Fast, fun, and convenient, e-bikes, like electric cars, have become a serious means of transportation in the last 5 years.
From $200M in sales in 2018 to a multi-billion dollar industry in 2023, consumers that can afford e-bikes are leaving the car in the garage and using electricity for short hauls, and as the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics point out, more than half of all trips in the US are under 3 miles.
We bought our bikes from RadRunner during the pandemic. At a couple thousand apiece, ours are step-through, utilitarian, designed to conquer the hilly Southbay area of Western L.A. They are built like little tanks, don’t pollute, and do the job.
It’s nice to save the planet and all, emissions wise, but retro e-bikes can be much more than just point A to point B. Focused on more than just the fast and fun part of e-bikes, there are a lot of vintage-looking bikes to choose from out there; machines that are for the guy and gal into ultra-cool looks, dripping with nostalgia, guaranteed to become an immediate conversation starter wherever you ride.
I had the opportunity to cruise around on several of these cafe bikes a few years ago. Beautiful, fast, often with extended range and serious speed (+40 MPH), these are adult electric bikes designed to turn heads wherever you go. Riding one of these is like dropping 5th period French; you simply can’t stop smiling when you do.
I would start my search for an upscale electric bike with Vintage Electric Bicycles as I’ve been on them numerous times, and their Tracker Classic would be my choice, though they have numerous other styles and paint schemes as well. And there are many, many retro-styled electric bikes being produced for the upscale market, but be prepared, as fashionable and stylish bikes start around $5,000.
As to lifespan, the only serious thing you have to consider is e-bikes are theft magnets, and an unlocked e-bike is the equivalent of “free stuff”, to the ne’er do wells on a mission to steal. Even well locked e-bikes are routinely stolen, which means a call to your homeowner’s insurance agent is an absolute must. Have your agent add the bike to your personal articles policy, the place where your jewelry, fine arts and other valuables are scheduled. Personally articles policies for e-bikes are inexpensive, may not have a deductible, and will save you from serious financial loss if your bike goes astray.
Safe travels, and you can still look cool wearing a helmet…