Cake Makka First Ride Review
Laid-back, colorful conversation-starter.
Electric mobility company Cake prides itself on its distinctive design sense. Its bikes, quite simply, don’t look like anything else available in 2022—and nowhere is that truer than with the Makka. Instead of the gray and white color scheme Cake favors on its other machines, you can add colorful Prism windshields to your Makka and ride just as colorfully as you like.
For those unfamiliar, the Makka Prism windshields are two transparent units that mount on the top and bottom of a Makka. They’re available in multiple colors, and you can mix and match to your heart’s content. (Be aware, though, that if you’re not the type of person who likes talking to people everywhere you go about what you’re riding, then the Makka probably isn’t for you. Since it’s electric, and it’s extremely easy to have conversations at stop lights, you won’t even have to wait until you’re parked for people to very frequently ask you all about it. I promise you that I’m not exaggerating.)
Visually speaking, it’s extremely difficult to stay in a bad mood if you’re looking at a Cake Makka with Prism windshields installed. They’re almost aggressively cheerful, and that’s by no means a complaint. Sometimes, that’s what you need. The step-through nature of the Makka makes it very simple for just about anyone to ride, even if they’ve never ridden a motorized two-wheeler of any kind before.
Do the windshields really block much wind? That’s not clear, since the top speed on a Makka is only about 30 miles per hour. They’re definitely not made for long-haul rides; rather, they’re a short-distance, low-speed commuter with a whole lot of style packed into a very small, cute package with lots of clean, uncluttered lines. The Makka weighs a claimed 130 pounds on its own, or 154 with the battery.
The seat easily adjusts up and down with a simple clamp system, much like a bicycle seat. You can also add additional accessories (like various carriers) to the seat stem. Although the Makka isn’t quite as utilitarian as the Ösa +, it still comes in a number of configurations to suit your specific use cases. A rear rack and basket, universal bicycle adapter, passenger seat, top box, or even panniers can help you carry whatever needs carrying on your short daily journeys.
The Cake Makka uses a direct-drive, hub-mounted electric motor. The company says it’s a 3.6 kW (or 4.8 horsepower) unit, and makes a claimed 60 newton-meters (or about 44 pound-feet) of torque at the rear wheel. The battery is a 31Ah unit, giving a claimed range of about 33.5 miles of mixed city riding. If you want to take the battery inside with you to charge, you can—or you can leave it in the bike and charge it there. Either way, it uses a standard household outlet to charge from zero to 80 percent in about two hours, or to 100 percent in three hours.
Display, Ride and Brake Modes, and Connectivity
The digital display on the Cake Makka is thankfully much easier to read if you’re wearing sunglasses than the one found on the Ösa +. You can see a simple speedometer, a battery gauge, an odometer reading in the upper left corner, and what ride mode you’re currently in.
The Makka features two ride modes, with ride mode 1 limiting your top speed to 25 km/h (about 15.5 mph), which also helps you stretch out the battery life. Ride mode 2 lets you reach that blistering 30 mph top speed, but will of course deplete the battery more quickly.
Unlike the Ösa +, you don’t also have brake modes to choose from—rather, the brain-box controller on the Makka uses regenerative braking power as it sees fit to help walk the line between power and range. A Cake Connect connectivity app can pair your Makka with your iOS device as of May 9, 2022; there’s an Android version of Cake Connect expected later in 2022.
The Riding Experience
The startup process involves a keyless electronic fob—but it’s not like most digital fob systems where simple proximity (like, say, in your pocket) is enough. Instead, once the little connectivity symbol shows up on the digital dash, you have to touch your fob to the symbol to unlock your Makka for use. Unlike the Ösa +, there’s no need to turn the battery on separately.
The hand levers both operate the brakes, as is also the case on the Ösa +. If you’re coming from a geared motorbike, that may take some getting used to. There’s no clutch here once again, as is the case with many electric motorbikes. The throttle is on the right grip, and once you have throttle and brake actuation sorted out in your mind, the riding process is as smooth and simple as you’d expect. Disc brakes front and rear work perfectly well for their intended application on this bike.
Unlike the Ösa +, the Makka comes with a side stand and no center stand. It’s a step-through, making both getting on and off extremely simple for most riders of a variety of heights. Both I and the taller riders in our group had zero trouble with mounting or dismounting our fearsome pack of brightly-colored Makkas.
The one thing I really wish was different about the Makka is its turn signal switch. When you go to indicate left or right, and then you cancel it after you’ve switched lanes or turned, there’s not much in the way of positive feedback to tell you that the switch is back in its neutral position. On the Ösa +, it’s a lot easier to tell that you’ve canceled your turn signal successfully. It’s much easier on the Makka to accidentally leave your turn signal on, which multiple people in our group did while we were out riding. On the plus side, the LED turn signals are nice and bright, so there’s that!
Gallery: Cake Makka
If you have very specific low-speed needs, the Makka is like a little ray of sunshine, here to spirit you to your destination along the scenic route. Some have referred to it as an electric moped, and while it does go at similarly slow speeds, it doesn’t have pedals. So, that descriptor doesn’t feel quite right. Still, it could be great to get around a college campus, or a similarly small area with a lot of foot traffic.
It’s quiet and zippy, easy to get on and off, and is also the most inexpensive Cake model (for adults, anyway) currently on offer. Prices start at $4,200 for a base Makka; Prism windscreens in your choice of colors add an extra $280. Other accessories result in additional costs, as well.
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