Old-timey cafe racer or new electric bike? Either way, have fun with the CRT1

Make it look good and make it look different was the plan. Great design was the top priority for Toronto-based Tempus Electric Bike’s new CRT1 for founders Xavier Chan and Ikenna Ofoha. Rather than create a swoopy, futuristic-looking bike, Chan and Ofoha looked back in time to early cafe racers.

Tempus just launched a Kickstarter campaign that ends June 15, 2017. The company plans to begin production in the summer of 2017 and deliver bikes to backers beginning in October 2017. If observers ask whether the Tempus CRT1 is an ebike or a vintage motorcycle the resemblance is intentional.

Chan and Ofoha are entering what they knew would be a quickly growing field of battery-operated two-wheelers. The pair wanted their bike to deliver a good ride and performance but to stand out in the emerging field. To stake their claim in the space they took the bold step of adding functional design elements from the motorcycle world.

The CRT1’s tributes to vintage cafe-racer style motorcycles include the tank, front suspension forks, headlight, and seat. The tank doesn’t hold fuel, it conceals the “brains” of the bike: a 30-amp sin-wave motor controller, a 12-volt power converter, and wiring.

Dual crown forks are common on motorcycles but rare on bicycles. The forks absorb shock and vibrations from bumps, resulting in greater rider comfort.

The CRT1’s 12-volt motorcycle-style headlight and rear LED lights run off the main battery. The comfortably soft motorcycle seat is “big enough to take a friend for a ride,” according to Tempus. Note that there are no passenger footpegs so your friend will need to hold his or her feet away from the bike and off the ground.

The 75-pound CRT1’s frame is made of aircraft-grade Chromoly steel for strength and reliability. Front and rear hydraulic disc brakes give it stopping power beyond what the mechanical brakes on bicycles can provide.

Power for the bike comes from a 48V 17Ah (816 watt-hour) removable LG lithium ion battery. The battery weighs 9 pounds and locks onto the bike frame with a key. An included 4Ah charger can fully charge the battery in 4 to 5 hours. The battery also has a 5V USB port for charging mobile devices.

The battery powers a 1,000 watt brushless DC hub motor on the rear wheel hub. According to Tempus, maximum speed is 31 miles per hour, although you can adjust the max to a lower speed if needed to meet state or local ebike laws. Maximum range on a fully charged battery is 30 miles. Extra batteries are available for $545.

Functional pedals on the CRT1 can drive the bike independently or add performance to electric power, but pedaling isn’t necessary. Most of the time riders will just press the thumb throttle and ride off. The bike has a color LCD that shows speed, distance, time, and battery level.

Pricing for the unique-looking CRT1 e-bike is in the usual $3,000 to $4,000 e-bike price range. The CRT1’s list price will be $3,400 U.S. but during the Kickstarter campaign the Super Early Bird price is $2,923 (limited to 25 backers) and the Early Bird price is $3,069.