Stealth Bikes – the next big extreme sports craze?

Is this about to be the next big extreme sports craze? Already riotously popular in Australia where they were invented it is mooted that this will be the 2011 “must have” item in the USA and Europe.

It’s taken Ausi by storm and now it looks set to go global.

The founder and head engineer John Karambalis says “the only noise you hear from the bike is when you are doing full speed, you need either a motorbike helmet or ear plugs for the wind noise”.

Combining pedal and electric power, the mountain bikes are ideal for cross country, downhill, commuting, touring and patrol applications and are reported to only take 2 hours to charge from a normal power outlet. To cope with the speed, the bikes are fitted with heavy duty shocks and over sized brakes.

Hitting jumps and launching down ledges are done with ease due to the long travel suspension and purpose built geometries which give the bike incredible stability over off-road terrain.

The all-important question is, of course… how long does the charge last? Stealth Bikes website say that the estimates are “in the dirt – 40km; normal riding: 50km; efficient riding  which includes pedalling: 60+km.”

However, you must realise that it depends on the rider, terrain, wind conditions and how much you want to pedal. The faster you go, the quicker the battery will drain. Factors such as steep takeoffs, hills and headwinds will all play a part. A minimum range of approximately 40km (without pedalling) is achievable, but some smart riding, along with use of the gears and pedals will see this easily increase to 60+km. Pedalling does conserve battery life but does not directly recharge the batteries.

The bikes are water resistant so fine in the rain, but it is not advisable to take them for a swim.

John Karambalis is actually an Aerospace Systems Engineer so it is not surprising that two of his models are called Stealth Bomber and Stealth Fighter. The other euphemism for them is “the bikes on steroids”… They are fast, nimble and quiet.

This is not some sort of effeminate equivalent to a balls-out-for-Baghdad mountainbike – even twice champion Isle of Man TT Superbike Racer Cameron Donald was impressed, “there was no noise or hesitation; just instant acceleration from the motor, and suddenly I was travelling at speeds that no amount of pedalling could hope to keep up with”.

You just might not be quite so superbly fit if you swap your MTB for one of these…

Thanks to StealthElectricBikes for the videos.

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