Tag Archives: Barcelona

The Rayvolt Cruzer Is A Turbocharged Work Of Art On Wheels

Originally published on CleanTechnica

In its quest to start a people-powered electric bike Rayvolution, Barcelona-based Rayvolt has been churning out a line of unique ebikes that blend the classic motorcycle styling of yesteryear with the high tech electric powertrains of tomorrow for customers, today.

The Rayvolt Cruzer. Image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

An eBike With Classic Style

CleanTechnica went to Barcelona* to visit Rayvolt after the launch of its 2019 lineup and we took the Cruzer out for a stroll around town and down to Barcelona’s beach boardwalk for the afternoon. The Cruzer’s relaxed posture made for a nice ride for riders of a variety of heights as we rode through town from Rayvolt’s headquarters towards the beach strip. The longer frame of the bike and its thick 3” rubber tires pair for a nice stable ride and helped us make quick work of the city’s bike lanes. Disclaimer: Rayvolt paid for the author’s flight to Barcelona for the purposes of this article series. 

The company’s flagship ebike is the Cruzer V3 and it is an absolute workhorse of an ebike. It is available with one of two of Rayvolt’s custom-designed motors: the Smart Hub or the Power Hub for an extra 200 euros. The Cruzer looks and rides like a classic early 1900s motorcycle, with the seat low and pushed to the back and the pedals biased towards the front of the frame. Complementing the retro look are a pair of leather saddlebags, with one containing the battery for the bike and the other providing a small storage compartment.

Image credit: Rayvolt

Once on the boardwalk, the longer posture and heavier frame made it harder to weave through the dense pedestrian traffic on the boardwalk, but the leather covered spring suspension saddle made the ride comfortable enough as we walked our way through some of the denser areas.

We stopped along the boardwalk for a few photo shoots and found that our passion for the classic curves of the bike were shared by the locals and tourists alike as numerous people stopped to take photos of the Cruzer in all its glory. Our build was a classic matte grey frame with natural leather, which also seemed to be popular with the locals as well, judging from their double takes and gawking.

Cutting Edge Power

On the power electronics side of things, the Rayvolt Power Hub motor that our bike was equipped with provided a silent boost to our pedaling as we motored down the boardwalk. And when I say silent, I mean silent, like zero noise. For those who have driven an electric vehicle or ridden on an ebike, you may be familiar with the slight whine of the electric motor. I’ve personally grown to love it, and was expecting the same slight whine that most ebikes emit, but I was actually pleasantly surprised when I first took off on the Rayvolt Cruzer with its Rayvolt-designed Power Hub motor. It silently ramped me up to speed and had me flying down the path in no time.

They Rayvolt Cruzer in one of Barcelona’s many walkable alleys. Image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

If the transition from a motorcycle to an electric bike takes the noise from a 10 to a 1, upgrading to Rayvolt’s Hub motor takes that down to zero. It’s akin to flying on the wind and unlike anything I’ve experienced. Mat let us take Rayvolt’s very early prototype electric motorcycle (that’s another story for another time) for a ride up and down the alley outside of the headquarters and while it clearly packed an insane amount of torque and power, its powerful motor was all but silent. The same held true for the Cruzer as it silently assisted my pedaling or responded to the throttle.

Customization

The Cruzer is a feat of design, first and foremost, but it isn’t just made for the runway. Our Cruzer came equipped with a pair of fenders, but an optional rack increases the utility of the bike beyond just cruising down the boardwalk in style. Adding a rack to the bike makes it easy to slap a pair of panniers to the bike or even to add a second seat to the rack. Rayvolt has a number of tricks up its sleeve to maximize the utility of the Cruzer and the other bikes in its lineup that let owners build out the perfect bike to suit their lifestyle.

If you haven’t ridden an ebike or cargo bike before, it may be best to just order the bike first and ride it around for a bit to see what you find yourself using it for. After that, you can always look back at what accessories are available and start to dream about how they might complement the things you’ve already found yourself doing with it. For me, I regularly commute on my ebikes and take them to the farmers market, so adding a rack and a pair of panniers seems like a logical build on a functional electric bike platform.

