Vintage Electric unveils a new 28 MPH Cafe electric cruiser bike


Well-Known Member
Silicon Valley
A nice looking vintage design... is it really worth $4K?

The Vintage Cafe features a removable 500 Wh battery that the company rates for between 20-60 miles (32-97 km). Which is to say, “it can go anywhere from not that far to pretty far.”
For what it’s worth, most e-bikes of this size and power level can do an honest 20 miles (32 km) of range on throttle-only operation at 20 mph (32 km/h). Using the weakest pedal assist level (meaning you’re doing much of the work yourself) can usually double that range, sometimes more). And since this model doesn’t offer a throttle, the pedal-assist option will likely help it eke out even more range than most throttle e-bikes.

Speaking of pedal assist, the Vintage Cafe features a true torque sensing bottom bracket, which the company refers to as its Vintorque™ drivetrain. Torque sensors are known to provide a smoother pedal assist experience compared to cheaper cadence-based pedal assist systems.
Stopping power comes from dual Promax hydraulic disc brakes.
To make one yours, you’ll need to shell out a cool $3,995. Consider yourself lucky though, since that price actually puts the Cafe on the most affordable end of Vintage’s lineup.

The Vintage Cafe is a blast to ride. Good torque off the line, good speed and good response as it goes through the gears. Weight is reasonable for ride control and for lifting on and off a T2 bike rack. The only issue I have with the Cafe is it is usually in the shop. While riding the bike I will experience intermittent drag. I had hoped it would be consistent with some other function of the bike as to identify a source of the problem but it seems to be totally random. Going down the road drag, run, drag, run, drag run. Then 2 days or two weeks no drag, then it starts again and drags every 2 or 3 minutes for days at a time. Frustrating as can be. In cooperation with Vintage a phone conference in Year 1 helped disconnect and reconnect cables thinking something was loose and occasionally breaking the circuit. No help. Then a few months later Vintage sent me the two primary electronic control boxes and we swapped those out, again sure to address any electronic issues; again no help. Now in year 3 I took the bike to the shop to bleed the rear brakes where the mechanic tells me the brake pads are contaminated and the pistons on both the front and rear brakes do not always retract properly. Ah ha, a logical reason why the bike would drag now and then. To their credit Vintage is sending new brake parts available only through them. What if the brake repair still does not solve the issue? After the continuing issue I'd have preferred that they send a new bike and be done with it rather than keep putting band aids on the same bike. My patience with e-mails back and forth is waning. When it runs it's my favorite of my 3 electric bikes. When it runs. Half the time it does not.
I got my V.E.B. Cafe in March, 2018, before the wood panel insert was incorporated (OP's image). My ABUS folding bike lock fits perfectly in that triangular empty space.
Fortunately, I was able to pick up a floor model at a nice discount. While I had some issues over the first year or two, the V.E.B. crew solved them all (in conjunction with my local shop when necessary) and the bike has been problem free since. My biked miles plummeted during 2020 and 2021 (a big driver was losing my office commute during the long Covid-forced telework phase.) I'm ramping back up and have started some office commuting on the bike again this fall; I expect to finally (belatedly, as I expected it would have happened back in summer 2020) hit 10,000 total miles in spring '23.