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No Wiggle Required

 Faraday Bicycles builds a better electric bike.

A hobbyist bike builder since his college days at Stanford, mechanical engineer Adam Vollmer was underwhelmed by the electric models on the market. “They were basically Walmart bikes with motors attached,” he says. So the former IDEO designer conceived the Faraday Porteur: an e-bike that preserves the integrity of a high-end manual cycle while giving you a boost up Fillmore Street. The result—an upright city bike with a hub motor and an integrated battery pack in the slim frame—won the People’s Choice Award at Manifest, Portland’s biennial bike-building competition.

Though its aesthetics are undeniably elegant, it’s the internal workings that distinguish Vollmer’s e-bike from its lower-priced predecessors. (The Faraday runs a cool $3,800.) The pedal-assist is triggered with the flip of a lever and lasts up to 20 miles. “It doesn’t launch you into space,” he says. “It just makes you feel twice as strong.” And at 39 pounds, it’s 20 pounds lighter than most.

Upon hitting Kickstarter in July, the Palo Alto start-up earned $100,000 in under a month. Faraday Bicycles is now accepting preorders for delivery in spring, when it also aims to open an S.F. store.