E-bikes put the pedal to the metal

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Raleigh

During the past 8 months, e-bike manufacturers sought to improve the reliability of their products. Larry Pizzi, who is the president of Raleigh Electric, says the use of a mid-drive motor system is the key to that effort. This system packs the motor and sensors into a configuration that can be assembled onto the so-called down tube of an e-bike. The system’s reduced weight (6–8 pounds), compared with the weight of a conventional power system that’s on an e-bike’s rear hub (as much as 15 pounds), is said to provide a more bicycle-like experience.

Pizzi says e-bikes can be purchased for less than $2,000. Previously, they started at $3,000.

An executive of Bosch, which is a maker of the new system, says an increase in the number of models—hence, increased competition—also contributes to lower prices.