Ride1Up has spent years earning a well-deserved spot at the front of the pack for commuter e-bikes. But now the San Diego-based electric bike company is branching out into a new class of rides with a more beach cruiser-esque model known as the Cafe Cruiser.
The new e-bike is likely to help expand Ride1Up’s reach beyond its existing urban-oriented market, with the brand now expanding further into comfort and lifestyle-type electric bikes.
Similar to nearly all of Ride1Up’s existing electric bikes, the Cafe Cruiser will be a fast and powerful e-bike. A 750W hub motor and top speed of 28 mph (45 km/h) ensure that it will keep up with or surpass every other legal e-bike on the road in the US.
But unlike the rest of the brand’s offerings, the Cafe Cruiser takes on a much more feel-good cruiser vibe.
Available in either a step-through or step-over frame, the bike rolls on big ol’ three-inch balloon tires and mounts a sweptback cruiser-style set of handlebars. There’s even that top tank design that we’ve occasionally seen on moto-inspired cruisers.
The geometry of the bike is more upright, with a laidback riding style that is designed more for enjoying a comfortable cruise than for getting to work in a rush.
And to ensure that riders will be able to enjoy the cruise with a friend along for the ride, the rear rack has been designed to be extra rugged for supporting the weight of an additional passenger (as long as that passenger weighs 130 lb or less). The entire bike has a weight rating of 300 lb.
The rack features Ride1Up’s Connect+ system, which allows for quick snap installation of multiple accessories such as a bench seat or kiddie seat. Word on the street is there may also be a basket option that can quickly connect into the rack system.
A clear rear wheel skirt and a set of foldout footpegs give the rear passenger a safe and comfortable ride.
The passenger kit with bench seat, footpegs, and a clear wheel skirt won’t be available until February though. The child’s seat seen above likely won’t be an accessory you can get directly from Ride1Up, but shows what types of uses are possible with the heavy-duty rear rack.
In fact, with that much payload capacity on the rear, the bike almost doubles as a mid-tail cargo e-bike. Almost.
Even with the cruiser DNA, Ride1Up still couldn’t totally deny its roots with some good old-fashioned commuter equipment to ensure the Cafe Cruiser still works well on the rough and tumble roads.
Features such as fenders, front and rear integrated lighting, eight-speed Shimano drivetrain, Mozo hydraulic fork with 80mm of suspension travel, and Zoom hydraulic disc brakes make the bike a potent commuter as well.
The frame-integrated 48V 15Ah battery offers 720 Wh of capacity. Ranges vary considerably based on a number of factors, but the cadence-based pedal assist can probably help riders eke out a good 30-40 miles (50-65 km) of range easily, though throttle riding may cut into those numbers a bit.
The Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser is currently taking pre-orders with a promotional price of $1,595. That number almost seems like a typo to me, especially considering that nearly the same price at other companies often nets you much lower performance and lower-spec components.
I really like the look of the bike, and I LOVE the price. That price tag of $1,595 seems like a steal.
To get a powerful motor, big battery, good suspension, and quality brakes, you’d normally have to spend much more than this. Then add in the awesome passenger-carrying ability of the Cafe Cruiser, and that’s a serious deal.
The step-over and step-through variants are also a great way to make the model more accessible. Most of Ride1Up’s other e-bikes also come with both frame styles as options, so I’m glad to see the same here.
The beach cruiser e-bike market is underserved, in my opinion. There are options on the expensive end like Pedego and Electra, but those bikes are often priced well outside of many riders’ budgets, and the affordable ones tend to skimp on the good parts.
So far the best option for bang-for-your-buck in electric cruiser bikes has probably been Newport Beach-based Electric Bike Company. The company makes beautiful electric bikes locally and also offers more customization options than I’ve ever seen in the e-bike industry, but that also comes with a higher price – especially when you get into the really awesome custom paint options.
At $1,595 for the Cafe Cruiser, I just don’t know of any other cruiser e-bike that comes close to this level of components and with anything resembling the backing of a reputable company like Ride1Up.
I can’t wait to get to test the Cafe Cruiser out… I just hope my wife is as jazzed about riding on the back!
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