A series of high quality accessories are available for the Rayvolt Cruzer. Image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

The ability to customize the bike lets each owner build out their own platform of functionality from which they can rely on it more and more. In Europe, bicycling around town is much more normal, but using bikes as a primary or even secondary mode of transportation in the United States just hasn’t taken off in the same way in large part due to the fact that our cities have been designed and built up around cars, not humans and bikes. Ebikes give us one more reason to stand up and mandate that our cities be redesigned for humans first and cars…last. Bicycling around town reconnects us with our cities, our communities, while improving our own personal health along the way. It’s a beautiful win-win.

For more information about the Rayvolt Cruzer V3, head over to its internet home or check out the user manual here.

We worked with Mat and the team on a special win-win deal for CleanTechnica and our readers. If you buy a bike using our link and our affiliate code KEEPSAFECT, Rayvolt will give you a free classic helmet with purchase of one of their ebikes. On our end, Rayvolt kicks down a few bucks to CleanTechnica through their affiliate program to help us keep the lights on. To get the deal, you do need to use our referral link to complete your purchase, then drop the coupon code ‘keepsafect’ in when you’re ready to checkout. The best part is that doing this costs you absolutely nothing extra and supports CleanTechnica at the same time.

Featured image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

Rayvolt Is Not-So-Secretly Plotting An eBike Revolution Powered By The Sun

Originally published on CleanTechnica

A former boat captain might not seem like the most likely person to start the next big electric mobility company, but sometimes, it is just that kind of outside the box thinking that creates the perfect storm.

Mat Rauzier launched his career designing watercraft for several companies before taking a left turn when a new adventure presented itself and found himself at the helm of a boat. As captain, he shuttled clients around the world on their adventures, exploring the wonders of the seven seas day after day. After several years on the water, he found that it was not actually the siren song of the sea that called to him, but rather, an innate desire to create, to explore, and to bring his own style of change to the world that was his true passion.

That desire boiled up inside of him and led him to a degree in nautical engineering, which provided the structure and the technical cred to frame up his ideas in the real world, but it was not boats he would ultimately be creating. Rather, his dissatisfaction for the status quo and the pollution created from the vehicles that moved him around in the world led him to build something new. What it was at the time was not clear, but after some tinkering in his workshop and with the advice of friends turned business partners, Rayvolt was born.

From the glossy pages of its catalogs and the beautiful pictures that adorn the Rayvolt website, it is not immediately clear what kind of company Rayvolt is. So when they invited* CleanTechnica out to their headquarters to meet the team and to see their new lineup of ebikes for 2019, we were excited to get a look behind the curtain at what it was that really made them tick. *Rayvolt paid for our travel to and from Barcelona for the meeting.

After winding through the twisted alleys of Barcelona, I cracked the door to their showroom that also served as the company headquarters and R&D facility, and caught my first glimpse of what they stood for. A lineup of beautifully crafted electric bikes stood in a row to the right in what was clearly the showroom, but it was clear that it required an intentional effort to keep the handful of bikes polished up and pretty amidst the fray that lay beyond. A closer inspection revealed that two of those bikes were actually partially assembled prototypes that I later found were actively being developed for a huge new deal for a local bike-sharing company (more on that later).

Rayvolt’s Barcelona headquarters. Image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

As I looked up from the row of bikes that signaled that I was indeed at the right place, several desks full of smiling faces looked up to greet me. I caught a glimpse of CEO and founder of Rayvolt, Mathieu Rauzier, and Rayvolt co-founder and CTO Jaime Pla Vallve De Aviles, whom I had shared a lengthy Barcelona-style welcome dinner with the night before. Mat excitedly came over and welcomed me to the space before taking me on a tour of every nook and cranny of the facility.

The workspace was strewn with bolts, batteries, motors, and partially assembled (or disassembled) bikes. It felt comfortable and made a lot of sense to me, as I love tinkering with just about anything and everything to better understand how things work (or don’t) to try to make them work better, with varying degrees of success.

Mat introduced me to the diverse team of experts behind Rayvolt that handle sourcing, sales, engineering, and the more technical aspects of the business. They were enthusiastic and clearly felt at home in the space. In the days that followed, I saw each of them pushing their respective parts of the business forward in their own ways, whether it was tearing down and rebuilding the latest Rayvolt motor to integrate the another improvement or negotiating a change request with a parts supplier.

