Originally published on CleanTechnica
In its quest to start a people-powered electric bike Rayvolution, Barcelona-based Rayvolt has been churning out a line of unique ebikes that blend the classic motorcycle styling of yesteryear with the high tech electric powertrains of tomorrow for customers, today.
An eBike With Classic Style
CleanTechnica went to Barcelona* to visit Rayvolt after the launch of its 2019 lineup and we took the Cruzer out for a stroll around town and down to Barcelona’s beach boardwalk for the afternoon. The Cruzer’s relaxed posture made for a nice ride for riders of a variety of heights as we rode through town from Rayvolt’s headquarters towards the beach strip. The longer frame of the bike and its thick 3” rubber tires pair for a nice stable ride and helped us make quick work of the city’s bike lanes. Disclaimer: Rayvolt paid for the author’s flight to Barcelona for the purposes of this article series.
The company’s flagship ebike is the Cruzer V3 and it is an absolute workhorse of an ebike. It is available with one of two of Rayvolt’s custom-designed motors: the Smart Hub or the Power Hub for an extra 200 euros. The Cruzer looks and rides like a classic early 1900s motorcycle, with the seat low and pushed to the back and the pedals biased towards the front of the frame. Complementing the retro look are a pair of leather saddlebags, with one containing the battery for the bike and the other providing a small storage compartment.
Image credit: Rayvolt
Once on the boardwalk, the longer posture and heavier frame made it harder to weave through the dense pedestrian traffic on the boardwalk, but the leather covered spring suspension saddle made the ride comfortable enough as we walked our way through some of the denser areas.
We stopped along the boardwalk for a few photo shoots and found that our passion for the classic curves of the bike were shared by the locals and tourists alike as numerous people stopped to take photos of the Cruzer in all its glory. Our build was a classic matte grey frame with natural leather, which also seemed to be popular with the locals as well, judging from their double takes and gawking.
Cutting Edge Power
On the power electronics side of things, the Rayvolt Power Hub motor that our bike was equipped with provided a silent boost to our pedaling as we motored down the boardwalk. And when I say silent, I mean silent, like zero noise. For those who have driven an electric vehicle or ridden on an ebike, you may be familiar with the slight whine of the electric motor. I’ve personally grown to love it, and was expecting the same slight whine that most ebikes emit, but I was actually pleasantly surprised when I first took off on the Rayvolt Cruzer with its Rayvolt-designed Power Hub motor. It silently ramped me up to speed and had me flying down the path in no time.
If the transition from a motorcycle to an electric bike takes the noise from a 10 to a 1, upgrading to Rayvolt’s Hub motor takes that down to zero. It’s akin to flying on the wind and unlike anything I’ve experienced. Mat let us take Rayvolt’s very early prototype electric motorcycle (that’s another story for another time) for a ride up and down the alley outside of the headquarters and while it clearly packed an insane amount of torque and power, its powerful motor was all but silent. The same held true for the Cruzer as it silently assisted my pedaling or responded to the throttle.
The Cruzer is a feat of design, first and foremost, but it isn’t just made for the runway. Our Cruzer came equipped with a pair of fenders, but an optional rack increases the utility of the bike beyond just cruising down the boardwalk in style. Adding a rack to the bike makes it easy to slap a pair of panniers to the bike or even to add a second seat to the rack. Rayvolt has a number of tricks up its sleeve to maximize the utility of the Cruzer and the other bikes in its lineup that let owners build out the perfect bike to suit their lifestyle.
If you haven’t ridden an ebike or cargo bike before, it may be best to just order the bike first and ride it around for a bit to see what you find yourself using it for. After that, you can always look back at what accessories are available and start to dream about how they might complement the things you’ve already found yourself doing with it. For me, I regularly commute on my ebikes and take them to the farmers market, so adding a rack and a pair of panniers seems like a logical build on a functional electric bike platform.
The ability to customize the bike lets each owner build out their own platform of functionality from which they can rely on it more and more. In Europe, bicycling around town is much more normal, but using bikes as a primary or even secondary mode of transportation in the United States just hasn’t taken off in the same way in large part due to the fact that our cities have been designed and built up around cars, not humans and bikes. Ebikes give us one more reason to stand up and mandate that our cities be redesigned for humans first and cars…last. Bicycling around town reconnects us with our cities, our communities, while improving our own personal health along the way. It’s a beautiful win-win.
We worked with Mat and the team on a special win-win deal for CleanTechnica and our readers. If you buy a bike using our link and our affiliate code KEEPSAFECT, Rayvolt will give you a free classic helmet with purchase of one of their ebikes. On our end, Rayvolt kicks down a few bucks to CleanTechnica through their affiliate program to help us keep the lights on. To get the deal, you do need to use our referral link to complete your purchase, then drop the coupon code ‘keepsafect’ in when you’re ready to checkout. The best part is that doing this costs you absolutely nothing extra and supports CleanTechnica at the same time.