USB charging port that you can use for charging your phone or other USB enabled device.
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