Major bicycle manufacturer Kent is announcing today its first electric bicycle designed specifically for children. The Kent Torpedo packs an e-bike system onto a 20″ kids bike, charging up the ride with more distance and speed.
Before you start pulling out your pitchforks, know that the Kent Torpedo is a pedal assist e-bike.
That means it doesn’t have a throttle. It’s not a mini-motorcycle for children, it’s just a normal pedal bicycle that benefits from an added assist motor.
The motor is mounted in the rear wheel and adds 180W of power in full power mode. There are medium and low power modes that provide even softer assist.
An LED battery meter is mounted on the handlebars that also houses the power mode selector.
The motor doesn’t add any assist unless the rider is pedaling, and the assist cuts out immediately when pedaling stops. The brake levers that control a pair of V-brakes also have sensors to cut motor power any time the brakes are pulled.
The motor is supplied by an adorable little 24V 5.2Ah battery with just 125 Wh of capacity. In low power mode, the battery is sufficient for 15 miles (25 km) of range.
Of course if the battery ever runs out, the e-bike simply turns back into a standard pedal bike powered by a morning bowl of Wheaties. There’s even a six-speed transmission that makes the bike extra pedal-friendly even without any electric assist.
The Kent Torpedo comes complete with a front spring suspension fork so your kid can go nuts taking it off some sweet jumps.
The bike is available in four different colors and is priced at $498 with free shipping in the US.
I’ll have a review of this kids e-bike coming up soon. I actually already have one on hand and have enlisted my nephews as unpaid child laborers for testing. And even though I exceed the 100 lb (44 kg) weight limit by around 50%, it actually rides really well with me on it. I’ve definitely gotten air on this thing.
Be on the lookout for my full review in the next week or two.
So here’s the thing: I can see this being divisive.
There will undoubtedly be trolls claiming e-bikes are going to make kids lazy. But to be honest, I see this kids e-bike as a great thing.
You see, let me tell you a secret. Plenty of kids are already lazy.
I see tons of children riding electric scooters these days, which require essentially zero effort to ride. But pedal assist e-bikes, on the other hand, must still be pedaled like a traditional bike. They simply give you more power to ride faster, longer, or climb hills that were previously unconquerable.
One of the biggest benefits for adults is that electric bicycles can help make rides longer by not exhausting the rider so quickly. I imagine they could do the same for kids. When the family goes out for a ride together, kids can’t always keep up with their stronger parents. But if the kids have small helper motors, a longer ride is definitely in the cards.
If these were throttle-enabled e-bikes, then I probably wouldn’t be so jazzed. Eight-year-olds don’t really need to commute anywhere, so a throttle seems unnecessary. But the pedal assist Kent Torpedo e-bike seems like exactly what a screen-enamored generation of kids need. A “motorbike” that is fun and exciting and tricks them into getting in some exercise sounds just fine by me.
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