Electric Bicycles Sure Look Dopey. But Not This Beauty
E-bikes make a lot of sense if you aren't into actually, you know, pedaling a bicycle. Who needs all that work? It's so much easier to rely upon a motor to get an added boost across town or up a hill. The only problem is they look ... well, let's just say they aren't terribly hip.
You can see why. Packing a motor and a battery and all that electronics into something so sleek and graceful as a bicycle would make any designer scream. But who says an e-bike has to look like a bike? Why can't it look like a vintage cafe racer?
Several companies are rethinking the e-bike aesthetic, drawing on some of the coolest motorcycles of the past to build something new yet retro. The latest comes from the Canadians at Tempus Electric Bikes. "We want to give people the chance to ride a bike with a design that stands out," says Xavier Chan.
He and co-founder Ikenna Ofoha hope to win over the same crowd that wears smartwatches but goes nuts for vinyl and beer your grandpa drank when he was broke. The CR-T1 sports a steel frame, leather saddle, and low-slung handlebars. (They swapped the high bars of the prototype for something less *Sons of Anarchy *on the production model.) That "gas tank" hides the electronics needed to control the 1 kilowatt motor and the 48V Lithium Ion battery.
You can lug the battery inside for charging, which takes about four hours. An LCD screen on the handlebars keeps you informed of all manner of data, including how much juice is left and how fast you're going.
So. Yeah. About that. The guys limited the top speed to 20 mph to comply with US laws governing e-bikes, so you don't need a license or insurance to ride this thing. Of course they programmed the bike with a speed override that lets you hit 30 mph when you're on, say, a track. Yeah. A track (wink wink). "You can’t have a badass bike that looks like a motorcycle and not have it go fast."
At around $3,000, this isn't for everyone. But the purchase price includes an period appropriate vintage-look helmet, and the company plans to offer a rack so you can carry a backpack, a case of beer, or a box of records.