Flower power is back, baby! And it’s got a 500-watt motor.
Refill the patchouli oil and tune your mandolin, the official (unofficial) hippie commuter is here. Launched through Kickstarter on Valentine’s Day – because LOVE! – the Big Buddy Bike summons the Earth-spirit vibes of the ’60s and stretches them over a 21st-century lithium-ion battery.
But the Big Buddy Bike doesn’t just look groovy – it’s built unlike any other electric bike. Not only is it “the world’s first electric balance bike for adults,” it also has an LED headlight made from 250 colored pencils.
Big Buddy Balance Bike for Adults
As the color-splashed art on its oddly shaped frame suggests, Big Buddy Bike is the product of friendship. Slovenian “innovators” (and friends) Matej Grmek and David Ličen wanted an adult-sized companion to the child-focused balance bike craze.
For those unfamiliar, balance bikes are pedal-less. Stripped of chains, sharp cogs, and situated lower to the ground, balance bikes purport to be safer. And because they have no training wheels, they encourage kids to learn better balance – hence the moniker.
So Grmek and Ličen made one for grown-ups. But like so many devices built by hippies, “they didn’t really know what to do with it, but they had plenty of fun just pushing it around.”
Eventually, after listening to many Jim Croce albums (probably), the duo slapped a five-speed, 500-watt electric motor onto the rear wheel. And they paired it with a rechargeable battery, hidden in the curved wooden body. That 1,000-cycle battery has a 30-mile range and can power riders up to 16 mph.
But that’s not the craziest part. Grmek and Ličen use 250 colored pencils to build the Big Buddy Bike’s large front light. The pencils are shaved and shaped to create a unique, round headlight case.
Big Buddy Bike Paint Schemes
The real callout on the bikes is the array of playful paint jobs along their broad wooden facade.
Even the stock paint schemes reinforce the theme of free expression. They include a typography word collage, a blissed-out cat, a contemporary bird pattern, and a disgruntled man tumbling into a pile of hands and feet. The painted wood bodies are then finished to be water resistant and weather durable.
And because even artists have to eat, Grmek and Ličen offer a custom paint option, perfect for branding. They humbly suggest Google or Amazon could plaster a logo on their Love Machine.
In total, the all-wood-and-pencil bike weighs more than 60 pounds. Heavy.
Big Buddy Build
Thinking this could be your ideal way to get to work? The first limited run costs $3,467. That gets you the bike with funky paint scheme, pencil headlight, and battery-powered motor. There’s also an LCD-display computer to show key stats like speed, time, distance, battery life, temperature, and more.
Plus, every Big Buddy Bike will pair with the Chipolo app to track its whereabouts. Just in case the spirit of togetherness doesn’t quite inspire would-be bike thieves.
And in case you jive with the mojo but can’t afford the three-grand bike, Big Buddy also sells colored pencil desk lamps and artwork. So you can support the balance bike movement without actually moving on a bike.
Check out all the groovy details on Kickstarter.