Vintage Electric Cafe Review

Vintage Electric Cafe Electric Bike Review
Vintage Electric Cafe
Vintage Electric Cafe Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Vintage Electric Cafe Paint Matched Chain Cover Stylized Platform Pedals
Vintage Electric Cafe Premium Lcd Display And Bell
Vintage Electric Cafe Shimano Slx Trigger Shifters Velo Stitched Leather Grips
Vintage Electric Cafe Integrated Supernova E3 E Bike V6s Headlight
Vintage Electric Cafe Custom Removable Battery 48 Volt
Vintage Electric Cafe Aluminum Alloy Paint Matched Fenders Center Kickstand
Vintage Electric Cafe Integrated Supernova E3 Rear Lights
Vintage Electric Cafe Optional Custom Alloy Rear Rack
Vintage Electric Cafe Skyline Bronze Color
Vintage Electric Cafe Golden Gate Red Color
Vintage Electric Cafe Ebike Battery Power Pin
Vintage Electric Cafe Custom Removable Battery Pack
Vintage Electric Cafe 6 Amp Ebike Fast Charger
Vintage Electric Cafe 3 Lb E Bike Battery Charger
Vintage Electric Cafe Skyline Bronze Ebike
Vintage Electric Cafe Electric Bike Review
Vintage Electric Cafe
Vintage Electric Cafe Shimano Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Vintage Electric Cafe Paint Matched Chain Cover Stylized Platform Pedals
Vintage Electric Cafe Premium Lcd Display And Bell
Vintage Electric Cafe Shimano Slx Trigger Shifters Velo Stitched Leather Grips
Vintage Electric Cafe Integrated Supernova E3 E Bike V6s Headlight
Vintage Electric Cafe Custom Removable Battery 48 Volt
Vintage Electric Cafe Aluminum Alloy Paint Matched Fenders Center Kickstand
Vintage Electric Cafe Integrated Supernova E3 Rear Lights
Vintage Electric Cafe Optional Custom Alloy Rear Rack
Vintage Electric Cafe Skyline Bronze Color
Vintage Electric Cafe Golden Gate Red Color
Vintage Electric Cafe Ebike Battery Power Pin
Vintage Electric Cafe Custom Removable Battery Pack
Vintage Electric Cafe 6 Amp Ebike Fast Charger
Vintage Electric Cafe 3 Lb E Bike Battery Charger
Vintage Electric Cafe Skyline Bronze Ebike

Summary

  • One of the most powerful, fastest accelerating, quietest, and beautifully designed electric bikes I have ever tested, premium drivetrain and custom battery
  • Surprisingly lightweight and well balanced front to rear considering the large 750 watt hub motor, alloy fenders, chain cover, oversized head tube, and thick axles
  • So much attention to detail here, the upgraded bell, matched saddle and grips, stylized chain ring and pedals, and premium integrated lights by Supernova
  • The display is not removable and the kickstand can get in the way of the left crank arm when walking the bike around, the motor produces some cogging drag

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Vintage Electric

Model:

Cafe

Price:

$3,995 (Up to $6,845 with Accessories and Upgrades)

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Urban, Cruising

Electric Bike Class:

Speed Pedalec (Class 3)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Australia, Europe, Worldwide

Model Year:

2017

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

56.2 lbs (25.49 kg)

Battery Weight:

9.4 lbs (4.26 kg)

Motor Weight:

7.5 lbs (3.4 kg)

Frame Material:

Chromoly Steel

Frame Sizes:

17.5 in (44.45 cm)18.5 in (46.99 cm)19.5 in (49.53 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

Medium 18.5 Measurements: 18.75" Seat Tube, 22.5" Reach, 31.5" Stand Over Height, 28" Width, 72" Length, Small 17.5 Measurements: 17.75" Seat Tube, 31" Stand Over Height

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Skyline Bronze, Golden Gate Red

Frame Fork Details:

Rigid Aluminum Alloy, 100 mm Hub Length, 15 mm Maxle with Quick Release

Frame Rear Details:

135 mm Hub, 12 mm Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

10 Speed 1x10 Shimano Deore XT Derailleur with Shadow Plus Clutch, 11-34T Cassette

Shifter Details:

Shimano SLX Two-Way Triggers on Right

Cranks:

FSA CK-633 F. Gimondi, Aluminum Alloy, 170 mm Length, F. Gimondi 44 Tooth Chainring

Pedals:

MKS, Aluminum Alloy Platform, Silver

Headset:

Tapered 1-1/8" to 1-1/2" Sealed Cartridge

Stem:

Promax, Aluminum Alloy, 70 mm Length, 7° Angle, 31.8" Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Low-Rise, Aluminum Alloy, 700 mm Length

Brake Details:

Shimano Hydraulic Disc with 180 mm Front Rotor, 160 mm Rear Rotor, Three-Finger Shimano Levers with Adjustable Reach

Grips:

Velo, Stitched Leather with Lockers

Saddle:

Velo, Leather, Perforated Dual Density with Integrated Supernova LED Light

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

350 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, Color Matched, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, Hand Laced and Tensioned, 14 Gauge Front, 13 Gauge Rear, Adjustable Nipples, Silver

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Fat Frank, 28" x 2.0"

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Tire Details:

30 to 65 PSI, Reflective Sidewall Stripe, Available in Black or Creme Colors, Active Line K-Guard Puncture Protection

Tube Details:

Presta Valve

Accessories:

Premium Flick Bell, Greenfield Center Mount Kickstand, Aluminum Alloy Paint-Matched Fenders, Aluminum Alloy Paint-Matched Chain Cover, Integrated Supernova E3 E-Bike V6S Headlight (165 Lumens), Integrated Supernova E3 Rear Light, Optional Custom Aluminum Alloy Rear Rack ($165), Optional Brooks Panniers

Other:

Removable Pin-Locking Downtube Mounted Battery Pack, 3 lb High Speed 6 Amp Charger with Rubber Cap, Maximum Weight 300 lbs

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Custom TDCM

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

750 watts

Motor Torque:

70 Newton meters

Battery Voltage:

48 volts (35 Amps Continuous)

Battery Amp Hours:

10.4 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

499.2 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

2 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

60 miles (97 km)

Display Type:

Fixed, Monochrome, Backlit, LCD Display, (Hold Up for Lights, Hold Down for Walk Mode, Hold Up and Down for Settings)

Readouts:

Battery Level (5 Bars), Speed, Avg Speed, Max Speed, Odometer, Trip, Trip Time, Amp Output Chart, Assist Level (0-5)

Drive Mode:

Torque Sensing Pedal Assist (Torque Sensing Bottom Bracket, Left and Right Side)

Top Speed:

28 mph (45 kph)

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Written Review

Vintage Electric Bikes is known for their high-powered, high-speed, motorcycle inspired e-bikes. The founder, Andrew Davidge, has been widely recognized for his unique design approach and was even invited onto an episode of Jay Leno’s garage. Since 2013, his company has been refining and expanding their lineup, and in 2017 they launched the Cafe. It’s their first pedal assist only model, and it complies with the Class 3 definition of an electric bicycle in the United States; to be used on most public streets without a license or insurance. By comparison, their slightly more expensive Cruz and Tracker models do have throttles, can exceed 28 mph with the addition of a special off-road key and are classified as Class 2 throttle powered ebikes or a moped level off-road recreational product depending on how they are setup. The one thing they all have in common is a beautiful aesthetic. They are all powerful but operate super quiet and smooth, I was told that the motor controller uses a pure sine wave converter to make this possible and is even optimized for reduced cogging drag when powered on. The Cafe relies on a torque sensor to respond immediately to rider pedal input and balances fast acceleration against strong hydraulic disc brake action from Shimano. The front rotor is a larger 180 mm size and both levers are three-finger with adjustable reach to fit different hand sizes and accommodate gloves. The drivetrain on this bike offers ten gears for comfortable pedaling at a wide range of speeds and uses an upgraded derailleur with one-way clutch to keep the chain tight and reduce bounce and noise (just press the grey lever in the up position to activate it).

