Published by Ride Apart
March 5, 2011
There’s so much that this electric scooter gets right. The first thing you noticed obviously is the design, but it’s not just there to look good. The distinctive wheels? They’re the same size, meaning you fit the same tires front and rear. The single-sided rear? That’s there to enable easy wheel removal, a traditional electric scooter bugbear. The flat floor hides the removable battery pack (good for 35 miles) but you can double that with the addition of a supplementary pack which locks to the bike, but comes with backpack straps. Moving parts? Aside from the levers and suspension, there’s only the two wheel bearings. That means Fido is virtually maintenance free. It’s going to be made in America too.
The Fremont Fido was designed and built by Jeb Gast, a member of the infamous Bathroom Burnout Gang and a scooter mechanic in Seattle. He told us he spends all day working on electric scooters and had become enormously frustrated with how unnecessarily complex they are, so he decided to do better himself.
“It took a lot of work to make Fido this simple,” says Jeb.
Fido can hit 45mph thanks to a 7bhp motor and has 70-mile range with the addition of that supplementary battery pack. That’s better than most 50cc scooters. If you don’t need the extra range, that backpack becomes a lockable, wearable storage compartment. The standard underfloor battery pack lifts out to reveal a telescoping handle and little wheels, meaning you can pull it like luggage. The rear rack should also come in handy.
Like most other electric scoots, Fido mounts its motor in the rear wheel hub, but does so in a new way. Usually the wiring and motor mounts make removing the rear wheel stupidly complicated, adding time and cost to tire changes. On Fido, the wheel is connected to the motor by four bolts. Remove those and it’s off. Jeb says this solution was inspired by Dakar bikes.
Making the front and rear tires the same size means you’ll be able to rotate them when the front begins to cup, saving you even more money. This will also make it easy for future dealers to stock common parts.
Jeb says he was inspired by post-war Italian scooters in terms of style, but also simplicity. It used to be that Vespas and their ilk were the simplest, cheapest vehicles on the road, leading to their ubiquity. Combing a retro aesthetic with modern simplicity, Fido brings a touch of the analog to a product which is overtly futuristic. Could such a vehicle be what’s needed to push electric two-wheeled transportation into the American mainstream?
Jeb plans to build five prototypes in order to garner interest then, if enough interest or backing is reached, put Fido into production in his native Seattle. It’s being launched at a party there as we speak.