Detail on the Rayvolt Torino. Image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

We went down a set of stairs into the basement of the building they clearly outgrew months ago and entered into the workshop, and that’s when everything changed. Bike parts were laid out on and stacked up in every nook and cranny of the workshop like docked boats in a harbor. Each bike clearly had its place, but the sheer volume of the barely organized chaos was imposing and I tread carefully, so as to not accidentally disturb the one bike that might be holding everything else in place. Mat looked back at me as we covered the last few steps and the glow on his face made it clear that this was his domain.

A row of early prototypes lined the wall on the right. To the back, a few older Rayvolt Cruisers were in the middle of being upgraded with some new tech. Mat reached around a corner and as if pulling a rabbit from his hat, whipped out a hybrid bike frame that he was working on as one of his pet projects. His passion for design, electric motors, batteries, quality, and technology overflowed out into room as if trying to paint his vision onto the empty frame as he spoke.

The workshop and Mat’s passion for combining classic bicycle and motorcycle lines with the best electrification technology available to create the ebikes that will pull new riders into a new take on an old school mode of getting around. The challenge was clear: what is the best way to harness the firehose that is Mat’s passion for ebikes each and every single day and shape it into beautiful ebikes for customers.

Mat and his team of creators, of doers, of engineers, have built up a line of ebikes that continue to improve with each generation. On our first night in town, Mat shared that Rayvolt had initially struggled to bring its vision for technology-powered classic bikes into reality as they met with supplier after supplier in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Their volumes were too low for any suppliers to be willing to make the changes Mat and his team wanted, but after many long weeks in China and a lot of pushing from his Chinese-born wife and now Chief Operating Officer Ying Zhang, they found a handful of suppliers to work with.

These new suppliers were willing to customize parts to Rayvolt’s specifications and to the high quality standards they needed. Strong relationships forged through long days spent not just at the factory, but out on the factory floor with suppliers followed by drink-sodden business dinners, stretched out from days into weeks of what could best be described as Undergrad Engineering school meets the Hangover.

Putting in the time to design and build their bikes from the ground up without compromise meant designing their own motors, instead of using the off-the-shelf motors that find their way onto many electric bikes around the world. Rayvolt’s motors are optimized for efficiency and power, and building them from the ground up allows them to be constantly improved with numerous small improvements. Mat shared how the next generation motors will move from rectangular to curved magnets to allow for a seamless ring of magnetic field versus a sub-optimized design.

Rayvolt has built up an impressive lineup of ebikes for its customers including its flagship bike, the Cruiser, which pays homage to the early days of motorcycles. The seat sits low on the long frame and pushes the pedals to the front of the frame. It’s a sight to be seen and as we toured Barcelona’s most famous sites on a pair of Rayvolt’s bikes, we felt like the talk of the town as numerous bystanders gawked at the unique ebikes.

Mat also showed us an early build of a bike cover that he is working on that uses a set of integrated solar cells to recharge the battery. The solution folds up neatly into a briefcase sized package for travel, then unfolds to cover and power the bike. Stay tuned for more about this as it develops, but we are excited at the prospect of riding more bikes, powering them with batteries, and recharging it all from the sun. Beautiful!

The Rayvolt Torino. Image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica

Bike-friendly cities like Barcelona make electric bicycles an even more obvious alternative to gasoline vehicles and the injection of Rayvolt’s ebikes into an already bike-centric city like Barcelona is sure to fuel the flames even further. In addition to Rayvolt’s impressive lineup of ebikes, the company has a number of irons in the fire, so stay tuned here on CleanTechnica for the news as it breaks.

We worked with Mat and the team on a special win-win deal for CleanTechnica and our readers. If you buy a bike using our link and our affiliate code KEEPSAFECT, Rayvolt will give you a free classic helmet with purchase of one of their ebikes. On our end, Rayvolt kicks down a few bucks to CleanTechnica through their affiliate program to help us keep the lights on. To get the deal, you do need to use our referral link to complete your purchase, then drop the coupon code ‘keepsafect’ in when you’re ready to checkout. The best part is that doing this costs you absolutely nothing extra and supports CleanTechnica at the same time.