Biomega believe in design, and the power of change that design can bring. If you think about the biggest design success of the last decade, it’s worth remembering that the Apple iPhone has never technically been the best mobile phone on the market, but it’s always been the best-looking, the best-packaged, and the most aspirational. People want an ideal. To be part of a movement. The Biomega OKO 8-speed is an electric bike that dangles the promise of reinvigorating cycling for everyone, a bike light enough and powerful enough to allow anyone, of any age, to cycle for miles with little effort.
The OKO’s carbon-fibre frame is the same material as used in Formula 1 race cars. It has integrated mudguards (and embossed logos), the forty Samsung cells battery pack is hidden underneath the top tube, the speed and assistance is up to you via a combination of three assistance levels (Economy, Normal and Boost) on the left handlebar as well as eight gears, and the carbon belt means you’ll never get a smidge of oil on you, or have to pull over to fix a dropped chain
When you pick it up for the first time, you’ll notice three things: although it looks heavy, that carbon frame keeps the weight down to a nice 18.9kg (18.6kg for the automatic 2-speed version); it’s very easy to pick up, with one hand in fact underneath the top tube; and the bike’s weight seems to be evenly distributed. Electric bikes often favour being picked up in a certain manner, but you can handle the OKO however you like. It would be easy taking it on and off a bike rack.
Now the really good bit - the dream is real. The OKO rides exactly how you’d like for a speedy commuter bike. It picks up assistance very quickly (maybe a quarter to a half crank revolution), and depending on how energetic you’re feeling, it will increase in speed slowly if you’re in a high gear, or get up to 15.5mph very quickly if you’re in a low gear. Ridden around late-night London traffic, you’ll find yourself beating other cyclists and cars away from the lights, and be able to manoeuvre between buses and taxis with supreme confidence. The OKO’s low weight and balance means you feel in complete control at all times, which is desperately important for commuting.
If you’re going to be commuting, it makes sense to have puncture-resistant tyres, and the OKO has these in a 26” size (1.95 wide) as well as reflective strips for extra visibility. They have a degree of grip, certainly enough for wet roads. Hydraulic disc brakes are fitted, and the 8-speed Alfine gear system has been around for some years now.
The Gates Carbon Drive belt has been created with stretch-free carbon fibre tensile cords. The advanced urethane technology allows the belt to be weather resistant, flexible, and durable. Under tests, the urethane body is impervious to rust, even after 192 hours of salt-spray test. And unlike a chain, carbon fibre is length-stable and will not stretch.
Designer and bicycling evangelist Jens Skibsted of design company KiBiSi, the company behind the OKO, states he’s been inspired by the likes of Tesla and BMW in the electric car market, and goes along with the notion that ‘electric is seen as something cool’. Their design brief to make ‘furniture for urban locomotion’, seems to have resulted in an electric bike as desirable as any modern car.
This is a great electric commuter bike, built to a very high standard.