News Treehugger Voices The VAAST E/1 Is the Cadillac of E-Bikes It's big, solid, comfy, and pricey. By Lloyd Alter Lloyd Alter Facebook Twitter Design Editor University of Toronto Lloyd Alter is Design Editor for Treehugger and teaches Sustainable Design at Ryerson University in Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Updated September 2, 2021 04:37PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process VAAST Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Decades ago, people often used the phrase "the Cadillac of X" to describe something as the highest quality. In the '50s, one might see ads for "the Cadillac of chainsaws." According to Ben Zimmer in the New York Times, it became a joke on the Simpsons—Krusty the Clown endorsed an SUV called the Canyonero as "the Cadillac of automobiles." The cars were once considered to be the highest quality, but they were also big, heavy, solid, comfortable, moving living rooms. VAAST The new VAAST E/1 is probably the Cadillac of e-bikes. Or should I call it "a new breed of Personal Mobility Vehicle" as VAAST does? It's also "built to empower practical, sustainable, and fun living [and] is the multi-purpose Urban Adventure eBike. Whether carrying cargo or riding solo, the latest bike to VAAST’s collection is designed to deliver the best riding experience." VAAST There are other Cadillac-type features that may well be attractive to an older market. It's a step-through design with a low center of gravity, "suited for accessibility of riders of all ages, sizes, and riding experience." It comes in three sizes, which is comforting for short people like me. It is probably living-room comfy to ride: "The E/1 features the NAIL’D REACT suspension system to separate pedaling from suspension movement. This translates to smooth and comfortable riding, regardless of weighty cargo. This 'groundtracing technology' ensures comfort, as well as practicality, cushioning uneven surfaces, with testing presenting a 20% reduction in vibration versus other suspension systems." VAAST It's equipped with the Cadillacs of components from the likes of Rohloff, Shimano, and Enviolo. The Bosch Generation 4 Performance Line Speed is a new Cadillac of motors with 75 Newton-meters of torque and rated for 28 MPH. The Bosch Powertube 500 battery isn't their biggest, but 500 Wh is substantial. It's got large volume Schwalbe tires for secure traction, powerful four-piston Shimano disc brakes for security, and lights, kickstand, and mudguards in "a strategically optimized and practical package for all types of journeys." It's got internal gear hubs instead of derailleurs, which I have suggested are the right thing for electric bikes, especially for novice or older riders. It doesn't scream but politely announces stability and security. Other classic Cadillac-sized attributes are weight, starting at a hefty 74.6 pounds, and price, starting at a hefty $7,499 and going up to $9,999 for the top model with its electronic shifting and carbon fiber Gates belt drive. There is value in there; the e-bike is made in the U.S. out of hydroformed aluminum, and the company does have a "commitment to sustainability and developing a vibrant, cycling-focused urban ecology." "The E/1 reflects VAAST’s commitment to sustainability and developing a vibrant, cycling-focused urban ecology. As an adventure eBike, the E/1’s high performance and comfort level encourages riders to choose to commute and travel by bike, every time. Made using sustainably sourced materials and packaged without plastic, the E/1 reflects VAAST’s vision to put environmental responsibility at the heart of the brand." VAAST Like the Cadillac car used to be, it is an expensive, big, heavy, solid, comfortable bike that will attract a well-to-do older crowd, and that's all a good thing. The modern new world of electric personal mobility vehicles has room for all kinds. According to branding consultant Nancy Friedman, quoted in the New York Times, car models were aligned with a stage of social mobility. Back in the day, "G.M. ushered you into auto ownership with a modestly priced Chevy and then encouraged you to aspire to an Olds, a Pontiac, a Buick and—at the pinnacle—a Cadillac. So the notion of upward mobility, aspiration and 'the best' were built into the brand almost from the start." Perhaps the next move for VAAST is to bring us that modestly priced Chevy—a solid, affordable, American-made e-bike. Then we can all aspire to own an E/1 someday.