Introducing the SUV of ebikes

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Whakatane-based e-bike guru Anthony Clyde has come up with a dual-use cycle that offers options for both regular commuting as well as rigorous off-road use.

The evolution of e-bikes has meant that cycling is attracting a changing and older demographic, says Whakatane-based e-bike guru Anthony Clyde. “The new design is like a bike SUV,” Clyde told the Bay of Plenty Business News.

Essentially the new Smartmotion Xcapade – and others still in development by major international brands – combines the comfort of a daily commuter bike with the rigour of a mountain bike, and is also now coming in a convenient step-through design.

Until now, Kiwis really have had no choice other than to invest in either a commuter e-bike or an e-mountain bike, which are markedly different in looks, functionality and price.

Clyde also noted that step-throughs – once seen as rather “girl only” bikes – are increasingly attractive to new older riders who don’t want to be getting their legs over the crossbar that traditionally defined “boys” bikes.

Clyde said he was grateful the stigma once attached to the step-through bike design had been shaken. “From a comfort and safety perspective, you certainly don’t get extra strongman points for getting a leg over a cross bar these days, either around town or on the trails.”

Clyde said the combined commuter/trail bike approach was the big new category. “All the global brands have them in development.”

But Smartmotion (which Clyde is working with) says it is ahead in this trend.

“The bike combines two categories,” he said. “They can take to significant trails, plus they offer comfort around town. And everything is a bit easier on the butt.”

Clyde feels he is now one step closer to the perfect adventure e-bike, combining hardiness, good looks and comfort in a way the international e-bike design community previously thought impossible.

And he’s winning plaudits. The bike recently picked up a design award at a major international Trade Fair in Shanghai and Consumer Magazine NZ has given it their top tick of approval with a Highly Recommend rating.

New Zealand was chosen as the place to launch the Kiwi’s latest creation. Since 2007, Anthony has been regarded in the industry as a serial inventor in the international e-bike industry. The previous major invention he was involved with was the UBCO 2 x 2 electric utility vehicle, which has globally transformed farm and utility transport.

Bay of Plenty Business News first interviewed Clyde many years ago with his friend Tim Allen, a co-founder of UBCO who went on to serve a term of several years as that company’s chief executive.

Clyde said that he understood and was excited to learn recently that a large Australian government organisation, which at this stage cannot be named, had placed a significant UBCO order.

Clyde continues to design in his workshop in Whakatane, encouraging his cycling mates to test bikes on some of New Zealand’s most daunting terrain – and riding them himself on his self-built test-track.

Clyde is regarded in the industry as a consummate researcher of how technology is evolving with makers of various bikes and e-bike components around the world.

With his latest invention Clyde predicted that once on the market, there would be a few surprised people around who still believed it was an impossible design feat – to create full suspension in a step-through frame.

“We’ve made the leap in terms of product development and I’m genuinely excited to see how the Xcapade is going to change things up,” he said.

“It’s going to get more people on bikes around our cities and on our trails and that’s just a win on every wellbeing and environmental front.”

Until now, only the most passionate e-bike fanatics could justify the cost of owning both a commuter e-bike and an e-mountain bike. Clyde said he had brought the best of both together.

“My vision for this new e-bike is that users can spend their leisure time tackling offroad trails up to grade 3 all over New Zealand thanks to its dual suspension, while also using it on their daily commute.

“And it’s accessible to many more people as it’s around half the price of comparable e-bikes.”

He said e-mountain bikes had traditionally been built to a far higher spec than commuter e-bikes.

These had always been under-engineered for off-road use and without rear suspension, so were generally too unforgiving on off-road trails.

“Developing a true adventure e-bike that can handle both on-road and off-road has been one of my toughest design challenges, but I’m proud to say we’ve cracked it,” said Clyde.

The design journey, he said, has been all about finding the “sweet spots”, combining the ease of a step-through frame with the comfort of dual suspension. Making the frame stiff enough for responsive trail riding, but not so much so that it is too heavy.

“The reality is Kiwis don’t have much left over in their pay packets right now to justify things perceived as luxury items. So, an ‘SUV e-bike’ that can cover a range of tasks, but is still affordable, just makes sense to me.”


  • The Smartmotion Xcapade is available for pre-order through Electrify NZ and select retailers.
  • More information can be found at https://electrify.nz/smartmotion/smartmotion-xcapade-ebike
  • Consumer Magazine NZ has given it their a Highly Recommended status.
  • The bike recently picked up a design award at one of the world’s largest cycle trade fairs, China Cycle in Shanghai.
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