- Category Bikes
The SmartMotion electric bicycle range was a natural progression after Anthony Clyde (director at Neal-Clyde Designs ltd) developed the Smartmotion eDrive system for the New Zealand Post delivery bicycles. He spent nearly two years with NZ Post trialing components, upgrading, redesigning, until the SmartMotion eDrive system was robust enough to meet the extreme needs of Postal delivery.
One year of Postal delivery use equates to about 10 years of ‘normal’ electric bicycle use – the posties ride (rain, hail or shine) for over 250 days a year, fully loaded, stopping to deliver, then accelerating away hundreds of times every day. There are SmartMotion-powered delivery bikes with NZ Post that have been in use for 3 years now, still on original motor and battery.
With the success of the eDrive system, the idea followed to create a range of super-reliable, yet affordable, SmartMotion electric bicycles. Anthony kept the same ‘industrial/commercial use’ design standard that was required for NZ Post. In a nutshell: high-end components, simple modular design. Affordable quality.
Anthony travelled to China, inspected many assembly factories and chose one that ticked all the boxes
- They already supplied Europe, so understood Western needs.
- The staff were highly skilled and well looked after by management.
- The company was flexible and happy to work with Anthony’s specific frame designs, battery case upgrades, high-end components, etc
- The factory was close to Anthony’s China production manager, Dick Lai
Anthony spent a year evolving four SmartMotion models, the eCity, eMetro, eUrban and e20. Production began, with the bikes selling into the NZ market. Meanwhile, Anthony sponsored Catriona Williams on the first ever handcycle ride by tetraplegics from Lhasa to Katmandu, via base camp Everest! Over 1000km and 10 Himalayan passes.
The SmartMotion high-torque rear-wheel-drive system was used in Cat’s front, hand-driven, wheel and powered by the a 36v12ah battery. Catriona’s was the only bike to make it all the way without failure and the first electric bike of any kind to reach base camp Everest from Lhasa.
Throughout 2012-13, as the bikes rapidly evolved (from the original ‘whitebike’ V1’s, into the sexy V4 ‘brownies’) the SmartMotion reputation quickly spread.
With the release of the V4 bikes late 2013, sales exploded and the brand became NZ’s top seller (and best reviewed).
Anthony’s China production manager, Dick Lai, saw the opportunity to spread the brand globally and approached Anthony with a simple, low cost distribution model to keep the global price super affordable.
Anthony was happy to give Dick global rights, as he wanted to focus on SmartMotion design, continuing to evolve the bikes over years to come.
Dick had nearly a decade of experience in electric bicycle production management and export sales and saw the niche to create a super reliable bike at a very low price.
And so SmartMotion International was born and within three months of its inception was in four countries.
SM bikes have their eDrive heritage in NZ Post, with a bike design that is the sum total of all Anthony has learned about what makes a good affordable electric bicycle. Let’s see where it all goes from here!
Find the details here!