At just under $4k, The Vintage Electric Cafe it’s not the most affordable electric bike on the block, but it definitely isn’t the most expensive either, and it doesn’t skimp on quality or support. The company offers a two-year comprehensive warranty on all of their bikes and has backed that up with software updates and out-of-warranty upgrades on many of their earliest products. These bikes are almost like art to me, with premium leather touch points, high-end integrated lighting systems that match the other silver hardware parts, and a custom battery design. The battery pack is very unique and not only looks great but also keeps weight low and center on the frame for optimal balance, is easy to remove, and can still be secured to the bike if you’re leaving it parked at a public rack by removing a twist-in pin as shown in the video review above. There are a few trade-offs worth noting however, such as the mid-mounted kickstand that gets in the way of the left crank arm when rolling the bike around, minimal suspension, a bulky heavy battery charger, and the lack of bottle cage bosses… but Vintage Electric does sell a stylized rear rack for hauling cargo, the charger is faster than most others I have seen, and the two-inch Schwalbe tires combine with the Steel frame to reduce some vibration and jar at speed. This bike feels solid and comfortable on smooth terrain and none of the parts rattled around. I absolutely love the color-matched fenders and chain guard, the sturdy thru-axle, thicker spokes, and tapered head tube for strength and stability. The bike is available in three frame sizes and two beautiful color choices so friends and partners can enjoy it together… but the frames only come in high-step which might be a little tall for those with shorter inseams.

I was told that the Cafe model was inspired by vintage motorcycles, the cafe racer in particular, but I don’t really know much about classic motorcycles. Perhaps it’s mostly in the name because to me they look different, but it’s a cool theme to go with. The motor chosen for this bike is produced by TDCM and delivers 750 watts nominal with up to 70 Newton meters of torque. That’s a lot for an electric bike! Some of the most powerful and efficient mid-drive motors these days put out 60 Nm to 80 Nm and have a big mechanical advantage if you shift gears thoughtfully, so I went into the ride test a little skeptical. Once I gave it a try, especially in the highest Level 5 assist, I was blown away. They really got the sensors configured right to feel natural and the power is there. I found myself mostly riding in assist level 3 and still having a blast. The motor is a bit larger than geared designs and weighs a bit more at ~7 lbs vs. ~5 lbs or so, but it’s likely more durable because there aren’t moving parts inside, just magnets glued to the inside perimeter of the hub and electromagnetic staters in the center. One trade-off with this design is electromagnetic drag called cogging when the motor is not being powered. You can see the rear wheel spin down faster during part of the video review where I talk about cogging. I asked Andrew about this because the upside to cogging is power regeneration, but the Cafe does not have a regen button the way that some of the other models do. Perhaps a bit of electricity is recaptured but they really focused on reducing cogging by sending a small amount of power through to the motor whenever the bike is on so that it would not produce drag. In practice, it’s not a big issue, but I try to be fair and complete in my descriptions of these bikes and want to weigh the differences between each drive system type. This motor is powerful, sturdy, quiet, and won’t interfere with the chain, cassette and derailleur the way that mid-motors sometimes can.

Powering the bike is an above-average sized Lithium-ion battery pack. It offers 48 volts and 10.4 amp hours for just under half a kilowatt of juice. I was told that you can order a second pack for extended range but at 9.4 lbs and with such a unique form factor, I think I’d just bring the charger along if I needed to ride further. This battery sits low and center on the frame, it can be charged on or off the bike without any sorts of dongle adapters, and the leather handle on top is comfortable to use. The battery slides down onto a track and clicks in place. I didn’t hear it rattling at all during my rides and I love how the little pin locking mechanism works (and looks), it reminds me of a grenade or something. If you pull the pin out (or rather, twist it out) the battery cannot be taken off of the bike. This pin is small and light, it’d be easy to clip onto a keychain to take with you into work or a restaurant and most people probably wouldn’t even know how to remove the battery if you did leave it screwed in. My only complaint about the battery design has to do with the charging interface which is not magnetic like some of the other models and has a rubber cap which could easily be lost. I asked why they chose a non-magnetic charger connector (because that pulls out easily if tripped over and has always seemed like the nicest option to me) and was told that it slowly accumulates iron filings and gets dirty in garage environments. I was also told that their future chargers will be 5 Amp vs. the 6 Amp on show in the images and video, and that it would be slightly more compact and maybe a bit lighter too. So to reiterate, the Bosch Powerpack 500 battery that offers roughly the same capacity as the Vintage Cafe pack only weighs ~5.7 lbs and is physically smaller… but it doesn’t look as cool, probably isn’t as rugged, and is used on some competing products like the Electra Townie Commute Go! which weighs more than this bike overall. Interesting, right?

Operating this bike is intuitive and fast. Once the battery has been charged and is properly secured to the downtube, just hold the rubber M button near the top of the display panel. This turns it on and also allows you to cycle through menus. There are two more buttons below the display that allow you to arrow up for more power or down for less. You can even ride without any assist by using level zero, and this is handy for running the lights if you nearly deplete the pack or just want some exercise or slower riding. The display is pretty, just like the flick bell, silver bar, locking leather grips, and all of the rest of the hardware… but it is not removable. If you leave it out in the sun and rain, it should hold up pretty well, but it might get scratched or worn out over time at public bike racks. This is not uncommon, most ebike displays are not removable, much to my disappointment. But, just like the threaded motor connector, brake lines, and controller cable, it’s likely easy to replace and service. That’s because Vintage Electric did not route their cables and brake lines internally through the frame. This might have been a strength decision (the bike is rated at 300 lbs vs. most others at just 250 lbs) or maybe it was purely for accessibility and tuning access. Whatever the reason, I feel that the cables still stay out of the way and look good. I like that they rand them below the downtube vs. on the top tube. This is a bike that could easily hang from many car and public transport racks. You won’t snag the cables while riding or lifting the frame and that’s great.

In short, The Cafe electric bike is a thing of beauty. It rides well and blends in with non-electric bikes because the motor is painted black and the battery is part of the design. It stands out, but in a good way. I don’t mean to gush too much here, I’ve tried to be fair about the trade-offs (cost, high-step only, limited suspension) but it’s delightful to see something different and good in the space. It’s not just another decent affordable bike. It’s a reasonably priced beautiful bike with a unique drive system that performs above expectations. I love this thing to be honest, and I would probably keep it mostly as-is with the exception of a 27.2 mm silver Suntour NCX suspension post to ease my back and neck. I love riding fast but appreciate how stable this bike is with the wider tires. I love that the tires are lined with puncture protection to minimize flat fixes (especially because the rear wheel with the hub motor will take more time and effort to service. The front wheel has a quick release maxle and the rear rack is option but has two levels of mounting options. If you do go the way of swapping the seat post, just be careful with the power cable leading to the custom-integrated rear light. I think you might even have to unplug it if you swap the post (unless it has a hole at the top) and this is where the rear rack upgrade with a separate aftermarket light could come in handy. Vintage Electric sells through a network of dealers across the USA, has an beautiful factory store showroom in Santa Clara, California (near San Jose), and I believe they also sell online direct with a range of customization options. Big thanks to the Vintage Electric Bikes team for partnering with me on this review and having both colors on hand to film. We had a blast cruising around the city streets and a closed parking lot track for the video.

