A start-up with the goal of producing an easy-riding bike with an automatic shifter that will appeal to recreational and casual bike riders has moved into a 7,000-square-foot warehouse and production facility in Troy as the company prepares to enter the mainstream marketplace.
There, AutoBikes, which formed about two years ago, will be built and in the process the founders’ motto to Evolve the Bike will be carried out. Shipping is expected to begin in late April to early May, says CEO and co-founder Sean Simpson.
The company will also work on designing and building a new commuter-style bike to complement its cruiser/comfort bikes, he says. Employees at AutoBike are re-applying their auto industry experience and engineering backgrounds to AutoBike.
Like all bikes, the AutoBike is pedal-powered but unlike others it shifts on its own so that the gear is always where it should be, whether going up a hill or riding fast. No clinking, clacking, missing gears or ignoring gears, something that makes bike riding less fun and more exhausting.
While automatic bikes have been tried before, Simpson and company have invented a promising continuous shifter, something they’re refining. It’s apparently catching on as sales are reaching the many states that AutoBike travels to for bike shows and special events.
AutoBike is getting a lot of press in the bike world. It was selected as one of the coolest products at the Seattle Bike Show and it took the $10,000 top prize at the University of Michigan Victors’ Challenge — a contest for the best entrepreneurial ideas — just one of several pieces of funding it’s received to get off the ground.