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Bicycling

Own an E-Bike for Less Than Your Monthly Metrocard

Brooklyn Assembly Member Bobby Carroll wants the state to subsidize purchase of e-bikes, like this Wing bike. File photo: Gersh Kuntzman

How would you like unlimited use of a legal e-bike every month for less than a cost of a monthly Metrocard — oh and you get to keep the bike, too?

That's the premise behind an introductory offer from a new company, Wing Bikes, as it rolls out its pedal-assist two-wheelers in New York. The company's sleek Freedom model sells for $1,295 — but for now, Wing is picking up the financing costs, meaning your monthly payments on the bike will be $108 (plus tax). And unlike Citi Bike, it's your bike.

"This is our way to get more people on bikes," said Seth Miller, the company's founder. "We are footing the financing bill with the mission of trying to get more people on electric bikes, particularly people who need them."

Wing Bike founder Seth Miller on Ninth Street in Park Slope.
Wing Bike founder Seth Miller on Ninth Street in Park Slope.
Wing Bike founder Seth Miller on Ninth Street in Park Slope.

Miller's act-fast offer comes just as Citi Bike has announced a massive expansion in its e-bike fleet — a development that is at once exhilarating for would-be cycling commuters because the Citi Bike electric bikes are so awesome, but also depressing for others because a) Citi Bike currently only covers a tiny portion of the city, b) the electric bikes come with a $2 extra fee and c) the cost of unlimited annual use of electric Citi Bike's will likely rise far above the current $169 annual fee once the company figures out its pricing scheme.

Miller hopes his simple solution — own an e-bike for $108 per month over 12 months — fills the gap. (Jetson, a rival company, has its own offer with lower monthly payments on its $949 e-bike, but with the 9.99-percent interest, that $949 electric bike becomes a $1,040 electric bike).

Power is controlled with the pedals, but a five-speed setting allows riders to decide how much power he or she wants to use.
Power is controlled with the pedals, but a five-speed setting allows riders to decide how much power he or she wants to use.
Power is controlled with the pedals, but a five-speed setting allows riders to decide how much power he or she wants to use.

Streetsblog doesn't typically write about bike models or offers, but Citi Bike's e-bike announcement, plus the company's plans to expand its footprint over the next five years, suggest that e-bike commuting will become a crucial part of New York's transportation network.

And up to now, e-bikes tended to be unaffordable or illegal (Van Moof's $2,598 "electrified" bike is technically illegal because it's power is unleashed from a throttle, not from the pedals.) The bikes' power boost mean that people will be able to commute long distances in a clean, efficient, urban-friendly manner.

We took a ride on a Wing Bike around Prospect Park recently. It's powerful enough for the biggest hills, thanks to a five-speed system that lets you control how much assist you want. At setting "1," the bike is similar to a standard pedal bike. But settings "2" through "4" give you the standard boost of an electric bike (setting "5" lets you really fly).

And the built-in lights are a nice touch.

For more information, visit Wing Bikes.

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