Fly Free Smart Desert
Fly Free is a Long Beach, California-based ebike outfit that popped up on our radar back in late 2018 when it unveiled its inaugural model, the Smart Desert. The Scrambler-inspired runner is powered by an LG Lithium-ion battery married to a 3,000W motor, capable of getting the thing up to 50mph. Range is a claimed 50-miles per charge, though a second cell is available, doubling that figure. Other modern amenities on this vintage-style electric include push-button start, LCD instrumentation, USB port, and LED lighting throughout.
However, what makes the Smart Desert shine, along with the rest of the Fly Free lineup, is the wide array of personalization options ranging from paint schemes to parts and accessories. According to the manufacturer, there are as many as 80 different possibilities when piecing together your own example. Fly Free’s bikes might not offer the best range or crazy top speeds, however, they’re relatively simple and straightforward machines, not unlike the off-road motorcycles of yesteryear that inspired their design.
Source: Fly Free
Unlike most “modern retros” that combine contemporary style with vintage design traits, this entry takes relatively cutting-edge technology and dresses it up like an old-school bobber. In lieu of the traditional and less-than-attractive blocky EV powertrain, the team behind the Veitis designed an electric system that mimics the layout of a classic V-Twin engine. Moving back, we have the e-bobber’s faux-hardtail frame, which looks the part but hides a K-Tech monoshock.
Though its outward appearance is that of an old-school bobber, the EV-Twin sports a bevy of modern, top-shelf components including Motogadget electronics, adjustable forks, bar-end indicators, and a myriad of CNC’d bits smattered across the bike. In spite of its muscular appearance, the Veitis is actually comparable to a 125cc engine, making only 14hp (11kW). The EV-Twin does, however, boast a top-speed of 70mph and a maximum range of 100 miles. Only 50 units were produced in its first year of production, and unsurprisingly so; they don’t come cheap.
Price: £40,000 ($51,000)
Denzel Motors ECR V1
First unveiled last year under the name of “E-Café”, Denzel Motors has taken its electric café racer from the digital rendering phase to production. The ECR, as it's now called, packs a 7.5kW motor that produces 13hp and can reach a top-speed of around 60mph. Range is as much as 87 miles when using the 60 Ah battery, and charge time is three hours. The ‘60s-inspired ebike is wrapped in full carbon fiber bodywork, which isn’t what you expect from a sub $6K Chinese ebike, but hey, we’ll take it.
Roughly comparable to a 125cc motorcycle, the V1 is a very basic, no-frills commuter—but no frills doesn't mean no style and the V1 has plenty of it. Thanks to the bike’s minimalistic nature, further customization—even of the extensive variety—looks to be pretty doable on the Denzel, albeit I’m not sure that was intentional. Either way, the ECR V1 is currently available for pre-order with only a $100 deposit down, and they’re expected to arrive in the US any day now, if they haven’t already.
Vintage Electric Scrambler S
Vintage Electric is yet another California-based ebike company that makes modern, fully electric two-wheelers semi-disguised as board-tracker style mounts from roughly a century ago. Like the Veitis, the VE Scrambler S features a battery pack design that not only mimic traditional finned V-Twins, but that also helps keep the temperature down. Board trackers are admittedly a great genre of motorcycle to imitate when trying to style a bike, as all most of them really were, were just bicycles with motors strapped to them.
Despite the presence of pedals and its legal classification as an electric bicycle, the Scrambler S genuinely lends the impression of riding a real motorcycle. Features like the speedo, inverted front-end, grilled headlight, CNC’d triple, and leather-wrapped grips all scream motorbike, plus the thing’s 750-Watts drivetrain allows for a 36-mph top speed. Unfortunately, for the price of the VE Scrambler, you can buy yourself a high-end entry-level motorcycle and have a grand or two remaining.
Source: Vintage Electric
Regent Motorcycles No. 1
Of all the vintage-inspired examples on this list, the Regent is the one that most resembles a genuine 1960s motorcycle, albeit with an electric powertrain. Even the seat bears a striking resemblance to the stock saddle on one of my old CB’s. At the heart of the Regent is a 72V/80Ah battery and a hub motor that together put down a maximum of 20 horses and a top-speed of 80mph.
Furthering the vintage vibe are the Regent’s telescopic forks and dual rear shocks which are tacked to a steel double-cradle frame. The whole bike—which weighs in at 286 lb—rides along on 18-inch spoked rims nestled under big vintage fenders fore and aft. Despite the antique appearance, the Regent does hide a few modern bells and whistles up its sleeve. ABS-linked disc brakes with regenerative braking, LED lighting, bar-end indicators, and a “digital touch infotainment system” that includes GPS, and alarm are all standard items on the Regent.
Source: Regent Motorcycles
Honorable Mention: HE Zero S Café Kit
Hollywood Electrics is Southern California’s premier two-wheeled EV dealership and the number one retailer of Zero Motorcycles. On top of selling and servicing electric bikes, the Los Angeles-based shop also sells an array of kits to transform various existing Zero models, including the café racer seen here. While this technically isn’t a production electric bike, it is an electric motorcycle that you can go out and purchase today without any cutting or welding required.
The HE Café kit ditches the superfighter/supermoto styling of the Zero S and replaces the stock bodywork—aside from the belly-pan—with a classic café tail, round headlight, and a knee-dented “tank” that accommodates a full-size iPad that plays the part of instrumentation. A pair of Vortex clip-ons are installed in place of the stock bars while the factory rims get replaced with a set of spoked Excel hoops. Zero, while an innovative company, isn’t exactly famous for its bikes’ aesthetics, though they undeniably boast solid performance, range, and reliability. The café kit allows those traits to be combined with that sexy, old-school café’d look that the kids seem to love these days.