The Premise. In major cities around the world, bike-sharing programs are popping up allowing residents or tourists to borrow a bike and get where they’re going more quickly, but what if making use of this program involved less physical exertion and more fun?
The Product. The ShareRoller is a smaller motor that attaches to any bike or scooter whether it’s borrowed or not and allows riders to enjoy a smoother ride with motored assistance or no pedaling at all. The motor is designed to allow for 12 miles of range and offers 1 HP to get some speed going. The motor includes LED headlights to add visibility while riding in the dark, and also has a USB port to charge phones or tablets while commuting.
The Pitch. Inventor Jeff Guida shows off his love for sharebikes in his native New York City and demonstrates how a ShareRoller can speed up the heavier shared bikes. The product supports New York’s Citibike program, but also similar products in many other cities. With plenty of example photos on how to attach the motor and a convincing video, it’s easy to tell how much passion has gone into the development of this device. Guida and his team need $100,000 for injection moulding and to set up assembly facilities for the ShareRoller.
The Perks. Kickstarter supporters can get a ShareRoller for a pledge of $995, saving a whole $350 off the retail launch price, and should be riding in style by June of this year. An extended range battery which will add an extra eight miles of powered riding is available at the $1,295 tier, and New York City residents can get a beta ShareRoller in April for $1,995, which will be swapped out for the production model when it becomes available.
The Potential. The ShareRoller is a cleverly designed fantastic idea for urbanites who have access to bike shares or can commute using bikes or scooters easily, but there are some hurdles to overcome. First, the price point is steep for what it offers, meaning that making owning a ShareRoller economical involves a lot of two-wheeled commuting. Second, the weight of the device at between 6-7 pounds, plus an additional half pound for the extended range battery, is a little heavy unless there’s no walking to be done from the bike to the destination. There’s also the question of whether using the ShareRoller will be legal in the cities that offer the bikes it suports. This could be used by cities themselves to offer bike shares for people who are unable to propel themselves on a bicycle, but for the average consumer the ShareRoller still has a ways to go before becoming a crucial accessory.