Bit by bit, electric bicycles or ebikes as they are also known, have made their way into a prominent position amongst the various bicycle markets of the world. With rapid technological advances in electric motors, digital controllers, and batteries, it is becoming easier and easier to find an electric bike that suits just about any need.
However, those of us who enjoy the world of Retro and Vintage styles will have a hard time finding electric bikes that fit into our specific sensibilities. After all, electric bikes are fairly modern inventions and, as such, tend to sport very modern looks and fit into very modern aesthetics.
Thankfully, the Retro and Vintage lovers of the world have not been entirely forgotten as there are a handful of ebike manufacturers that have made a concerted effort to design and build quality electric bikes that sport a retro look.
So whether you need an ebike for fun or getting around in your day-to-day life, we are going to do our best to review the best retro style electric bikes on the market.
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What To Look For In An eBike
Before we get down to our choice of the very best Retro-style electric bikes available today, allow us some time to clear up some potential confusion some of our readers may have.
Electric bicycles are not to be confused with electric scooters or motorbikes with electric engines; rather, they are traditional pedal bicycles that have been fitted with three key components: an electric motor for assisted motion, a battery power source, and a controller.
The vast majority of electric bikes today make use of very compact internal motors. These can go either on the front or rear hub of the bike or on the center axle. There are some bicycles that use an external motor that transmits the power through a chain.
The motors come in a variety of powers ranging from 200W to 700W, although in some countries only motors up to 250W are allowed and with a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.
Different electric bikes will come equipped with different types of batteries. As such, it is important that riders are informed of the various advantages and disadvantages of each type.
These are the most common:
- Lead Acid Batteries: Lead-acid batteries are generally inexpensive and very reliable. However; they tend to be very heavy and, thus, decrease handling on electric bikes. We strongly advise against buying an electric bike that has been fitted with an old-fashioned lead-acid battery.
- Lithium Batteries: Without a doubt, lithium batteries are the de facto choice when it comes to electric bikes. Lithium batteries provide manufacturers with a potent source of energy that stays relatively small and lightweight. They also have the added benefit of being a much greener power source than other competing battery types.
It is important to note that there are a few sub-categories of lithium batteries.
- Lithium-ion batteries were the first type to be developed and are the standard model that people think of when they think of a lithium battery. Lithium-Ion batteries have a decent power output and a relatively long lifetime of around 1000 recharge cycles. One of their main downsides is that they do not typically have rapid recharge capabilities.
- Lithium-Polymer batteries or LiPo batteries as they are also called, are the second generation of lithium batteries. The primary difference between these and regular Lithium-Ion batteries is that LiPo batteries are made using a solid polymer electrolyte instead of a liquid one. This makes LiPo batteries significantly more resistant to damage than the regular type. LiPo batteries also offer high discharge rates, which makes them a viable option for electric bikes with high acceleration.
- Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries These batteries, also called LiFePo batteries, are some of the highest tech batteries currently available to electric bike manufacturers. These batteries offer users a low-cost power source that has reliable performance and impressive stability. They last for about 500 more cycles than other lithium batteries and are able to supply up to twice the nominal capacity for short bursts.
The bike’s controller is a sort of “brain” for the bike and is responsible for activating and managing the electric motor’s performance. There are a variety of styles ranging from sophisticated digital controls to more traditional lever controls.
Some controllers require the rider to physically pedal their bike before the motor can kick in to assist, while others are completely autonomous and do not require the rider to pedal.
E-Bikes are a fantastic modern method of transportation. Here are our picks for the
5 Best “Retro” Electric Bikes
The Comet from MZZK Bikes
MZZK Bikes is a company that may not be as well known as Serial 1 or Vintage, but they should be because their products are aesthetically pleasing, well-performing, inexpensive options for the retro biking enthusiast.
The Comet is one of the most well-rounded bikes on this list, and with a lower price point, it represents one of the best options for those who are new to the world of e-biking.
On the design front, we don’t actually find anything that truly stands out, but that’s par for the bracket. However, the design choices made by the engineers at MZZK Bikes are all sound and make for a rather understated profile.
The 700C tires are mounted on 6061 front Fork and Kenda wheels, so you can expect a smooth ride, whether you like off-roading or long rides in the city.
The Comet comes packed with a powerful brushless high-speed geared motor that outputs around 48 V and 500 Watts. This bad boy can push the Comet upwards of 25 miles per hour at cruise speed.
Pushing the motor is a 48V/13Ah lithium battery, which gives you anywhere from 60 to 100 miles of juice, depending on the type of terrain and your top speed.
My favorite features, by far, are the Shimano gear shift and the super handy multi-function handlebar. Everything has been carefully designed to provide the most comfort and ease of use during long rides.
A digital LCD controller provides dummy-proof access to the 5 different modes of pedal assist:
- Eco: a 20% assist. This is the bike’s most energy-efficient mode.
- City: a 40% assist. This is the perfect mode for leisurely rides around town.
- Trek: a 60% assist. This is the de facto trekking mode for long-distance rides.
- Power: an 80% assist. This is the mode you hit when you want to go fast.
- Max: a 100% assist. This is the bike at its most powerful.
