Style, Brawn and Batteries

If the idea of riding an e-bike leaves you uninspired, you need to check out these two new offerings from Europe. One offers Italian style, while the other thrills riders with its off-road capabilities.

Benelli’s new Classica brings Italian style, at a price.

Benelli is one of the world’s oldest motorcycle manufacturers, with a history dating back to 1911. While the Italian company’s advanced racing motorcycles made it famous in the days before WWII, the modern incarnation of the brand has gone in a different direction — using pedals, and an electric motor.

Called the Classica, Benelli’s new e-bike pays homage to the company’s Italian origins, and storied past. Benelli says that the Classica was inspired by its original 1920s hybrid Benelli, which was halfway between a bicycle and a motorcycle. This new model can travel 40 miles on a charge, reaching a top speed of 20 mph.

Benelli says it was designed for urban streets – but you’d better buy a strong lock: at a suggested retail price of $2,100, this is one e-bike that you don’t want to leave unattended for long.

Bultaco’s Brinco begs to be taken off-road.

If you were around in the 1970s – and you were into motorcycles – you probably remember the fabled off-road machines from Spain’s Bultaco. These rugged bikes made their reputation in grueling off-road trials competitions that lasted six days, and took on some of the most rugged terrain in Europe.

Back in the day, the Catalonian company’s “thumbs up” tank logo was a familiar sight on the trails and backroads of America. Now, the company has returned, (at least to Europe) with a pedaled beast named Brinco, which Bultaco calls a Moto-Bike. To most of us, the Brinco best resembles a classic moped—albeit one that begs to be taken into the outback.

The Brinco is definitely set up for the trails. While it boasts only 4 hp, the electric motor produces an astounding 44 ft. lb. of torque. That’s more than a lot of 650cc motorcycles produce, and it’s plenty of grunt to get you up some steep trails. The suspension is tough as well, and offers some serious travel (7.9 inches in the front fork, and 8.7 inches in the back).

With disc brakes and an aluminum frame, the Brinco weighs in at 77 pounds. Bultaco says it can go about 20 miles on a charge. However, like the Benelli, this European e-bike is not for the feint of wallet, given its retail price of $5,900.


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