Santa Clara, California-based Vintage Electric has just released a new electric bicycle model known as the Cafe, and it is nearly as pretty as it is expensive.
The Vintage Cafe was just announced yesterday and embodies Vintage Electric’s well-known culture and style.
The bike features a sweeping cruiser frame and removable briefcase-style battery in a custom-shaped enclosure.
The Vintage Cafe also includes laser-etched wooden inlays that give it a classy flourish – something not seen on very many electric bicycles these days. Leather is included on the handlebar grips and the saddle. That saddle includes a built-in taillight as well, while the headlight is a standalone 6V vintage-inspired unit.
We’ve visited Vintage Electric before and seen how this classic aesthetic runs true across their many different e-bike models.
On the performance side of things, the Vintage Cafe is rocking a 750 W direct-drive motor and can hit a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h). Vintage is known for creating more powerful e-bikes with up to 3,000 W of power, and so we have to wonder how many peak watts that “750 W rated” hub motor is actually putting out.
As Vintage Electric’s owner Andrew Davidge explained in a statement provided to Electrek:
The 2020 Cafe was not engineered in relation to other pedal assist bikes. It was benchmarked against our powerful 3000w throttle bike line. We wanted to ensure that all of our models could ride together in a class of their own.
The Vintage Cafe features a removable 500 Wh battery that the company rates for between 20-60 miles (32-97 km). Which is to say, “it can go anywhere from not that far to pretty far.”
For what it’s worth, most e-bikes of this size and power level can do an honest 20 miles (32 km) of range on throttle-only operation at 20 mph (32 km/h). Using the weakest pedal assist level (meaning you’re doing much of the work yourself) can usually double that range, sometimes more). And since this model doesn’t offer a throttle, the pedal-assist option will likely help it eke out even more range than most throttle e-bikes.
Speaking of pedal assist, the Vintage Cafe features a true torque sensing bottom bracket, which the company refers to as its Vintorque™ drivetrain. Torque sensors are known to provide a smoother pedal assist experience compared to cheaper cadence-based pedal assist systems.
Stopping power comes from dual Promax hydraulic disc brakes.
To make one yours, you’ll need to shell out a cool $3,995. Consider yourself lucky though, since that price actually puts the Cafe on the most affordable end of Vintage’s lineup.
Yes, I know. I know. You can get a bike that goes just as fast and as far for literally less than a third of the Cafe’s price. We’ve seen them. They’re great. And even in the beach cruiser class, there are more affordable American-built e-bikes.
But that’s obviously not the point of a Vintage Electric bike. You don’t buy one of these bikes because you want the best value. You buy one because you want one of these e-bikes.
And I get it. They’re beautiful. Check out how nice those laser-etched wood inlays look. And take a gander at their Shelby Cobra-licensed model. Vintage Electric makes some beautiful e-bikes. I’d put them almost up there with Barcelona-based Rayvolt in terms of beautiful design and appearance. Though there are still some areas I would like to see improved, especially for this price. Externally routed cables at this price? Come on, man. But still, all in all these are very nice looking bikes with beautiful accessories like that silver plated headlight, wood accent and leather grips and saddle.
Now would I buy one for myself? Probably not. I’m not at that point in my life where I can buy a bike purely based on looks.
But if I was and I had the spare change to throw around, I’d love to be seen on a bike like the Vintage Cafe. It’s a great combination of solid e-bike parts and elegant craftsmanship melded with higher power motors and fast e-bikes speeds. And that sounds like a nice combination.
For those that can afford it, at least.
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