Ofo, China’s leading bike-sharing startup, along with smart bike manufacturer 700Bike, on Thursday unveiled ofo Curve, a specially designed bicycle. Ofo will launch the new bike en masse in almost every city that it has entered, according to announcements to Chinese media made by Dai Wei, ofo’s founder.
The new bike allows its users to easily adjust the bicycle seat’s height, and ofo claimed that they can do this with one single hand. To meet the durability needs of bike sharing, the bike has solid tyres, not the usual inflatable ones. The company also changed the traditional detachable seats so that they could not be removed by vandals.
Ofo has seen more bike vandalism than its rival Mobike, as the former’s bikes carry the same basic design as run-of-the-mill consumer bikes. This vulnerability led to massive damage to ofo’s bike stock, including problems relating to flat tyres and bike chain issues.
AllChinaTech reported that Mobike has specially designed and produced bikes for sharing. It is worth mentioning that the ofo Curve still does not have an embedded GPS system, something that already exists in every Mobike.
So far ofo and Mobike dominate China’s bike-sharing sector, but new challengers have entered the race. For example, Beijing-based Bluegogo in February landed RMB 400 million (USD 58 million) in Series A financing. It has entered six cities and launched 150,000 bikes.
Beijing-based smart bicycle startup 700Bike was founded in May 2012. It produces bikes that represent China’s new generation of city bikes, with features including an embedded digital display depicting track speed, distance and ride time.
Ofo, founded in 2014 inside the campus of Peking University, claimed that so far it has more than 1 million bikes and over 20 million registered users on its app, providing over 300 million rides. Worldwide, the startup has expanded to nearly 40 cities in China, the United States, Britain, and Singapore.
(Top photo from Baidu Images)