Optibike – One Of The First Ebike Brands in USA

By Electric Ride Lab Team


Optibike

Optibike is a company that specializes in producing performance electric bikes. The brand has been manufacturing electric bikes since it released its first model, the Model 400, in 2008.

Today, Optibike is known as one of the oldest e-bike brands in the United States. Their products have traveled far and wide around the globe and the internet is filled with testimonies of how good their performance e-bikes are. 

Who Owns Optibike

Jim Turner

Jim Turner

First Prototype Optibike

First Prototype

Optibike was founded by Jim Turner, a Master of Science in design engineering from Stanford University, in 1998. Before Jim started Optibike, he worked as a design engineer for Ford motor company between 1984 and 1986. 

In 1996, Jim started studying electric hub-drive systems and by 1997, he had developed his first prototype. This prototype was equipped with an electric motor that was capable of outputting up to 350 Watts of power and a 24V 15Ah lead-acid battery.

Things slowed down a bit and it wasn't until 2006 (almost 10 years after the first prototype was released)  that Optibike manufactured their first production electric bike. Things sort of took off from there and by 2007 Optibike was named “The Ferrari of electric bikes” by New York Times and in that same year, Jim was given the “Inventor of The Year” award at the Colorado Inventor Showcase. 

Before the end of the decade, Optibike had already pioneered the use of Lithium-ion batteries on electric bikes. It's almost as if they're always ahead of every other e-bike brand in technological innovations. 

Why Did Optibike Exist

R22 Everest Trailer Rear

Jim’s inspiration to start making electric bikes came after he purchased his very first e-bike. Before then, he had competed in various Motocross tournaments and was even a two-time national champion, so it’s safe to assume that he had some experience riding two-wheelers.

Jim found out that most of the electric bikes available at that time weren’t even capable of climbing moderately-steep hills without maximal effort from the rider. He knew that with his experience in the tech industry, he could design something far more powerful than what was being offered by manufacturers in the industry; That was how Optibike started as a company.

Today, the brand designs some of the most powerful production electric bikes you can get on the market. Their newest e-bike, the R22 Everest, is capable of outputting up to 1700 Watts (2500W at peak performance) of power. 

Where Are Optibike Electric Bikes Manufactured

Optibike Electric Bikes Manufactured

Optibike manufactures most of its electric bikes in the United States. Unlike most US e-bike brands that source all of their manufacturing overseas, Optibike builds some of its e-bikes in Colorado.

The R22 and R22 Everest, as well as the R17 and R10, are designed and built in the United States. These bikes come with patented motors (the brand uses a unique kind of drive system almost similar to the mid-drive system), custom-built lithium-ion batteries, (Optibike was the first brand in the US to use a Lithium-ion battery on an e-bike), and hand-built Carbon Fiber frames. 

However, some of their components are designed by companies who source their manufacturing overseas. For example, their hubs are designed by Rohloff AG, a German company that manufactures most of its products locally. They also equip their bikes with FOX forks (FOX manufactures its suspension forks in Taiwan and assembles them in the U.S.)

What Makes Optibike Electric Bikes Unique

Their Frame Designs

Optibike Electric Bikes Frame

Optibike e-bikes are built for high-performance riding and their frames are a testament to this. If you take a look at all the electric bikes in the R series (R10, R17, R22, and R22 Everest), you’ll notice how robust their tubes look.

These tubes are made from Carbon Fiber; a light but highly-durable material used in the production of airplanes and space crafts. Their bikes also come with high-quality suspension systems that help mitigate shock when riding on rough surfaces. 

Their Drive Systems

Optibike Electric Bikes Motor

Most Optibike e-bikes use an electric drive mechanism that is very similar to the popular mid-drive system. This mechanism (or motor) is also situated in the bike’s bottom bracket, however, it is smaller and usually capable of outputting more power than regular mid-drive motors. 

The brand has patented this motor design and uses other drive systems on some of their cheaper electric bikes (the only e-bike in Optibike’s lineup that comes with a hub-motor is the Argon).

High-capacity Batteries 

Optibike Electric Bikes High-capacity Battery

Battery power is another area where Optibike excels. The brand produces some of the best lithium-ion e-bike batteries anyone can get on the market. 

One of their premium models, the R22 Everest, is even dubbed to be the longest-range production e-bike in the world. This electric bike comes with two 52V 31.5Ah batteries and is capable of covering up to 300 miles (483 km) of range on a single charge.

That’s an insane amount of range for an electric bike. But one shouldn’t expect any less from them. The brand has been designing e-bike batteries since 2008 and was even the first to release an e-bike with a Lithium-ion battery in the US.

