RCA, the century-old electronics brand that may be most famous for its consumer products like the VCR, has launched a series of electric bicycles with the unveiling of three new models. Two of the e-bikes are fairly ordinary models, but the third is a more aggressive and higher-power e-bike with a striking design.
The shift to e-bikes might sound strange for a brand known for radios, VCRs and other home entertainment products. However, the RCA brand was purchased by a parent company that brings new products to market using licensing deals with the brands under its umbrella.
In this case, the brand’s new e-bikes are designed “to accommodate a range of rider preferences from outdoor fitness enthusiasts to two-wheeled commuters.”
Based on the diverse types of e-bikes in the lineup, I’d say that looks accurate. The three models include the GoGo (a folding fat-tire e-bike), the Explorer (a step-through urban e-bike), and the Dirt-E (an off-road e-bike that looks like it got dressed in the dark).
The GoGo follows a typical fat-tire folding e-bike design like we’ve seen plenty of times before.
It includes front suspension, a pair of baskets for cargo duty, a rear 750W hub motor, fenders, LED lighting, and a multi-speed drivetrain. The bike’s 691 Wh battery is mounted behind the seat tube.
The bike folds in the middle of the frame and at the handlebars to create a compact pile of aluminum and rubber that should fit in most cars or closets.
The fat tires should help the RCA GoGo travel over rougher terrain, though the smaller 20″ diameter wheels won’t create quite as nice of an all-terrain ride as larger 26″ wheels could.
For riders that don’t need a bike that can origami itself into tight spaces, the RCA Explorer might be a better option. This city-styled e-bike has urban tires and uses a step-through frame that should make it easier to mount and dismount.
The bike includes front suspension, a fender and LED light package, a rear 750W hub motor, and hydraulic disc brakes. The 691 Wh battery in the Explorer is integrated into the frame yet is still removable for charging off of the bike.
The Explorer does not appear to come standard with racks or baskets for utility use, but mounting points in the front and rear would imply that those accessories could easily be added.
The Dirt-E is perhaps the most unique of the three new e-bike models. It features functional pedals and thus is still an electric bicycle in the eyes of the law despite its more dirt bike appearance. The full-suspension ride includes cast wheels with fat tires and a rear hub motor. The motor is rated for a continuous power rating of 1,000W and a peak power rating of 1,250W.
A typical bicycle saddle is replaced by something that would look more at home on a dirt bike or trials bike.
Despite the off-road look of the bike, it features tires that might be considered dual-purpose yet skew more toward on-road traction.
Top comment by EhCanadian
RCA never actually made VCRs. RCA poured all their R&D into a failed video disc format called CED. But CED was delayed and wasn't ready when Sony released Beta VCRs in the U.S., so in response, RCA quickly re-badged VHS VCRs manufactured by Panasonic. All of RCA's VCRS in the 1970s and 1980s were actually re-badged Panasonic or Hitachi players.
A 60V and 20Ah battery is mounted in between the frame rails above the downtube and offers a capacity of 1.2 kWh.
The RCA Dirt-E comes with a software-limited top speed to keep it legal in various jurisdictions but can be unlocked to a maximum of 55 km/h (34 mph). Such speeds would likely only be legal when used off of public streets.
We don’t have prices yet, but RCA says that the bikes should become available by late Q2 or early Q3 of this year.
What do you think of the new RCA e-bikes? Does the brand name inspire credibility? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below!
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.