Electric Bikes Start to gain Traction - Reuters

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Ever wondered what it would be like to have Lance Armstrong pedal your bike for you? Well now you can find out, sort of.

About 15 companies are now offering bicycles with an electric power option -- as opposed to a purely engine-powered moped -- for around $1,000 to $4,000 -- and they are catching on with some green-thinking commuters.

The latest electric bikes from Giant, EcoBike, Currie Technologies and Ultra Motor, among others, can deliver around 500 watts of power at the flick of a wrist or a turn of the pedals. That is roughly what Armstrong could generate over shorter races in his prime.

The result is that you zip up hills or hustle along the street, silently passing all, but the most competitive two- wheelers.

One of the top sellers in the emerging market is the A2B, made by London-based Ultra Motor.

"Some people buy the bike to commute, other people purchase the bike to use as a replacement for short automobile trips," said Paul Vlahos, vice-president of sales for the U.S. arm of Ultra Motor.

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