Pros:

  • This is the first Vintage Electric bike model that’s being sold in three frame sizes, this allows riders to mount and pedal more comfortably… unlike some of their other ebikes, it does not have a throttle so optimal leg extension and comfort and ergonomics are more important
  • The frame is made from chromoly Steel and can support up to 300 lbs vs. a lot of other electric bikes that max out around 250 lbs, Steel is often appreciated in the world of bicycles for being comfortable and offering vibration dampening qualities
  • The wheels have 36 spokes for added strength (and the rear spokes are thicker 13 gauge), the head tube is tapered vs. straight, and both axles are thicker than average, the rear is 12 mm and the front is 15 mm with a Maxle style thru-axle (most bicycles use 9 mm skewers)
  • Two gorgeous color choices, beautiful silver hardware, and matching leather grips, saddle, and battery handle make this one of the prettiest electric bikes I have tested, even the optional retro styled rear rack is something special and unique
  • Safety is a big deal if you commute during peak hours and have to deal with dim mornings and dark evenings so I love that the Vintage Cafe has reflective tires and premium integrated lights from Supernova, they won’t get damaged or stolen as easily as aftermarket lights, nor will they run out of batteries and require more screwing around
  • The fenders and chain cover are made from Aluminum which means they are sturdy, relatively quiet, and won’t rust but I also love how beautiful they are, both hardware components are paint matched to the frame, they will keep you clean in varied conditions which is important if you rely on the bike for commuting
  • Given how sturdy the bike looks and feels, I was surprised that it only weighs about 56 lbs, many comparable e-bikes weigh near 60 lbs, it also stops well thanks to hydraulic disc brakes which have adjustable levers to make it easy for people with smaller hands or those wearing thick gloves
  • The bike is well balanced front to rear, notice how low the battery box is on the frame vs. being built into a rear rack or even connected to the higher portion of the downtube
  • Both the motor and battery are geared for power, the 48 volt pack sends higher amps and is more efficient than a 36 volt pack, the 750 watt nominal motor is rated at 70 Newton meters peak output which is incredible for a hub motor design… and it really does feel strong
  • There’s no suspension fork or seat post suspension here stock but the dual-density saddle, padded grips, and high-volume tires feel good, at 28″ diameter, the wheels have a lower attack angle and coast very efficiently once up to speed, they even have Active Line K-Guard puncture protection to help reduce flats
  • Great drivetrain, Shimano Deore XT with Shadow Plus one-way clutch to help tighten the chain and reduce bouncing, this derailleur setup is commonly found on mountain bike models but works well on speed pedelecs like the Vintage Cafe
  • I noticed that the motor power cable is routed along the left side of the bike and doesn’t stick out very far where it might be snagged or bent, it’s a great design with a thicker gauge of wire and a threaded connector point to keep water and dust out, overall just more refined than a lot of other hub motor driven electric bicycles I have seen
  • The battery pack is fairly easy to take off of the bike, it feels sturdy and I really appreciate the integrated handle because it does weigh ~10 lbs, it’s worth removing if you plan on lifting the bike up steps or storing it on a bike rack
  • Pedal assist is activated through a torque sensor on this e-bike and to me it felt spot on, the power is delivered naturally so it ramps up smooth but it’s not at all weak, and the thing is just so quiet

Cons:

  • The display panel looks beautiful, is easy to reach, and navigate while riding but it is not removable which could lead to scratches and weather-wear if parked regularly in public places or outdoors
  • Gearless hub motors are revered for being reliable and quiet, this one is particularly powerful, but it does suffer from a touch of drag due to cogging (magnets repelling the stater when the bike is turned off and just coasting), it’s a minor gripe and at least Vintage has tried to minimize its affects when the bike is powered on
  • Most of the other Vintage Electric models I have reviewed use the magnetic EnergyBus charger standard but the Cafe uses a pressure-fit plug that might not get as dirty but could get bent or caught if tripped over, just be careful with it and also keep an eye on the rubber charge port cover because it doesn’t have a leash or other connector to keep it with the bike and would be easy to lose
  • Kickstands are important and the stock design here works well to balance the bike but because it’s positioned near the bottom bracket, it does get in the way of the left crank arm if you back the bike up with it in the down position
  • The bike looks great, and I almost didn’t notice the wires at first, but they are tacked beneath the downtube vs. being internally routed through the frame, this is a minor aesthetic gripe and might make the frame stronger, cheaper, or easier to service
  • Despite being built in three unique frame sizes, the standover height is pretty high because they are all cantilever high-step designs, the small is still around 31 inches which might be too high for petite riders or those with hip or knee sensitivity
  • The battery charger is bulkier and heavier than average… this means it can be more of a hassle to lug around, but the upside is that it is very fast at 6 Amps vs. most others which just send 2 Amps, I was told that some future models will come with a more compact 5 Amp charger which sounds just right
  • Some of the other electric bikes from Vintage have a regen button that acts as an engine brake and converts kinetic energy into electricity to slowly fill the battery but the Cafe does not have this
  • Minor gripe but the bicycle frame does not have bottle cage bosses to add an accessory, you might have to get a disc brake compatible rack (or their official rack) and consider a handlebar cup holder adapter like this
  • Minor gripe here but because the saddle has an integrated light, there’s a wire that comes up through the seat post and makes swapping the rigid Aluminum post out for a suspension post more difficult, just keep this in mind and be careful with the parts (disconnect the power cable leading the to seat light before pulling the seat post out), if you do purchase a seat post suspension, keep in mind it will raise the minimum saddle height by a few inches, the SR Suntour NCX is relatively short and comes in silver which would match beautifully

Resources:

More Vintage Electric Bikes Reviews

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Larry
10 months ago

I actually felt like the exposed wiring on this particular bike wasn’t just for convenience and cost, but was consistent with the cafe racer aesthetic. Cafe racers are classically small displacement bikes hot rodded for speed by young amateurs. While a certain amount of individual aesthetic polish is characteristic of these projects, sacrificing all other interests for speed occasionally meant leaving engine details exposed, and having random wiring all over the underside.

Reply
court
10 months ago

Hi Larry, it’s interesting to learn more about the history of cafe racers, I like how you described them as “hot rodded” by young amateurs… very cool. I bet I would have loved that scene if I was a young man during the 1960’s in Britain. I have been enjoying the Wikipedia page about Café racers and appreciate your perspective on the wiring aesthetic.

Reply
JS
10 months ago

Did you like this better than Bulls Lacuba E45 or Haibike Xduro Trekking (X). I know they are way different bikes. I’m interested in S Pedelec for an urban commute (30 miles RT, can charge at work…)

Reply
court
10 months ago

Hmm… I was surprised by how well the Vintage Cafe performed, how quiet it was, and that it could be used for the same sort of application as the Lacuba E45 or Trekking models. I came into this review thinking of the Cafe as more of a pretty cruiser than a viable commuting option… but I really think it is, the feel is a bit different and there is no suspension fork but the feel is good.

