BBC Autos


The bicycle, recharged for the 21st century

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.


Icon E-Flyer
California-based Icon is a company best known for its re-imagined vintage trucks and utility vehicles, all-conquering Toyota FJs and Ford Broncos that merge classic style and simplicity with modern engineering and six-figure price tags. The E-Flyer electric bicycle takes Icon in a somewhat different direction.

Created in collaboration with Vintage Electric Bicycles, also California-based, the Icon E-Flyer recalls the board-track motorcycle racers of the 1910s and 1920s. The 57-pound bicycle features traditional pedal power, augmented on demand by a rear-hub-mounted electric motor. The drive system delivers up to 35 miles of sustained boost per charge, and a regenerative braking system throws electricity back to the battery pack (contained within a cast-aluminium box that, in addition to looking like a piece of modern art, disperses heat for improved performance). Vintage Electric estimates the cost of the E-Flyer’s two-hour recharge to be a modest $0.18. For those keeping track, that’s 1,556 MPGe. (By comparison, the Nissan Leaf electric car is rated at 130 MPGe.)

Icon E-Flyer. (Icon)

And the E-Flyer is quite swift for a bicycle, capable of a governed 20mph in standard, 750-watt mode. An optional 3,000-watt “race mode” (obtainable only after signing a waiver) removes the speed limiter, enabling a breezy 36mph.

The bike is a first-rate creation, on par with Icon’s meticulously crafted four-wheeled efforts. The frame is hydroformed aluminium and the forks are TIG-welded steel with a billet aluminium triple clamp and hand-formed stainless steel handlebars. The E-Flyer’s grips and traditionally sprung saddle are handcrafted by Brooks, the venerable UK-based leather crafter.

Production of Icon’s bike is limited to a scant 50 examples, priced at $4,995 apiece, plus shipping. If the E-Flyer’s matte-gray powder coat and black leather isn’t your style, Vintage Electric offers its similar E-Tracker bike in a variety of colours for $4,495.

Icon E-Flyer

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