Among the many new electric vehicles on display here at the Paris Motor Show, we stumbled upon a series of vintage and eye-catching electric bicycles developed by Barcelona-based Rayvolt bikes.
The bikes are an interesting fusion of retro styling with custom developed electric bicycle components.
Rayvolt Bikes is a fairly new company by electric bicycle standards, with operations beginning in March of 2016.
Since then, they’ve introduced two retro models: the Cruzer, which lives up to its cruiser-inspired name, and the Torino, which is a less stretched version that feels more like a traditional bike frame.
Rayvolt Bikes works with distributors in over 20 countries, including the United States and most of Europe.
Today they are showing off two new models. The Ambassador is sure to be popular with the single-speed street bike crowd, while the Beachin’ will be the company’s first true fat-tire electric bicycle model.
The Cruzer is definitely the company’s flagship model, and shows off the company’s styling choices as well as a number of their innovations.
The bike features numerous leather accents, including on the stem, handlebar, faux gas tank, fenders and saddle. Even the removable battery is enclosed in a leather box.
Rayvolt Bikes offers two different display options. Users can opt to insert their phone into a holder on the handlebars, allowing it to serve as the bike’s display. Alternatively, Rayvolt Bikes also offers a dedicated color display panel that remains integrated with the bike.
The display runs on custom software known as Eiva, which was developed by Rayvolt. It comes pre-loaded on the integrated display, or can be downloaded via an app to run on Android or iOS devices. It also provides access to adjust settings such as power level, allow access to a music library, GPS maps and even offers a technical support chat, if you ever run into any issues.
The GPS feature also provides an intelligent tracking system (ITS). With ITS, you can check the location of your electric bicycle at any time via your phone.
And if it the bike is ever stolen, you can track it down. Plus, because the tracking incorporates GPS, GSM and Bluetooth technology, so you can track your bike down to just a few meters of accuracy. With traditional GPS-only tracking, a stolen bike held in a large building can still be difficult to locate.
The display shows the rider essential information including speed, battery charge, tripmeter, odometer, and pedal assist level.
The motor is a large diameter direct-drive rear wheel hub motor, meaning there are no internal gears to wear out or break. The center of the motor also houses a sine-wave controller custom built by Rayvolt Bikes. A sine-wave controller provides more efficient power and removes the motor whining noise often associated with most large motor e-bikes. It also provides better torque across the RPM range.
The motor can power the bike to either 25 km/h (15.5 mph) on pedal assist or 45 km/h (28 mph) with a hand throttle. Different options are available depending on the local laws of each country.
The pedal assist sensor is a dual cadence and torque sensor. A dual sensor provides instantaneous pedal assist support and smoother motor operation.
The 48V battery packs housed in a beautiful leather case come in two options, 550 Wh or 1,100 Wh – much larger than the typical 300-500 Wh packs found throughout the e-bike industry.
Those battery packs are built using high capacity and high power Panasonic 18650GA cells. Recharging occurs either with a wall charger or via regenerative braking.
The Cruzer starts at €2,799. Compare that to some other retro-inspired cruiser style e-bikes that cost as much as $6,000.
In addition to the Cruzer, Rayvolt Bike’s new Ambassador e-bike should be an exciting addition to the line. Unlike the heavier Cruzer, the Ambassador has a much thinner frame that presents a more gentle appearance.
Between the brass and leather, it takes on an almost steampunk appearance.
The motor itself is clothed in a copper hued casing that looks unlike anything I’ve seen before in the e-bike space.
The Ambassador’s battery is housed in a leather case that hangs from the top tube of the bike.
The motor options vary from a paltry 200 W up to a more reasonable 400 W.
However, with a 48V 500 Wh battery, the actual power measured at the motor is likely higher.
The Ambassador will start at €3,599 when it becomes available around November or December of this year.
Another interesting model that Rayvolt Bikes will be introducing later this year is the Beachin’ fat tire electric bicycle.
The Beachin’ features 4″ wide fat tires with a smaller Bafang rear motor. Rayvolt chose to include the smaller motor instead of their more powerful custom developed motor to reach the lower price of €1,999.
The Beachin’s battery and controller are housed in a triangular leather case that is removable from the bike for charging.
Rayvolt Bike’s CEO & founder Mathieu Rauzier told us that they also plan to release a smaller folding version of the Beachin’, still with fat tires. “We plan to call it the Little Beach,” he said with a sly smile.
It’s funnier if you read it with a Spanish accent.
The Beachin’ should also be available by the end of this year.
Another interesting bike that Rayvolt has coming down the line is the Trixie.
The Trixie wasn’t on display at the Paris Motor Show and we don’t have too many specs on it yet. However, we can tell you that the Trixie is a front loading cargo trike design for hauling. It features 20″ wheels and a direct drive hub motor in the rear.
When released, the Trixie should retail for €3,999
As a tricycle, it should be easier to balance than two wheeled front loaders like the Yuba Supermarché that we covered at Interbike.
Rayvolt Bikes solar powered charger/bike cover
Another really cool accessory developed by Rayvolt is a solar powered electric bicycle charger.
It comes folded inside a leather case that can be added to the bike. Unfolded, it converts into a bicycle cover with built-in solar charger. Riders can use it to both protect their fancy electric bike from the elements (and prying eyes) and charge their bike at the same time. Locking grommets make it a bit harder for a thief to walk off with the solar charger as well.
In talking with the Rayvolt team today at the Paris Motor Show, I definitely get the feeling that this company is the real deal.
They aren’t just businessmen slapping their brand on cheap imported Chinese bikes. They are a bunch of tech nerds (which I mean in the most endearing way possible) who are actually passionate about the bikes they design.
I also like that they offer a range of prices that can fit a wider market. The Beachin’ is a great entry-level fat bike, while the premium Ambassador is perfect for a hipster with the money for something unique and fancy.
Plus, you have to love the tech they are putting in these bikes. Sine-wave controllers. Direct drive motors. GPS, GSM and Bluetooth tracking. Color displays with proprietary software. Real leather and brass. These things look sharper than any other ‘retro’ e-bikes I’ve seen.
I’ll be getting a few bikes to review later this year, so we’ll definitely be reporting back on the riding experience.
Until then though, let us know what you think about Rayvolt’s vintage-inspired electric bicycles in the comments below.