Reply
weazal
3 months ago

I stalled out purchasing my 1st eBike due to my 6’4″ height restricting bike choices to expensive brands that have different sized frames (e.g. Kalkhoff/Focus). It was hard justifying $4k for a bike when I could get a car for the same price. It wasn’t until I discovered Vintage’s eBikes that their style was enough to finally justify the cost.

After your first hand experience with the bike, would you mind relaying how it might impact my unique needs? My greatest priority is a comfortable commute on flat L.A. streets for 3 miles and casually/comfortably exploring the steep Hollywood hills nearby. What’s your opinion on how comfortably the Cafe could handle frequent/long hill climbs?

Curious what bikes you might recommend instead – if the Cafe’s not ideal? I’m MOST interested in ones that share the Cafe’s style, but also curious what the absolute best bike would be regardless of style/cost. To be clear, my needs are: comfort, hill climbing, and my 6’4″ height.

Hope you don’t mind… you’re such a valuable resource I would really treasure any insight!

Reply
court
3 months ago

Hey weazal! Glad you were able to find something that finally struck a chord. There’s nothing quite like the Vintage ebikes in my opinion, and the Cafe model really impressed me with its smooth, quiet power delivery. It feels solid and fluid. It’s not going to be as efficient as a mid-drive, but it’s definitely fun and faster to accelerate. You’ll have to shift gears in order to climb (as with most electric bicycles) and pedal along smoothly, but it should be capable. The fatter tires offer good comfort and I really appreciate the lights (especially for big cities). An alternative would be something like the Haibike Trekking 4.0 which costs $2,500 and uses a Yamaha mid-motor. It will be slightly louder, harder on the drivetrain if you don’t shift carefully (no shift detection) and won’t support faster pedal cadence to hit higher speeds (you really have to shift gears to get the power and speed because the motor has a 100 RPM support limit). By comparison, the Vintage motor is completely separate from the drivetrain, so you can pedal however you want and the motor always feels the same… That’s the benefit, but also why it’s not as efficient. If you shift gears on the mid-motor ebikes, they will climb more easily and use less power. I hope this makes sense. I filmed some Haibikes today and saw the 4.0 as a great deal since it’s the entry point in the Trekking line. It has a suspension fork, fenders, rack, lights, and I reviewed something similar in 2016 that you can check out here. Again, just tossing this out because it’s top of mind and a bit less expensive.

Reply
Carlos
2 months ago

Hi Court,

Wondering how you would compare the Cafe to the Stromer ST1. ATM i can get an ST1 with front suspension, rack, and bell for $1000 less than a Cafe that does not offer those accessories included. But the Cafe offers 700 watts vs 500 watts and 70 Nm vs 35 Nm. The Cafe is aesthestically appealing in a retro sense, while the St1 is appealing in a modern sense. Stromer has been around longer and there is a shop near me, while the Cafe is a slightly younger company. And although what initially attracked me about the Cafe was aesthestics, after much research and comparison, it seems pretty comparable to a top line urban commuter bike like a Stromer ST1 or a Trek Super Commuter 8s.

Reply
court
2 months ago

Hi Carlos! Excellent question… I do prefer the performance of the Vintage Cafe. It’s super powerful and fast! However, I usually opt for a dealer supported local bike when possible, because that brings fitting, tuneups, support etc. and I have had great luck with the quality of the ST1. I think you’ll probably be happy eithe rway, but the addition of the suspension fork and rack could be very useful for commuting, or if you have a sensitive back and neck like me. I always love suspension and usually opt for suspension seat post and even different swept-back bars. I hope this helps, I’d love to hear what you go for and how you like it :D

Reply
Gary
2 months ago

Hi Court, this thread is a big help. The Cafe design, technology, performance, and simplicity combination works well. Speed Pedelec Class 3 with a smooth, rider friendly PAS (throttle not required), and a $2.5k – $4k+ price range is growing category. Juiced is getting on board and I am hoping FLX jumps into this mix (they could really shake things up). Does a Class 3 speed pedelec capability translate to overall high performance including hills and range? Which of the three Cafe, ST1, or Haibike Bosch 350w,would ride the best in the hills of San Francisco, Seattle, or Palos Verdes?

Reply
court
2 months ago

Hi Gary! My experience with speed pedelecs is that they usually compromise torque and low-speed power for performance at the high end. You can see this with the Bosch Performance Speed motor, which doesn’t quite get to 28 mph unless you really help, and doesn’t offer as many newton meters of torque when starting as their CX motor. As for SF, I’d probably lean towards the Vintage Cafe or Stromer ST1 model for steeper hills in SF. Both use gearless hub motors that are heavy but powerful from start and very capable of hitting an actual 28 mph top speed. I’d put Vintage in the lead, but Stromer does a great job and the ST1 was pretty reliable for me and my family. The Haibike will get the best range and empower you well at low speed if you’re in the right gears, but it will require more frequent shifting and fade out as you rise above ~25 mph.

Reply
Gary
2 months ago

Court, thank you for the reply and thanks to everyone on this thread. EBR reviews are the definitive independent ebike knowledge resource on the web. I would still like to see specific analysis and pros and cons of a bike’s PAS in future reviews.

My take away: PAS matters (throttle mashing is not enough). TDCM Hub Motors Rock! Bosch CX and the equivalent Brose are a better overall mid-drive option than their speed drives even though Class 3 performance may not hit 28 mph. Bafang, especially their Ultra mid-drives and worthy TDCM hub challengers, need to make a strong showing with Versatile California Class 3’s. I am 5’7” and 30” inseam (measured for bike riding) and the Cafe cruiser frame may be a hassle. But the pros may override that con. I prefer purchasing and support via a shop, which Stromer and Haibike provide. But, Vintage has said if I can find a local bike shop who is willing to assemble and set-up the Café, they will reach out to the shop and offer support and liaison during the process (I could even ship directly to the shop). I think their bike is easy to assemble by the owner, but that is awesome online customer service. Finally, pros, cons, and trade-offs will never go away. Thanks, again.

Carlos Bido
2 months ago

Hi Court and Gary, I keep going back and forth between the Cafe and a Stromer ST1. I’ve got a lot of time as I don’t intend to get one until the end of the year. I agree that a local retailer is important. I actually emailed VEB about this, and their response was as follows:

“Any reputable local bike shop will be able to service and tune up ours bikes. The beauty of our Cafe is that there are no more moving parts than on a traditional bicycle. For the bicycle components, any bike shop can service. For the e-drivetrain we designed it to be modular such that if there ever was an issue it can pretty much be diagnosed via phone with our service techs, and then through the local bike shop we can advise on how to do part swaps. This has worked very well for us our customers in areas where there is no local VEB dealer.”

That was reassuring. In fact, I will contact the local retailer where I tried the Stromer to determine if they have worked or are willing to work on servicing and tuning up a Cafe (they have other ebikes there too). If not, I suppose I’ll have to take the horrible drive to Santa Monica from South Pasadena (little sarcasm there, LA is beautiful from the east side to the west side) for tune ups and service if I go with the Cafe.

I’ve been reading that the ST1 may be discontinued, therefore taking me out of the price range which means moving up to an ST1X or ST2. On the other hand, I like that the VEB is American made and in fact from California as I am a Los Angeles resident. If Stromer is the Tesla of ebikes, I suppose that the VEB is an All-American muscle car, because the battery and motor on their low end ebike can compete with some of Stromer’s top of the line bikes.

