Electric motorcycles are the dream of anyone who wants a more quiet and environmentally friendly way to take to the streets and feel the wind on their face. But e-bikes are still in their infancy and often cost a hefty premium over combustion engine vehicles. The BlackTea Moped hopes to finally offer an urban motorcycle priced on par with gas bikes at a starting price of about $5,000.
One caveat is that this is still in its crowdfunding phase on Indiegogo, though it's already raised over $420,000, which is well north of its original $118,000 goal. That's not a guarantee the bike will get made, but if you're willing to take the risk you can pre-order a BlackTea Moped for a limited time price of $2,715. The anticipated shipping date is April 2021 and it'll ship to the U.S.
Unbeatable speed and range – The first thing to know about the BlackTea Moped is that it can reach a top speed of 50 mph, meaning it's quite fast, though that means you won't be taking it on the highway. It can also be limited if necessary to comply with local legislation in your state. Other bikes in this price range have a similar range of about 43 miles in the city at average speeds of 28 mph. But the BlackTea has room for a second battery ($1,000 extra) that can double that. And the BlackTea's 50 mph top speed is much higher than comparable bikes like the Super73 RX which maxes out around 28 mph.
What's also important about the BlackTea Moped is that the company says it's street-legal and comes with a VIN. It's classified as a moped-class vehicle because it's sold with a 28 mph speed limit, which can be removed for "private land use." In moped mode, though, you just need a standard driver's license. If you remove the speed limit and want to ride on the street you'll most likely need a motorcycle license.
Having a VIN is a big up on a bike like the Onyx, which doesn't have a moped classification, meaning you'd almost certainly need a motorcycle license depending on where you are in the U.S.
Minimalist design — The bike has an LED headlight, sport tires on 18-inch rims, dual rear coil-over shocks, regenerative braking, and dual hydraulic disk brakes. The tires in these images look like dirt bike tires, but that seems like BlackTea is just promoting the offroad nature of it as well. If you're driving mainly on the road you'd likely want to swap them out for something more suited to asphalt.
The team behind the BlackTea says they're inspired by the open-source concept of the IT sector when it comes to maintenance and repairs. "[W]e will develop a manual and a video series for the BlackTea Moped. This will allow everyone to repair their moped without an existing workshop network and design it to their own taste."
The design of the BlackTea isn't especially striking – it's based on a '70s-style scrambler motorcycle rather than something fiercely modern, like the Cake Kalk&, which aims to rethink bike design more thoroughly. But if you like a more classic look that will age well, it might be for you.