My first thought seeing the 2022 Vintage Roadster electric bike: What a cool, retro look. Then I hopped on for a test ride. No exaggeration: I knew in the first five seconds it was awesome. How’s that even possible? Four reasons.
First, it was super comfortable. Second, it was whisper-quiet — even for an electric bike. Third, it accelerated fast and smoothly — more so than any other bike I’ve ever ridden. Fourth, the ride was softer than anything I’d experienced on two wheels. All in the first five seconds.
And from there, my impression only got better. Andrew Davidge, the company founder, encouraged me to just use the throttle instead of pedal assist. So I did at first. Mind you, I was riding a model with race mode that can travel significantly faster than the typical 20 mph limit. OMG. I took it up a steep hill by my house that even the most-powerful e-bikes can maybe tackle at 16 mph. The Vintage did it at 24.7 mph. It probably could’ve gone even faster but I slowed it down because I felt vulnerable at that speed, and well, it’s the speed limit for the neighborhood. At one point going on a flat surface, I was at 34 mph and didn’t even realize it until I glanced at the odometer. That’s how smooth it glides. I’m sure the Schwalbe Fat Frank tires contributed to some extent. Overall, this may be the most exhilarating e-bike I’ve ever been on.
If my experience was typical, this is undoubtedly one of the top e-bikes on the market — definitely the best one I’ve taken out. And at $7,144 for the race mode version, it should be. So what makes it so pricey? In a nutshell, it’s the components, the aesthetics, the ride itself, how well it’s all assembled, and most importantly, all of the attention paid to details. The retro-looking battery housing — which is full die cast aluminum — helps keep the controller inside running 60 percent cooler. The motor is completely silent and maintenance-free. And it gets you up to 75 miles per charge. Other features include regenerative hydraulic disc brakes, smooth front suspension, and a large circular LED headlamp. It also has full fenders if you ride in the rain, a rear rack, and upright handlebars that are padded for comfort. There’s only one manual gear, with five levels of pedal assist — and it all works great. But I was so enamored by the throttle power, I barely pedaled in my test ride.
“Really the inspiration for this is the bikes that board tracks were built off of,” says Davidge. “So it’s all about comfort. You get a lot of range, low-end torque and performance. It blurs the lines between electric bicycle and electric motorcycle — giving a motorcycle-like riding experience to customers who normally wouldn’t purchase a motorcycle. It’s also for people who are aging out of being able to hold up their Harley, but still want to be on two wheels. It has a re-engineered rear hub motor (750W for non-race version, 3000W for race mode) and winding, all to get more low-end power. This bike will do almost 40 mph in race mode, but that’s not where a lot of our customers are really riding it. We’ve focused our engineering efforts and drive train designs on that 25-to-30 mph acceleration — more in the legal category.” He adds that the bike I rode has 180 Newton-metres of torque, meaning it can climb hills quickly.
The company has been selling bikes since 2013, and Davidge says “it’s really important to make sure these bikes stay on the road for a lifetime, just like a classic car or motorcycle. I grew up racing bikes and cars, and was so enamored with board track racing. Thus, I want to build bikes that I’m proud to be seen riding on. And it’s timeless — it’s always going to look cool.” Mission accomplished.