When is a bicycle a bicycle? Pedalless JackRabit micro “e-bike” “unfolds” with miniscule range


Posted on October 14, 2022 by Ron Frazelle

According to the Oxford Dictionary, the definition of the word “bicycle” is a vehicle consisting of two wheels held in a frame one behind the other, powered by pedals and steered with a handlebar attached to the front wheel.

Then there’s this: the JackRabbit which claims to be a portable “micro ultralight electric bike“.

So when is a bike, a bike? Is simply having a seat suspended between two wheels with a handlebar enough? Or is calling the JackRabbit a bike a bit of a stretch? Is it more of a seated scooter? We’re not sure, so I’ll just call this thing Jack for the rest of this story.

Photo c. Hare

The JackRabbit has no pedals, no front brakes, no gears, or even a traditional transmission for that matter. There’s a kind of weird “no pedals and proud” vibe to the website. Calling it the “functionality” of not having “sweat-free” working pedals. You know, like “hey, we don’t have pedals, so your commute and your runs will be sweat-free.”

It might be, but you’re better off running errands within 6 miles because the JackRabbit has a very small range of only 12 miles.

And none of those tiny 12 mile spans are better off being up a hill…it won’t go up anything steeper than 12% grade. At least not without using your feet, like Strider or Fred Flinstone. I don’t think we’ve ever seen “human-powered kick assist” referred to as a feature before.

This weird little Jack weighs in at 24 pounds and has a top speed of 20 miles per hour – which, with this one-size-fits-all frame with a comically short wheelbase, can get a bit sketchy. I guess without pedals there is no toe overlapping concern! But seriously, depending on the position of your feet, it could actually be a problem…

They claim the bike comes “fully assembled, just clip on the handlebars and start riding.”

Hmm, the “clip-on” handlebar, seems like a questionable addition to Jack’s already quirky nature. Add the unique rear mechanical disc-brake caliper that squeezes a 180mm rotor, and that makes Jack a good choice for riding Sketch-A-Palooza.

Actually… zipping the JackRabbit around a music festival might be a good use for this thing.

JackRabbit on a plane

FAA compliant, the JackRabbit is perfect for all of our private planes.

And you could fly to this music festival…it’s FAA compliant! JackRabbit claims that Jack is only 7 inches wide when folded—although folded, that appears to mean removing the handlebars, folding in the pegs, and simply rotating the fork rearward.

JackRabbit on your yacht

The JackRabbit also fits on your yacht. Another exciting way to extend its 12 mile range.

Is it just me, or does the photo above have the vibe that they drove to port, found a random boat, and when no one was looking, took two of their toys, put them staged on deck, took the shot and bolted without someone being the wiser?

The JackRabbit is available in 4 colors, white, electric blue, black and yellow.

Quick Overview of JackRabbit Techy Stuff

Retail price: $999 (with free shipping)

  • Motor: 300 watt rear hub
  • Battery: Li-Ion 36v 4.2Ah 151.2Wh
  • Accelerator: variable speed activated by the thumb
  • Charging time: 3h
  • Dimensions: Ride mode: 48″ long x 21″ wide / Folded: 45″x 7″x 30″
  • Frame Material: 6061-T6 monocoque aluminum alloy
  • Seatpost: 7″ adjustment range
  • Rear tire: 20″ x 2.5″ all-terrain
  • Front tire: 20″ x 1.95″ all terrain
  • Not tubeless
  • Maximum incline: 12% incline – or steeper with “human-powered kick assist” with throttle
  • Brake: Rear mechanical disc caliper with 180mm rotor
  • Supported heights: 4’10” to 6’2″
  • Weight capacity: up to 240 lbs (190 kg)

So what do you think? Can this be considered an e-bike? Or just a lightweight, compact, underpowered motorcycle?



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