By Lisa Young
This abbreviated article is originally from Feb. 9 and is available online in its entirety.
Optibike in Paonia doesn’t strive to be the biggest maker of electric bikes, it strives to be the best.
The company, under the direction of founder/owner Jim Turner, has been producing high quality e-bikes in Colorado since 2007. In fact, they are the oldest manufacturer of electric bikes in the United States.
The New York Times called the Optibike, “The Ferrari of Electric Bikes.”
Turner, a two-time winner of the Canadian Motocross Championships, put his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford to work developing a better electric bike while living in Boulder, Colorado.
The well established company made the move from the city to a secluded spot on Stewart Mesa near Paonia in 2017 where there’s plenty of wide-open spaces and mountain trails to test the ever-evolving Optibikes.
In a small workshop Turner and sons, Nicholas and Austen, along with employee Mat Walton work developing, testing and tweaking their high tech machines in a relentless pursuit of the ultimate e-bike.
“Optibike is a little unique, most companies release a product once a year and have a new model year. But, where we’re a small (company) and hand built we say it’s where old world craftsmanship meets modern technology so, we’re trying to merge those two things. We’re the people who build the bikes and we’re not just assemblers, we are actually knowledgeable craftsmen, so we have this continuous improvement that goes on,” said Turner making reference to their new three bulbed LED headlight with a dimming feature.