Vintage Electric announced a limited-edition high-performance e-bike just ahead of the November 15, 2019, theater release of Ford v Ferrari. The film recounts the full-on effort by Carroll Shelby to build a Ford race car to take on Ferrari, the perennial winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966. The Vintage Electric Shelby is a 36-mph e-bike with paint, finishes, and design details closely fashioned after the auto builder’s personal 289 Cobra.
Vintage Electric founder and lead designer Andrew Davidge consulted with Aaron Shelby, the auto legend’s grandson, while developing the limited edition. Inspired by the 289 Cobra, the Vintage Electric Shelby has matching blue metallic N6 paint with matte black racing stripes, the Shelby logo, and Cobra badging.
Additional design details for the tribute e-bike include the handgrips and saddle, exact matches in color and feel to the Cobra’s interior.
Like Shelby Cobras, Vintage Electric builds e-bikes for speed and high-performance. The limited-edition Shelby model, therefore, could only be based on the electric bicycle company’s fastest model and latest technology.
The Vintage Electric Shelby is a throttle-controlled e-bike powered by the company’s most robust performance platform. You can pedal and use the throttle with five power modes (we know which is our favorite – see below).
Vintage rates the 48V 23.4Ah, 1,123-watt-hour rechargeable battery for 40 to 75 miles of range in Street Mode. The battery takes 4.5 hours for a full charge. A 3,000-watt direct drive hub motor provides all the go you need and more than you can use legally on U.S. public roads.
But Cobras weren’t built to drive at speed limits. Vintage Electric Shelby owners may forget that Street Mode with its 20 mph power-cutoff exists if they buy this bike to ride and not to display. A special key included with the Cobra’s battery pack allows owners to switch to Race Mode, which has a 36 mph-rated maximum speed.
E-bikes in the U.S. are currently limited to 28 mph using a combination of powered pedal assistance and throttle control. Therefore, Vintage Electric advises Shelby owners that they will need to stick to private roads when they engage Race Mode. Like that’s going to happen.
The Vintage Electric Shelby Cobra is based on Vintage Electric’s Roadster Speed Merchant. The 86-pound bike has a hydroformed aluminum frame and an inverted front fork suspension with 60mm of travel. Promax Lucid hydraulic disc brakes with regenerative braking to restore a bit of electric power have ample stopping power.
The two-wheeled Cobra has 26-inch rims with stainless steel spokes. The rims ride on Schwalbe Fat Frank 26 x 2.35 tires with an inner layer of Kevlar and thorn-resistant inner tubes front and back. The bike also has a 5.75-inch diameter LED headlight, an LED taillight, and an alloy rear fender.
Vintage Electric will build only 300 Shelby editions. The Cobra costs $7,249, or $7,398 if you add the $149 Race Mode option. If you’re going to spend this much money on an e-bike inspired by a race car and forego the Race Mode option, well, what would Carroll Shelby think if he were still alive?
The Vintage Electric Shelby is a $254 price bump above the $6,995 Roadster Speed Merchant ($7,144 with Race Mode). However, the cool factor and conversation-starter value of riding an e-bike with Cobra badging are likely worth the extra cost for people who can afford this bike.
If you love the idea of the Shelby e-bike concept, but you’re torn because you want to both ride it and preserve it, we have solutions. You could buy two Shelbys. Or, you could save $250 and purchase a Vintage Shelby limited edition and a Roadster Speed Merchant. You can preserve and display the Shelby limited edition and hammer the Roadster on all those private roads you’ll travel. Of course, if you follow the latter path, you’ll also need a T-shirt that reads, “My other e-bike is a Shelby!”
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