Bump the throttle, spin the pedals, or both, on this electric bike that's halfway between bicycle and motorcycle.
Although many of the leading e-bikes are being built to resemble conventional bikes as much as possible, some electric bike companies are choosing to go a different route, with bike models that have more in common with scooters, mopeds, or light motorcycles than they do with a bicycle. One forthcoming entry into that light electric motorbike category comes from California's Lithium Cycles, which is building two slightly different models of its retro-styled Super 73 Scout starting at just $995.
The Super 73 Scout is the basic model of this sporty electric bike, and in contrast to the early '70s minibike look of the frame, it features a state of the art 500W rear hub motor paired with a removable 36V 8.8Ah lithium ion battery, which are together capable of propelling the bike at speeds up to 18 mph and for a riding range of 20+ miles per charge. The Scout is "perfect for college campuses, cruising to the beach, and riding around the neighborhood with friends," thanks to its large seat and 4" fat knobby tires. The 50-pound bike can be ridden manually, or with several levels of pedal assist, or can be operated with the throttle, and just like a bicycle, doesn't require license, registration, or insurance to ride.
The next step up from the Super 73 Scout is the limited edition Rose Ave. model, which is a collaboration with popular YouTuber Jesse Wellens, and which features more power, a longer range, and several other additions to the Scout. This model also has a 500W hub motor, but is powered by a 48V 14.5Ah battery, which can accelerate the Rose Ave. to 20+ mph and cover as much as 40 miles of riding per charge. A headlight, taillight, brake light, and rear rack are added to the 52-pound Rose Ave., as well as a matte black powdercoated finish (the original comes only in olive green) and a few other distinctive design elements.
According to the company's FAQ, the bikes can be pedaled with or without pedal assist, but it's hard to see how someone would enjoy manually pedaling the Scout for any length of time, based on the look of the chunky seat and the sitting position of the rider, not to mention the fact that they are single speed bikes. However, prospective buyers of these bikes may be more interested in using it in throttle mode, with the pedals acting mostly as a place to put their feet or as a backup method for getting home at the end of a long ride.
Lithium Cycles is currently offering both models at a pre-order discount, with the estimated delivery time of the bikes being in December of 2017. Until August 10th, the Super 73 Scout will be priced at $995 ($1299 MSRP), and the Rose Ave. is priced at $1,395 ($1699 MSRP), and come with a one-year warranty on both the battery and the motor.