A bit over three years ago, as I was designing Stokemonkey, I corresponded with Surly’s Dave Gray about various ideas, as he’s a crafty person with some experience of electric propulsion. Months ago I sent Surly a kit, in hopes that they’d bang on it and tell me what they thought. Surly designs and sells, by my unresearched guess, more high quality steel bicycle frames than anybody else in North America, and they tend to build into particularly fine, heavy-duty Xtracycles, attractive platforms for Stokemonkey.
In addition to seeking design feedback, my sending Surly a kit was a marketing psychology experiment. Would these strong, proud, hard-riding young people living in a flat city be caught dead with an electric motor on their Xtracycles? Some of the softer guys rode it first, but it took Dave breaking his leg to set up his alibi. [Soft guys: thanks for the reports!] After many days of cruel non-disclosure that something interesting was coming together, this morning Brother David Sunshine blogged the result:
O man! Can it be made to lean with the bike — parallelogram linkage — and when can we order one with integrated bassinet? You say it needs more weight on the sidecar… more batteries? The area is getting big enough for onboard solar charging to make sense….