One of my favorite bike brands at Interbike was Vintage Electric — think American Chopper meets e-bikes. Based in Northern California, designer Andrew Davidge and his team custom make all their bikes, including the electric motor, working out of a huge warehouse space in Santa Cruz.
Vintage Electric saw that most e-bikes were being built for the European market first and instead wanted to build bikes for the US market with an American aesthetic. EU laws demand that e-bikes have a maximum continuous rated power of 250 W with speeds capped at 16 mph. By comparison, CA law designates that the lowest class of e-bikes can have max speeds of up to 20 mph to ride on bike paths, with other motor-assisted bikes able to reach speeds of 28 mph.
Vintage Electric’s latest model is the Cruz — more of a classic California cruiser bike than a motorcycle style. The company claims it’s a bit heavier than a Faraday but much more powerful.
The unique looking aluminum battery box houses a 52-volt battery that gives the CRUZ 35 miles of ride capability and requires minimal charge time – it takes just two hours to fully recharge. It also disperses heat, allowing the system to run at lower temperatures, and increase efficiency.
You can smoothly decelerate while re-charging the battery with the tap of the regenerative braking button. This maximizes the range, guaranteeing you’ll go 35 miles on a charge, even when riding requires heavy braking. The heart of the drivetrain, the 3-phase brushless electric motor, recoups energy that is typically wasted in brake use. A computer located in the battery box provides smooth anti-lock braking.
The Cruz comes with an optional Race Mode upgrade which utilizes a 3,000 watt rear hub motor that rapidly accelerates you and your bike to 36 mph. Race Mode is intended for off road use only. With Race Mode, simply remove the Race Mode key to switch back into street legal mode to comply with local regulations including USA and EU standards.
Other accessories includes powerful LED lighting, a Phil-Wood front hub, and Brooks leather saddle and grips.
The Vintage Electric Cruz prices start at $4,995.