Pave BK review: a street-legal electric motorbike on the blockchain

The Pave BK is a premium 30 mph, fully street-legal motorbike that strikes a great balance between fun and utility. As someone who always checks the top speed specs first when looking at e-bikes, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that while the BK lacked in top speed, it more than made up for it in terms of utility, design, and, more interestingly, technology—but more on that later.

The BK is the first model of the relatively young company Pave, which is based out of Newlab in Brooklyn, NY. To get a better understanding of the electric bike that supposedly utilizes blockchain technology, I headed over to Newlab, where Pave’s co-founder, Nico Nagel, was able to give me an in-depth look at the bike and explain just how it works. First, let’s get some quick specs out of the way.

Pave BK specs

  • Motor: 3000w brushless rear hub motor
  • Top speed: 30 mph
  • Range: Up to 50 miles
  • Battery: Premium Lithium-Ion 21700 50.4v, 39.2 ah
  • Charge time: Stock Charger to 80%: 8 h, fast charger to 80 % in 1 hour
  • Max load:  300 lbs / 150 kg
  • Weight: 101 lbs without battery 
  • Suspension: Single crown inverted suspension fork in front and comfortable seat for rear. 
  • Brakes: Single piston automotive brakes 
  • Extras: Lock & Unlock: Pave+ Phone Application (iOS & Android) or NFC card, Connectivity: BLE, LTE, Anti-theft: GPS based tracking system
  • Price: $6,900 

The tech

What sets the BK apart from almost all other e-bike manufacturers is their integration with the blockchain for both security and ride-sharing capabilities. The way I understand it, after my talk with Nico, is that with every BK bike, there will be an NFT issued, which will act as a sort of digital title that can prove ownership, as well as record data such as a VIN number and an odometer reading. The NFT token will also be able to act as a key, where if someone were to steal the bike and resell it, the new person would not be able to unlock the bike without having that key.

Additional safety features include a shake-wake feature that will notify the owner when the bike is being moved and activate its GPS even when the main battery is taken out. As for the ride-sharing, the bike comes with an added feature that allows users to set up their own digital contracts with other riders, where a deposit can be required to borrow the bike, and specific requirements will have to be met, which are set up by the owner.

The ride

As for the ride, the bike has an incredibly comfortable 32-inch seat that is made for up to two people to fit. The higher riding position and general lightweight aspect of the bike make for a really nimble e-bike capable of zipping through traffic without a problem. I found that the bike has very adequate braking power and is able to activate regenerative braking automatically when using the standard brakes.

The BK comes with 3 different ride modes plus a boost mode. Pave claims that with its highest setting, the bike can accelerate to 30 mph in just 3.7 seconds. It’s not the fastest out there, but given that this is also a utility bike, I was quite pleased with the performance. Unlike some other electric bikes, the BK is able to switch through the different modes without having to be stopped.

Utility and design

When it comes to the physical design of the bike, the most notable aspect is its minimal visual profile that comes as a result of hiding the battery underneath the seat and hollowing out the entire middle section. For those needing lots of storage on their rides, the bike has a series of optional attachments, including an incredibly spacious basket that can be added to the middle section. For additional space, you can also purchase saddlebags and even carry things on the rear.

I was told that the bike would even be able to carry two extra batteries within the middle section, giving you a total range of 150 miles. But luckily, unless you’re looking to ride 150 miles before having access to the next outlet, there’s a much better option. Available for purchase will be a fast charge that gets you up to 80% in an hour. A few other features include passenger pegs and a built-in phone holder in the front.

Electric’s take:

For those who are looking for a fun, utility electric motorbike that is 100 percent street-legal and don’t necessarily need highway speeds, the BK has plenty to offer. You can ride it with just a regular driver’s license, and you might even be able to get your plates straight from Pave, as you would with a car dealership. The ride is comfortable, and the bike comes with security features that would give me a little more peace of mind than I would usually have.

The use of blockchain within electric motorbikes is something that I look forward to seeing put into action, but with the technology still being pretty new to real-world use cases like this one, I would be very curious to see how it works out when put into action. I can imagine that, like with any new system, there will be plenty of hiccups, but personally, I can’t wait to one day rent one of these from someone while in a new city, especially if I can use the fast charger and carry a large camera bag with me.

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