The Consumer Electronics show is in full swing and I'm here representing Team Micro, checking out the latest developments in micromobility technology. There's a lot of it, too... probably more than I can cover in the four days that I'm here, but I'll do my best! This is my first time attending CES and I wanted to share the "attendee perspective" for those who have never been or perhaps just weren't able to make it this year. I'm touring the show floor, interviewing exhibitors and looking at small vehicles from brands both old and new. Check out the above video for the full story; keep reading to get the highlights and some of my off-camera thoughts.
One of the first exhibits I visited was Himiway's, and I'm so impressed with this company and how much it has improved. Back when they released their first e-bike in 2019, the Cruiser, I thought it was a junk bike, just another copycat product and not worth my time as a reviewer... my goodness, how times have changed! Himiway's 2024 lineup is beautiful, well designed, and refreshingly unique. I was particularly blown away by the high-end mountain bikes on display; they were incredibly well built and outfitted with the highest tier of components. Sure, they do cost $10,000 USD... but for that premium of an e-MTB that's actually a pretty low price. They've also got a "Himiway Family" line of products featuring a kids kick e-bike, as well as a cargo e-bike. I'd really love to spend some more time with the cargo hauler; It's long-tail but quite a bit smaller than the average cargo bike, which should make it a bit more approachable and convenient to use (even if it can't haul quite as much as some competitors).
Urtopia drew attention by teasing their "e-bike with ChatGPT" before CES, so of course I had to check that out! The demonstration didn't work well on the noisy show floor, but the concept is cool: Press a button, ask a question, and ChatGPT responds. It's infinitely more useful than Siri or Google Assistant; sure, you can ask it for navigation directions which is handy, but you can also ask it pretty much anything you can think of. The air velocity of an unladen swallow, for instance. What's really cool about this is Urtopia's software platform that makes it possible; they're allowing third parties to make API integrations, and created this ChatGPT integration as an example of what can be done. Other integrations we might see soon are for fitness tracking, ride map history, and stuff like that.
Of all the e-bikes I checked out I would have to rank Vanpowers at the top. Meticulous design, seamless electronics integration, and they also really nailed it in terms of appearance and presentation. It probably helps that I got a full tour of their product lineup from a native english speaker who was clearly an expert and intimately familiar with the "why" behind various design choices. They have a whole fleet of new models coming in 2024, headlined by their gravel platform, which can be outfitted as anything from a minimalist city bike to an armed-to-the-teeth long-range trekking bike.
Cyrusher is also bringing an almost ridiculous amount of new products to market. This company is primarily an e-bike manufacturer... or are they? At their CES exhibit they also featured an electric surfboard, several off-road e-longboards, a full-powered dirt bike, and even an electric snowboard. I was half convinced that the e-snowboard was a stunt product just designed to bring more attention to their e-bikes, but after seeing it at CES... let's just say I want one, and hopefully before the winter season ends.
Getting to see Verge Motorcycles in real life was super cool as well. They have an eye-catching "hubless motor" design, and their motorcycles are armed to the teeth with advanced technology. Their upcoming model, the TS Ultra, uses a combination of radar, cameras, and AI to provide timely road information and alerts. When you engage your turn signals the handlebar-embedded screen will show a camera feed of your blind spot on that side. You can also bring up a rearview camera feed.
Electric longboard manufacturer Meepo was also in attendance with a lot of new and updated models for 2024. The Voyager X looks to be their new premium board, and I can't wait until it releases! It features LED lighting around the edge of the board, and it was powerfully bright even on the well-lit show floor. It's using a geared motor drive that Meepo says will perform as well as a belt drive, but require a lot less maintenance. They also had gigantic off-road longboards with a segmented battery design, allowing the deck to flex for a more shock-absorbing ride. Their most popular model is the V5: It's a beginner-friendly electric longboard with hub motors and a clever carry handle on one side of the deck. They're pretty lightweight and go for just $329 on Amazon right now. Other companies featured in the video, by order of appearance: KIXIN, Heybike, OKAI, Squad Mobility, and Airwheel.