We all see many electric bicycles with designs inspired by the Igor Pachmelnik Zakuskov school of engineering. They’re functional enough, but these cobbled hunks of junk don’t inspire.
I’ve seen another trend to counter this function-over-form mindset. These are electric bicycles with design cues borrowed from the early days of motorcycles. Take, for example, the E Tracker from Vintage Electric Bikes in Santa Clara, California.
Compare this to the 1913 Indian Twin.
A couple of kids from Los Gatos, CA — a motorcycle enthusiast and a bicycle racer — created this design. They’ve been in a business for less than a year and they’re already selling these bikes as fast as they can build them. Andrew Davidge had to move his assembly operation outside of his family garage. He rented space in an industrial park in Santa Clara.
When I saw the blog post at iMinusD mentioning Vintage Electric Bikes, I looked them up and discovered they’re just on the other side of the expressway from my office. I hopped over during the lunch hour where they set me up with a demo on their “sport” (not street legal) version.
Oh boy, is it fun. The bike looks great. I love the cast aluminum case for the battery, which is mounted inside of the front triangle. They use a motorcycle-style headlight and replace the bulb with a bright LED powered from the motor battery. A custom tail light (also powered from the motor battery) bracket hooks to the Brooks leather saddle. There’s a throttle, and regenerative braking.
Andrew acknowledges this is not a bike for the cyclist. “I’m a cyclist,” he says, and then he showed me the scars where he broke his collarbone while racing. “I hate those guys when they pass me on their electric bikes. But this is a bike meant to replace cars.”
He tells me a lot of their sales have been overseas, with exceptional interest from tourist destinations.
It’s a basic, bare bones design, without a lot of technological-looking stuff to clutter the vintage look. It’s a bike, it looks great, it has a motor, it’s fun. Go ride it.
Learn more –> Vintage Electric Bikes.