What happens when you mix cruiser bike styling with a mountain bike fork and motorcycle-level hydraulic brakes? Oh, and when you slap on a 1,250 W peak motor for good measure? You get the Model R from the aptly-named Electric Bike Company.
I visited the company’s hometown of Newport Beach, California to see this new e-bike in person and put it through its paces.
Electric Bike Company was kind enough to invite me and out host me so I could not only test the new Model R e-bike, but so that I could also tour their factory and watch the bikes being built.
From the high-end parts to the enthusiastic team, the quality and energy that I saw going into these e-bikes surprised me.
But the best part is of course the ride, and I spent the afternoon touring Newport Beach in style on a new Model R. From the sandy beach paths to the city’s hills, I rode it all and soaked up the sun.
Check out my video review below to see the bike in action, then read on for my complete thoughts.
Electric Bike Company Model R e-bike video review
Electric Bike Company Model R e-bike tech specs
- Motor: 500 W nominal (wink wink) and 1,250 W peak rear geared hub motor
- Top speed: 45 km/h (28 mph)
- Range: Up to 80 km (50 mi) with moderate pedaling, higher range with only low pedal-assist, less with throttle-only
- Battery: 48 V with either 11.6 Ah (556 Wh) or 14Ah (672 Wh) options
- Charge time: 4-5 hours
- Weight: 25.4 kg (56 lb)
- Max load: 172 kg (380 lb)
- Brakes: Tektro Dorado hydraulic 4-piston disc brakes on 180mm rotors
- Extras: LCD display, LED head and tail lights, thumb throttle, mounting for front and rear racks and accessories
An e-bike that rides like a cruiser motorcycle
We’ll get to the performance in a moment, but I want to start by talking about the experience.
Electric Bike Company puts a lot of effort into designing comfort into their bikes, and the Model R is no exception.
You can really feel the cruiser bike roots of the company shining through with the pedal-forward geometry, plush comfortable seat, and wide handlebars. Plus the step-through design makes it easy to mount and dismount.
The whole time I was riding it, I just felt like I was cruising down a California boardwalk while the Beach Boys looped in my head. Which is perhaps because that’s where I was and what I was actually doing, but the point is that the bike can give you that feeling no matter where you are. That’s just how it rides.
But where the bike really comes into its own is when you consider the performance.
If you want to take it slow and easy, you can embrace the cruiser lifestyle. But if you want to open it up and really get some wind in your face, the Model R is more than willing to oblige.
With a top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h) and 1,250 W of peak power, this e-bike is both a speedster and a hill climber. Between the flat open coastal roads and the winding cliff climbs, I had ample opportunity to test out both types of riding.
The large 3″ tires that are custom made for Electric Bike Company make you feel nice and secure when you lean hard into turns.
And between the large air volume and the front suspension fork with hydraulic lockout and pre-load adjustment, the ride is just oh so nice.
While I’m usually guilty of laying on the throttle more than I should, the pedal-assist on the Model R worked great and the pedal forward geometry was nice and comfortable. I could pedal easily and still flat-foot it at stops.
I’m no lycra-boy, I want to be able to rest comfortably with both feet on the ground while waiting for that family of six to finish dragging their beach cart across the bike lane.
Quality that matches the price
At $2,199, the Electric Bike Company Model R is on the higher end of the moderate price range for leisurely cruiser-style electric bikes. But in my opinion, you get what you pay for and more here.
Not only are the bikes built in the USA (see my factory tour video below), but you also get a bunch of high-end parts.
The brakes are 4-piston Tektro Dorado hydraulic disc brakes, a model we normally only see on higher-end electric mountain bikes.
The motor comes with a 10-year warranty, and the battery comes with a 5-year warranty.
The batteries use genuine Samsung cells, something you won’t find in most of the major budget e-bike brands.
The bikes arrive in a giant box, fully assembled. All you have to do is turn the handlebars and get ready to ride. And as someone who has literally assembled hundreds of e-bikes, I can’t tell you how nice it is to just get an e-bike and be able to ride without having to first start wrenching on it.
So between all of those add-ons that you won’t find from most other suppliers, the price seems fair to me.
The Model R takeaway
The Model R costs a bit more than a budget electric cruiser or leisure e-bikes, but it’s also a better bike.
It’s better spec’d, comes with nicer parts, is built locally by American workers, and supports a local company.
But perhaps most importantly of all, it’s just a fun e-bike to ride! It’s the epitome of a comfortable cruiser and yet packs in the power and utility to serve as a daily rider e-bike for more than just leisurely jaunts.
All in all, I’m super happy with my experience on the Model R and I would definitely recommend the bike as a winner.
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