If there was any doubt that electric mopeds are coming into their own in 2020, this should pretty much crush it. Not only are there plenty of interesting and inexpensive imported options, but now we’re seeing homegrown American-made electric mopeds as well. North Carolina-based Huck Cycles is the newest electric moped manufacturer, and we caught up with the founder recently to learn about the company’s bikes and backstory.
Brett McCoy founded Huck Cycles last year with the goal of building retro-inspired electric mopeds using as many locally sourced materials as possible.
A longtime rider, Brett sought to capture the joy of motorbikes that he first experienced at just 8 years old on his first dirt bike. But fast forwarding to his current life with a wife and kids, Brett figured it was probably time to trade in the bigger bikes for something smaller, simpler, and more affordable. Something that would require less time-wrenching and offer more time for riding. And thus, electric mopeds seemed like the perfect answer.
Part bicycle, part motorcycle, all fun and games. Electric mopeds had it all.
Brett initially just wanted to find a fun ride. He bought himself a Juiced Scrambler e-bike and enjoyed it, but wanted something a bit more motorbike-like. Then he got a Super73 e-bike and wound up in the same place — sitting on a nice bike but still wanting something that could deliver a bit more. That’s what eventually led him to founding Huck Cycles and designing his own electric moped.
Brett went for a vintage aesthetic with an eye on the details, such as those vintage Puch pedals!
Huck Cycles begins building electric mopeds
And while Brett started like most companies by importing models from overseas, he eventually spent months developing his own frame based on the classic Puch moped frame and that could be built locally in North Carolina. He had the battery packs built in California and tried to source as many of the parts in the US as possible. That wasn’t always possible, like for the chunky 750W to 3,000W hub motors in his rides, which pretty much only come from Asia, but Brett still prides himself on keeping the bulk of the bike (and all of the assembly) right here in the US. There are very few e-bike and e-moped companies that actually build their bikes in the US, which makes Huck Cycles part of a select few.
And while there are some companies that perform their assembly in the US but still produce their frames overseas, Huck stands out as one of the few that starts with local frame construction.
The models that Brett is most proud of are his Rebel and Karma electric mopeds. Both are built on the same frame, but the Karma is a street legal Class 2 e-bike with a 750W rated motor, a 20 mph (32 km/h) top speed and street tires. The Rebel, on the other hand, is designed for those that want a truer moped experience. The user can unlock the bike and set a programmed top speed that matches local regulations. Depending on conditions, it can reach speeds as high as 40 mph (64 km/h) when fully derestricted, but Brett suggests that most people set it to match local 30 or 35 mph moped laws, ensuring that riders are compliant with local laws.
For those that want to go even faster, there are higher powered options. While the base model Rebel ships with a 48V system and a 1,000 W motor, riders can select upgrades to 52V, 60V, or 72V systems and up to a 3,000W motor. That results in faster acceleration and higher top speeds. Brett is careful to point out that his goal isn’t to get a bunch of hooligan bikes on the streets, and that he doesn’t want to help create a bad image for electric moped riders. That’s why he offers the user programmable options so that riders can get the most out of their bikes while still respecting local laws and regulations. And for those that want to stick to typical 750W and 20 mph Class 2 e-bikes, there’s always that option as well.
Huck Cycles isn’t a big operation, and the team’s goal is to keep production at around 10 bikes per month while they are just starting out.
The bikes are hand built and made to order, allowing customers to select custom automotive paint colors and designs for everything from the molded fiberglass “tank” to the leather upholstery and stitching color on the seat.
The ordering process is very much a “design your bike” process. And as a special treat to our readers, Brett has offered to give a $100 discount to anyone who mentions Electrek during the order process. Like a 2020 version of “Tell ’em I sent ya!”
Despite the hand-built process and high degree of customization, the prices for these electric mopeds are actually fairly reasonable. Prices start at $2,200 for the base model commuters, increase to around $2,800 for the 1,000W unlockable bikes and then reach $3,600 for the 3,000W “don’t tell your wife how fast it really goes” models. With real Puch moped parts, true 12V motorcycle lighting, turn signals and accessory systems, dual suspension, hydraulic disc brakes (though the rear disc brakes are mechanical) and other motorcycle-level parts, these bikes feel like good value for a unique product.
Sure, I could get a Juiced Hyperscorpion for $2,400, but those are mass-produced in Asia. And there’s nothing wrong with that of course, but for just a small premium you can now get a unique, vintage-looking and American-made electric moped.
That’s pretty cool, in my opinion.
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