- A robust, high powered and potentially high-speed cruiser style electric bike styled to resemble the board track racing bikes of the 1920's, optional Race Mode pin for 30+ mph
- built on a custom steel frame that dampens vibration but flexes more than the Tracker model which is built on Aluminum, the longer cruiser bars support a more comfortable upright body position
- Gearless direct drive motor is sturdy but also heavy, since there are no moving gears inside it operates extremely quietly and also provides regeneration when activated
- Solid year long warranty, lots of upgrades including pedal assist, a rear rack and custom paint, the battery is not removable and the bike is very heavy at ~87 lbs
Warning, in some configurations this electric bike is classified as a moped or motorcycle and may not be ridden on cycling trails or paths. It may require licensing, insurance and lights when used on public roads.
Vintage Electric Bikes creates these custom “vintage styled” ebikes that resemble the board track racing motorcycles of the 1920’s. I met with the founder, Andrew, for this review and test rode their newest model, the Cruz. There are several key upgrades for the bike including a Race Mode pin which increases the top speed from 20 mph to ~36 and ups motor wattage from 750 nominal to ~2600 and Amps to 40. And can get a rear carry rack for transporting cargo along with their beautiful panniers. If you’re not into the stock colors (which cover the frame, fenders and rims) you can pay about $600 more for custom paint. While the bike isn’t super cheap, you get a lot for your money including sturdy hydraulic disc brakes, integrated lights that run off the main battery and luxury Brookes saddle and leather ergonomic grips. The real draw here for me is style combined with quality and a sense of power and speed that rides more like a moped or motorcycle than an electric bike.
Pedaling on the Cruze or Tracker is limited by a single speed drivetrain and I noticed the default saddle position that Andrew had setup on the demo bikes was low. My legs bent too much when trying to pedal to be efficient… or really even comfortable. Pedaling is possible however and the gearing is set a bit higher so you can keep up at 20+ mph but starting from zero without power is a pain. Transporting the bike might also be a chore given the heavy footprint and non-removable battery but the front wheel does have quick release. The tires are large, comfortable and tough with Kevlar lining to reduce punctures and I love the reflective sidewall stripes. Overall, this is a more comfortable and upright ride than the Tracker model but it’s not compatible with their optional suspension fork for that model. They perform the same in terms of power, sharing the same motor, controller and battery and I was told that Vintage Electric Bikes will perform service and upgrades as they strive to keep their bikes on the road for as long as possible.
To me, Andrew and his company are authentic and their product is unique and fun. It’s different from other low speed pedelecs and possibly less legal depending on your local ordinances but it runs quiet and will stay much cooler than an internal combustion motor (which has made it a very popular choice in Indonesia). You can cruise around on this thing with the wind in your hair actually enjoying the sights and sounds of your environment… just make sure you’re extra careful because even in City Mode with the limited power and speed it still accelerates quickly and is so quiet that cars and other pedestrians might not notice you.
- More upright and relaxed seating position than the Tracker model, the slightly longer and swept-back handlebars dampen vibration and pair nicely with the ergonomic grips and balloon tires, the sprung saddle also helps but keeps it looking classy
- Great safety features including a large circular headlight with classic styling and smaller LED backlight (which can be relocated to the back of the rack if you get that option), I like the reflective tape on the tires as well
- Beautiful design, colors and accessories (including leather accents on the grips and saddle), I like the different styles of wood paneling above the battery box reminiscent of a beach cruiser automobile and tire colors
- The battery box positions weight low and centered on the frame for improved balance and handling, it’s heavy but also rugged and keeps the controller and other wires well hidden
- Cool power regeneration feature with a large red button near the left grip, it only recoups at ~10% efficiency but it will reduce wear on your brake pads and just feels cool
- I love the oversized hydraulic disc brakes, they offer a good level of stopping power for something this heavy and powerful (especially if you get the Race Mode plug for increased speed)
- The fender and rims are color matched to the frame, the fender is actually custom shaped to provide clearance for the chain
- This is one of the zippiest and potentially fastest electric bikes I’ve tested, great for use as a pit bike or on private property (or in countries with relaxed laws like Indonesia)
- I appreciate the inclusion of a kickstand and this one feels sturdy and stays out of the way… it’s not adjustable but given the weight of the bike that’s probably good because it would be less strong
- Inspired by the board track racing bikes of the 1920’s era, the battery box resembles an engine and is even done in sand cast Aluminum which is how they did it back then
- Heavier than most low speed electric bikes I test due to the custom battery box, oversized direct drive motor and larger frame, the frame is a bit less stiff than the Tracker model because it’s Steel vs. Aluminum which improves ride quality but also produces frame flex and adds weight
- No bottle cage bosses or traditional rack mounting points, you have to pay a premium for the official Vintage Elctric Bikes rack but it looks great, comes color matched and works well with their panniers
- The optional pedal assist doesn’t have power level settings so it feels like twisting the throttle all the way and when you want to stop there’s a bit of delay and the brake levers don’t have inhibitors built in which could be a safety issue
- Given the single speed drivetrain, this bike can be difficult to start or pedal around if you run out of juice, the chainring offers 36 teeth to make pedaling at higher speeds possible but the low saddle and body position are best suited to throttle mode
- Only available in one frame size and it’s a cantilever high-step style which might be a little unwieldily for shorter riders (or those with short inseams), I measured the stand over height at 31.5″ which is about the same as the Tracker model
- The battery is not removable for charging off of the frame or reducing weight during transport, the front skewer is quick release so this helps to reduce size and weight a touch
- Official Site: http://vintageelectricbikes.com/pages/cruz-electric-bike
- More Pictures: https://goo.gl/photos/dkeva24ML4kNDou37