Roetz Bike, a Dutch company based in Amsterdam, has imagined an electric bike that it presents as “eternal”. His idea was to design a modular product that made it easy to replace worn or failed parts, so that the bike could last a long, long time. So much so that the slogan of this e-Bike Life is “the one and last electric bike you will ever need […] by helping to reduce the waste of tomorrow”as indicated by Tiemen ter Hoeven, founder of a brand whose catalog had never had anything really innovative until then.
This concept in the era of time necessarily interests, but is not without disconcerting. Indeed, isn’t a bicycle a modular machine in essence, simple in its operation and easily repairable over time? It is actually by constantly adding more technology to it, in particular via its electrification, that we make its operation more complex, and therefore its repairability.
Scalability and sustainability
In this context, e-Bike Life can make sense. Of course, all its equipment is fixed to the frame (or between them) and is removable and replaceable, from the handlebars to the mudguards. It’s… a bike like any other, no more and no less. On the other hand, the transmission part is managed in two distinct blocks: a gear drive module, managing the gear changes (electronic), and a module integrating a carbon belt.
Thus, in the event of a breakdown, the promise is to be able to quickly and easily change one of these modules. Better, the bike can thus be “updated” in the event of the appearance of new technology (generation of engine, etc.). Roetz Bike mentions, for example, countries with appropriate legislation, in which his bike could adopt a more powerful engine block/crankset, capable of reaching higher speeds (in France, the law imposes a speed limit of 25 km/ h for electrically assisted bicycles).
It is also planned to be able to modulate certain accessories of the bike to adapt it to more uses (addition of front and/or rear loading spaces, for example), or even to transform it into a cargo bike or speedbike, the frame being composed of two parts which are also modular.
More technologies means more complexity on the repairability side
On the other hand, there is a point that clearly makes us wince. Roetz Bike is committed to adding sensors everywhere to transform its machine into “smart bike”, informing the user about tire pressure, disc brake wear rate, battery status or engine behaviour. The objective would be to anticipate glitches as much as possible and support the user in the maintenance of his 2-wheeler. Because to last, a bike must be pampered.
We understand the message, but the proliferation of technological systems tends to make the product more complex, and in this case definitively link the consumer to the brand, for example by forcing him to frequent a network of partner repairers. Also note the presence of an electronic padlock and a GPS module for protection against theft.
The Roetz Life will be delivered from February 2023 at prices of €3,375 for the version equipped with a 500 Wh battery (60 to 120 km range) and €3,725 for the 840 Wh battery (90 to 180 km) . Battery which, moreover, will be, as for any electric bicycle, one of the most important elements in terms of durability, and on which Roetz Bike has obviously not planned to make any particular commitments. Shame.