We’re certain that Trusty Trucker is going to be a game-changer in the world of electric motorbikes. But, we didn’t hit it out of the park on the first try. As a radically transparent company, here's some insight into our product development process.
We conceived Trusty Trucker from two principles:
First, electric vehicles create amazing user experiences. They offer easy control and high torque in a clean & quiet package.
Second, the cost and weight of batteries are central to electric vehicle design. As a result, lightweight, moderate-speed vehicles with lower energy demands are more suitable.
Put together and an off-road, utility motorbike is a "sweet spot" vehicle for electrification. This is Trusty Trucker.
Version One: Steady Bear
Development of Steady Bear.
Trusty Trucker started life as a fat-tire, 2WD, dual-battery electric motorbike named Steady Bear. At the time, it seemed that 2WD could offer some real performance advantages. However, the result didn’t meet our expectations for a few reasons:
Thrust: The hub motors didn’t produce enough torque to be a true utility bike.
Weight: The hub motors were heavy, causing premature wear to the suspension components.
Overheating: The motors overheated because they were over-taxed and lacked active cooling.
Price: The bike was expensive because of the high component count and complexity.
Performance: The 2WD had little functional benefit. Low-traction, off-road environments resulted in front wheel spin rather than helpful propulsion.
We learned a lot from this experiment. We refocused on a bike that was simpler, more rugged, and affordable enough to find sensible applications on farms, trails, and beaches.
Version Two: Mid-Motor Experiments
Steady Bear during initial mid-motor experiments.
We went back to the drawing board with a mid-motor designed for off-road riding. First, we mounted a motor on the existing Steady Bear platform to create V2.
After pushing V2 to the breaking point on our test trails, we concluded that off-the-shelf bicycle tires, wheels, suspension, etc. would not be robust enough to meet our goals.
We also needed to lower V2's standover height so it would be approachable for everyone.
Version Three: Trusty Trucker
Early days of Trusty Trucker.
This is when Trusty Trucker started life. We reduced the wheel size for appearance, strength, and lower weight. We added powerful motorcycle brakes and a high-torque 5HP mid-drive motor. We fabricated a frame that could withstand daily abuse.
Since then, it’s been ride, iterate, repeat. We're still using the original Trusty Trucker proof-of-concept bike for daily testing and refinement.
Today’s Trusty Trucker has a singular goal: provide customers, tall and short, with the rugged features they need; simply.
As we head to production, here's some of Trusty's key features:
selectable power levels for safer riding,
adjustable seat height and handlebar position,
built-in cargo rails,
bolt-on accessories for bulky and heavy goods,
grab-handles for lifting and pulling the bike through rough terrain,
and a step-thru frame for easy mounting of the bike when laden with heavy loads.