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The Future of E-Bikes Might Be One ‘Clip’ Away

12:01 AM EDT on October 12, 2020

Clip attaches to the front wheel of any bike and gives an e-bike boost whenever the rider presses a button on the handlebars. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Finally, a clip-on that's perfectly in style.

We don't write about consumer goods very often at Streetsblog, but, the other day, we encountered a new product — called a Clip — that could eventually make electric bikes far more accessible, more widely used and, thus, more likely to replace unnecessary trips in the family car.

Somnath Ray and Clement Dealcala, based at Newlab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, have designed and manufactured what is basically a portable e-bike in the form of a seven-pound battery powering a wheel that can be clipped onto the front of any bike. The boost comes at the touch of a button — which sits on the handlebars and connects via Bluetooth to the 450-watt battery-wheel.

CLIP from the top
Here's what it looks like from the top. The battery is housed in the side panels. The wheel, which drives energy to the cyclists front tire, is in the vertex. Photo: Clip
Here's what it looks like from the top. Photo: Clip

The Clip turns any bike into an e-bike. Even a Citi Bike.

Production has just begun, Ray said, and only 100 devices, priced at $400, are being manufactured during the first go-around. But Ray said he hopes the price will decrease during larger production runs. That will allow him to sell more widely than early adopters — very widely, perhaps, given that there are close to 200 million bikes in the country already sitting in garages and in too-small apartments.

"Our target buyer is the urban commuter — someone who needs to commute to work regularly and understands that bicycling is the most-affordable, cleanest and healthiest solution, yet concerned about or deterred by the effort that is required to do so," Ray said. "They do not want to arrive to work sweaty or out of breath."

Clip also allows for what Ray called "a flexible bicycling lifestyle" because "if you buy an expensive e-bike to replace your normal bike, you get locked into a mode of transportation [and] no longer get the benefits of exercise or the pleasure of healthy cardio from a regular bike ride. Clip allows you to choose when to use it."

Somnath Ray shows off his bike attachment called The Clip. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Somnath Ray shows off his bike attachment called The Clip. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Somnath Ray shows off his bike attachment called The Clip. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

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