Mando Footloose is an electric bike, but rather than using a motor to provide assist when pedaling, the only direct link between the pedals and rear wheel is electronic. The pedals power an alternator instead of a chain ring, and send power to a lithium-ion battery pack. That battery powers a motor in the back hub, which is controlled with a thumb throttle.
The 250-watt motor is dual-wound, and shifts motor speeds when it encounters a slope, thanks to what the company calls that an “artificial intelligence gear shifter.” No matter the terrain, the rider moves along at a steady pace, pedaling leisurely as if on a bike path through a city park.
While eliminating the dreaded greasy trouser leg, going chainless has another advantage: it allows the bike to fold compactly. Designer Mark Sanders created an ingenious folding mechanism for the Footloose that allows the 48-pound bike to be rolled on both wheels into subway or office, or lifted easily into the trunk of a car.
Range is 18 miles on full charge, or 28mi with pedal charging along the way, and the Footloose is good for a top speed of 15mph. Riders can charge the bike from a household outlet, or pedal to top off the battery. One could, conceivably, pump through one’s own personal spin class in the garage, and then zip around, perspiration- and guilt-free, on Li-ion-stored muscle power. It’s personal mobility meets personal motivation.