It’s a bit ironic that California-based electric bike maker Ride1Up’s name is now antithetical to its newest model, the Cafe Cruiser. Riding two-up is generally motorcycle speak for carrying a passenger on back. And that’s just what the Cafe Cruiser does, in addition to combining some sexy styling with a comfortable cruiser-inspired ride. And to top it all off, the bike has some darn good performance as well.
This is Ride1Up’s first cruiser-ish electric bike, as the company has mostly focused on purpose-built commuter e-bikes in the past.
The new model is not a full-blown stereotypical California cruiser as it maintains a number of commuter-friendly components like front suspension, fenders, rear rack, hydraulic disc brakes, built-in LED lighting, and the ability to carry your friend along with you on the back.
But it still has the comfortable laid-back seating position and swept-back bars of a cruiser bike, not to mention the motorcycle-inspired top tank frame design to add a neat little accent to the bike’s top tube.
As a mashup between a comfortable cruiser and a feature packed commuter electric bike, the Cafe Cruiser lives up to its name and throws in some seriously good performance too. Check it all out in my video review below, then read on for my complete thoughts on this awesome new electric bike.
Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser Video Review
Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser Tech Specs
- Motor: 750W continuous-rated hub motor
- Top speed: 28 mph (45 km/h)
- Range: 30-50 miles (50-80 km)
- Battery: 48V 15Ah (720Wh) with 21700 Samsung cells
- Weight: 65 lb (29 kg)
- Load capacity: 300 lb (136 kg)
- Rear rack capacity: 130 lb (59 kg)
- Frame: Aluminum alloy
- Brakes: Dual-piston hydraulic disc brakes
- Extras: LCD display with speedometer, battery gauge, PAS level indicator with five-speed settings, odometer, trip meter, Shimano 8-speed transmission, front and rear LED lights, included high-quality rack and fenders, optional passenger package
- Price: $1,595
Cruising along in style!
The beauty of the Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser is that it rides like a relaxed cruiser bike, yet offers the performance of a fast and sportier-feeling electric bike. And as the rider, you have the ability to choose how you want to ride it each day based on your mood or needs.
Crank it up into high pedal assist levels and hit 28 mph (45 km/h), or ease back and cruise effortlessly on the throttle at 20 mph (32 km/h).
Or, drop it into lower pedal assist levels and get an easy-going workout by casually pedaling along the boardwalk or beach path. It’s got so much potential thanks to its high performance mixed with laid-back cruiser design.
The pedal forward layout and wide saddle give you a comfortable and relaxed geometry, especially considering the swept back handlebars bring the grips right to you and allow you to stay nice and upright in the saddle instead of leaning forward.
The hydraulic front suspension fork and big 26″ x 3″ balloon tires smooth out the ride for everything from boardwalks to nature trails. Those tires are more street optimized than anything, which means I didn’t make great progress while trying to ride through the fluffiest of Florida sugar sand, but more packed sand would likely be possible.
Even so, the “cafe” part of the Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser prevents it from being a more dedicated sand bike, and you’ll want to opt for a true fat tire bike if sand is your thing. But you’ll definitely be the king of the bike path on this thing – I sure am.
With 750W of power (a true 750W, not just a peak-rated 750W), this makes the bike quite sporty. You don’t only get up to a high speed of 28 mph, but you get there quickly. And you’ve got the confidence of punchy hydraulic disc brakes to bring you back down to a stop quickly.
I’ve got to give the company props on the lights, too. While many companies are still holding back lights as optional equipment or forgoing them altogether, the Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser includes a powerful and high quality 80 lux front headlight and a highly visible rear tail light. These aren’t dinky, cheap lights either. They look and feel solid, as if they are designed to last for years (or as if Ride1Up doesn’t want them breaking off and then having to deal with warranty claims). The tail light is even protected by the frame-integrated rear rack, meaning it won’t get caught on obstacles around your garage or bike rack that could risk knocking it loose or snagging a wire.
Speaking of the rear rack, that’s the “last but not least” big feature I want to talk about. Not only is the rack super sturdy since it is built into the frame itself (helping it achieve that massive 130 lb or 59 kg weight rating on the rack), but it’s the perfect mounting point for the passenger package.
This awesome accessory from Ride1Up adds a rear bench seat onto the rack, plus fold out foot pegs and a clear wheel skirt so passengers don’t get their pant legs or skirt sucked into the rear wheel.
Many companies have now started offering rear bench seats as part of passenger packages, but Ride1Up’s is the best one I’ve seen so far for one simple reason: it has a quick release to remove it. You see, with other passenger packages I’ve tried on competitors’ e-bikes, you have to bolt the bench seat onto the rack. That means if you want to access the rack again, such as for strapping down some cargo or adding a milk crate for temporary storage, you have to spend several minutes unbolting the bench seat.
But the Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser’s rear seat has a spring-loaded quick release that allows you pop it on and pull it back off in about two seconds without any tools other than your fingers. It’s rock-solidly attached, but is still easy to remove! I love it!
And the final kicker is the price, at just $1,595! I don’t know how Ride1Up has resisted increasing prices when so many other US-based electric bicycle companies have been walking up prices recently, but I’m also afraid to ask and ruin a good thing, like the kid who reminds the teacher that she forgot to assign homework.
The Ride1Up Cafe Cruiser debuted at $1,595 when it went on pre-order late last year, and here we are four months later in an inflation-riddled economy where the only thing steady appears to be the price of Arizona Ice Tea and Ride1Up’s bikes.
Other companies will sell you a lot less e-bike for a lot more money. With what you’re getting in this electric bike and what you’re paying, this is some crazy good value if I’ve ever seen it.
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