The Faraday Cortland

BY Cameron Newland
Faraday Step-Through Electric Bike

San Francisco-based Faraday, the first big electric bike company to be birthed on Kickstarter, has just announced its third and newest electric bike model, the Cortland, which features a low-step frame aimed at women. The new bike is on sale now on Kickstarter and is priced at $1,999 for the Cortland S and $2,999 for the Cortland.

The new model is poised to aid Faraday’s sales growth, as the proportion of their customers who are female is much higher than the rest of the electric bike industry, and they’ve likely fielded quite a few requests from their customers to offer a low-step frame option.

More juice

Due to the fact that its battery is hidden inside the frame, and the frame isn’t particularly thick, Faraday bikes have always had relatively small batteries. This hasn’t made the bike’s range suffer as much because the bike’s assist tops out at 20MPH, and you can switch off the motor with the flick of a switch, so it’s easy to be an energy miser and extend your range on a Faraday. Faraday’s new Cortland model, however, packs a larger 290Wh battery, 16% more energy than previous Faraday models.

Branching out

Faraday has established a decent dealer and service footprint in the United States, but this summer, Faraday will be expanding their sales area to Europe, Australia, and Japan. The Cortland’s Kickstarter campaign should get a welcome boost of customer interest from abroad as a result.

Going hydraulic

The Cortland model (but not the lower-spec Cortland S) is getting hydraulic disc brakes to ensure that its stopping power doesn’t fade when the brake cable stretches. The addition of hydraulic discs is a welcome addition, as all Faraday models prior to the Cortland had Avid BB7 mechanical disc brakes. Though the old Avid BB7s are regarded as some of the best mechanical disc brakes you can buy and will continue to serve on the S models, we think Faraday customers and owners will appreciate the freedom of not having to adjust their brake cables every few hundred miles, as that kind of maintenance can make bicycle ownership more of a pain that it should be.

A new extended-range auxiliary battery option

Faraday Porteur Cortland Auxiliary Battery Pack Extended Range

Faraday has also added an auxiliary battery in an industry first. The battery likely carries about 200Wh worth of lithium cells, which add approximately 20 miles to the bike’s range. Unfortunately, this auxiliary battery isn’t plug-and-play compatible with existing Porteur models, so owners of Porteurs will have to spring for a ~$200 upgrade to their bike’s controller if they’d like to make their bike compatible with the auxiliary battery.

Track your bike

Faraday has developed integration with a GPS tracking unit that integrates with the bike’s new controller and a mobile app, which allows you to find the GPS coordinates of your bike from the mobile app. Unfortunately, existing Porteur and Porteur S models don’t have controllers that are compatible with the new GPS tracker, and as a result, the cost of adding GPS tracking to your Faraday is $450, which includes a new controller but does not include the cost of installing the new controller and GPS tracker. For those buying new Cortland models in this Kickstarter campaign, adding GPS costs $249, and the lower cost is a result of the inherent compatibility between the Cortland’s controller and the new GPS unit.