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The Earliest Bike Design Is Getting a Modern, Electric Reboot

What would early bike designers think of this Tron-like reboot of their classic wheels?

From Amsterdam to New York City, biking is all the rage these days. And with popularity comes innovation: cyclists can choose from bikes of all shapes and sizes—road bikes, hybrid bikes, tandem bikes, cargo bikes, tall bikes, recumbent bikes, even amphibious bikes. But now, one electric bike maker wants to take bicycle design back to the good old days, with the E-Velocipede—an electronic version of one of the earliest bike models.

Here’s what an old-school velocipede looks like:

And here’s the modern, electric version:

Image: DING3000

The new bike—called the “Concept 1865″—has a 250 Watt electrical drive in the rear wheel. Ding3000 explains:

With the “Concept 1865″, we are taking a trip back to the year 1865, when BASF was founded. This was also the point in time when Karl Drais’ wooden “Dandy horse” was given its first pedals, which launched the bicycle on the road to global success. As a tribute to this era of enthusiasm for technology and invention, DING3000 and BASF have embarked on an unparalleled thought experiment and asked:

How would the first pedal cycle have looked if the pioneers of the bike had had today’s advanced materials to work with?

We can’t help but wonder what early bike designers might think of the Tron-like reboot of their classic wheels—although, most likely, they’d be more distracted by the cars they have to dodge while riding it.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Books on Bike Perfection and Women’s Bike-Won Freedom
Will America ever love electric bikes?

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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