Review: Electric Bike Co’s Model C is a beautiful, affordable 1.25 kW US-built cruiser

Some electric bicycle manufacturers hope to compete on design and aesthetics. Others aim for power and speed in order to win over riders. The aptly named Electric Bicycle Company is one of those rare breeds that went for both. And yet still nailed a ridiculously low price, to boot!

Electric Bike Company

Electric Bike Company, based in Newport Beach, California, offers completely customizable, made-to-order e-bikes that are built right there in the company’s California factory.

With a direct-to-consumer model and a lack of tariffs on imported e-bikes, Electric Bike Company is able to keep the price low on what would otherwise be a fairly pricey electric bicycle.

I’ve been riding around on their Model C electric cruiser e-bike for the last month or so and have found it to be an awesome e-bike for anyone that loves the big, comfortable cruiser form factor. The regular price of $2,299 is quite reasonable for the quality bike and components (10-year warranty on frame and motor, 5-year warranty on the battery), as you’ll soon see. But the current sale price of $1,799 is ridiculously good for this level of US-built e-bike.

electric bike company model C

Video review

Before you check out the Model C’s tech specs, take a gander at my review video below!

Model C tech specs

  • Motor: 500 W nominal, 1,250 W peak geared hub motor
  • Top speed: 45 km/h (28 mph) — also offers lower speed limits for Class 1, 2 levels
  • Range: 80-160 km (50-100 mi) depending on battery choice and user pedal input
  • Battery: 48V 11.6Ah or 17.6Ah options (556 Wh or 845 Wh)
  • Max load: 172 kg (380 lb)
  • Frame: 6061 aluminum
  • Brakes: Tektro Dorado hydraulic disc brakes
  • Other components: color display with speedometer, wattmeter, battery gauge, PAS level indicator, odometer, tripmeter, front and rear LED lights, 5-speed settings, hand throttle, built in charger with retractable cord, giant rear rack, optional front basket and fenders

Electric Bike Company Model C’s arrival

First of all, I’m really impressed with how the Model C shows up. It was dropped off at my apartment with a lift gate truck — not just some UPS guy using a hand dolly to muscle it against my front door. The box it comes in is the biggest bike box I’ve ever seen in my life. That’s because the bike arrives fully assembled.

While I’ve gotten used to varying amounts of assembly required from different e-bikes, having a fully assembled box dropped off is such a blessing.

When you roll the Model C out of the box, it’s literally tied with a bow and ready to use. Simply unknot the string holding the custom-cut foam protectors onto the e-bike, turn the handlebars and you’re ready to ride. It even comes with the nicest little tool kit I’ve ever seen provided with an e-bike. No cheap Ikea hex wrenches here!

The Electric Bike Company Model C wins the “World’s best packed e-bike” award hands down, if you ask me. With this level of packing, it will arrive without a scratch on it and ready to ride in seconds.

But how does the Model C ride?

The Model C is a big bike, there’s no doubt about it.

Not so big that you can’t fit it in an elevator, but still pretty darn big.

But that’s part of what makes it such a comfortable cruiser. You get an upright riding position on top of a big cushy seat. The big tires and swept back handlebars give the whole bike a relaxed feel as it cruises from the bike lane to the boardwalk (or to your local coffee shop). And the hydraulic disc brakes give you the necessary confidence that the big, fast and powerful Model C has as much ‘stop’ as it has ‘go’.

The bike has a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph) if you want to unlock the Class 3 speed levels. But the Electric Bike Company Model C is perfectly comfortable with the standard 32 km/h (20 mph) top speed that keeps it in the Class 2 level. The ability to choose your speed setting is great for areas where higher speed e-bikes might run afoul of local regulations.

The aluminum frame is built like a tank and comes with those classic, flowing cruiser lines that scream “California.” And with a 10-year warranty on the frame, I know I don’t have to worry about this thing falling apart after a couple seasons of use. The leather grips and seat help complete the classic cruiser look and add a nice feel to the areas where I interface with the bike.

The Electric Bike Company Model C’s motor is powerful — more powerful than most people probably need. But I appreciate having more oomph than strictly necessary. I find myself using one of the lower assist levels for most casual riding, but the higher motor power is helpful when I finally hit a hill and don’t want to work as hard powering the big bike up the peak.

One downside of the Model C is the lack of a shifter. The bike is a one-speed, meaning you can’t downshift for hill climbing. While cruisers are certainly more popular in flat areas, I still would have loved to have been given the option to shift. But since I have strong pedal assist to help me up hills, I haven’t found it to be an issue.

I really like the huge rear rack and the optional front basket. The front basket is a $99 accessory but I highly recommend including it, if you can swing it. The front basket is great for carrying a bag or two of quick groceries, my backpack or a whole host of other necessities in life.

It also gets the front headlight further forward and makes it even more visible, in my opinion.

The longer than usual rear battery rack also houses a neat surprise — a built-in charger! You never have to lug around a charger with you because the bike has its own onboard charger. There’s even a hidden electrical cord on a self-retracting reel. As long as you can ride up to an electrical outlet, you can charge without any other gear necessary.

The Electric Bike Company Model C comes in three standard paint colors: White, Black, and Red. I like the black scheme because it feels so classic to me. But you can also go nuts with the Electric Bike Company’s custom color-chooser. Because they build the bikes locally and made to order, you can get the exact color you want to make your bike unique.

electric bike company model C

My verdict

To be honest, I don’t know how they can afford to sell the Model C for the regular price of $2,299 — let alone the current sale price of $1,799. It’s not cheap building e-bikes in the US — which is why almost no one does it. Other companies that sell US-built cruiser e-bikes are charging 3-4x as much as the Model C. But being able to avoid those Chinese e-bike tariffs certainly helps.

electric bike company model C

While some people might claim the bike isn’t 100% American due to components like motors and battery cells still coming from Asia, I think the difference compared to imported e-bikes is night and day. We’ve seen a lot of imported e-bikes around here, and some are even quite good value, but they can’t compare to a US-built e-bike in terms of fit, finish, and longevity.

While motors are basically all supplied by a few Chinese companies (or German in the case of mid-drives), batteries are another story. The cells come from a number of producers and then must be built into a battery pack. Electric Bike Company bought a 50% stake in Turn-Life, a battery building company. They build high-quality packs with dual temperature sensors and smart battery management systems (BMSs) to ensure the best possible battery packs. That’s how they can offer a 5-year warranty, as compared to many other companies offering 1-2 year warranties on battery packs.

With quality parts, high capacity battery, strong motor, 5-10 year warranty and a slick-looking design to boot, the Electric Bike Company Model C is an absolute winner in my book.

What do you think? Do you want to see more electric cruiser bikes? Let us know in the comments below!

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide and The Electric Bike Manifesto.

The e-bikes that make up Micah’s current daily drivers are the $999 Lectric XP 2.0, the $1,095 Ride1Up Roadster V2, the $1,199 Rad Power Bikes RadMission, and the $3,299 Priority Current. But it’s a pretty evolving list these days.

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