- Sports/Recreation -

Roll Over Henry Ford — and Tell All Bicyclists the News

Ford Motor Company launches an innovative e-bike “modal transport system.”

Ford MoDe Flex

In good news for everyone everywhere, Ford has recently pulled the veil of secrecy off its latest skunkworks project: The venerable Motor Company’s new vehicles are — bicycles.

Electric bikes, to be exact. And Ford sees them not as replacements for cars and trucks but as part of a Smart Mobility “modal transport system” it calls MoDe. The bicycles are designed to fold up and fit into Ford’s motorized vehicles to extend their service, utility, and range, from offering “improved mobility in congested urban areas” to recreation and sport.

In March 2015, Ford showed off its first MoDe:Pro ebike prototype, a commercial carry-all ideal for couriers, tradespeople, delivery folks, and city services such as police, emergency workers, and health pros to “reach any area of the city no matter what the traffic.”

This was paired with the MoDe:Me, a lightweight folding personal bike designed for commuters that will stash easily in the trunk of “any Ford vehicle.”

Now, in July 2015, Ford undraped its third e-bike, the MoDe:Flex, a high-tech folding smart bicycle for the cycling enthusiast. And it’s pretty cool.

The MoDe:Flex allows you to custom-configure the two main front and rear assemblies, letting you set it up as either a road or mountain bike.

The e-bike also features a bespoke Ford app that links to your iPhone 6 or Apple Watch. The app can do most everything a cycling computer can do from serving as a odometer to heart-rate monitor. But it also features a control for electric motor, and in No Sweat mode it will automatically increase the electric boost as it senses your body is working too hard to keep you from sweating the hills.

In addition, the app gives the rider a heads-up on traffic and safety info — it’ll even vibrate to warn you when a pothole looms.

Next up, how about a racing MoDe:GT to pair with Ford’s new GT, which pays 50th-anniversary homage to the marque’s 1-2-3 finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966. And then take the MoDe:GT (sans e-motor, of course) to the Tour de France!

Michael Dregni is Experience Life's managing editor.

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