If this fascinating contraption ever takes off, we might have to change our name from eBikeTips to solar powered-tips... because yes indeed, this homemade 'Sun Bike' runs off solar power, with a range of 40-60km on rainy days and unlimited juice when the sun is shining!
Its 36-year-old Italian inventor Benoit Vanden Haute, otherwise known as 'Sun Biker', says on his blog that he needed a vehicle that would take him a long way, cost little and carry the equipment for other things he enjoys doing, such as kayaking and diving: "I bought a bike, made it an ebike, added a trailer with solar panels to charge the bike and filled the trailer with a kayak and freediving gear", he explains.
The result is an e-bike that allows Benoit to maintain a nomadic lifestyle, with additional space on the rig for a tent and two sleeping bags for warm or cold weather: "Of course it is big. It is gigantic. It just fits in a garage, just.
"On the other hand I have been surprised on how well it handles once on its way. Mainly thanks to the big 28" wheels, and the strong, high torque Crystalyte motor... it just wants to roll and keep on driving."
In the video above Benoit explains more about his baby, which was originally a Koga Worldtraveller touring bike. Here is a run-down of the Sun Bike's components:
Bike: Koga Worldtraveller
Motor: Crystalyte HT 3525 with regeneration brake
Solar charge controllers: Genasun
Solar Panels: 2 x 200 watt victron energy
Trailer: 60cm x 200cm, hand-built with the help of Marine Technics
And the gear and extras he's carrying on it:
MSR hubba tent
Two sleeping bags for hot and cold (Coleman & Quechua)
Basic cooking gear
A bag of repair tools and spares
Méraud Bonaire watch (to be on time for things!)
Benoit says that on rainy/overcast days when the solar panels aren't able to generate power, the bike has a range of between 40-60km; but as long as the sun is shining, it effectively has unlimited range. "The system is easily powerful enough to do more than 100km per day, every sunny day. On regular days, my physical limits are reached earlier then the limits of my machine", says Benoit.
You can check out the Sun Biker blog here, and also check him out on Instagram. Can you see solar-powered bikes taking off, or even replacing 'normal' e-bikes one day? Let us know your thoughts on Benoit's creation in the comments as always!