VINTAGE ELECTRIC

VINTAGE ELECTRIC

Vintage Electric was started by Andrew Davidge in the early 2010s. Like many great things, the company started in his parents’ garage. Andrew took a few of the early bikes to a prestigious vintage car show in Monterey, California, and that weekend, he segued the Vintage Electric vision into a business. Those first bikes were proof of concept that a vintage-inspired, battery-assisted pedal bike should be a thing and that other people shared the team’s vision.

Their vintage motorcycle look immediately caught on, and we took notice. The bikes are truly stunning, and every time we have a chance to ride one, we jump!

TECH BEGINNINGS

The business is based in Santa Clara, California, right in Silicon Valley, which provides the perfect backdrop for a high-tech, cutting-edge product with a beautiful, old-school look. Originally, the bikes were made in the U.S., but up until recently, as demand has increased, they found that this wasn’t economically feasible. Manufacturing has now been moved to Taiwan, which is now scalable. 

Another thing has changed. Whereas the battery cases, purposely made to look like a V-twin motor, had been sand-cast aluminum, they’ve switched to a die-cast process, which allows thinner cases that make them lighter and dissipate heat much better—actually, about 40-percent better. They moved the MOSFETs for the controller higher inside the case to take advantage of the improved cooling.

Classic chrome rat-trap pedals are a nice detail on the bikes.

 

Speaking of aluminum, since some of the frames are aluminum, they’ve added stainless steel inserts in the rear dropouts to be able to handle all the torque from their powerful motors, reducing wear and tear on the frame. Also new are the torque sensors in the bottom bracket on all the bikes. Previously, they were throttle-powered only. 

The Crystalyte direct-drive rear hub motors offer tremendous power. On the Tracker and Scrambler models, they can offer up to 3000 watts, but that requires a special race key and is for private land use only. Without the key, all of the bikes are 750 watts and cut off at 20 mph. We had an exclusive chance to ride all three bikes, and to say that the Tracker and Scrambler S with the race key are thrilling is an understatement. We had ear-to-ear smiles the whole time. Simply, the power was intoxicating!

We were told that Bluetooth connectivity is coming soon with the ability to monitor system performance, including aiding Vintage Electric to remotely connect, diagnose, then send out the correct personnel to fix any problems.

THE CAFE

The Cafe is priced at $3995, and is available in either Skyline Bronze or Golden Gate Red. It’s the smallest and lightest of the three bikes. The battery is smaller and removable to take inside for easy charging, and charges fully in only two hours. It offers pedal assist using a torque sensor at the bottom bracket, or a thumb throttle on the bars. Its 1×10 system isn’t a huge range of gears, but it’s plenty with the power.

 A powerful, compact 6-volt LED Supernova headlight and integrated taillight provide ample lighting, even for night rides. This is the one bike that stays street-legal, limiting the motor to 750 watts. No regeneration is available on the Cafe.

THE TRACKER

The Tracker sits in the middle of the line at $4995. It has a single-speed setup for simplicity, as most riders will use the pedal-assist or throttle more than gearing, and it keeps the look cleaner. Without the race key, this is a stylish Class 2 bike, as it cuts off at 20 mph. Insert the race key and it’s a different story. It’s an absolutely thrilling ride, maxing out at 36 mph. We had a blast taking this on some roads we had all to ourselves!

Vintage uses powerful Crystalyte motors, up to 3000 watts each, and all are direct drive to allow for regenerative braking.

 

The Tracker also gets a new Graphite Blue color option. It is gorgeous and matches a Porsche color, and Davidge says there’s a direct correlation between Vintage Electric bikes and Porsche ownership. 

A larger battery offers longer range, up to 50 miles depending on use, but only bumps the charge time by a half hour to 2.5 hours. The battery isn’t readily removable like the Cafe’s. 

THE SCRAMBLER S

This is the brand’s new big daddy. With a satin black finish, a rally-esque yellow LED motorcycle-style headlamp with a steel mesh protector, this is the bad boy your mother warned you about. It looks mean just sitting there. An inverted fork with 60mm of travel enhances the motorcycle look. Again, this has pedal assist and a throttle, as well as regenerative braking that actually slows the bike nicely going downhill or just in reducing the amount of braking you have to do to bring this 86-pound juggernaut to a stop. 

Like the Tracker, there’s only one gear, and this bike doesn’t seem to need more than that. If you like pedaling, you might tweak the gearing, as we ran out of gears fairly often on the Scrambler S. 

“We had ear-to-ear smiles the whole time, and the power was intoxicating!”

It also offers the optional race key to bump it from a Class 2 bike on road to a 36-mph thrill ride for private land. Schwalbe Black Jack knobbies let you take it on unpaved roads, too. We just felt like Peter Fonda riding around on it!

The largest battery of the trio, it offers 45–75 miles of range and a 4.5-hour recharge time. That’s on par with most batteries on the market for charge time, but few come near the capacity. The price makes sense with the big battery, style and performance, coming in at $6995.

Founder Andrew Davidge opens the taps on the Tracker.

UPGRADES

For a current Vintage Electric owner, the company offers upgrades to their new die-cast battery packs with all-new controllers, etc., essentially future-proofing their bikes. No need to buy a new bike to get the latest technology. We definitely think that is a great way to show loyalty to owners. They’ve partnered with Velofix to work with them on the upgrades at the consumers’ homes.

We won’t call these bikes pure style, because that would sell them short. They are beautiful, but they also perform extremely well and have excellent build quality. From style to substance, the Vintage bikes check all the boxes and at a price that seems positively affordable for what you’re getting.

SPECS

VINTAGE ELECTRIC CAFE

Price: $3995

Motor: Crystalyte 750W direct-drive rear hub

Battery: 48V 10.4 Ah

Charge time: 2 hours

Top speed: 28 mph (with assist)

Range: 20–50 miles

Drive: Shimano SLX, 10-speed

Brakes: Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes

Controls: Vintage Electric

Fork: Aluminum

Frame: Chromoly

Tires: Schwalbe Fat Frank, 29×2.0”, Kevlar guard

Color choices: Skyline Bronze or Golden Gate Red

Sizes: S/M/L

VINTAGE ELECTRIC TRACKER

Price: $4995

Motor: Crystalyte 750W (3000W in Race Mode) direct drive rear hub

Battery: 48V, 15 Ah

Charge time: 2.5 hours

Top Speed: 36 mph 

Range: 25–50 miles

Drive: FSA/KMC

Brakes: Promax Lucid hydraulic disc brakes 

Controls: Vintage Electric

Fork: Chromoly

Frame: Hydroformed aluminum

Tires: Schwalbe Fat Frank, 26×2.35”, Kevlar guard

Color choices: Red or Graphite Blue

Weight: 79 lb.

Sizes: One size

VINTAGE ELECTRIC SCRAMBLER S

Price: $6995

Motor: Crystalyte 750W (3000W in Race Mode) direct-drive rear hub

Battery: 48V, 23.4 Ah

Charge time: 4.5 hours

Top speed: 36 mph 

Range: 40-75 miles

Drive: FSA/KMC

Brakes: Promax Lucid hydraulic disc brakes 

Controls: Vintage Electric

Fork: MRP inverted fork with 60mm of travel 

Frame: Hydroformed aluminum

Tires: Schwalbe Black Jack knobby, 26×2.35”

Color Choices: Satin Black

Weight: 86 lb.

Sizes: One size

www.vintageelectricbikes.com


 

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