Categories, like rules, are made to be broken. And when you buy a moped with an electric motor that rides like an e-bike that also goes 60 miles per hour, rules and categories be damned. The ONYX RCR 72V electric motorbike could be labeled as an urban motorcycle, but I’m less concerned with what to call it and more intrigued by how much trouble we could get in on it. But does it have enough curb appeal to make me part with $4,149? Let’s take a closer look.
ONYX RCR Electric Motorbike Build
The first thing to know about the ONYX RCR electric motorbike is that it does not have a VIN, which means that if you scoot up to your local DMV on that thing, you’re not leaving with a license plate. But, depending on where you live, that might not be a problem. At the moment, many big cities in the US are allowing e-bikes in the bike lane with a speed limit. But don’t say that we didn’t warn you if you get a ticket popping wheelies on the sidewalk. Don’t do that.
The motorbike itself is retro-inspired and looks like a retro-fitted café racer. Steel tubing supports the motor and battery unit. There are a headlight and taillight, blinkers, full suspension, and even a digital LCD dash with battery information and speed information. The electric motorbike’s styling is eye-catching, especially the wood and metal shrouds covering the battery unit, nice touch.
At first pass, the website would lead you to believe that this little baby is capable of some pretty impressive performance numbers. Electric bikes are still very much limited by their range and their charge time. ONYX claims that the RCR can ride 75 miles on a single charge and up to 60 miles per hour if you dare to push these 17-inch wheels that fast. But is this possible?
ONYX RCR Performance
Fortunately for us, there have been several “First Ride” style reviews of the ONYX RCR in the motorcycling press. What you should know about motorcycle journalists is that they tend to be on the smaller side, and because they get to ride all the cool new bikes, they can be somewhat jaded. However, they do know their stuff so you must take their feedback into consideration.
Given the dimensions, a fairly low seat height, and a claimed dry weight of only 145 pounds, you can assume this electric motorbike is pretty nimble. Many ride reports claim the RCR feels like a miniature motorcycle, but quiet and quite agile. The 3,000-watt hub motor is said to crank out a whopping 7.24 horsepower, which at just 145-pounds should produce some pretty enjoyable hp.
Like all-electric vehicles, how much you mash the gas pedal, how much you weigh, and the inclines you’re navigating will play a huge role in the battery’s range. Though the 75-mile claimed range would be fantastic, most reviewers are seeing far fewer miles even with moderate throttle twisting. But if you need a short-distance commuter and just want to kick around town, then you really don’t need that kind of range.
Purchasing an ONYX RCR
The base model ONYX RCR will set you back $4,149. For an additional $1,050 you can bump the battery amperage up and double the range, though we aren’t quite sure what that would actually add up to given the mixed reviews.
If you’re like us, though, you’ll want to kick the bike up a notch and add the DRT ($299 extra). This gives you knobby tires, a front fender, and shock boots. Not that you’re likely to take this thing off-road, but it looks a whole lot cooler than the standard model.
So, if I had to decide at this very moment if this hard to categorize, police bait of an electric motorcycle is in my purchasing future, I’d say unlikely. But, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be in yours. Just remember, no wheelies on the sidewalk, IMPROB said so!