- A motorcycle-inspired electric gravel bike with torque based pedal assist, 28mph top speed, one frame size and color
- Powerful gearless hub motor is durable and near-silent, pure sine wave controller delivers fluid power without buzzing and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes for immediate stopping power
- Front suspension fork, chromoly frame for bump absorption, powerful brakes with 180mm front rotor, integrated LED lights, removable battery
- A little on the heavy side, can’t unlock the speed like other Vintage models, rear light is easily blocked, very limited display readouts
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.
To run the forums, host the website, and travel, I charge a universal service fee for my reviews. This review was sponsored by Vintage Electric. My goal is to be transparent and unbiased, this video and written review are not meant to be an endorsement of Vintage Electric products.
Vintage Electric invited us out to come see their new offerings for 2019. Among them is the all new Rally, a more rugged and powerful gravel style electric mountain bike that feels just at home on loose rock as it does pavement. Jumping right in, the first thing anyone notices about Vintage Electric bikes are the aesthetics. It has a unique retro look, similar to a cafe racer and much of this is due to motorcycle cues in the body line. A lot of custom parts are here to achieve this. The bike also makes use of a chromoly frame, so while it may be heavier, it is actually quite at home on bumpy terrain. It is steel in nature but it can flex and absorb a lot of the vibration coming from the ground, so there is really no need for a crazy suspension fork, or even full suspension. Overall, it is tuned as what we would call a gravel bike, that is to say, a bike that does great on trails and light mountain applications. If you really want to see it shine, take it out on a fire trail like the one I got a chance to ride on in the video. The frame comes in this matte black color with glossy black and silver accents. This is very much a high-step frame, although the top does slope down a bit toward the seat, I don’t know if I would say its very approachable. It has an aggressive and agile geometry thanks to this 760mm wide handlebars for bracing and cornering. The handlebars do have a bit of a rise to them and you can tune the ride a bit if you want slightly different stance. Assisting the ride is this RMP front suspension fork, this fork is strong and offers 40mm of travel… not the largest range, but as stated before that is not needed as much with the chromoly frame, although you could swap out for a different fork if you wanted with the tapered head tube. For tires, you get a set of Schwalbe Smart Sam’s. These are 29” x 2.1” and offer some good nobby grip to them. The spokes themselves are a sturdy 14 gage in the front and an even stronger 12 gage in the rear. As this does great on gravel, it can also do well commuting. The bike is rated for 28mph so it can really get you to your destination quickly. I love the battery integrated lights here, they have them both in the front and the rear. Safety has always been a priority for myself and other cyclists, so it’s nice to see that more and more companies are including these on ebikes. However, that rear light is integrated into the back of the saddle, so it could easily be blocked by a backpack or jacket. Also, the wires for it run through the 27.2mm seat post, so if you did want to swap that out for a suspension seat post, you could potentially create problems as to the functionality of the rear light. There are also provisions here for fenders as well as a rear rack, so you really could get this set up in another direction if you want. Other features include custom leather ring grips and Wellgo aluminum alloy platform pedals.
Driving this bike is a gearless, direct drive, hub motor rated from 750 to 1,200 watts. That’s much higher than the average electric bike which usually peaks at 500 or 750 watts. The motor on the Rally is a bit different than other Vintage bikes. This one is pedal assist only, so you don’t get a throttle. But what it may lack for in throttle fun, it makes up for in on demand power. The Rally is rated for 28mph so it is a Class 3 speed pedelc. It gets you there quickly since it uses a torque sensor combined with that direct drive. Pedal assist modes range from 0-5 and each of them handle the speed very well. A lot of people like that you can unlock Vintage Electric bikes, but with the Rally, there is no key to get it passed that 28mph, so if you want to go 35mph and up, you may want to look at the other models. Mechanically, you get a Shimano Deore 10 speed system that consists of a 11-34 tooth freewheel and 44 tooth chain ring in the front. Stopping the Rally is a set of Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with a 180mm rotor in the front and a 160mm in the rear.
