The most impressive vehicles at the Detroit auto show are bicycles

DETROIT, Michigan—Cars are king in the Motor City, especially during this week’s North American International Auto Show. But a couple of automakers are also showing bicycles.

Amid the sea of SUVs and sedans sit less than a dozen two-wheelers, some of them placed in pick-up beds or atop a vehicle. The most prominent of them are the ebike by Smart.

Three of its electric bicycles are available this spring at US Mercedes-Benz dealers that also carry Smart cars. At $2,950, they’re priced as the Mercedes of bikes too.

The Mercedes of cycles: $2,950 a pop.
Just $2,950 a pop. (Vickie Elmer)

Built in partnership with German e-bike maker Grace, the bikes have been on sale in Europe since mid-2012. The bike technically is a hybrid, running on both electric and human pedal power.

The other bicycles show up at Lexus, where a white F Sport Road Bike rides the back of a GX460 SUV. It’s a pricey carbon filter frame, on sale in Japan for 1 million yen, or about $10,090. Only 100 of them were produced last year. A spokeswoman calls them a “concept” and said Lexus hopes to create and sell more bicycles in the future.

Bikes are also being used as accessories at the auto show.
Bikes are also being used as accessories at the auto show. (Vickie Elmer)

In Detroit, a handful of automakers are also using bicycles as fashion accessories. A gray Mazda5 has a white Trek on a rooftop rack, and the 2015 Chevy Colorado pickup sports a red and green Rockhoppers along with camping gear in back.

Despite being the birthplace of Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Chrysler, Detroit actually has a growing bicycle culture—although in January, the few bicyclists on the road could only be described as very, very brave.

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