LAGUNA HILLS, CA (BRAIN)—An electric off-road bike with fat tires, a 600 watt brushless electric motor and 10 amp lithium ion battery. Sound like something out of Mad Max? Nope, it’s just the evolution of what off-road cycling can be if you’re Dan Hanebrink and his new partner Kane Fortune.
“That’s us,” said the 71-year-old Hanebrink at Bicycle Retailer headquarters. “We’re just bound to be different.”
Hanebrink’s (left in picture) been selling his pedal only version for a couple decades, but it was only this past January the company—now called Fortune Hanebrink—decided to offer up an electric version with a full hour of rip roaring throttle time if you so choose.
“When I ride off-road trails I go two-and-a-half hours off of one battery,” Fortune said. “That’s using a mix of pedaling and the throttle.
“The low range gearing allows you to climb hills that you can’t climb on a mountain bike,” Fortune added. “It also allows you to pull up to a couple hundred pounds using a trailer—to get firewood, to bring ladders—if you’re doing trail maintance and trail building.”
Fortune comes from a mountain bike racing background, tackling the Big Bear scene in the early 1990s. Last summer, Fortune and his family were vacationing at Big Bear when by happenstance Fortune’s father ran into Hanebrink on the trails.
“I’ve always known about Dan Hanebrink, seeing his bikes up at the races,” Fortune said. “My dad says, ‘We met this guy and these fat tires…’‘Are you talking about Dan Hanebrink?’”
And the rest is fat tire history as Fortune and his father became minority partners in the company.
“I nearly dropped everything I was doing,” Fortune said. “I’ve really manifested this opportunity, and I’ve been really excited to work with Dan for the last year.”
These electric off-roaders can shed through the harshest of terrain—after all they were borne out of the snow covered mountains of Big Bear.
“We’ve got a conference call going on right now with a conduit to BP, in order to sell these bikes to get into inaccessible beaches, to help with oil cleanup,” Fortune said. “I would have loved to have been more prepared before the Haiti earthquake to get these bikes over there, to get through streets that are covered with rubble, where no other vehicle can reach. And with the towing capacity you can literally tow out a human being or equipment or gear, so we’re really happy to be building bikes, and we want to turn that into being able to help out other people.
“It truly is a utility bike,” Fortune added. "Its options are as limitless as your imagination.”
These bikes aren’t cheap, however. The electric version will cost you between $5,500 - $7,500 depending on spec, while the pedal only version costs around $3,500. Fortune did say that they have a lower priced electric model in their future plans that will come in around $2,500. All the frames are manufactured in Southern California, and sold through bike dealers, boat dealers, motorhome dealers, amongst others.
Check out their Web site at http://www.fortunehanebrink.com.