Published on January 12th, 2019 |
by Kyle Field
January 12th, 2019 by Kyle Field
Jack Rabbit Mobility is rolling onto the ebike scene with its compact ebike-scooter hybrid that does away with the pedals, gears, chains, and greasy bits in favor of a compact form factor that founder Tom Piszkin believes will open them up to a whole new category of rider.
CleanTechnica caught up with Tom at CES in Las Vegas this week to talk about the Jack Rabbit and how it was built to tackle a few of the specific challenges that face ebike riders. Tom has been a bike rider, bike mechanic, and automotive engineer at Ford over his years and brought all his skills to bear to get the Jack Rabbit off the ground. After building the first few prototypes, he took to Kickstarter to fund the first run of bikes, where the campaign brought in $50,000 to get the first batch of bikes built.
The unique design of the Jack Rabbit starts with a custom 6061 T6 monocoque frame that Tom designed himself that eschews pedals, gears, chains, and derailleurs and puts the mismatched front and rear wheels much closer together than on a normal bike.
The rear tire is a more traditional 26 inch air-filled tire that comes with a thorn-resistant liner in it from the factory. “I wanted to make the rear wheel as big as possible for cushioning, for rotational stability, for traction, so we went with a standard 26″ mountain bike wheel,” Tom said. Up front, a smaller 20″ front wheel has been wrapped with a 1.5″ NEXO no-flat nitrogen infused front tire. That maximizes the utility of the bike, minimizes the possibility of flats, all in a compact form factor.
The two wheels have been positioned much closer together to keep the front-to-back footprint of the Jack Rabbit to a minimum which also helps when it comes to weight. The Jack Rabbit tips the scales at right around 20 pounds, making it one of the most portable ebikes on the market.
The pegs up front fold up and the handlebars were designed with a quick release stem that allows the Jack Rabbit to fold down to a profile that’s just 6.25 inches wide. That slender profile is clutch for Tom as it allows it to easily fit in the rear seat of most vehicles. It also makes the bike easy to bring into the house, into a dorm or into an RV without taking up half of a room.
Having worked at the university on campus as a coach, Tom himself had a desire to own a bike that he didn’t have to worry about getting stolen because he could just bring it right into the building. Ditching the gears helps with weight and means that owners don’t have to worry about rubbing a greasy chain along the couch on the way into the house, making it that much easier to own or to lug up a few flights of stairs.
On the technical side, the 300-watt motor lets it get up to a maximum speed of 18 miles per hour | 29 kilometers per hour. A 10-pack of Samsung 21700 batteries with a capacity of 5,000 mAh can achieve up to 13 miles | 21 kilometers per charge, depending on the weight of the rider, terrain, and speed.
The battery pack lives in the center of the frame, which is also home to a state of charge indicator, an on-off switch, and a charge port. The current design was not built to be user serviceable, but this is something Tom is looking at for a future iteration of the bike to give riders more options.
Up front, the bike is controlled by a simple two-button controller that lets riders choose from ‘cruise mode’ that has a more mellow acceleration or ‘climb mode’ that unleashes the full power to the motor. Slowing down comes from a single rear brake which is controlled by a brake lever in the usual location over the right grip.
Check out the quick promo video of the Jack Rabbit below to get a feel for how and where it works or scroll down for the full specs on the Jack Rabbit. The Kickstarter campaign closed long ago, but the ebike/scooter hybrid is available on the website at http://www.jackrabbit.bike/ for $899.
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Power / Controls (1kg)
- Proprietary “energy-miser” controller inside of the weather-proof monocoque frame (MF)
- Bezel switch mounted on the underside of the MF powers the system on/off
- 36V 4.8Ah battery pack (ten INR21700 cells with BMS) mounted in the MF
- Handlebar-mounted, 3-position proprietary speed switch: CLIMB-COAST-CRUISE
- Threaded socket plug on underside of the MF for recharging main battery and auxiliary battery parallel connection
- 4-LED on top of the MF indicating state of battery charge (100%-75%-50%-25%)
- USB port mounted in the top of the MF for recharging/powering personal devices (5V, 1A)
Motor (1.9 kg)
- 36 volt Brushless DC hub motor with Hall sensor
- Rotor ALNICO number = 16
- 2640 motor rpm (13.2:1 reduction)
- 330 max output watts @ 10 amps @ full charge (42V)
- 18 mph max speed on level ground with 160 lb. rider
- Toggling the master bezel switch under the MF powers the system.
- Plugging the 3-position speed switch into its handlebar cradle enables operations.
- In this state when the speed switch is rocked up to the “CRUISE” position the controller allows 5 amps to flow from the battery to the motor. When the switch is rocked down to the “CLIMB” position the controller allows 10 amps of current to flow from the battery to the motor. When the switch is released it defaults to the middle “COAST” position and no power flows through the system–increasing JackRabbit’s range.
- When the speed switch is removed from its cradle power flow from the battery to the motor is disabled.
Mechanicals (6.1 kg)
- 6061 T6 monocoque frame powdercoated + surface decals
- Threadless alloy fork with caged-bearing headset and rotation-dampened limiter
- 32-spoke radially-laced 20” front wheel with 1.5” NEXO (no-flat) tire
- Folding alloy footrests attached to the fork blades. 60 lb. load limit–no standing
- Threadless 2-piece stem w/QR for rotation and/or removal of its extension
- 520mm wide riser handlebars with 110 mm grips
- Right-hand brake lever actuating V-brakes on the rear wheel
Double-wall, 36-spoke rear wheel with 26” x 1.95” tire/tube and thorn-resistant liner
- 27.2 x 300mm alloy seat post; black
- Lycra-covered saddle; black