I’m keen on bikes in London – with engines or without. Without raking up every opinion (and there are many) from my two-wheeled brethren, they generally fit well with the city.
The normal bike of choice, the tweetbike (Google it for more details), was parked up for the afternoon a couple of weeks ago, as I tried something a bit different.
Very different. The ultra-cool, silent, electric, stealthbike that is a Dark Knight (!) from Urbanites & Scooters (@uands on Twitter). The delightful Victoria Atherstone was kind enough to let me have a scoot around the Strand.
It’s quite some bike. Much more powerful than I’d expected, really chunky tyres with good grip, brakes that stopped it quickly, and pretty good looks (for a scooter).
It was definitely heavy – all those batteries have to live somewhere, but I quite liked this – it felt ‘planted’ on the road in a way that other twist-and-goes of my youth never did.
Best part: the real strong pull as the motor kicked in and whisked the bike on its way. Ok, real best part? The silence. Utter stealth chic. It actually turned heads because of its lack of almost any noise. Most enjoyable.
Its green credentials are impeccable. Look at the site for full details, but could I really argue with lifetime running costs 1/10 of a petrol equivalent? Basically, you get the equivalent of another bike completely free through what you save on petrol. And that helps with CO2 etc. etc. etc.
Would I ride one? The only question mark will be on powering. A range of 50 or 60 miles at urban speeds seems pretty good, but there’ll always be a need to find power. There are some power points already available in town (and needless to say perks like free parking and congestion charge exemption come with the bike) but you’ll probably want to put one in at home (cost around £160-250 to fit). So if you’ve got a place to live (or workplace) that’s permanent enough to justify fitting a power socket, then this is a very serious consideration for urban scooting. I had a grin a mile wide after just a few minutes, which has to be a good sign.
(And I had some better pictures, but have, erm, mislaid them. So you’ll have to put up with shaggy hair and not much of the bike until I find them.)