Saskatchewan equipment builder creates electric ride with farm utility, from checking crops to shuttling
Strapping a bike onto farm equipment to ride home from the field used to be commonplace, before farms spanned multiple townships and towing an all-terrain vehicle to do the same job made more sense.
But if Kramble Industries is successful with its new product line, bikes will again commonly be used to ferry farmers to and from farm equipment staged out in the field.
During the Western Canadian Crop Production Show in Saskatoon, Kramble Industries launched a line-up of electric bicycles.
“We’ve got four models, anywhere from 1,500 to 8,000 watts in power level,” said Doug Kramble of Kramble Industries.
“The top end will be 100 to 110 km-h. Because it’s an electric drive, it has full torque available from zero, and it’s incredible acceleration.”
The distance range for the electric bikes is between 80 and 100 kilometres.
Users can extend the bike’s range by reducing its level of electric assist, and pedalling harder.
“You can pedal with whatever level you’re comfortable with, and still control the bike to faster than you’d be able to pedal it on your own mechanically,” Kramble said.
“You also have the option to go to pure electric power. It has a twist grip throttle, and you don’t have to pedal at all.”
Electric gauges display battery charge level, speed, distance travelled, and it also tells users when the rear brake is engaged.
When the rear brake is used, the electric motor on the back hub is driven in reverse, which charges the battery.
The bikes come with high- and low-beam headlights and a brake light.
The bicycles, which the company calls dirt bikes, do not come with turn signal lights, a mirror or a horn, which are required for a street legal bikes used in the city.
However, the company is not targeting urban users.
Kramble said to be legal on a bike path in a municipal environment bikes have to have no more than 200 to 250 watts, and a maximum speed of 30 to 32 km-h.
“Rather than say 200 watts this one is 8,000, so 40 times as much. We start at 1,500, which is still five or more times what is allowed on a bike path in the city,” Kramble said.
“But we’re also expecting that people are using this not on a paved bike path. They’re going to be on grid roads or tilled land and so you need more power.”
Beyond using the electric dirt bike to travel to and from equipment in the field, he said the bikes will work well for crop checking because there will be less crop disturbance compared to an all-terrain vehicle.
“For hunting, you’ve got a vehicle you can travel a good distance away from roads and you’re not making the noise and the fumes that are going to scare away game,” Kramble said.
He said there are many accessories available for bikes including a wire basket trailer.
“If you’re using the bike for recreation or for hunting, you can carry things in with you. Your rifles, your tent, or canoe or whatever you have. And you can also load up a deer and carry it out of the woods and everything is electric powered and you’re not making noise.”
The 8,000 watt model weighs 160 pounds, and the 1,500 watt model weighs 100 to 110 lb., depending on battery pack size.
Each model uses the same heavy duty frame, so the only difference in weight is the battery pack and the motor.
Kramble Industries orders components from suppliers and assembles them in its Saskatoon shop, which differs from the other products the company produces.
The company gets boards manufactured and solders in electrical components for its other products.
Models of each of four bike models will be available to test drive this spring.
They will cost $3,750 for the 1,500 watt base model up to $7,500 for 8,000 watt bike, and they all come with a one-year warranty.