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Grab One Of These Sweet Motorized Old-Timey Bikes For Your Next Ride

A company well known for crowdsourcing car and military vehicle designs is now turning to retro-looking bikes.

Local Motors was born in 2008 as “a new type of car company” that accepted design submissions from the public that would be voted on by its community. The first product to result from this unique design process was the Rally Fighter, which Local “micro-manufactured” in Arizona. Other projects, including the XC2V FLYPMode military vehicle–built in conjunction with the U.S. military’s research division, DARPA–have followed.

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This year, Local Motors turned to bikes. In July, it announced the winners of a contest to design “a motorized bicycle reminiscent of the early 1900s board track racers.” Now that it’s chosen several concepts, it’s aiming to get them into production after just completing a successful crowdfunding campaign for $50,000 on the site Crowdtilt.

The campaign advertised two different “Cruiser” bikes, one electric and one gas-powered. The electric version goes 20 miles on a charge, comes with regenerative braking, and costs an estimated one-cent-per-mile to operate. The bulkier gas-fueled version gets 150 miles-per-gallon and has a maximum speed of 34 mph. With hand-welded frames and Brooks seats, both look very nice. However, the bikes aren’t cheap at $3,799.

The cruisers were designed by Ianis Vasilatos, a Local Motors community member from Romania. By day, Vasilatos works as a production manager at the Queen Marry Theatre in the city of Oradea. But he’s long wanted to work on a retro bike or two. “All parts of my Cruiser design were intended to give a nod back to the history of board track racing and early motor bicycles: the motor and engine covering, the fuel tank and straps that hold the tank, the other elements of leather and the seat are all very respectful to this history,” he said in a press release.


Local Motors says it plans to crowdfund more projects in the future, seeing it as an ideal way to “empower independent vehicle innovators around the world.”

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About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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