I really think Davidge did a disservice to himself and his great creation of an urban commuter when he was quoted saying they were not trying to compete with someone like Trek Supercommuter when in my opinion, it blows the Trek away. Nonethless, the Cafe needs to come standard with the rack and bell though as it is unique to that class of ebikes, urban commuter.

Gary
2 months ago

I put together a bucket list. Performance + Versatility + Fun + California legal + Value Pricing = 2018 DODGE CHARGER SRT 392. Or an awesome electric bike for a lot less.

The bike equation: High quality PAS and sustained (by rider and bike) 20-28 mph on flat roads + Versatility (hills, range, speed, handling, comfort, durability, and reliability) + desire to ride everyday + A 750w nominal motor or less (no jail breaks) and Class 3 compliant + doable at less than $4k(ish) = ?

The VEB Cafe packages performance, versatility, style, and *Simplicity* better than anyone. VEB customer service seems to be first rate. Can Stromer, FLX, and others answer the call?.

Note: No commuter should be worn out on a daily class 3 commute including commutes in SFO and SEA, and this category has potential economies of scale.

Thank you Court and every contributor on this thread, it helps.

Reply
Eddie Johnson
1 month ago

Hello all! This is Eddie from Vintage Electric, and I love to read through these comments from time to time. Court, you are an absolute gem for all of us in the industry, and full of great un-biased knowledge for our owners!

I am posting for all those who read, to let you know that we do have a front suspension solution for the Cafe. Please contact us directly for pricing and details on the suspension fork (same fork maufacturer that builds our inverted fork for the Tracker and Scrambler models, MRP out of Colorado) as we currently do not advertise it anywhere.

On my personal Cafe, I have removed the fenders, added an MRP front suspension fork, installed WTB Riddler 45c micro-knobby Skin Wall tires, and a Brooks B67 saddle with our integrated Supernova Rear LED… the bike is an absolute dream to ride 20 miles each way on my commute at 28+mph. The addition of the front fork and springs in the Brooks B67 saddle, compliment the comfort of the Cafe Chromoly Steel frame very nicely!

Hope this helps spark some enthusiasm and inspiration on customizing the Cafe.

Regarding the comment about local retailer support – we partner with only the best shops who can provide support and enthusiasm for Vintage Electric, equal to our own. If you are in an area where we do not have a retailer, we (I) will provide the 5 star concierge service via phone and email after placing an order directly with us through our website http://www.vintageelectricbikes.com or via phone (408)-969-0836. We will work with a mobile bike shop like VeloFix, or a reputable local bike shop for assembly and delivery. We ship directly to said shop for assembly so that you don’t need to worry about transporting the large shipping box, and then can continue to work with them as needed to support your ride. We have operated this way since our inception, and it proves to be a very nice way to bridge the gap of not having a local retail/service partner. We design our bikes to require minimal service, but if needed, we try to go above and beyond to make sure you and your bike are back on the road swiftly! Vintage Electric is a family of enthusiasts, and we aim to treat you that way.

Heres to more pedaling, and less time cursing traffic ;) We hope to hear from you with your questions and are always happy to chat!

Cheers,
Eddie

Reply
court
1 month ago

Great comment Eddie! Thanks for sharing the updates about your suspension fork update and clarifying how the shipping/assembly process works. You guys have always done a good job with customer service and I’ve had a blast riding your bikes for the reviews here. Hope the year is going great for you!

Reply

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John from Connecticut
6 days ago

Ok folks, Is everyone paying attention ? ...This is what quality Customer Service looks like from a quality e-bike company. A big shout out
for Vintage Electric Bikes ! ...Full disclosure. I have nothing to do with VEB whatsoever and don't own a Vintage Electric Bike, but when companies do the right thing it should be shared.

John from CT

christob
6 days ago

Following other forum members, I wanted to share my observations now that I’ve accumulated 1,000 miles on the Café ebike from https://www.vintageelectricbikes.com/ Vintage Electric Bikes (“VEB”) of California.

Background: In January with my 50th birthday looming in August, being out of shape and at least 75 pounds overweight, I suddenly decided I would pursue an ebike. I hoped it would introduce enjoyable (and sustainable) exercise into my too sedentary lifestyle. I tipped the scales at 303 pounds (6 feet 2 inches tall) when I received the ebike on March 2. I figured the ebike would comfortably get me back into biking (with Assist eliminating the pedal-bike “miseries” such as hills I couldn’t tackle, range/fatigue limitations, etc.) And with a 6.7-mile one-way office commute on paved trails, I had no excuse not to attempt biking to work – which would then introduce at least 50 ‘unavoidable minutes’ of some level of exercise into those days.

I assumed the riding experience would eventually be fun – based on a throttle ebike rental years ago for a Golden Gate Bridge ride. But it has exceeded all my hopes & I’ve ridden nearly every day the weather permitted since early March 2nd (including some commutes on mornings in the low 30’s.) I now take a long detour after work to triple the ride home. With 1,000 miles and 22 office commuting days so far, I’m optimistic this has gelled into a new, enjoyable habit -- exactly what I wanted an ebike to do. I love that I can’t wait to get back on the bike – I’ve *never* looked forward to exercise, ever…! Even when I actively lost weight in the past... Now, it feels good getting home dripping sweat, as I see the pounds melting away…!

This is my first ebike, and my first sustained bike riding in at least 20 years. I took advantage of a deal on a demo bike VEB had – 74 miles clocked on the master odo plus a very minor scuff and a tiny dent on the rear fender – was enough for them to offer an attractive discount. (This was after a lengthy round of emails to answer my many newbie questions about ebikes. Eddie in Sales was very helpful and responsive.) The bike was shipped to Velofix, a mobile outfit, to do final assembly and deliver to me.

Key bike specs; 750w rear hub motor, 5 pedal-assist levels (no throttle mode), Class 3 / assist to 28mph, 48v 10.4Ah battery, chromoly steel frame, stocked tires 29x2 Schwalbe Fat Frank w/ Kevlar Guard, Shimano M365 hydraulic disc brakes, metal fenders in matching paint, Supernova 6v headlight and saddle-integrated red LED lights.

Likes / Positives (in no particular order):

[*]Looks, style and finish! I was immediately drawn to the style of this bike when searching. Test rode 3 other brands, but this kept calling me back. I find it a very handsome bike with a nostalgic character that reminded me of bikes from childhood memories. I really like the “Skyline Bronze” paint color vs. the ubiquitous black. The bike draws positive comments from folks on the trail, at the local bike shop and the office.
[*]VEB’s “small shop” outfit; I liked that the VEB team is a small, bike-enthusiasts-turned-makers outfit in the USA. I realize there can be pros & cons to a smaller size (vs. a huge player like Trek) but it held an appeal for me and hasn’t posed any problems (see Issue, later on.)
[*]2 - 3 hours full recharge. The charger (now) is 5 amps.
[*]Power. Level 4 and 5 are impressive and a lot of fun on an empty stretch of road. I’m not a speed junkie on the bike; I tend to hit max trip speeds for brief intervals, somewhere around 22-26mph on commutes or leisure rides (usually a downhill run.) Since I want exercise from most rides, I tend to stay in Level 1 whenever possible (gear-shifting regularly) while reserving Level 2 or 3 for when losing steam or on more serious / extended grades. In hindsight, I probably would have been fine with a 20mph ebike (VEB doesn’t have one in their lineup) – but I do like having that punch of power when I need it, and when I want the rush of that smooth speed!
[*]Leather-wrapped Velo saddle had integrated LED tail light. (Though I lost that in a saddle-change.)

