Own an E-Bike for Less Than Your Monthly Metrocard

The Wing Bike is sleek, super-powered, and will cost you less than a monthly Metrocard. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
The Wing Bike is sleek, super-powered, and will cost you less than a monthly Metrocard. 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.

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.

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.

 

  • sbauman

    And unlike Citi Bike, it’s your bike.

    Bike share solves ownership’s theft problem.

  • Joe R.

    If I were still commuting to work on the subway I think this would be a no brainer. I’d just trade my Metrocard payments for bike payments for a year and take the bike to work. If I wanted to continue after the year, I’d have the bike. If not, I’d go back to the subway but at least I would get a free e-bike out of the deal (“free” in the sense it didn’t cost me any more than my subway fare would have).

    I wonder if TransitChek would pay for this?

    Minor pet peeve-the odometer doesn’t have 1/10ths of mile, and the speedometer doesn’t have 1/10ths of a mph. I’m so used to both on a bike it’s hard to live without them. I also prefer metric units instead. I wonder if you can select them?

  • Sounds like a good deal. Another seldom discussed drawback of Citibike is the ick factor. They are insanely dorky IMO. I’ve used Citibike four times, and feel like I want to die from embarrassment every time. I understand that they are clunky by design. Yet that design is strictly for the benefit of the operator and not the rider, and the rider ends up paying most of the cost of Citibike’s thoroughly rugged, anti-abuse, anti-theft, anti-fast design. IMO a Citibike is not just slow, it is resembles–and rides like–an oversized kid’s toy.

  • qrt145

    Believe it or not, some people prefer rugged bikes. It’s just a matter of taste.

  • Arrow E-Bike

    Just get a Arrow Ebike with Throttle top speed 35mph $1700 and fuck diblasios racist vision zero initiative. I guarantee a white guy on a arrow the NYPD will never stop him

  • Elizabeth F

    Just disable your Arrow throttle and you’re legal (as long as your top speed remains under 20mph)! But really… this bike seems to be based on similar tech as the Arrow. It’s a little lighter and cheaper because it has a smaller battery, and hence shorter range. If you’re OK with the range, I’d probably go for it. Note that range is cut SIGNIFICANTLY in the winter. I would not want to commute more than 10 miles each way on this bike — which will certainly suit many peoples’ needs.

  • Elizabeth F

    You can’t live without an odometer on your bike? Sheeh! Look at the road.

    Yes, it probably does standard units. Because nobody makes this kind of stuff just for the USA market.

  • Joe R.

    It does have an odometer but with no tenths it’s too coarse to be useful. I like to know how far I’ve traveled to the tenths, better yet hundreths (the latter is actually pretty common on bike computers). It’s also useful if you’re in unfamiliar territory and trying to follow directions. You might get stuff like turn on road x, proceed 3.7 miles on road y then turn left. With an odometer reading to the nearest mile, you can’t gauge those distances with any precision.

    Of course, the easy answer is to just install a bike computer with all the features you want but it would be nice if the installed equipment had more features. For me a lot of my rides is about instrumentation to gauge how I’m doing, and to keep me from getting bored. Not a whole lot to look at on the road at 2 AM.

  • Joe R.

    As an example of the info I like having available, here’s something I programmed two years ago (haven’t yet made a working prototype for my bike):
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/07be30935758aeec4cdc345a569a4c3fcc40df3941813fddd7e87955237aa01b.jpg

    It’s shown getting a signal simulating what it might get on a bike using my signal generator. The OLED display it’s using is only a few bucks on eBay. Much easier to read than an LCD, and it emits its own light (hence no need for a backlight for night riding). I used a PIC microcontroller to process the signal and drive the display. Obviously programming is the big hurdle. It took many hours to get it to working the way I wanted. I even have a temperature sensor, which is another useful thing I like when riding.

  • nikromatt

    So over $1000 for a bike designed for commuting that doesn’t have eyelets for racks or any other cargo capacity.

  • Daniel S Dunnam

    You are mistaken about Vanmoof electrified bikes. They are purely pedal-assist but have a “boost” button that pushes you to the top legal speed as long as you are pedaling. And yes, obviously they are street legal in NYC.

  • So how fast can you go at level5 ?

  • SprinklesMcGee

    Ugh. Yet another bike initiative not made with women in mind. The Freedom model page says it fits most riders 5’5” – 6’4”. The average American woman is slightly under 5’4”, so it’s safe to say they’re excluding at least half of women who’d be interested in an e-bike. There is a smaller model, the Freedom S, but the early bird discount with the financing deal has ended for it, so if you want a bike that fits your short (or average female) self then you have to pay $1695 up front.

    Plus, the design of these is not what I’m looking for. Plenty of us don’t want to be bent forward horizontally, ass in the air, like we’re doing the Tour de France on 8th Avenue. The step-through sit-up-straight design of a Citi Bike, or other electric models like Elby, is far more comfortable.

  • AMH

    It also solves the storage/treppschlepp problem.

  • Tommy Jung

    I ordered one of these and asked the same thing before buying. They said the bikes they deliver will have mounts for front and rear racks, which was the main reason I ordered mine. Wanted something decently priced that could still hold a lot of stuff.

  • Victor Hernandez

    I ordered one of these and I’ve been really pleased with my bike and this company so far. People always stop and ask me about my bike because of the look. I ride this thing almost every day. Every time I have contacted them, they have been quick to reply and answer my questions. Great service and a great product.

  • Elizabeth F

    That’s a really smart design feature; one I’ve wanted, but didn’t know if anyone had actually done.

  • Elizabeth F

    Just use Strava on your phone. Me personally, I don’t want to do any extra fiddling with gadgets just to ride my regular commuting route.

  • Elizabeth F

    Folding bikes frequently solve both these problems as well.

  • Zed381

    Do any of these companies give any info on how much it costs to recharge the battery?
    It should be factored into the cost of ownership.

  • You’ll spend more in tires.

  • So what are the chances that this bike will get mistakenly confiscated by the NYPD, will you be tackled in the process?

    Or does that only apply if you have a certain…complexio…er…appearance.

  • Zed381

    Unlikely, since I already commute by bike.

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  • maxmaxed

    Anyone on an illegal throttle ebike gets stopped from time to time. No matter white or not. It’s just that there are way more Chinese/Mexican delivery workers, as it’s their foodchain niche. If they obeyed traffic laws and removed throttle, nobody would bother them. But they want to turn NYC streets into chaos – so they get what they deserve.

  • maxmaxed

    Depends. In my experience folding bikes are ok to store of course, but not ok to carry around, except for few small ones like Brompton. Folding ebikes are not fun to carry around cause heavy. But I think it’s mostly about storing them, not about carrying them around.

  • Erik Bjornard

    I’ve done the math on my 9 mile round trip commute on my Faraday Porteur, and it’s shocking. $0.02 per day. As in two cents.

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