Retro revolution: Vintage Electric Bikes combine old-school style & cutting edge technology
These head-turning e-bikes feature vintage style coupled with high performance components.
There are a lot of choices on the market for those looking to get in the saddle of an electric bike, and most of them are rather unremarkable in design, with their greatest claim to fame being that they are almost indistinguishable from a conventional bike. But sometimes the last thing you want to do is ride a bicycle that looks just like every other bike on the road, in which case there are a handful of e-bike companies that are focusing on building electric bikes that stand out from the crowd. These retro-styled electric bikes come from companies such as Juicer Bike and Tempus Electric Bikes, but there's another aptly-named e-bike builder that also offers old-school style on the outside, yet with cutting edge technology on the inside - Vintage Electric Bikes.
© Vintage Electric Bikes (Cruz model)
Vintage Electric Bikes, based in Santa Clara, California, makes three models of e-bikes that look like they would be right at home in a motorcycle workshop from a century ago, and which offer an antidote to the idea of planned obsolescence with their handcrafted designs that promise to "stand the test of time." The bikes' battery packs and electronics are housed in distinctive aluminum battery boxes that emulate a small V-twin engine, and the 52V 13.5Ah lithium ion batteries feature a range of about 35 miles, with a two hour charge time.
© Vintage Electric Bikes (Tracker model)
The Cruz is built on a chromoly steel frame, while the Special Edition Scrambler and the Tracker employ an aluminum frame for a lighter bike, and all three feature powerful headlights and optional taillights. The motive force on the Vintage Electric Bikes comes from a 3000W rear hub electric motor, which can run in Street Mode (250 to 750W) at speeds up to 20 mph, or which can be switched to Race Mode (off-road only) to unleash a top speed of 36 mph. "Stop on a dime" braking is handled by Shimano Alfine hydraulic disk brakes, and all models incorporate a regenerative braking system capable of recharging some of the battery's capacity while also smoothly slowing the bike.
Each of the models from Vintage Electric Bike is packed with stylish elements, from the wood 'tank' on the Cruz to the stacked leather handgrips and Brooks leather spring saddle, and the rubber meets the road on wide Schwalbe Fat Frank tires (with flat-stopping KevlarGuard). Both the Tracker and the Scrambler feature front suspension forks for a smoother ride, and all models incorporate a rear fender to help keep riders' backs from collecting road dirt during rides.
The Vintage Electric Bike models range in price from $4995 (Cruz and Tracker) to $6995 (Scrambler), come with a one year warranty on both the bike and battery, and the battery lifespan is estimated to be about 30,000 miles. They definitely aren't bargain bikes, by any means, but they do offer a distinctive style and promise to turn heads wherever they're ridden. Plus, with a 36 mph top speed in Race Mode, they might be able to supply just the right low-carbon adrenaline rush you crave. More info is available at the company website.