Flash-forward to an electric bike packed with intelligent features

It seems like every week a new ebike is announced, each trying to distinguish itself from the crowd of battery-powered bicycles. Adding to this growing segment is Seattle-based Flash, which launched its eponymous ebike in an Indiegogo campaign Thursday, touting it as “The Bike Evolved.”

Flash is loaded with tech features that include lighting, security, and a frame-mounted touchscreen that works both independently of and in conjunction with a smartphone app.

The ebike’s 500-watt, 36-volt battery is mounted inside the bike frame. The battery isn’t replaceable by the user and is charged in place. Charging from fully depleted to maximum charge takes 4 to 5 hours.

The in-frame mounting means you can’t buy a spare battery as a backup or to extend your range, but it also keeps the design simpler and cleaner. That design decision also means no one can steal just the battery –if they want your battery, they have to take the whole bike.

The Flash bike has four pedaling-assistance power levels. The bike also can run on battery power only via a hand grip throttle. Maximum speed with combined pedaling and battery assistance is 28 mph. Top speed with throttle use engaged is 20 mph. The maximum range is 50 miles. Both speed and range are dependent on user ability and weight, tire pressure, weather, and incline.

According to the company, test riders have been able to climb 8 percent grades using the throttle only — no pedaling — at speeds of 10 mph. The test riders have also reported easily climbing 12 percent grades while pedaling with the highest power assist mode activated.

Lighting on the Flash includes a high-intensity LED headlight with a 430-foot beam distance, plus combination automatic brake and turn signals built into the frame. Front and rear running lights help others see the bike duing any time of day. On the chance that someone doesn’t notice you, an 85-decibel electric horn can help get their attention.

There are three levels of security integrated into every Flash. A movement-sensitive alarm displays a warning on the bike’s screen if the Flash is bumped. Try to steal it and the lights start flashing and the 85-decibel horn blares continuously.

The associated smartphone app receives an alert via push notification any time the armed security system registers an alert. If someone does steal your bike, the company can help locate it with GPS tracking. That last feature does mean the company also has the ability to track when and where you travel, which may be a concern for some prospective buyers.

The bike’s touchscreen serves as a keypad to arm or disarm the security system. If you set your destination on the smartphone app, the bike’s touchscreen, located on the frame just under the handlebars, will guide you with turn-by-turn directions.

You can use the app to track your riding distance and time, which is useful for travel data and as an activity tracker. You can also use the app to check the bike’s battery charge level and to receive remote security alerts.

The Flash ebike Indiegogo campaign has two special price levels still available. The early-bird price is $1,200, with delivery in January 2018, and the early adopter price is $1,500, with delivery in March 2018. Once the Flash is in full production, the retail price will be $2,000.

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