- 【500W BaFang Motor 】500W BaFang High-Speed,Brush-Less Geared,Waterproof Motor.The Power of the Motor is Strong. Max Speed: Motor+Pedal Assist Mode 28mph,Electric mode 20-25mph. Max Load:264lb. UPGRADE YOUR COMMUTING. Retro style Bicycles shuttle you to Renaissance Europe.
- 【Removable Larger Battery】48V 12.8AH 614.4W Larger Battery with LG cells and Longer Lifetime. Distance: Motor+Pedal Assist 75 Miles and 25 +Miles by throttle . 4-6 H Full Charge, Anti theft Lock ,Removable battery, Convenient to bring Home or Office to recharge.
- 【Three Riding Modes】Electric mode,Motor+ Pedal assist mode , Normal bicycle mode. Riders can Choose different Riding modes according to their Needs, Battery Level and Road Conditions. Different modes have different speeds and travel distances, and different rider weights and road conditions can also affect speed and travel distance.
Around The Block Beach Cruiser E-bike from Sixthreezero
Sixthreezero has quickly garnered a reputation for manufacturing highly comfortable and functional bikes and e-bikes, with a simple yet elegant design language.
The Around The Block beach cruiser e-bike for women is a very good option for those looking for a comfortable ride across a variety of settings and scenarios.
Few other bikes on the market will be able to provide riders with a smoother ride or a more stunning retro design than the Sixthreezero Around The Block cruiser, which is fully customizable making the process of outfitting the perfect bike a breeze.
Like with all other Sixthreezero bikes, the Around The Block cruiser e-bike can be outfitted with a plethora of goodies and gadgets to enhance the user experience. These additions include things like a beautiful basket, a rear bike rack, a handy bell, etc.
This is a great bike for all kinds of riders, but especially for novices due to the easy, highly stable, free-of-vibration riding experience it offers. Don’t be fooled by the apparent toughness of the design, this is a gentle rider if I’ve ever ridden one. The balloon-style tires and super comfortable saddle padding give this bike one of the most pleasurable and stable rides on this list, especially for women who aren’t used to the power behind some of today’s e-bike motors.
There is a model specially built and designed for men, which changes the frame, seat, and pedal position to give male riders a playful, effortless ride regardless of the terrain.
The Sixthreezero Around the Block comes equipped with a 500 Watt Rear Hub Drive motor which, in combination with the classic beach cruiser style of the frame, results in some truly impressive power and the ability to go full-electric mode without sacrificing speed.
Expect to reach speeds of up to 28 mph when opting for the pedal assistance option, and topping out at around 20 mph if you decide to go full electric. The 500 Watt Hour Battery will take you as far as 20 miles when full electric, but you can get around 40 miles out of the bike consistently if you rely on pedal-assist more often.
I love how quiet this integrated motor runs, and because all of the wirings are masterfully hidden and tucked away, it won’t be immediately apparent to passersby that you are riding an electric bike.
The easy stop disc brakes, which are front and rear-mounted on 26-inch rims and 2-inch tires make riding even on the bumpiest of roads very easy. You always feel like you are in control when you ride this bike.
- Classic, curvy men's beach cruiser bicycle with 19-inch durable steel frame; ideal for casual, comfortable riding around the neighborhood
- Upright riding style keeps your back and shoulders comfortable; dual-spring saddle and wide cruiser handlebar with foam grips
- Single-speed bike great for cruising on flat terrain; pedal-backwards coaster brakes for easy stopping
500 W City E-bike by Inpar
Inpar is much a lesser-known brand, but they offer solid options for those looking for casual yet reliable e-bikes to ride around town.
This 500 W model comes with a 700C Aluminum Alloy frame made with heavy-duty aluminum, which gives this bike a very durable base without sacrificing too much weight or maneuverability. This bike is a great option for heavier set riders since the frame has a maximum weight capacity of 260 pounds.
The bike has been outfitted with Kenda 700Cx45 tires. This means it offers a reliable grip over wet or loose road conditions. You can comfortably ride this e-bike on concrete, rough gravel, and even on some forest roads. The combination of the Kenda tires with the lightweight frame means that you get maximum comfort while reaching top speeds.
The bike is powered by a 500W brushless high-speed motor (there is a 750 W model), which provides an impressive range of anywhere between 50 to 75 miles on a single full charge. This is definitely nothing to scoff at.
With maximum speeds of around 25 mph, this e-bike from Inpar is a powerful beast. The motor is aided by a 48V/13Ah lithium battery. The battery is fully removable for ultimate convenience, and it can be charged in 4 to 6 hours with the included 48V/2A rapid charger.
A Shimano derailleur system offers 6 different modes of pedal-assist for the ultimate control while riding. You can go from fully electric to fully manual in a blink and the bike will reliably and quickly meet your needs.
The riding experience is further heightened and uplifted by the inclusion of little touches that cement the fact that Inpar is trying very hard to offer a quality product at an affordable price. The retro seat design is a pleasure to see, a high-brightness retro style front light ups the safety during nighttime and dusk rides.
This is one of the coolest premium-feeling e-bike at a non-premium asking price.
