Vintage Electric Is Back With New Roadster Model

The bicycle/moto hybrid brings top-shelf EV tech and a 36 mph top speed

Vintage Electric has introduced its latest model for 2020, the Roadster. The bicycle/motorcycle hybrid blurs the stylistic, mechanical, and emotional lines between both worlds with a host of moto-like elements and a top speed of 36 mph (in Race mode).

Vintage Electric Roadster
Vintage Electric’s new Roadster models aims for best-in-class EV tech and eye-catching vintage style.Vintage Electric
Side View of Vintage Electric Roadster
Motorcycle or bicycle? With a top speed of 36 mph (closed course only) the Roadster is definitely blurring the lines.Vintage Electric

When is a motorcycle not a motorcycle? Vintage Electric seems like it's on a mission to further soften the definition with its new Roadster electric bicycle. Officially, the "all-new Roadster (is) for riders looking for a high-performance EV ride paired with a unique café racer aesthetic," says the Santa Clara, California-based company, but with the Roadster, it is going for pure acceleration. At least it seems that way: The site boasts that Vintage Electric builds the "world's fastest electric bike."

Front Light of Vintage Electric Roadster
Swanky (and moto-inspired) details include leather-wrapped grips, polished clamps. and a classic headlight shell (with LED lighting inside).Vintage Electric

I’m not sure why you’d call this a café racer (aesthetically or otherwise), but, can we even call it a bicycle? The motorcycle-biased components are numerous, with things like a hydroformed aluminum frame to bring the right balance of light weight and strength, and an MRP inverted-fork system with 60mm of front wheel travel to absorb road imperfections. Even hydraulic disc brakes (by Promax) are there to slow the roll. The Roadster’s attached polished alloy seat post boasts a sable leather saddle to match the leather-wrapped handlebars for a luxurious yet retro vibe. To complement those premium accents, the Roadster also features a classic two-tone colorway to further accent the aerodynamic design and underline the vintage aesthetic. Add a headlamp that looks ripped right off a classic motorcycle, along with polished clamps, and you have an emphatic nod to yesteryear—but with an LED lamp to light the way.

Action Shot of Vintage Electric Roadster
A 750-watt hub motor propels the “Speed Merchant,” with an inverted fork to soak up the bumps.Vintage Electric

That’s just the cosmetics though. Vintage Electric says it also wants to incorporate state-of-the-art EV technology, which means you also get an electronic interface on the handlebar that’s clear and intuitive, and on-demand acceleration from the thumb-throttle with five super-smooth power modes to work on the potent 750-watt direct drive rear hub motor with torque sensor (though Vintage is mum on exactly who makes that motor). Another helpful feature on the Vintage Roadster is the rear regenerative disc brake, which provides additional stopping power while recharging the battery.

Saddle of Vintage Electric Roadster
Yes, that’s a leather saddle topping the alloy seat post. Sable, technically. And built-in LED brake lighting below.Vintage Electric

And that battery is probably this bicycle’s (and company’s) signature design: a triangular pack of cells in a cool cast aluminum housing reminiscent of a V-twin motor. Underneath the facade is a powerful 48-volt, 1,123-watt battery (23.4 AH) that charges in a very fast 4-1/2 hours, and can then propel the Electric Roadster up to 75 miles. As if to back up Vintage Electric’s claim about fast electrics, the Roadster is capable of speeds up to 36 mph in the optional “Race mode,” (which the company says should only be operated on private property/closed course), but normal street mph is 20, putting it in the Class 2 eBike category in California.

Cockpit View of Vintage Electric Roadster
Another moto-inspired view. Although an intuitive and easy-to-read display on the left grip tells you you’re on an eBike.Vintage Electric

Like Vintage Electric’s other models, the Roadster skillfully blends the vintage-inspired design of classic boardtrack racers with modern electric vehicle technology and eye-catching style. The Roadster hews pretty close to the company’s Tracker and Scrambler models, packing similar specs but changing up the range and power, as well as using different graphic treatments and tweaking bodywork. Some options on the other models appear as standard equipment (the suspension, for instance) on the Roadster, which Vintage states is the “next evolution in our electric transportation arsenal,” due to its higher level of performance and detailing. What we don’t know is whether the battery is removable for easier charging, and we wonder if we’ll see a low-maintenance belt drive (at least as an option) on future models.

But for the time being, man, does this thing look good—even in motion.

Side View of Vintage Electric Roadster
Clean and classic, the Roadster definitely scores big on styling points.Vintage Electric

That’s echoed by Vintage Electric founder and lead designer Andrew Davidge, who says, “We set out to combine best-in-industry performance with a grand aesthetic inspired by the simple, yet powerful, European and American sports cars from the 1950s and 1960s.” All that, of course, means the Roadster doesn’t come cheap—you’ll need to shell out $6,995 to swing a leg over this model. Other caveats: The Roadster comes in one size and weighs a considerable 86 pounds, and we don’t know whether the battery is removable for easier charging. We also wonder if we’ll see a low-maintenance belt drive (at least as an option) on future models.

But for the time being, man, does this thing look good—even in motion.