Dislikes / Negatives (in no order):

[*]No suspension elements available; makes for a stiff ride over pavement cracks, tree-root buckled asphalt, etc. I sort of wish I had focused on this more, during my research & trial rides.
[*]Certainly not a lightweight ebike at 56lbs w/ battery. (But feels solid as a tank.)
[*]No mounting lugs anywhere on the frame for a water bottle cage!
[*]The included Supernova headlight only has steady-on; would like a daytime flash/pulse mode.
[*]I sort of wish the display panel offered more detailed battery / energy data (as EBR Forum posts have made me more curious about all that. Although I’m honestly not sure how long I’d sustain interest in those detailed figures, realistically!) The display panel does provide: Current Speed, Avg Trip Speed, Max Trip Speed, Master Odometer, Trip Odometer, Trip Time Duration, a 5-bar battery gauge, plus an active ‘graphical, segmented arc’ bar-meter as a visual depiction of motor input in real time.

Gear Updates:

[*]My initial purchase added a rear VO Campeur rack, Abus Bordo Centium lock & Spurcycle bell.
[*]Replaced the stock, leather-wrapped cylindrical style grips with Ergon GP1 leather.
[*]Added Mirrycle mirror and Topeak cage-mount accessory onto handlebar.
[*]Banjo Brothers canvas pannier bag; not weatherproof, but I’m not riding in rain (at least, not deliberately, yet!)
[*]Replaced stock perforated Brooks-leather-clad Velo saddle with a Brooks B67 spring saddle, which meant losing the integrated LED rear light of the stock saddle; so…
[*]Added strap-on rechargeable LED’s – seatpost-mounted rear red flasher, and handlebar mounted white flasher for daytime.

Issues and Outcomes:

[*]A chirping rear-wheel squeak developed in the first couple weeks of riding. Between calls to VEB and investigations at my local shop, they couldn’t eliminate the sound (regardless of Assist level, pedaling or coasting.) VEB eventually sent me a whole new rear wheel / hub motor assembly, assuming it might be something faulty with the motor itself, after exhausting everything else.
[*]Curiously, the first full day of riding after the new wheel was installed (which by the way, did eliminate the chirp!) the Assist died completely, perhaps after 15 miles tallied that day on the new wheel. (This was at about 815 total miles on the bike.) It stopped assisting in any Level, on any terrain. (Although Walk Mode still worked to spin the rear wheel.) Later that same evening, the display panel would no longer power on.
Speculation was that the new wheel’s install could have inadvertently loosened or damaged wiring inside the controller (all within the metal battery-mount-bracket on the downtube.) So VEB sent a new controller / battery-mount, installed by my local shop. That restored the power-on capability and Walk Mode but did not resolve the Assist issue. At that point, VEB decided it was time to send a brand new replacement Café bike.
I found this outcome especially impressive since I’d purchased the first bike at a nice discount for being slightly used.

I personally suspect an electrical short occurred while riding after the new wheel went on; a short that fried the pedal-assist sensor at the bottom bracket. (I’m not a mechanic by any means!) That would seem to explain why Walk Mode worked (hub got juice from battery) yet Assist did not, with both the old and new controller. The pedal-assist sensor was the only thing that was NOT replaced during VEB’s troubleshooting… And during this failure period, the bike was behaving exactly as if it didn’t know I was actively pedaling. (I.e., it is a pedal-assist only, no throttle.)

I’m waiting on VEB’s autopsy of the first bike. But the “something shorted” idea may also be supported by what appeared to be slightly-melted plastic surrounding 2 of the female sockets on the battery mount receiving socket of the old controller. I only discovered the melted-looking bits the night Assist died, when I did an inspection of the bike at home to check all wiring connections while VEB prepared their trouble-shooting plan. I’m 99.9% sure that same plastic area was pristine when I got the bike; though it wasn’t an area I regularly examined since it was frequently covered by the installed battery.

Summary: So – now 1,000 miles in (all miles from both Café bikes) 14 weeks after delivery. (Winter weather, some travel, and finally the Assist failure left about 53 bike-able days in that 14 week span; though I managed about 25 pedal-only miles during the “no Assist” time; quite a different workout experience! ;) ) At this point, I’d say the lack of suspension is the only serious shortcoming I’ve got with the bike. Although I do plan to try out a suspension seat post (and maybe even the Redshift Shock Stop stem?) after I drop 25 more pounds… I’m thrilled to share I’ve already lost 26lbs in those 14 weeks – yay, ebikes!

VEB support and service has been exemplary during the troubleshooting and ultimate replacement; I’m happy to say their “small outfit” presented no challenges! (At one point I called their HQ to check on the latest action plan – a new guy I’d not spoken to before answered. As I said my name, he knew instantly who I was – turns out it was the owner of the company who’d answered; while I was appreciative of his apology about the situation, I was even more relieved that he was completely in the loop on my case. I’ll never know whether I would have received this level of resolution and smooth handling from one of the larger manufactures, but I’m glad I don’t have to find out, either!

christob
1 week ago

Such a challenging question to answer, so far... it has been variable, of course!
My longest single trek was 36 miles (paved bike trail, rolling hills with one or two substantially challenging hills, for me) and the battery was not fully depleted at the end. That trip, I deliberately wanted to stay in Level 1 (of Levels 0 - 5 available) and rely on gear shifting as much as possible, to start to gauge my available distance on a charge. But another day (also on paved trail but with insane winds and a long, sustained, killer hill to go up) the battery depleted to dead at about 25 miles (I know I rode that day mostly in Level 2, probably calling up 3 and 4 at times.)

In general I mostly ride paved bike trails, and largely (apart from some joy riding just to have fun in the upper Assist Levels) I aim to stay in Level 1 whenever possible, as I want a workout from my rides, to help with weight loss. That is except when I commute to the office in the morning (also paved trail); I'll do that 6.7 mile ride mostly Level 2, to try and arrive less sweaty... But then going home from work, I extend the length to about 15-20 miles, and revert to staying in Level 1 as much as I can... Of course I'll dip into Level 2, perhaps even 3, when tackling substantial (my definition of substantial, that is!) grades, but I always drop back to Level 1 as soon as the grade is crested.

I started out at 303lbs when I bought the bike in March; just over 900 miles biked, and now down to 275.
Cafe by Vintage Electric Bikes, 48v 10.4ah battery, 750w direct drive rear hub motor. (Their website states "20-60" mile range.)
Bike + battery is about 56 lbs. I also carried a Abus Bordo Centium lock, Velo rack w/ canvas pannier, full water bottle (refilled along the way).

As an experiment, I decided Friday to see how far I could go on a single charge... not that I'd ride it til 100% dead again -- but I wanted to ride it until only say, 1 bar (of the 5-bar-display) was left. So Friday I did a 25.5 mile trek (paved trails). Again, largely in Level 1, using Level 2 sparingly and briefly. When I got home, with the bike at rest, there were 4 battery-bars left. I left it as-is overnight, and then Saturday rode that same route, again mostly in Level 1; a slight detour made Saturday's total 26 miles.

So that's 51.5 miles under this single charge so far... at rest, the battery gauge showed 3 bars still remaining (though, while I was actively pedaling in Level 1 today (Sat.) on flats near the end of the ride, it was showing 2 bars remaining...) Both days, the trips averaged approximately 13 miles per hour overall, each trip with max speeds (usually downhills or long flats) in the 22 - 25 mph range.