- 【Sturdy Structure 】— 700C Aluminum Alloy frame, high strength aluminum alloy front fork, lightweight but sturdy to offer a 264 lbs load capacity. KENDA 700*45C Tire offer a good maneuverability for fast and smooth rides.
- 【Powerful Motor】— 500W high speed brushless geared bafang motor, one-piece design & IP68 waterproof, provide electric power range 50-75 miles per full charge with speed reaching up to 25mph.
- 【Removable Larger Battery】— comes with 48V battery with lg cells, and 48V/2A high quality charger, can be fast fully charged in 4-6 hours, convenient to bring the battery to home or office to recharge.
Classic 26 inch City Electric Bicycle by Nakto
The aptly named Classic by Nakto is a beautiful e-bike with a very distinctly European style. This bike is a wonderful option for people in the hunt for a relaxed e-bike to go on long long rides.
Nakto designed this e-bike with a fantastic frame. This thing is built out of a very high-quality Q345 carbon/steel/aluminum alloy, which provides the bike with absolutely impressive strength and suspension.
I was genuinely impressed by how smooth the bike feels when riding, even at higher speeds. This is another very good option for heavier riders since the maximum load is listed at 300 pounds.
The saddle is big, beautiful, soft, and very, very comfortable. Designed to easily adjust to the natural contours of the body, you won’t truly notice how comfy this thing is until you go back and sit on a different bike.
This is especially impactful during longer rides where normally you would begin to feel tired. Granted, the added rear seat is not as comfortable, but it is super handy for transporting family and friends, or even parcels
The motor here is on the smaller side at 250W, but the brushless design is enough to add good performance to the bike. Noise and vibration are minimal, which keeps rides comfortable. And to be honest, the motor performs better than I initially expected, yielding a very balanced combination of speed and range
The motor is powered by a 36 Volt lithium-ion battery with built-in overcharge protection technology. The battery is safe and, most importantly, very reliable. You will consistently get around 20 miles out of this bike on a full charge
The bike has a basic, yet useful digital LED display to aid in controlling the 6-speed Shimano derailleur. The throttle assist here is very capable and provides tons of comfort and control during most rides
This is a solid option for anyone looking for a comfortable and capable e-bike.
- The 2020-Newest NAKTO electric bike is equipped with everything you need to enjoy a leisurely cycle, paired with the luxury of comfort and convenience.. Quick release battery and tilt saddle for easier recharging.
- Powered by a 350W motor, you can effortlessly switch between three modes and travel up to 25-35 miles on a single charge. Designed with six speed Revoshift gears and Quick change gears.
- All-terrain tyres and integrated metal full chain and mudguards for all-weather protection, making longer journeys a breeze. Supreme comfort with a bespoke, sculpted saddle.Quality gears for smooth ride. Upgraded V-Fork brakes. Front suspension. Front and rear mud guards.
Cheetah – Racer from Revi Bikes
We’ve left the best for last. This stylish electric bike from well-known bike maker Revi Bikes is one of the most comfortable e-bikes I’ve ever had the pleasure of riding, yet it still manages to offer plenty of power and range.
Revi Bikes have a plethora of different models to choose from, each one offering users various styling and levels of functionality. The Cheetah is their Fat Tire Leisure Cruiser, perfect for afternoon rides around town.
The Cheetah has a very distinct style, reminiscent of old-timey motorcycles like a classic pre-WWI Harley or a timeless Pope. Objectively speaking, this bike’s gorgeous retro aesthetic places it in a class of its own.
I especially love the cool headlight design and the wide soft leather seat.
This beauty has been outfitted with a very respectable motor. We’re talking about 48 V and 750 watts, with a peak of over 1,200 watts. The Bafang motor also outputs more than enough torque, so the bike can quickly reach top speeds and provide sufficient pedal assist on tricky terrain.
It is certainly a powerful bike that will have no problem even with heavy-set riders. Top speed maxes out at around 28 miles per hour, which is plenty fast for most users. Thankfully, the bike has some thick tires and a wide handlebar to provide stability during brisk rides. The hydraulic disc brakes have 180 mm rotors, providing the bike with more than enough stopping power.
The hefty motor is powered by a Samsung 48V 13Ah/17.5Ah lithium-ion cell, with about 30 to 45 miles per full charge. The battery has been cleverly hidden inside the top tube, giving the bike a faux gas tank. This adds to the complete retro style to the frame and protects the important battery at the same time.
The user experience is fantastic, and the large color LCD display provides riders with tons of important information during their rides. Including but not limited to a digital odometer, speedometer, battery indicator, simple mode selection, etc. I particularly love the ability to choose Night Mode on the fly!
All in all, this bike offers the perfect mix of retro good looks, powerful motor, user options, and price. Coming in at around $2500, the Cheetah from Revi Bikes is a great option to consider when deciding what your next retro-style electric bike will be.
- Classic looking- Design patent owned by REVIBIKES.
- Dual Suspension with 48V 750W High speed gear motor. Peak output over 1,000W.
- Bigger Size Full Color LCD display gives you all information you need: Odo, trip, speed, battery indicator. Drive mode selection. Daylight and Night model selection.