Bird was one of the first companies to pioneer the concept of shared electric scooters that could be rented from an app. The company’s signature black and white scooters are now present on the streets of more than 250 cities globally, offering affordable and fun rides from point A to B.
It has also experimented with electric mopeds, however, a sign of greater ambitions to be a general provider of micro-mobility solutions. And today Bird announced a new product, Bird Bike.
Demand for e-bikes (and bikes in general) soared by nearly 200 percent during the pandemic as people wary of public transit considered new ways of getting around their cities.
Electric bikes add a motor to a traditional bike, giving riders an assist and allowing them to travel with greater confidence. But e-bikes can easily cost $1,000 or more, so Bird is coming in with rentals that will be more accessible.
Cities around the globe already offer bike-sharing programs, some of which include e-bikes. But most are small, taxpayer-funded schemes.
They’re nowhere near as ubiquitous (or well funded) as Bird. By partnering with the company, cities can offer sharing programs that they don’t need to operate themselves.
Bird offers rentals starting at $1 to unlock a scooter and $0.15 per minute thereafter. In select markets, riders can pay for a subscription that gives them 100 rides per month. It’s unclear how much e-bike rentals will cost.
In terms of specs, the Bird Bike is pretty standard fare for an electric bike:
- Its motor is assisted, meaning riders pedal, and the motor kicks in to provide a boost.
- Top speed is 15 miles per hour, in line with Bird’s scooters.
- Range is roughly 56 miles on a charge.
- An adjustable seat and 26-inch pneumatic tires make for a comfortable ride.
Whatever you think of privatizing transportation, Bird and its rivals have been able to fill the gap in places where public transit is underfunded. They’re also a boon for cities trying to reduce congestion.
And companies including Bird like to emphasize that they’re eco-friendly, promising to reduce emissions released by private cars.