As we all know, motorcycles originated from engineers and inventors attaching small motors to pedal bicycles around the turn of the 20th century. While bikes themselves had their own history and development, it was around the late 1890s and early 1900s that the standardized two wheels, two pedals, two sprockets, and a chain (or belt) between them became the norm.
From those early “motorized bicycles,” which coincidentally is the full title of our favorite mode of transportation, the motorcycle, many new and inventive styles of bikes were designed specifically to use the quite popular internal combustion engine to its fullest extent. It is during these early times that the first Harley-Davidson’s were made, as well as the first Indian Motorcycle Company bikes, as well as the British developing the first iterations of what would later become the British motorway cruiser.
It is a bit of comedic irony, then, that bicycles have quite literally come full circle, with motors being attached to pedal-powered two-wheeled machines, except this time they are electric. It is not surprising, then, that many newer eBikes have deviated from the standard look of what everyone understands as a bicycle, and have borrowed the aesthetics, the design language, and sometimes even the name from motorcycles. There are some that look like turn of the century racers, while others imitated the British motorway cruiser, and others take on more of the enduro/adventure aesthetic.
In today’s list, we’re going to go over 7 eBikes that look somewhat or entirely like a motorcycle, except with two pedals and an electric motor either at the pedals or rear hub. Some of these are a bit of a stretch, yet we think you’ll agree with our choices. Also remember, these are just some eBikes that look like motorcycles, and are our opinions. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Michael Blast, formerly Tracxn Technologies, is an eBike company that focuses entirely on retro looks and vintage themes, combined with the latest and greatest in eBike technology. The Greaser Classic, one of their entry-level models, takes its inspiration from pre-war “Board Racer” motorcycles, which raced around ovals or circuits that were covered by wooden boards (aka planks). It is, in fact, on these types of racetracks that Indian Motorcycles gained their reputation as the sportier of the two big American motorcycle companies.
Michael Blast has done some pretty ingenious thinking in their design and engineering to keep true to the profile and look of those early racing bikes. The “fuel tank” is present, except this time it holds the control electronics and the battery itself within, keeping the lines of the bike clean and flowing. It features a top-tier Bafang 500W brushless hub motor at the rear axle, and can reach a speed of 22 MPH with electric assist. The only major difference between this bike and an actual motorcycle is that a twist throttle is not included as standard, but if you want to ride this just like a motorbike, the twist throttle is a $100 accessory and plugs directly into the control board in the “fuel tank.”
To address the e-Elephant in the room, yes, this bike has a price tag of over $10k. However, it is about as close to a blurred line between an eBike and an eMoto as we have yet seen. This is a serious piece of kit that takes inspiration from both pedal-powered mountain bikes and competition off-road motorcycles, and has produced what can only be described as a perfect storm of power and fun.
It features a mid-mounted direct drive motor that takes your pedal strokes and adds up to a ridiculous 6.2 kW of electric assist. It features peak torque of 140 Nm, or 103 lbs-ft, which is more than most dirt bikes! It can reach a top speed of 50 MPH (80 KPH), and has a range on a full charge of its gigantic 2.5 kWh battery of 62 miles (100 KM). It features three selectable ride modes depending on your usage: Eco, for when you’re commuting or just enjoying a trail; Sport, for when you’re aggressively attacking a trail; and Competition, which gives you all the beans, all the time, for short, hard sprints.
It should also be mentioned that the B-52 has a 6-speed sequential “H-box” electromechanical transmission on the rear hub in place of a derailleur. It also features Kenda off-road tires that wouldn’t look out of place on a dual-sport or trail bike, and motocross grade front and rear suspension. As we said, this thing blurs the lines between an eBike and an eMoto, and if it had pegs instead of pedals, it would still be just as impressive.
At first glance, we thought that the Monday Motorcycles Piezo was an eMoto, and not an eBike. The full suspension front and rear, the solid swingarm, the big, fat tires on what looked to be alloy spoke wheels, and even the headlight that looks like it comes from a Honda Rebel 300. It was only on closer inspection that we saw the pedals, the underslung electric control pack and battery, and we all gave a little smirk and went “… huh!”
What makes the Piezo the perfect eBike that looks like a motorcycle is the fact that its front storage compartment, which is easily large enough for a briefcase or shoulder satchel, looks exactly like a fuel tank or battery pack on an actual motorcycle. The other part that blurs that lines is that it uses motorcycle-grade parts, such as the front forks, rear monoshock, and the headlight is even DOT approved!
It also has some real grunt, with a 2,000W hub drive motor that can give up to 140 Nm of torque, sipping from a 72V 33Ah 2.4 kWh battery. The claimed range is 70 miles (112 KM), and depending on what mode you use, can reach 20 MPH (32 KPH) on its Mode 1 5-level pedal assist only, up to 40 MPH (64 KPH) on its Mode 3 twist throttle. There is also a Mode 2 setting that is meets all the restrictions needed to be used in a bike lane, with a max speed of 28 MPH (45 KPH) on pedal assist and/or twist throttle.
