Onyx RCR Is A Little Bit E-Bike, Little Bit Electric Motorcycle


A versatile electric bicycle that doubles as a motorcycle? That’s the feat accomplished by Onyx Motorbikes

Is it a bicycle? Is it a motorcycle? It’s actually a little bit of both. The Onyx RCR blurs the lines between practical urban, bike lane-legal ride and high-output highway cruiser in a super-retro package.

Onyx Motorbikes is a San Francisco, California-based company that recently launched two models of electric mopeds. While one is a proper city-dweller, the other one has a wheel in the city and the other on the highway.

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The CTY is both modern and retro if that's even possible

The CTY is the tamer model of the lot and a standard e-bike. It has a 48-volt battery with a range rated at roughly 25 to 40 miles, depending on your speed. It’s the perfect partner for a ride in the city as it can reach a top speed of 30 mph and is fitted with pedals, should the battery run out. The spoke wheels and banana saddle give it an undeniably retro look and for some extra comfort, the CTY has a motorcycle-like suspension to absorb bumps.

It’s priced at $1,875 on pre-order, and comes with a few added perks such as an LCD display, headlight, USB 3.0 port, Bluetooth connectivity, and a smart key.

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The RCR is a bit of a different beast. It’s hard to understand what you are looking at while scanning the RCR’s design with its low-swept frame and thin tires, but believe or not, it will actually take you on (most) highways. Onyx calls it the Cafe Blaster for its look reminiscent of a cafe racer with its flat saddle, wire wheels, and round headlight.

20 mph or 60 mph - the RCR takes you from the streets to the highway

The model is a cross between electric bicycle and motorcycle. It receives at 72 V battery paired with a 5.4 kW electric motor for a 7.2 hp output – for a bike weighing in at 120 lb. This makes the RCR equivalent to a 125cc motorcycle and therefore doesn’t require a license. Its electric range is estimated at 75 miles. The “economy mode” turns the RCR into a quiet urban commuter, limiting its speed to 20 mph, but when you change the mode, the RCR becomes a proper highway motorcycle with a top speed of 60 mph. The beauty of technology!

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Onyx says that the RCR will go anywhere a bike will go including bike lanes and your office. Regular pricing for the RCR usually starts at $3,500, but when you pre-order via Indiegogo, you can get it for $2600. It receives the same practical features as the CTY. Both models also have regenerative braking and three riding modes; eco, normal, and sport.

Deliveries of the ONYX RCR are expected to begin in December of this year. You will have to wait a month longer to receive your CTY. Just don’t get stuck on the highway having to pedal your way back, that could put a damper on your day.

Sources: New AtlasElectrekONYX Motorbikes

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5 Comments on "Onyx RCR Is A Little Bit E-Bike, Little Bit Electric Motorcycle"

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The bike looks awfully small. Notice at :26 the rider has her leg bent 90 degrees when the pedal is in the down position. Also, the pedals seem to be too far back. Perhaps they are just there to make it a street legal e-bike, not intended to be used.

Their website claims 48 volt/3.35 hp/2500 watts but the motor is rated 1500 watts for the city bike and 72 volt/7.24 hp/5400 watts with a 6000 watt motor for the RCR.

These ridiculous “bikes” are incredibly pointless. Be an electric bike, that functions like a bike, or be a scooter. Just don’t be something that functions poorly as both.

In California both of these require a drivers license. The RCR is a “motor driven cycle” and requires an M1 (small motorcycle) license. The CTY is a “motorized bicycle or moped” and requires a normal drivers license or an M1 or M2. California also has three classes of electric bicycle including a 28 mph pedalec up to 750 watts. Throttle only is limited to 20mph.

I was coming here to say this, as I was very much disappointed the article didn’t actually research the company or models. Both the models are illegal in the company’s home state, and many other US states. What are they supposed to be classed as legally in CA? https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/motorcycles/motorcycles Certainly not scooters since they’re not standing-only devices. 1) Not road- or cycle path -legal e-bicycles, since Federal and California standards are 20mph/750W and 28mph/1000W respectively. 2) Not mopeds in California, since mopeds are limited to 30mph and 2BHP (~1500W); even the lower-end model has double the power than that. https://onyxmotorbikes.com/ 3) They can’t be registered as motorcycles as-is, since AFAICS from pics & specs, they lack turn signals, brake lights etc. There’s no other motorized 2-wheeler category in CA. Their FAQ claims they’re limited to 750W, without bothering to explain the contradiction with 3.3 / 7.2 BHP which is several times more, and claims no license is needed, which is also a lie: Both mopeds & motorcycles require a motorcycle driver’s license (M1 or M2) in CA, as well as registering the vehicle and insurance & full moto helmets for motorcycles (not sure about insurance for mopeds). Oh, and of… Read more »

The bike has a button that switches modes. You can go between electric bike mode (750 W and 20 mph), moped mode (2 hp and 30 mph or something like that), and motorcycle mode (full power). This is easily done with modern electronics, but would be really hard for a gas vehicle! From my reading I saw you can custom program these limits. It’s an intriguing idea, hit a button and be bike lane legal for 1/2 of your commute, and then hit a button and go to motorcycle mode for city traffic. Caveat emptor: Your local law enforcement might not agree an e-bike can be legally made 7x as powerful at the push of a button.