For those of you who think that General Motors only makes cars, I have some great news for you. Now available, are two compact General Motors Electric Bikes powered by an in-house purpose-built motor.
Meet the New General Motors Electric Bikes Named Meld and Merge
Under the spinoff brand ARIV, a result of a crowdsourced naming competition that offered US$10,000 reward for the winning suggestion, General Motors is offering two electric bikes called the, Meld and Merge.
These bikes are a result of the expertise that General Motors gained through it’s electric car efforts, spearheaded by the recently revealed Cadillac crossover EV.
Both Of These Electric Bikes Have Some Amazing Features
Both of these electric bikes have a very unique frame, made out of a curved tube. This curved tube runs from the rear tube to the head tube as a single piece.
At on end this curved tube splits into seat stays, and the other end is attached to wheel forks.
How Fast Can These Electric Bikes Go?
Powered by a mid-drive motor and battery positioned underneath, the Meld and Merge have a 64 km (40 mi) of range and four levels of pedal-assisted power up to 25 km/h (15 mph).
These electric bikes have a great range, but as you can see, they aren’t the fastest electric bikes available.
But then again, many commuters will be using these bikes in an urban setting, where they will be stopping and going from stop signs and red lights.
And their intentions of being used in an urban setting is obvious, with many safety features built-in:
These Electric Bikes Have LED Lights
No matter what, I never ride at night without lights on my folding bicycle.
Drivers today are more distracted than ever with technology, such as cell phones.
Plus, everyone is in such a hurry these days. A perfect example of this, is when I use to commute 10 miles round trip on my Tern Link D8.
Many nights on my way home, drivers would seem distracted while about to turn off the expressway loop, or side streets.
They’d only look the opposite direction they were about to turn, but not the way I was coming from. The only time I was able to get their attention was to point my bicycle light towards them.
I’m a firm believer that bicycle lights will help save your life.
But I’m not the only one.
According to the Federal Highway Administration-funded Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, 69 percent of all bicyclist fatalities occurred in urban areas in 2012, and 30 percent of all bicyclist fatalities occurred between 4 p.m. and about 8 p.m.
Thankfully, both the Meld and Merge have rechargeable LEDs at the front and back.
This means no more forgetting to attach your lights to your bike before you leave. And no more replacing expensive batteries every so often.
Basically, no more excuses for not riding with bicycle lights.
You Can Also Mount Your Smartphone To the Handlebars
On my Brompton folding bicycle, I have a mount strapped to my handlbars to hold my cell phone. I use my phone’s GPS to find places, or to see who’s calling without having to reach my pocket.
This is a very handy feature that most bicycles don’t have built-in.
Well, you’re in luck if you buy either the Meld or Merge.
Both of these electric bikes have a USB port, and the excellent Quad Lock, so you can mount your smart phone to the handlebars.
This allows your handset to be used to display the companion ARĪV smart phone app that shows your speed, battery levels, and distance traveled.
I’m actually a fan of the Meld and Merge, because they are designed with commuters in mind.
These Electric Bikes are compact.
According to bicycling.com, both these bikes have 16×1 3/8-inch wheels. This will definitely be useful for those who have limited storage space at home, or need to combine their bicycle commute with public transportation.
And for days when the weather is angry, both bikes have full-coverage fenders, reflective-sidewall tires for better visibility, and hydraulic disc brakes for better stopping power.
Just Don’t try to carry these electric bicycle for any distance, or up stairs to the subway, because they are quite heavy.
The single-speed Meld weighs 43 pounds, while the Merge comes with a Shimano Alfine eight-speed shift system and weighs about 48.5 pounds.
To solve this problem, these electric bikes come with “Walk” mode, which engages the motor in or order to lighten the load when pushing them uphill.
And if you buy the Merge, you get one more extra feature. The frame on the Merge takes things one step further with a folding joint in the middle that splits it in two.
This extra useful feature makes the bike even more compact while traveling or storing it.
I think that General Motors is entering the electric bike market at a great time, seeing that their cars now represent just 21 percent of GM’s sales in the U.S., down from more than 25 percent a few years ago.
Electric bicycle sales on the the other hand are moving fast. Global sales of e-bikes are forecasted to reach approximately 40 million units by the year 2023.
If these statistics are true, General Motors Electric Bikes have a chance of being a huge success.
Plus, these General Motors Electric Bikes have tons of amazing features, that offer both safety and comfort.
Both electric bikes use the same mid-motor setup with an integrated battery.
Both bikes can connect via Bluetooth with the ARĪV app, which displays your speed, distance, battery level, motor assist level, and distance traveled on your phone screen.
An internally geared hub, and hydraulic disc brakes.
Full-coverage fenders paired with reflective-sidewall tires.
Ergonomic grips, a kickstand, and a bell.
A folding joint in the middle of the frame, making the electric bike more compact. (OnlyavailableontheMerge)
16×1 3/8-inch wheels with chain drive.
What I Don’t Like Abouth the General Motors Electric Bikes
Unfortunately, both General Motors Electric Bikes will only be available in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands to begin with. Interest in electric bikes are higher in those locales, than in place such as the United States.
Pricing For General Motors Elecric Bikes Will Be A Huge Hurdle
Unlike regular bicycles, the pricing for the Meld and Merge will be a hurdle for many to afford.
The high prices for electric bicycle haven’t started to come down yet, because they are still a new technology compared to the standard bicycle that’s been around for over a hundred years.
Sales for these types of bicycle are climbing rapidly, but still represent a small percentage of the bicycle retail market.
The pricing for the Meld and Merge in the Netherlands and Belgium is €2,800 (US$3,160) and €3,400 (US$3,840), respectively.
If you live in Germany, you will end up paying less. The Meld is priced at €2,750 (US$3,100) and the Merge at €3,350 (US$3,780).
When the prices do start to go way down, expect to see electric bikes take over the bicycle market completely.