Super73 Z Miami
Motor: 500W brushless hub motor Price: $1,995 USD Where To Buy: Super73 Z Miami
Shorter riders and those that have a Honda GROM, we haven’t forgotten about you! Mini-bikes are becoming quite popular in the eBike market, and for good reason, as they can be hilarious fun. The Z Miami is marketed as a compact neighborhood explorer, and we couldn’t think of a more apt descriptor.
While we have mentioned the GROM, the styling of the Z Miami is more along the lines of the original Honda Monkey from the 1960s, that of a bare frame, wheels, a motor, a gas tank, and that’s about it. In this case, the motor is a 500W brushless hub drive with just a single speed sprocket, the gas tank is a 48V 12.8Ah 615 Wh battery slung under the seat, the wheels are 20 inches with 4 inch wide Trooper street tires on them, and the banana-style seat is a bit longer than the original seat of the legendary Honda minimoto.
Estimated range on the Z Miami is 30 to 50 miles (50 to 80 KM) , depending on which of the 5 levels of pedal assist you use. It won’t set any speed records, but it will reach 20 MPH on either pedal assist or throttle, and if you unlock the Class 3 mode, if your state allows for class 3 eBikes, it will reach approximately 26 MPH (~42 KPH) on throttle. Not bad for a compact little romper of an eBike for less than $2,000!
It shouldn’t be a surprise to find two Michael Bay eBikes recommended on this list, as we mentioned before that their entire design language is around vintage and classic motorcycles. While the Greaser eBike recommended before was the vintage edition, this Vacay Hi-Step falls squarely into the mid-20th century classic category.
Styled to look like a 1960s British motorway cruiser, like a Triumph Bonneville Bobber or a Royal Enfield G2 350, the Vacay nonetheless is one of the more premium options available from Michael Blast. While it doesn’t have massive power, it still does carry a Bafang 500W brushless hub motor that will propel it up to 22 MPH (35 KPH) on pedal assist or throttle. It also has quite decent range at 37 to 50 miles (60 to 80 KM), mostly due to its 48V 14.5Ah Samsung battery and 7-speed Shimano derailleur allowing you to keep the power band as economical as possible.
Adding to that classic touch, and in a definite nod to the British style, the battery holder has a leather cover with diamond stitching on it, like you would find on the leather seats of a Jaguar E-Type. It’s a bit of that high brow English class, subtle yet present as it should be. In keeping with that aura of elegance, we do particularly like how a rear tail light is included on the rear mudguard, much like it would be on the rear fender of an aforementioned Triumph.
This is one eBike that absolutely cannot claim to be influenced by anything other than motorcycles. Made famous in the 1950s through to the 1970s, cafe racers were modified motorcycles that were designed for high speed sprints between cafes, or had a road circuit to navigate in the time it took for someone to drink a cup of coffee at the cafe. The most common modifications included sportier suspension, removal of fairings, and sometimes adding a cowl around the front headlight.
The Revibikes Cheetah mimics the long, low, and sleek design of a modded cafe racer, but still keeps the functionality and comfort of a bicycle intact, through swept back handlebars and a very plush saddle. It also mimics the power of a cafe racer, at least as much as it can, with a Bafang 750W rear hub motor that can peak at 1,000W for short periods. Unlocked, it can reach 30 MPH+ (48 KPH+) on throttle or pedal assist, but ships set up for Class 2, with a limited top speed of 28 MPH (45 KPH).
Because of the powerful motor, 5 levels of pedal assist, and standard 48V 13Ah battery, estimated range is at 20 to 30 miles (~30 to 50 KM). There is an upgraded “extended range” battery option that improves it to 48V 17.5Ah, with the estimated range at 26 to 40 miles (~42 to 64 KM). It’s not the highest range bike by any stretch of the imagination, but for urban settings, where the bike is designed to be used as it is a definite style statement, it’s perfectly acceptable.
For those that love pre-war and between-war vintage Harley-Davidsons from the 1910s to the 1930s, this is an eBike with your name on it. There is no denying the motorcycle influence here, as the battery pack and control electronics housing is intentionally mimicking a V-twin, and the fins are actually functional to help cool the battery with moving air.
What is deceptive about the Roadster is that while it has a 750W brushless hub motor, that is only its nominal output figure. This is a Class 2 eBike designed to reach 40 MPH (64 KPH) on either thumb throttle or pedal assist, and is meant to accelerate hard as the motor has an astounding 4,000W and 180 Nm of torque peak output. This is supported by a heavy-duty 72V 15.6Ah 1.1 kWh battery that is permanently attached to the bike, giving the Roadster a range of approximately 40 to 75 miles (64 to 120 KM).
Much like a Harley as well, there is an options list as long as the average leg, with everything from cargo racks, mirrors, and locks to an optional race mode setting that lets you access the peak power on demand instead of just on wide-open throttle or if the cadence sensor thinks you need the extra power. It’s an expensive bike, for sure, but when it can go from 5 to 40 MPH in the space of about 3 seconds, that is nothing to scoff at.