Anytime a company has the word “electric” in its name, you can kind of get an idea for what it is they specialize in. For the past two years, Gustav Erlank and Gert Stander have teamed up to hit the South African market with e-bikes that are adapted to overcome the terrains of the land.
Sure, you may be thinking, why should you care about an e-bike shop that’s been on the market for just two years? Well, autoevolution had a chat with co-founder Gert Stander about how and why this little-known shop is selling out their bikes so fast. With a focus on building a brand through personalized services with the end user and an office currently open in the U.S., get ready for some evolution in your cycling life.
Come to find out, Mr. Stander has been living his life surrounded by bicycles, and even worked for Giant Bicycles for 12 years, activating in positions such as technical manager, product manager, and even operations manager. While Mr. Erlank brings an equally strong cycling background as he ran a successful international bicycle touring business in the West Cape.
As for what sort of products this team can achieve, the Connect should tell you a bit about what they can do. Did I already mention it’s sold out? Here’s why. Number one, this mid-drive e-bike comes in with a cool price tag of 28,500 South African Rand. Don’t freak out, it’s only $1,990 at current exchange rates.
Like most other e-bikes I look at, the frame is first on the list. Here, Darrvin is using a lightweight aluminum alloy frame with a very sporty urban look. What I enjoy most about this frame is the dropped top tube. Its warped and pinched shape not only offers a nice look, but also enough clearance in case you need to dismount quickly. The down tube houses the battery while internal cable routing seals the deal. An aluminum fork is also part of the frameset.
Since I mentioned the battery, here you’ll find a Darrvin ArrowPack with 500 watt-hours of juice and lithium-ion cells encased in an aluminum shell. As for the motor that will be sucking your battery dry, a massive Bafang G-Power 350-watt workhorse will be cranking out 80 Nm (59 lb-ft) of torque. 80! That’s only 10 Nm (7.38 lb-ft) less than the Harley-Davidson Rush/CTY Speed at over half the price. You’re also assisted up to 32 kph (20 mph).
Sure, you may be thinking that it’s a Bafang motor, but before you do, know that Bafang has been in the e-bike game since around the beginning. Today they produce hub and mid-mounted motors as well as a diverse range of other e-bike components. If you’ve ridden an e-bike, chances are you’ve felt their components.
The rest of the drivetrain is completed by none other than Shimano. An SLM 310 Rapid Fire shifter with an Altus eight-speed rear derailleur move a KMC chain on a Shimano HG eight speed cassette. Slowing down is handled by a pair of Tektro HDC M275 hydraulic disc brakes.
Because commuter bikes rarely include a suspension, wheels are of the utmost importance. You’ll find a pair of fat Kenda Kwick Journey tires sitting on 29-inch D-Tech Tar Baby double wall tires.
If you’re asking yourself why this bike has such large and powerful components, have a look at the sort of terrains encountered in South Africa. And no, this bike doesn’t just handle plain ol’ tarmac; it’ll handle a gravel road too, in case you want to go off the beaten path.
Personally, I’m seeing a nice well-shaped frame, strong components, and above all, a price that sure to put a few of these bikes on the streets, once they’re back in production that is.