Are Optibike Electric Bikes Any Good

Optibike Electric Bikes Any Good

The simple answer to that question is “Yes”.

Optibike has a 4.6-star rating on Trustpilot; that’s the highest rating we’ve ever seen any ebike brand rack up. Even premium e-bike manufacturers like Trek and Specialized have under 3 stars on the third-party review site. If you also go through their BBB page, you’d notice that there are no complaints on there. 

Optibike electric bikes are built to the strictest quality standards. You’d hardly find any bad comments about their products online and their bikes are known to last for years. They also provide excellent customer support. Even Jim, the CEO of the brand, responds to some customer queries. 

Optibike Electric Bikes Models

Argon

Optibike Argon

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Main Features:

  • Motor | 500W Hub Motor
  • Range | Up to 80 Miles per Charge
  • Battery | 37V, 14Ah Lithium-ion Battery
  • Speed | 20 MPH

The Argon is Optibike’s lightest model. This electric bike weighs about 37 lbs (17 kg) and is equipped with a 500W hub motor that propels it to a top speed of 20mph (32 kmh).

It also comes with a 37V 14Ah lithium-ion battery that guarantees up to 50 miles (80 km) of range on a single charge. The Argon is the only e-bike in Optibike’s lineup that doesn't come with suspension. 

R17

Optibike R17

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Main Features:

  • Motor | 1700W Bottom-bracket Motor
  • Range | Up to 180 Miles per Charge
  • Battery | 52V, 1630Wh Removable Lithium-ion Battery
  • Speed | 36 MPH

The Optibike R17 is a high-performance electric mountain bike built to conquer multiple kinds of terrains. This e-bike comes with front forks that allow up to 170mm of travel and a coil spring fork in the rear.

It is equipped with a 1700W bottom-bracket motor that's capable of outputting up to 2500W of power at peak performance. The bike also has a top speed of 36 mph (58 kmh) and can cover up to 180 miles (290 km) of range on a single charge. 

Essex

Optibike Essex

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Main Features:

  • Motor | 650W Geared Hub Motor
  • Range | Up to 60 Miles per Charge
  • Battery | 37V, 17.5Ah 647Wh Removable Li-Ion Battery
  • Speed | 25 MPH

The Optibike Essex is a mid-step 650-watt electric bike built to accommodate riders of all sizes. Thanks to its adjustable seatpost, the Optibike Essex is able to fit both tall and short riders. 

One cool thing about this bike is that it comes with a dropper seatpost. You won't need to undo any mechanisms to extend or retract the bike's seatpost. A button on the left side of the handlebars engages the seatpost’s actuator, causing it to extend up to 5 inches from the bottom point. 

R22

Optibike R22

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Main Features:

  • Motor | 1700W PowerStorm™ MBB Motor
  • Range | Up to 180 Miles per Charge
  • Battery | 52V, 31.5Ah Removable Li-Ion Battery
  • Speed | 36 MPH

The R22 is one of Optibike's highest-performance e-MTBs. This electric bike is capable of putting out up to 1700 Watts of continuous power (2500W of peak power) and can generate about 190 Nm of torque. 

It comes with a large 52V 31.5Ah removable battery that can store up enough energy for 100-plus-mile travels. The bike is also equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, a dual crown suspension fork, rear coil springs, a half-twist throttle, etc.

R22 Everest

Optibike R22 Everest

Testing Evaluation

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Main Features:

  • Motor | 1700W Bottom Bracket Motor
  • Range | Up to 300 Miles per Charge
  • Battery | 52V, 31.5Ah Removable Dual Li-Ion Battery
  • Speed | 36 MPH

The R22 Everest is very similar to the standard R22 in terms of features and specifications. The only major difference between the two is that the R22 Everest comes with two 52V 31.5Ah batteries (2 x 1630Wh = 3260Wh), making it one of the longest-range production electric bikes on the market. 

Like the standard R22, it also comes with a 1700W bottom bracket motor, front & rear suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, and a dropper post. It is currently Optibike's most expensive model.

Final Thoughts

Electric bikes are convenient, fun, and economical alternatives to conventional transportation. They provide cyclists with a healthier lifestyle, cutting back their carbon footprint and saving time and money on public transport. 

OptiBike offers consumers a wide range of e-bike models, from entry-level options to high-end racing machines. They have electric bikes for all budgets. Visit their website and take a look around. 

If you have any questions, ask their customer support team. Who knows, you might even get to speak with Jim himself.

About the author 

Electric Ride Lab Team

When it comes to electric personal transportation, we’re the avid performance thrill-seekers. Pioneering great and well-reviewed mobility products for e-ride lovers is all we want. Well, yes! That’s purely obvious from our team.