The battery (along with the controller) is housed in the large casing in the middle. This casing is very protective and even IP rated for water and dust protection. The battery is a 48v 10.4ah lithium ion pack, and serves it purpose well here. Unlike some other Vintage models, like the Scrambler, this battery pack is removable. There is a pin that secures the battery (not to be confused with the speed unlock key on other models) that you pull out to remove the battery. Once the pin is removed, you slide the battery up and out along the downtube and then you can cart it around… It even has its own handle to do so! To really care for this and other lithium-ion packs, I have heard that storing in a cool dry location vs. extreme heat or cold will extend the life and try to keep it about 50% full when not using for long periods so you won’t stress the cells. Try not to let it run down to zero, because that’s really hard on the cell chemistry.
Operating this bike is intuitive and fast. Once the battery has been charged, 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. As mentioned before, there is no throttle here, just torque based pedal assist, so you will be accessing the 0-5 modes of that here. The display is minimal and pretty, but now in 2019 it is the only part of the bike that is looking dated (and not in a good way) as it is more basic. Also, 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 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.
When it is all said and done, the Rally really delivers. The performance amazing as you can see by the fire trail in the video, and that performance is complimented by the weight, safety, and features that carry it well. Not to mention, the design aesthetic makes it similar to a work of art. However, no bike is without tradeoffs, so its best if we mention some of those here. The steel frame here is a bit heavier, the wires are somewhat exposed, and the rear LED integrated light could easily be blocked by a backpack or jacket. But probably the biggest tradeoff is the display. It is minimal which is a plus, but many bikes, especially highly electrical capable ones like this have deeper displays. You see things like color displays, battery percentages which take out the guess work of exactly how much is left, deep dive menus for settings, and even smartphone integration and apps. But to Vintage Electric’s credit, they are always upgrading and improving, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see such features in the future. They also offer a 2 year warranty on both mechanical and electrical components so you are in safe hands. I really want to thank Vintage for letting me check out the Rally, it was a ton of fun!
As always, I welcome questions and feedback in the comment section below. Whether you own a previous version of the bike, have taken a test ride, or are brand new to the space, my goal is to provide an objective and honest resource. You can also join the Vintage Electric ebike forums and share your own photos, videos, and review updates to help others! Have fun out there, and ride safe :)
- All of the Vintage Electric e-bikes look beautiful, and even though I never raced a cafe 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 14 gauge spokes in the front and extra-thick 12 gauge spokes in the rear, and a custom chromoly frame
- The chromoly frame means it can bend and absorb a lot of bumps in the road, it does a great job at this, so no super fancy full suspension is needed
- As a speed pedelc, it is a Class 3 electric bike, capable of easily reaching 28mph
- RMP front suspension fork, this fork is strong and offers 40mm of travel… not the largest range, but as stated before that is not needed as much with the chromoly frame
- It has an aggressive and agile geometry thanks to this 760mm wide handlebars for bracing and cornering, the handlebars do have a bit of a rise to them and you can tune the ride a bit if you want slightly different stance
- I love hydraulic brakes, especially on faster bikes like this, you get a set of Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with a 180mm rotor in the front and a 160mm in the rear.
- It is tuned as what we would call a gravel bike, that is to say, a bike that does great on trails and light mountain applications, if you really want to see it shine, take it out on a fire trail like the one I got a chance to ride on in the video, it does an amazing job
- For those who enjoy pedal activated assist, you get 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
- You get a integrated headlight and in the rear you have 3 LED red lights, both lights are great for safety and visibility
- You could go backpacking or commuting with it, there are provisions here for fenders as well as a rear rack, so you really could get this set up in another direction if you want
- 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
- I mentioned strength as a pro, but the tradeoff is weight, and this electric bike is a bit heavier than average, the high power motor and large battery pack with custom casing contribute a lot
- A lot of people like that you can unlock Vintage Electric bikes, but with the Rally, there is no key to get it passed that 28mph, so if you want to go 35mph and up, you may want to look at the other models
- 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
- The display panel leaves something to be desired, newer displays have things like color displays, battery percentages which take out the guess work of exactly how much is left, deep dive menus for settings, and even smartphone integration and apps, where is this is more basic
- Some of the wiring here is exposed, I suppose that could be a bonus that it makes for easy serviceability and cheaper maintenance cost, but it should still be noted they are a bit out and about here
- The rear light is right under the seat, so if you had a jacket or back pack on, you could easily cover it blocking the visibility
- Official Site: https://vintageelectricbikes.com/