What's new in 2014: even cooler e-bikes

The Coboc 3.0 e-bike (Coboc)

The Coboc 3.0 e-bike (Coboc)


, Last Updated: 10:11 AM ET

E-bikes, already a hit in parts of Europe, will continue to rise in popularity around the globe. And next year cyclists can expect a whole new generation of sleeker, cooler, more luxurious ways to cruise around town.

For the truly glam battery-powered ride, Audi reportedly plans to sell an e-bike designed especially for sports and popping wheelies that runs up to blistering speeds of 80 km/h and features an onboard computer that connects to your smartphone, offering challenges and tips on how to improve performance. While some are rumoring the price to be as steep as $20K, Audi has yet to make an announcement. Still, fellow luxury brands Porsche and BMW also have sleek new bikes up for grabs.

Eccentric UK sportscar company Caterham is also lining up two e-bike models for next year that look like bonafide motorcycles. The Classic E-Bike is a very retro-styled bike that should be good for blazing speeds on a single charge and can be ridden on streets in the EU without a license. Also, the Carbon E-Bike takes its styling and construction cues from Formula One (a sport in which Caterham now competes) and is meant to blend exclusivity with carbon fiber and environmental awareness. Prices are forthcoming.

Major bike shows such as ISPO Bike, Eurobike, and Asia Bike have been heavily showcasing e-bikes this year, meaning consumers can expect to see the latest models in stores in 2014, with the newest focus on electrical hardware integrated into the bike rather than attached to the bike's exterior, mucking up the design.

Cool options include the Coboc 3.0 e-bike, weighing only 14 kg, with an integrated drive and with battery, electronics, and sensors installed into the frame. All sizes are priced at €4,200, with sales slated to begin in 2014 in Germany, Norway, Austria, and Switzerland. Another option that integrates the electric drivetrain into the bike's fork is the German-made Electrolyte Series. It offers three models, with pricing starting at 3,999 euros.

Also the new German-made Kalkhoff Impulse Ergo electric bicycle (2,984 euros) ventures into "quantified self" territory by combining a heart-monitoring chest strap that wirelessly connects with the bike's computer, which powers the motor through automatic gears. Together, they work in unison to sync your heart rate to the motor's output so that the bike will work to maintain a constant heart rate of your choosing throughout your ride. The whole point, according to its manufacturers, is to provide the steady, sustained exercise that's known to encourage long-term health and well-being. Just be sure to strap on a helmet.