Vintage Electric Scrambler Review

Vintage Electric Scrambler Electric Bike Review
Vintage Electric Scrambler
Vintage Electric Scrambler Crystalyte 750 Watt Hub Motor
Vintage Electric Scrambler Custom Alloy Battery Box 52 Volt 13 5 Amp Hours
Vintage Electric Scrambler Handlebar Regen Button Throttle
Vintage Electric Scrambler Led Battery Indicator Trigger Throttle Brooks Leather Grip
Vintage Electric Scrambler Integrated Cree Led Headlight Number Plate
Vintage Electric Scrambler Mrp Inverted Suspension Fork 20 Mm Thru Axle
Vintage Electric Scrambler Schwalbe Black Jack 26 Tires
Vintage Electric Scrambler Brooks Leather Sprung Saddle 3 Led Backlight
Vintage Electric Scrambler Single Speed Drivetrain Alloy Rear Fender
Vintage Electric Scrambler 6 Amp Fast Charger
Vintage Electric Scrambler Review
Vintage Electric Scrambler Electric Bike Review
Vintage Electric Scrambler
Vintage Electric Scrambler Crystalyte 750 Watt Hub Motor
Vintage Electric Scrambler Custom Alloy Battery Box 52 Volt 13 5 Amp Hours
Vintage Electric Scrambler Handlebar Regen Button Throttle
Vintage Electric Scrambler Led Battery Indicator Trigger Throttle Brooks Leather Grip
Vintage Electric Scrambler Integrated Cree Led Headlight Number Plate
Vintage Electric Scrambler Mrp Inverted Suspension Fork 20 Mm Thru Axle
Vintage Electric Scrambler Schwalbe Black Jack 26 Tires
Vintage Electric Scrambler Brooks Leather Sprung Saddle 3 Led Backlight
Vintage Electric Scrambler Single Speed Drivetrain Alloy Rear Fender
Vintage Electric Scrambler 6 Amp Fast Charger
Vintage Electric Scrambler Review

Summary

  • A motorcycle-inspired electric bike with two drive modes, 20 mph stock and optional 36 mph "Race Mode" for use on private property or off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails, one frame size and color
  • Powerful gearless hub motor is durable and near-silent, pure sine wave controller delivers fluid power without buzzing and a special regen button allows you to re-capture energy when stopping
  • Oversized inverted suspension with 20 mm thru-axle, powerful hydraulic disc brakes with 203 mm front rotor, premium Brooks leather saddle and grips, integrated LED lights, variable speed trigger throttle
  • Priced at ~$7k this is an expensive e-bikes, fairly heavy at ~81 lbs, the battery isn't easily removable so charging may be less convenient, very limited display readouts, throttle is hot when the battery is turned on, headlight is difficult to reach to turn on
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.

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Vintage Electric

Model:

Scrambler

Price:

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

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Urban, Cruising, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2), Moped or Motorcycle (Class 4)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

2 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States, Australia, Europe, Worldwide

Model Year:

20172018

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

80.7 lbs (36.6 kg) (74 with Rear Rack)

Battery Weight:

20 lbs (9.07 kg)

Motor Weight:

16 lbs (7.25 kg)

Frame Material:

Hydroformed Aluminum Alloy

Frame Sizes:

18 in (45.72 cm)

Geometry Measurements:

18.125" Seat Tube, 24.5" Reach, 30.5" Stand Over Height,29.5" Width, 74.75" Length

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Colors:

Root Beer with Gold Accents (High Grade Powder Coat)

Frame Fork Details:

MRP Inverted Coil Suspension, Dual Crown, 60 mm Travel, Rebound Adjust, Compression Adjust, Boost 110 mm Hub Length, 20 mm Thru-Axle Clamped

Frame Rear Details:

Stainless Steel Dropout Inserts, 135 mm Hub Length, 12 mm Axle with Nuts

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Mount, Rear Fender Mount

Gearing Details:

1 (Single Speed), 16 Tooth Sprocket

Cranks:

FSA CK-633 F. Gimondi Crank Arms, Aluminum Alloy, 170 mm Length, F. Gimondi 36 Tooth Chainring

Pedals:

MKS, Aluminum Alloy Platform, Silver

Headset:

1-1/8" Straight, Integrated, Sealed Cartridge

Stem:

Direct Mount, 25.4" Clamp Diameter

Handlebar:

Chromoly Steel, Chrome Plated, 750 mm Length, Low-Rise

Brake Details:

Shimano Alfine Hydraulic Disc with 203 mm Front Rotor and 160 mm Rear Rotor, Shimano Alfine Levers with Tool-Free Reach Adjust

Grips:

Brooks Plump Leather Ring Grip, Locking

Saddle:

Brooks B67, Hand Crafted Leather, Sprung

Seat Post:

Aluminum Alloy

Seat Post Length:

200 mm

Seat Post Diameter:

27.2 mm

Rims:

Aluminum Alloy, Double Wall, 50 mm, Satin Black, 36 Hole

Spokes:

Stainless Steel, Hand Laced and Tensioned, 14 Gauge Front, 12 Gauge Rear, Adjustable Nipples

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Black Jack, 26" x 2.25" (57-559)

Wheel Sizes:

26 in (66.04cm)

Tire Details:

30 to 55 PSI (2.0 to 4.0 Bar), Active Line K-Guard Puncture Protection, Black

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Single Side Chrome Plated Kickstand, Aluminum Alloy Rear Fender Color Matched, Integrated CREE LED Headlight (600 Lumens), Integrated Supernova E3 Backlight, Optional Rear Carry Rack with Integrated Leather Accents $289, Optional Rear Rack with Two Brooks Panniers $579, Optional Brooks Challenge Bag $100 Extra, Optional Race Mode Pin $149

Other:

3 lb High Speed 6 Amp Magnetic Charger with Rubber Cap (EnergyBus Rosenberger Standard), Maximum Weight 300 lbs, Limited Edition Line (50 with Badges)

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Crystalyte

Motor Type:

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

Motor Nominal Output:

750 watts

Motor Peak Output:

3000 watts

Motor Torque:

90 Newton meters

Battery Voltage:

52 volts (55 Amp Continuous)

Battery Amp Hours:

13.5 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

702 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt

Charge Time:

2 hours

Estimated Min Range:

20 miles (32 km)

Estimated Max Range:

40 miles (64 km)

Display Type:

Fixed LED Console

Readouts:

Battery Level (Green, Yellow, Red)

Display Accessories:

Regeneration Button on Left

Drive Mode:

Trigger Throttle, Torque Sensing Pedal Assist (Pedal Assist is Optional and Costs ~$130)

Top Speed:

36 mph (58 kph) (Default 20 mph Mode, Off-Road Race Mode Pin ~$150 Extra)

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Written Review

Vintage Electric was one of the early e-bike companies to launch in the US and actually make a product from scratch vs. importing and rebranding something from Europe or Asia. Their first models hit the market in 2013 and have been continuously refined and reworked over the years, but the prices have remained high. There’s a sense of quality engineering and artistic styling that really sets these things apart. Most of them resemble vintage gas-powered motorcycles of yesteryear, and you can see this in the new Scrambler model. The Scrambler is their first off-road product and I was impressed with how well it performed on dirt and gravel during this review, shot in in Norther California, near the company’s headquarters in Santa Clara. For nearly $7k, you get a Class 2 electric bicycle with one gear that pedals most comfortably around 10 mph. The trigger throttle on the right will take you up to 20 mph and then the motor will ease out. In this configuration, the bike can be ridden on the side of streets and some bike paths. You don’t need a license or insurance, it’s basically treated like a bicycle in most locations and falls under federal regulations that specify 20 mph and 750 watt motor limits. However, for those who wish to ride on private land, in races, or in some forest park spaces that also allow ATV’s, motocross bikes, and snowmobiles, Vintage Electric sells a Race Mode pin that unlocks the system to perform at up to 36 mph and 3,000 watt motor limits. I was able to test both modes and had an absolute blast… with both. The standard 20 mph operation is smooth and quiet, you get the same fluid, solid feel of a lightweight motorcycle because the bike weighs ~80 lbs, and the thick knobby tires and inverted suspension pair nicely with the sprung saddle and fat leather grips. As nice as this thing looks, it’s no slouch on performance or comfort. The biggest considerations I had were that the kickstand allows the bike to tip pretty far over, and the stand might sink into soft terrain and allow for a full tip. Some of the wires and brake lines are exposed below the downtube vs. internally routed. The display is very basic, with only red, yellow, and green lights to help you estimate charge level, and the headlight requires a manual push on a recessed and hard-to-reach button to activate. It’s a beautiful toy, but the optional rack and pannier turn it into a luxury commuter or all-around go getter.

Driving this bike is a gearless, direct drive, hub motor from Crystalyte rated from 750 to 3,000 watts. That’s much higher than the average electric bike which usually peaks at 500 or 750 watts. It’s physically larger and much heavier than a standard gearless or geared hub motor at ~16 lbs, but it’s super durable and incredibly quiet. I never felt like the bike was struggling to help me climb, and it takes off so smooth with the variable speed trigger throttle or optional torque-sensing pedal assist. I would probably skip on the pedal assist unless your hands and right thumb are sensitive to reaching and pushing a trigger throttle setup. That’s because, it can be difficult to pedal beyond 15 mph without the single-speed getting outpaced. I felt most comfortable pedaling around 10 mph. There are benefits to having just one speed however, including reduced weight, longer service intervals, no bounce or chain slap, and a cleaner cockpit without shifter mechanisms. If getting up to speed is important to you, then stopping must be equally matched… especially with a larger, heavier platform like the Scrambler. The bike comes with beautiful Shimano Alfine hydraulic disc brakes. I say beautiful, because the levers are silver to match the bar, seat post, and other accents. Each lever has a tool-free adjustable reach knob allowing you to bring them in close, which could be useful if you have smaller hands or like to ride with gloves. The rotors are not matched, the front is extra-large at 203 mm (as you would see on a downhill mountain bike) but the rear is a more traditional 160 mm. I would have liked a 180 mm in the rear, but I think the caliper mount and motor interface and wiring might not have fit. Most stopping power comes from the front brake anyway, and it will be cooling faster and providing a greater mechanical advantage… it worked great during my tests.

Powering that awesome motor, the 3-led display panel, and both integrated LED lights is a fully custom high-capacity Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt battery pack. You get 52 volts and 13.5 amp hours for a total of 702 watt hours of capacity. Most electric bikes range from 350 to 500 watt hours… but most electric bicycles I see today only weigh 50 lbs. The extra juice is used quickly by the throttle, in large part because of how much torque it exerts if you really gun it. Since pedaling is neither comfortable or efficient at a full range of speeds, I found that most of the time I was using this like an electric scooter, and that means the motor is doing all of the work. I’d estimate range between 20 miles and 40 miles per charge depending on terrain, how hard you run the bike, your weight, even the wind speed and ambient temperature outside. Colder weather tends to limit range but extreme cold and heat can actually degrade the cells inside if you’re parking in a less-insulated shed or something. Note that the custom alloy battery box is not designed to come off of the bike. It weighs ~20 lbs and is securely bolted in place, which means you need to bring the bike to a wall outlet to charge. The included charger is very capable, it can fill the bike in roughly two hours because it puts out 6 Amps vs. the standard 2 Amps on most generic e-bike chargers. the end that plugs into the battery is magnetic, which is great if you trip over it because it pops out, but can pick up Iron filings over time if you leave it on the floor. There’s a little rubber cap that fits over the battery plug interface which is also magnetic, and this is easy to lose because there’s no leash system or handy place to stick it. Just keep an eye out for it so you can protect the interface when riding in dirty or wet terrain. Note that the battery is rated to IP67 water and dust protection, so even without the cap it should be alright. Again, the battery powers both lights which is very convenient and improves safety. the three-LED rear light is always on and positioned so it will not be blocked by the rear rack, but may be covered if you wear a long jacket that hangs down. The light is made by Supernova, a very reputable German company, and the power cable that supplies it is run through the seat tube, so be careful if you’re adjusting height or swapping the rigid hardware out for a suspension setup like this.

Operating the bike is is a two-step process and there is some sensitivity in how and when you mount and dismount. First, you charge the battery up, then insert a small key into the lock on the left side of the pack, turn the key and then you can remove it… At this point, the bike is powered on and the throttle is hot. It’s that simple, it’s like starting a motorcycle except you might not be on the motorcycle when this step takes place. I started the bike while standing next to the left side of it and then when I started to mount up into the saddle, I had to be extra cognizant that the trigger throttle was there on the right and could be pressed if I wasn’t putting my hand in the correct place. Depending on the drive mode you chose, this could result in a lot of power being sent to the motor and either a low-speed crash or bike tip. I never really felt in danger, I have never had a problem with this type of setup, but there are times when I was working with a friend on other similar electric bikes and handing off or maybe dismounting when I did bump a throttle and had a quick “oops” moment as I caught the bike. When the bike costs $7k and looks as nice as this one, the level of awareness and care goes up. So anyway, the cockpit is clean and the controls are simple, but they don’t provide as much feedback about how fast you might be going, how far you’ve traveled, what time it is, or even how full the battery really is. Do the three lights represent 30% steps? I can tell you, trying to pedaling this thing home after a range miscalculation might be enough to make you get off and walk or want to bring the charger along on all future rides. And with the optional rack and Brooks pannier, the 3 lb charger would be very easy to stow and bring.

The Vintage Electric Scrambler is a thing of beauty. It’s capable, lots of fun to ride, and sturdily built. It comes with a two-year comprehensive warranty and I have seen Vintage servicing older products and even upgrading them. The latest controller has improvements that prevent overcharging and actually stop the regeneration button from working if the battery is already full… but this is such a cool feature when it works, because it saves your brakes and makes you feel like you’re helping to extend range by adding back some power. As much as this looks like an old-fashioned motorcycle, it runs a lot more like a next-generation automobile. The silence is beautiful, but it does not sacrifice zoom. And if you want to carry the style through to protection, Vintage offers custom branded motorcycle style helmets. They did a great job carrying the leather touch points through to the rack and fork bumpers. The reinforced the front wheel with a 20 mm thru-axle, which is larger than I have seen on any other electric bike to date. And even though the headlight can be difficult to reach, requiring a manual press vs. being wired into a display panel or switch system on the bar, it does offer three modes of operation (bright, normal, and flashing). I want to get across the point that if you like how this thing looks and can afford it, it’s very satisfying. However, there is room for aesthetic improvement with the wires. I think a custom display that could control the lights and provide a bit more feedback while still being compact and sleek would be nice (also for safety, like starting in the off position and then requiring a press before the throttle goes active). The Vintage Scrambler started as a limited edition run but was so popular and striking, with it’s number plate and metallic root beer paint job, that they kept it around. The gold accents are cool and I love how the rear fender is setup to be functional and quiet, even on rough terrain, but adds so much to the look of the bike and is paint matched. Big thanks to Vintage Electric for partnering with me on this post and for taking me to some private areas where high-speed use was safe and legal. I do my best to encourage safe riding and respect for other riders and pedestrians.

Pros:

  • All of the Vintage Electric e-bikes look beautiful, and even though I never raced a scrambler style motorcycle, I can feel the nostalgia and appreciate the artistic quality of this bike, it’s capable but also special in its own right
  • Sturdier, almost motorcycle-grade, hardware was used to build this electric bike including a 12 mm rear axle and 20 mm thru-axle at the front, wider 50 mm rims with 14 gauge spokes in the front and extra-thick 12 gauge spokes in the rear, and a custom Aluminum alloy frame, I was told that it’s rated to 300 lbs but I’m guessing it can hold even more than that if used on mild terrain
  • I really like the metallic root beer color with gold accents, and the number plate is unique and cool while also being functional… because you can actually race this thing, the “race mode” pin unlocks higher speeds up to 36 mph for off-road use
  • Premium touch points that match, are functional, and unique to this bike style including a sprung Brooks leather saddle (that rides pretty comfortably) and matching Brooks leather grips as well as MKS alloy pedals
  • The inverted MRP suspension fork looks tough and offers increased strength compared to most traditional suspension hardware I have reviewed, more weight is kept unsprung with an inverted shock and this one has some compression and rebound adjust to suit the terrain, your ride style, and your weight
  • Note the leather accents at the top portion of the fork between the double-crown mounts, these keep the tubes from marring the side of the frame where it says “Vintage Electric” when you turn sharp or park the bike
  • Premium Shimano Alfine hydraulic disc brakes offer the stopping power needed for high-speed riding and a heavier build, the 203 mm front rotor will do more than half of the work, cool quickly because of the size, and provide a mechanical advantage over the 160 mm rear disc brake rotor, silver adjustable-reach levers match the other accents and let you dial in hand reach without the need for tools, this could be handy if you occasionally wear gloves
  • The rear fender is sturdy, does not rattle when riding on rough terrain, and adds a splash of style to the bike because it’s paint matched, it will also keep your back cleaner when going off-road
  • The motor on this bike is seriously powerful, it offers strong acceleration for climbing, a unique regeneration feature (when you press the red button on the left) and can go up to 36 mph if you get the race mode pin but otherwise complies with the 750 watt 20 mph Class 2 regulation for low speed electric bicycles
  • For those who enjoy pedal activated assist, you can have Vintage install a torque sensing pedal assist feature which could be a neat option for those with sensitive wrists or fingers who just want to ride like a traditional bike
  • Decent weight distribution, the bike may be heavy but at least the battery box is mounted low and center on the frame, this improves handling and keeps the frame stiff compared to e-bikes with rear-rack batteries
  • For those who wish to use the Scrambler around town to run errands, Vintage Electric has a beautiful and sturdy rack option that works with a Brooks pannier system that you can pay a bit extra for, I like that this does not block the rear light
  • The headlight is super powerful and has three modes of operation including low, high, and strobe… which is very attention grabbing but possibly almost too fast in my opinion
  • Vintage Electric has refined their battery controller a bit since the early days, it won’t allow for regen if the battery is full, and this helps to prolong battery life
  • Given the higher capacity for the battery pack at 702 watt hours, it’s great that they provide a faster 6 Amp charger (most ebikes use a 2 Amp charger), but keep in mind that the battery isn’t designed to be removed so you’ll need to park near a power outlet to charge and possibly bring the bike into a garage or inside, which would be good from a care standpoint because extreme heat and cold can degrade Lithium-ion cells faster
  • The motor is very quiet and durable, these gearless hub motors don’t have any rubbing inside, and when used with a pure sine wave converter controller (which Vintage Electric uses) they feel smooth and don’t buzz, they even adjusted the software to reduce cogging when the bike is powered on (so you don’t get electromagnetic drag unless you push the red regeneration button)

Cons:

  • I mentioned strength as a pro, but the trade-off is weight, and this electric bike is much heavier than average at ~81 lbs, the high power motor and extra large battery pack with custom casing contribute a lot
  • The heavier a bicycle is, the harder it usually is to pedal, and this thing only has one gear?! It’s setup a lot more like a moped than something you’d want to pedal frequently, especially with the less-efficient knobby tires (but I love that the tires have a puncture protection liner integrated to reduce flats)
  • The kickstand looks nice and is sturdy but functionally, leaves a lot to be desired, it is not adjustable length and the end tends to sink into soft terrain, it is positioned near the left crank arm and can collide when down (like if you back the bike up with it deployed because the cranks turn backwards)
  • Minor con here, considering this is setup more like a motorcycle in terms of style, but there is only one frame size and the high-step top tube could make it difficult to mount and stand over for some… however, it’s much lighter and easier to handle than a real motorcycle
  • As beautiful as most of this ebike is, the exposed wires that run beneath the downtube look a little tacky, they are also going to take more wear with mud, tiny rocks, and water being kicked up off of the front tire… however, the motor power cable is actually really well protected as it runs along the left chainstay and is tucked in near the disc brake rotor compared to most hub motor powered electric bikes that let the cable stick out through the end of the axle (which could snag or bend more easily)
  • The display panel leaves something to be desired, there are just three LED lights that show green, yellow, and red to indicate capacity… no fancy infographics or range estimates, no current speed, odometer, trip meeter etc.
  • Priced at roughly $7k, this is one of the most expensive electric bikes options I have see, but it’s definitely unique and much more powerful than than the mainstream products
  • The headlight is controlled by a rubber button on the back side of the light housing and it can be difficult to reach, I show this in the video review around 1:40
  • Once this bike has been powered on (by inserting the key and twisting to on) you can take the key out, but the bike will be “hot” and ready to roll, there is no other on/off switch and it would be easy to accidentally bump the trigger throttle when mounting or dismounting and it could tip you or take off and crash… be careful!
  • I was told that the magnetic charging interface (at the end of the plug) can gather Iron filings if dropped into sand or left on a shop floor, the charger itself weighs more at ~3 lbs (most chargers are under 2 lbs), and the charging port on the side of the battery has a little magnetic cap that is easy to misplace because there’s no leash system to keep it with the bike (so keep an eye on it)

Resources:

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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
4 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.

Berrot McMusing
2 months ago

Makes me appreciate my $1500 Radrover.

Bona Fide
2 months ago

very nice detailed review! congratulations!

Eric M
2 months ago

I want one, but I'd only be willing to spend maybe $3k on something like that. It's beautiful, but I can get a nice motorcycle for that price.

Manan M. Patel - M POWER
2 months ago

hi Friend please show us video of Demo Of Regenerative Braking System.
like lift the bike and show how fast regen braking work?

ArthurDentZaphodBeeb
5 months ago

Ridiculously overpriced. Exposed wiring. No gauges. Ripoff.

C Henry
8 months ago

7K for limited range and speed, when I can get a TW200 for a starting MSRP for 5k, unless electric is your priority and you like the styling enough to pay 2-3 times as much as other e-bikes this would be a hard sell. Its even approaching the price point of some electric motorcycles.

Le Lu
8 months ago

I would consider this a mopped with pedals rather than an electric bikes

Mr Rob
8 months ago

$7K is a really nice motorcycle
With $7K worth of parts and material

Stayshtum68
8 months ago

Way over priced but very nice looking bike. I know bikes very well and the cost of parts,and the most I would be willing to pay for it would be around £3000. I don't know what that equates to in US dollars but I am pretty sure it will be a lot less than $7000. I guess though,that there are rich people out there who would throw that sort of money at something a little bit unique.

DiGiTaLGrAvEDiGGA
8 months ago

way 2 much for an e bike and no mid drive motor!? I hope this bike comes with a lifetime warranty and free labor/part replacement!!! this guy is charging way too much his clientele must be upper middle class!!!

JME WILLIAMS
8 months ago

If I was doing a commuter it would definitely be this bike. Stunning machine.

Atticus Remus
8 months ago

I definitely appreciate the engineering and aesthetic but for 7k you could build one hell of a Ebike yourself! This bike wouldn't make it down a mountain but for even half that 3.5k you'd have a powerful rock hopper.

Rc With Foxy
8 months ago

A $9 LED headlamp, really? For that price I'd expect the best!

Atticus Remus
8 months ago

Rc With Foxy Hell yes where's my Xenon lights that turns with the direction of the handlebars am I right?

Silly Wabbits
8 months ago

So that's the 7k definition of a Custom eBike, nice

123bigred
8 months ago

I like the simplicity of no gears and no rear suspension....just go....

Blue Monkey Bicycles
8 months ago

Value is in the eyes of the beholder.

Blue Monkey Bicycles
8 months ago

I think the bike is cool.
Different strokes for different folks. Whatever floats your boat, or finds your lost remote.

Martin Schmidt
8 months ago

Blue Monkey Bicycles Yeah thats what ppl say if Its overpriced. For 7k you get much better ebikes than this China parts, heavy and cheap built "vintage" bike. For this price i get a Carbon ebike with Electronic shifting. I hope ppl dont buy this crap. :)

William Wonder
8 months ago

You always review the coolest bikes. You should ask the owner if he can put a banana seat and chopper bars on one just for the hell of it. Of all the bikes you've reviewed, I think I'd like that one best.

TheRealTraumatize
8 months ago

Good Bike but def they make 3x what they spent to make it. Taxing!

Martin Schmidt
8 months ago

TheRealTraumatize greed Not taxing. ;)

benzoesan sodu
8 months ago

7K USD when production cost is about 1,5-1,7K USD.
Its probably the biggest overprices ebike on the market :D
Cheap chinesse indicator of battery which costs 2 USD on Aliexpress.. Thats crazy cost cutting.
People should know also that model of front suspension has more than 6 years. Vitage electric just make them new life ;) but good looking with that bike.

Martin Schmidt
8 months ago

Jeronimo M :D :D :D

Jeronimo M
8 months ago

1.7 without motor and batteries, yes.

Bruce Ballad
8 months ago

really nice video. but $7k come on..

Bruce Ballad
7 months ago

yup. I don't want to feel like a cheap ass poor.

Christopher Moltisanti
7 months ago

I know right, they all sell out, the price is a bit too cheap, they should charge $8500.