Vintage Electric Bikes has set itself the goal of bringing the classic styles of vintage motorcycles into the emerging world of electric bicycles, and it has definitely succeeded in doing so on a large scale. The company brought us the Vintage Electric Bikes Cafe and we ran it through the wrestler to see how it holds up with everyday use.
Disclaimer: Vintage Electric Bikes made the cafe available to the author free of charge for the purposes of this review.
The Vintage Electric Bikes Cafe is a classic in the truest sense of the word. Gorgeous lines run across the frame, with rich wood providing depth and softening the otherwise hard metal feel of the chromoly steel frame. The frame itself is anchored in a retro-inspired battery case that conjures up the images and sounds of a classic motorcycle engine.
Back to the details, the Cafe is a beautiful e-bike that is just as at home in the living room as it is in the garage. A set of perforated leather handles serves to further soften the aesthetics and at the same time ensure a certain cushioning at the human contact points. The leather tones round off the look of a classic motorcycle, with the rich tones of the skin in both color schemes integrating well into the wood.
Its smooth lines and casual look belies the impressive drivetrain and performance of this electrified two-wheeler hot rod. On the hood of the cafe, a 750 watt rear hub motor powers the engine, and while this is very typical e-bike performance in the US, Vintage Electric Motors has an ace up its sleeve.
Vintage Electric boasts that its proprietary Vintorque Drivetrain Technology unleashes the beast in its engines, resulting in faster acceleration and faster response to driver inputs. The specs do not say anything here, because many e-bikes use 750 watt rear hub motors and the 70 Nm torque that the motor presses on the cafe will not set any records. In reality there is a noticeable difference in how quickly the engine responds to input from the driver.
As we cycled up and down some of the steepest roads this side of the Mississippi, we found the cafe felt more powerful than any other rear hub motor we tested. We attribute that to a few things. First of all, the cafe has a torque sensor to measure the driver’s input. This is something we usually only see on high-end e-bikes like the cafe. The torque sensor provides a much more accurate signal for the driver’s input to the engine controller by measuring how hard the pedals are depressed. Most e-bikes simply use a cadence sensor to determine how fast the pedals are turning, which can quickly lead to incorrect readings when shifting gears to lower gears.
Taking this signal and translating it into an accurate signal to the engine is where the real magic happens. After a few rides on the bike, it was immediately clear that when going uphill it reacts much more quickly to changes in the pedal pressure, delivers an adequate performance according to the force of the rider when pedaling and reduces performance. to the engine when pedaling stops.
The cafe may look casual, but in reality the ride setting of the bike is quite aggressive. It’s akin to what you’d expect from a speed bike, with a forward-leaning stance. When you jump on the bike, it is immediately clear that this thing is meant seriously and of course fits into dense urban environments and casual park trails.
The whole look of the cafe is extremely polished, and that’s literally the case with the front light. Its housing is made of shiny polished aluminum that fits perfectly into the polished aluminum handlebar, stem and top cap. Every time you get in, it feels like you’re stepping into a vintage convertible sports car.
The LCD controller and LEDs under the rear seat are rather simple and don’t match the quality of the rest of the bike, but they more than serve the purpose.
The cafe is clearly suited to an upscale clientele looking for a bike with first class specs and performance. Its form factor makes it well suited for commuting around town, going to the beach, or riding around the park on a bike with a unique aesthetic.
Head over to the cafe’s online home at Vintage Electric Bikes for all the juicy details, gallery photos, and an order for yourself.
Vintage Electric Bikes Cafe E-Bike Specifications
- engine: 750 watt rear hub motor with 70 Nm torque
- battery: 500 Wh exchangeable battery
- Charging time: 2 hours
- Range: 20-60 miles per charge
- sensor: Torque sensor
- Top speed: 28 mph (class 3)
- tires: 29 ″ X 2.0 ″ Schwalbe Fat Frank with Kevlar protection
- Brakes: Promax Lucid hydraulic disc brakes front and rear
- transmission: Shimano Deore Shadow + rear derailleur with 10 speed Deore shift levers and Shimano SLX 11-34 freewheel
- lighting: Integrated front and rear lights Supernova 6v
- Sizes: Small Medium Large
- Colours: Skyline Bronze or Golden Gate Red
- Weight: 53 pounds
- price: $ 3,995
All picture credits: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica