London, England — Every big city has its union problems. Depending on which union goes on strike, it can bring traffic in London to a stand-still. No buses. No underground trains. The solution? Commuting via an electric bike. THe latest entry in the E-bike offerings is Richard Thorpe’s British-made GoCycle.
Thorpe, a former design engineer for McLaren, has a specialist knowledge of carbon-fibre composite components. Since carbon fibre is too expensive for the mass market, Thorpe used a new technique of injection moulding magnesium called Thixomoulding, which is more commonly used for mobile phone and laptop casings.
VBy doing so, the cost of the GoCycle was cut to a fifth of the carbon-fibre equivalent. Thorpe invested in bespoke robotic tooling and conduct a global search for investors and suppliers.( His search for strategic partners has not borne fruit, however. )
The first few thousand bikes have now been produced by two companies in Britain and the initial reception has been positive – the GoCycle ranked in the top five new products in April’s (2009) Gadget Show.
The price is £1,158 online. Thorpe’s company, Karbon Kinetics Limited, has set up a government-approved tax-free “cycle to work scheme”, which lowers the price to £599. This offer is contingent on your employer signing up for the program.