Sanyo releases powerful hybrid bicycle

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Tokyo (Japan) - Japanese firm Sanyo said it has released a hybrid bicycle which with the aid of its Eneloop battery can help you pedal half as hard to get where you want to go to.

The SY-SPG226 has broad wheels and a big front basket as well as a rack at the rear to carry extra large items. Its range, Sanyo claims, is 85 kilometres, but the battery re-charges when you're coasting down hills.

Sanyo faces fierce competition from three other Japanese players - Yamaha, Bridgestone and Panasonic.  Panasonic is set to acquire Sanyo later this year.

The electric motor allows a ratio of motor to pedal power of two to one. The Japanese government eased its laws on the power of electric-powered bicycles at the end of last year.

The number of electric powered bicycles sold in Japan grew 20 percent last year, partly as a result of higher fuel prices and partly because they're seen as greener and more sustainable than motorbikes.

This latest machine dispenses with gender distinctions by dispensing with a cross bar for men. All models of the SY-SPG226 free men from having to put their leg over a cross bar. The convention arose in Victorian times when women wore huge skirts which made riding a bike rather problematical.

You can find a picture of the bike at Sanyo's Japanese site, here.