{Edit after post: couldn't resist adding an 11 mile circuit Sat. evening just to break the "60 mile mark" on the same single charge. During the ride I got down to 1 bar remaining (while pedaling) but still showed 2 bars at home with bike at rest. Decided that was enough for the experiment and ran it through a charge cycle.}

Merc
3 weeks ago

That's awesome @i Kempaiah. I'm considering between a Cafe from Vintage Electric Bikes and a Stromer, and also determining whether to buy direct sale or online from someone like Lenny's. Hope to hear from @enroz to see if the situation was remedied.

jazz
4 weeks ago

You did receive good support but I wouldn't call replacing an entire wheel with motor, controller and wiring non-trivial. Those are all pretty essential components to an ebike. Regardless, VEB is known for their great customer support. When I said "Spotty customer service" with direct buy that was based on this forum and other forums which I have been a part of for years and my own experience with over 10 different ebikes, most direct buy. You have companies such as VEB that provide solid support as well as others Biktrix and RadPower. However, there are several other popular direct buy companies which do indeed fall into the "spotty" category.

christob
4 weeks ago

I have to disagree completely with jazz, based on my experience of buying direct and from another state...

I bought from Vintage Electric Bikes out in California (I live just outside D.C.) after spending much time on their website, watching reviews, and sending them probably 2 - 3 dozen different email inquiries (as a total newbie) over a month; all of them patiently and thoroughly answered. I've great service from them (though admittedly, sometimes there's a 24-hour lag on email replies.) The bike is solid and sturdy, fast and beautiful.

I've had 2 "non-trivial" issues develop with the bike -- a nagging, persistent chirping squeak developed from the rear wheel, which no amount of investigation or trial-and-error troubleshooting at my LBS would resolve (including with V.E.B. Support on conference call with LBS guys, walking them through some options V.E.B. wanted checked out.) V.E.B. simply sent along whole new rear wheel (with new hub motor) to me. After that was installed, the assist sort of faded away to nothing during one day, and eventually that evening, I couldn't even power on the bike. V.E.B. then sent me a new controller and wiring harness (it is all contained in their down-tube battery mount bracket.) That was installed at my LBS and the bike is back in business.

All this, and I didn't pay full retail for the bike, taking advantage of a 25%-discounted bike due to a paint scuff and a tiny fender dent.

Yes, these 2 issues have been baffling and frustrating; annoyingly unexpected and disruptive within the first 1,000 miles on the bike -- but I cannot complain about V.E.B. Support and their handling of the resolutions to these issues.

Chris Hammond
1 month ago

So the Rosenberger connector is designed to transmit both data (4 small pins) and power (2 large pins). I would recommend contacting Vintage or ask others on their forums about the compatibility. It realistically should work fine by just making an adapter that correctly connets the pos and neg poles.

christob
1 month ago

It appears to be just like the "Rosenberger" connector -- except, not magnetic at all. Where the Satiator page shows a Rosenberger connector - it appears to have 4 contact points (not pins) exactly where my 4 actual pins are located, all surrounding the 2 central larger pins.
My bike (shared in signature line) is the Cafe from Vintage Electric Bikes.
Someone else posted that it is a connector made by Higo, but that's all the specs I know, myself. I'm resharing their photo here:

christob
3 months ago

Nothing shot out in the wild just yet... Looking forward to getting a shot with my local scenery behind...
I'm only about 60 miles in on this since picking it up 18 days ago; eager for spring -- but we're forecast for 5-10" snow tonight -- happy vernal equinox, indeed. :mad:

Vintage Electric Bikes - Cafe.
Supernova headlight. Spurcycle bell. Brooks B67 saddle & GP1 grips.
Velo Orange Campeur rack. Abus Bordo Centium lock. Mirrycle mirror.

christob
4 months ago

Hello from Northern Virginia!
Today I took delivery of my first-ever electric bike, the Cafe, a pedelec made by Vintage Electric Bikes out of California... I am looking forward to bringing a lot more biking into my life; the last time I rode a bike was probably 12+ years ago. My goal is to soon be commuting to work most days on the bike (only about 6.5 miles each way) and thus introducing enjoyable exercise into my far-too-sedentary workdays. And after acclimating to it a bit more, I'm looking forward to spending (and wanting to spend) more fun time on the bike at weekends, evenings, etc.
I'd love to know if anyone else is on the Cafe -- I've already got one burning question (how to reset the trip odometer) emailed out to customer support...!
--Chris B.

Moonshine
11 months ago

YES! I showed it to him and he laughed for a solid 30 seconds.

Did Ariel Riders used to have mid drives last year? Their website says "Innovative Japanese motor technology provides 48 /35 Nm (Newton meters) of torque in 500/250 W motors. Our vintage electric bikes can reach the maximum speed of 30 miles per hour."

Maybe they turned away from Brose? I wonder why.

Ann M.
1 year ago

No ebike is perfect, this is a thread dedicated to sharing known issues or problems with electric bikes from Vintage Electric Bikes as well as any help and solutions you know of. Sometimes that means a DIY fix and other times it can mean a recall, software update or part replacement by a dealer.

Please be respectful and constructive with feedback, this is not a space for hate speech. In many cases, representatives from the company will see feedback and use it to improve their product. In the end, the goal is to enjoy riding and help each other go further and be safer.

Dewey
1 month ago

Nice ebike, a guy on this forum https://electricbikereview.com/forum/members/christob.17662/ is commuting to work on one and he likes it.

fnord
1 month ago

Looking for a 2nd charger for my Vintage Electric Cafe. The oem charger says 54.6V / 6A. I don't mind if the amp rating is lower, as this would be for overnight charging.

I've searched around and I cannot find chargers that use the connector VEB uses. It's made by Higo, has 6 pins. I'll post a pic in a bit. VEB only has 6A chargers.

fnord
1 month ago

Update: I bought a Vintage Electric Cafe and I'm mostly pleased with it.

gv1
2 months ago

Agree, Some PAS systems like Stromer, Haibike, Riese & Müller, Vintage Electric Cafe Bikes are buttery smooth and respond instantly to ride conditions and rider performance. These systems also deliver on most of the challenging performance demands. They have user friendly programs for all situations and create a great bicycle riding experience. Others are not as good, they strain motor performance, and ruin the overall bicycle riding experience. In these situations riders are forced to use the throttle more. A good PAS will encourage riders to pedal and still have fun. Throttles definitely have a role on MTBs and off-road.

fnord
3 months ago

Thanks all.

I test rode a 2017 Bulls Lacuba Evo E45 today. Much more powerful than the jump, but didn't seem as fun. Maybe it's the riding position, I don't know. Rented a Jump today just to check and yup, it was still fun :)

Going to see if I can try a Vintage Electric Cafe somewhere next.

rozza
7 months ago

I did try a Delite at the NEC show and the fit just didn't suit me, and didn't like the nuvinci at all. Ironically I bought a Vintage Electric Cafe from FullyCharged ..... brilliant bike and great service from FullyCharged. Did try a Trek SC8, wasn't too impressed, way overpriced compared to say Specialized .... tried a Specialized Turbo Vado which was much nicer and was tempted. But in the end fell in love with the individuality and build quality of the Cafe and rear hub drive which feels so much smoother and more natural for town work. No regrets!

Julien Gabriel
1 month ago

Thank you for your review, I can feel your passion in the video and your insights are really useful.

