The Maven Is An Electric Cargo Bike Designed By Women To Better Fit Female Riders
If your only transport need is getting yourself and maybe a backpack to your destination, then a traditional bike or an e-bike is the way to go for low impact and zero-emissions transportation. But if you regularly need to carry a lot of things with you, whether that’s personal gear for work or play, or various other items such as groceries and such, or even another small human or two (read: children), then a cargo e-bike is just the ticket. And with the recent dramatic increase in the availability of e-bikes built to carry a load beyond just a rider and their personal effects, a number of models of cargo e-bikes at all different price points have been hitting the market lately, which is great for consumer choice.
However, one issue that isn’t immediately obvious when carrying bulkier or heavier loads on e-bikes and cargo bikes — at least before actually loading one up and trying to ride it — is that doing so will completely change the feel of the ride. That could be the change in weight distribution on the bike itself, such as loading a rear or front rack to its limit, or the change in the center of gravity of the e-bike when fully loaded, but either way, when it’s done wrong or to an extreme, the bike can begin to not just feel unstable or unsafe, but can actually become unstable or unsafe to ride.
One e-bike company that is working to change the dynamic of cargo bikes for women and shorter riders, whose center of gravity is lower than other riders, is Integral Electrics, and its Maven cargo e-bike looks to be a contender if you’re looking for an well-priced and well-designed option. The company recently completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for the Maven, with deliveries to backers planned for February of 2024.
“High design meets low center of gravity — we’ve designed the Maven so that women and shorter riders can confidently carry cargo.”
According to Integral Electrics, “The Untold Secret of Cargo Ebikes: They’re NOT designed for the needs of women and shorter riders.”
“We’ve talked to a lot of women about their experience on cargo bikes, and 9 out of 10 report feeling unstable, like they’re “not quite strong enough.” But they’re not really the problem; it’s actually just bad cargo bike design! The female center of gravity is at waist height, and so women need cargo to be well below the waist in order to feel stable.”
The Maven isn’t just for women and shorter riders, as both the seat and the handlebars can be quickly adjusted upwards for taller riders up to 6’7″ (one drawback on many other bikes is that the seat and handlebars can only be lowered so much, meaning the bike may not fit smaller riders very well), so this cargo e-bike could serve more than one size of rider fairly easily. The step-through frame makes mounting the bike much easier when it’s fully loaded (up to 400 lb payload capacity), which is another need that isn’t readily obvious before trying to ride one for the first time, and the inclusion of two batteries means that the range could be up to 80 miles per charge.
The Maven is powered by a 750W rear hub motor, which can be activated by pedal assist or by a throttle, and has a 48V 17.5Ah in-frame battery and a 14Ah secondary battery. It features front suspension, running boards, integrated LED headlight and taillights, turn signals, and front and rear hydraulic disk brakes for maximum stopping power.
“The rear rack sits just above the back wheel. It’s where your precious cargo will be situated, and the lower that is, the more control and stability you’ll feel. We’ve optimized our tire size, battery location, and frame design to get the rear rack less than 24 inches off the ground—just above the knee of the average female, and far below their center of gravity. Confident, easeful riding for all!”
The Kickstarter campaign offered the Maven as a reward to backers at the $1,999 level (accessories such as baskets, child seats, etc. are extra), and it appears as if the company is also taking more pre-orders at this price on its website for delivery in early 2024. Regular retail pricing for the Maven is said to be $2599, so the pre-order offers significant savings.
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