I fell in love with the look of the Vintage Electric Bikes. I am looking for a pedal assist electric bike to use in the countryside road in France. I don’t know what to chose between the tracker and the cafe. The tracker 2018 edition now has different level of pedal assist, like the cafe. However I don’t know if the riding position would be good for pedaling, it does not have shifting and is heavier. But the tracker has a bigger battery, and a better look (IMHO) !

What would be your choice between the two ? I am not able to try these bikes in France...

Thank you !

Specialized 29er
2 months ago

Love this guys reviews.

Trace zach daniels
2 months ago

cool...BUT 4 thousand dollars I 'll pass HPC usa made is much better I KNOW I have one and mine only cost 2000 thousand dollars BEST thing I ever bought....AND I became a dealer and consultant for HPC.......Tee in Bakersfield CA at 626 342 4160 and website is at www.hi-powercycles.com

J. R.
2 months ago

I really like this bike! I wasn't a fan of their motorcycle looking bikes, this bike looks like a bike and a quality bike at that. Court you look like you really enjoyed this build more than others I've seen you review. At one point while cruising you just said "nice". Says it all, nice!

Catherine Carrasco
2 months ago

I have vintage Santa Barbara bike,inside battery pack ,only red and black wire to hook to battery,black wire broke,plus I need to go ahead and hook up my new batteries.im trying to find a phone number of Santa Barbara electric bike,or diagram for inside the battery pack I do not want to hook up the wires wrong can anyone help me

John Parker
3 months ago

You can buy a kit to make one for one eighth the cost. No sale you pathetic rip off artist.

IanDinBC
3 months ago

I've seen a few of this company's products now, and the one thing I haven't seen mentioned yet is the amazing build quality of the frames, the welds on these things are absolutely perfect - which is very rare in the bike world. Sometimes I think that all of the worlds truly skilled welders are doing something other than welding bike frames, but whoever does the frame welding on these bikes is a true expert, it might seem like a small thing, most people think that "a weld is a weld" but it shows how much attention is paid to detail throughout the company. Kudos. Now, if I can rake together the money...

J. R.
2 months ago

IanDinBC I agree this frame is near perfect. One thing to keep in mind this is a steel frame, whereas most bikes these days are aluminum. Steel joints are easier to keep clean and minimum when welding. Aluminum, especially hydroformed aluminum will always have a bigger bead, for strength.

Cristian Daniel Popescu
3 months ago

Just amazing!Soo cool...

Jeff Zekas
9 months ago

too bad it isn't $2,000 instead of $4,000

OMGWTFLOL
1 month ago

Too bad all nice things in life weren't half price. Would love to pick up a nice used Porsche 911 for $20k instead of $40k.

Sketti Boi
10 months ago

Wow very smooth and quiet. I'm impressed.

benzoesan sodu
10 months ago

4k USD for not suspension bike? Production cost 700usd total. The rest is marketing.

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

Well, they have a store, a bunch of employees, they service the warranty, and I am positive that the production cost is way more than 700 USD before it goes out the door. There needs to be a profit margin for dealers too, which is a big service to customers who want a finished products. It's true, you can get some electric bikes for $700 off of Amazon but they don't seem as polished or well supported as this. Here's an example I reviewed a while back: https://electricbikereview.com/watseka/xp/

beatsdddx
10 months ago

Just wondering are throttle e bikes100% legal to ride on the city streets?
When you say throttle I hear you say off-road a few time on this video.
With electric skateboards they all feature remote hand throttles and
they are being ridden on city streets. Seems throttles should be a100% legal for e bikes.

Gr8 review on the Cafe bike.

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

If an ebike has a throttle, in the USA it is classified as Class 2 and is legal on streets most of the time. The whole Class 1 thing is for certain popular mountain biking trails where electric bikes can go but should be pedaled for fear of damaging the dirt... and in part this is based on some European regulations that some big bike makers are following and trying to extend perhaps as a competitive advantage here? There's a lot of complexity in the Class thing, and Class 3 is for 28 mph "speed pedelecs" which are also usually allowed on roads in the USA but require a license in parts of Europe.

Stop Kafirophobia
10 months ago

Awesome 🤡 pedaling! 🤣

Ed Anderson
10 months ago

I like the battery pack. Do you know how much they sell those for separately? I like to put it on my Radrover.

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

Hi Ed! Anything is possible, but this is not going to be easy or affordable at all. The systems would probably have to be custom wired together and might not operate at the exact same voltage, and the controller might not match. This is not going to be easy and I'm not sure that Vintage Bikes would sell you their battery box

frank doster
10 months ago

Looks like a solid bike.

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

Yeah, it seems to be very well made, and it rides quiet and solid, just beautiful :)

D Danilo
10 months ago

Wow! That really IS quiet! Even with the camera mounted to the frame, where it picks up a lot of sound by induction, it seemed that most of the sound was gears and chain, not the motor so much. Now I have to try to find Andrew on Jay Leno's Garage show! Thanks for another great review!

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

I linked to the video from my full writeup, it's fun, I watched it again just last night when I was working on this review :P

David Macdonald
10 months ago

Won't the m button be mode

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

That crossed my mind when editing... probably is a mode or menu button, but it also acts as a power switch

Todd Wall
10 months ago

I've followed this company since his appearance on Jay Leno's Garage, and I really, REALLY like these bikes. The design is spot on, and aesthetics play as much a part as function.

Whenever I finally do buy an ebike, it'll be one of these. Thanks for the video. Gives more specs and details than the Garage episode.

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

Right, I try to be constructive... my approach is to study the details in person and record them on the site, then film, then I edit and do all of the pro's and con's after the bike has really sunk in, and then I do the writeup. There's a lot of value in the writeup and my feeling is that if someone is about to spend thousands of dollars, they may end up at the site just reading through and then get the full marinated opinion vs. just the video. But the video also lets them see for themselves and maybe notice something I didn't speak to and then make a comment here or in the forums. It's an approach that I am still working to refine every day :)

Todd Wall
10 months ago

ElectricBikeReview.com

Love to see you do a review on their other models, or an overview of their store. There were a lot of neat bikes I'd like to have seen closer. Still, great job on the review. You do very good, unbiased reviews. Some of the videos are a little too positive, but if people pair your website with the video they'll get a very rounded opinion.

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

For sure! Glad you enjoyed it, I try to dig in and really explain what I see (or at least provide some good angles in video that can help you come to your own conclusions)

Danny Murphy
10 months ago

Very tastefully styled. I would take that thing everywhere! I'm aware of the speed regulations in California but I seriously wish many E-Bikes were not built with speed restrictions as a central theme. Meaning I'd rather see these bikes with enough power from the 'factory' to achieve speeds of 50+ MPH, even if they are restricted by gearing or other methods to govern it to 28. Also, some foot pegs and/or a pedal-less mode would be cool.

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

Hi Dan, Vintage Electric does have some other models that can reach ~36 mph in off-road mode. They still have pedals and stuff, Zero Motorcycles makes electric motorcycles that are pretty cool and I've seen them for sale used in the $5k range. Not bad if you don't mind getting a license and insurance, and having to ride on street vs. on paths and stuff with a bicycle styled product like the Cafe

DiGiTaLGrAvEDiGGA
10 months ago

I would rather go with an Ariel e bike vs this bike half the price and better design.

ElectricBikeReview.com
10 months ago

I do like the Ariel Rider models too, they have targeted that classic vintage style and offer a decent product