In addition to providing excellent traction on slippery slopes and sandy dunes, the chunky tires of Hanebrink pedal-electric bikes have also become something of a trademark look for the company. Change is in the air though, as signified by the launch of a new website and the addition of a new model to the family. The Hustler X5 electric street bike has the look of a small motorcycle and is capable of speeds in excess of 80 mph (128 km/h), yet also sports some pedals hidden behind the removable lower portion of the fairing.

CEO and Hustler X5's designer Dan Hanebrink told us that his latest creation is "a very capable street electric two-wheeler, able to keep up with and ahead of normal car traffic on city streets and highways. Massive battery capacity, and advanced electronics allow the rider to select power modes for any jurisdiction or situation."

The 120-pound (54-kg) X5 has a dual suspension monocoque chassis with 6061-T6 aircraft-grade seamless aluminum tubing and a watertight sheet aluminum box section that houses the four Li-ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt liquid-cooled AllCell batteries.

Hanebrink says that the battery pack can provide a 200+ mile (321 km) range and a top speed of over 80 mph in competition mode. The battery packs and controllers are custom made to suit the needs of the individual customer.

The bike features a Crystalyte 5303 Mid Motor, 14-speed transmission, inverted triple clamp coil/hydraulic front forks with seven inches (177 mm) of travel and monocoque swing arm rear suspension with air adjustable hydraulic shocks. The bike's creator states that, "optional adjustable offset triple clamp forks allow the rider to adjust for corner entry reaction from very quick to very stable, or anywhere in between."

There's Avid hydraulic disc braking at the rear and Brembo four piston hydraulic disc brakes to the front, and the 20 x 8 x 8-inch rear wheel has a tubeless fat tire while the 120/80 x 14 front wheel gets a Moto GP tire.

"The aero design of the bodywork greatly benefit speed, range, safety, and comfort, and provides convenient compartments to carry needed items," claims Hanebrink. "The bike has operable pedals, and can be pedaled, with the belly pan of the fairing removed. Pedaling does, however, reduce the range and speed (efficiency) of the bike (in a pedaling position, the increased aero drag more than cancels out the benefit of pedaling)."

Despite the sharp-looking edges in the photo above, we're assured that there's no conflict between the rider's legs and the fairing when the lower part is detached with a coin (via six Dzus quarter-turn captive fasteners) and removed for pedal mode.

On the question of the X5's street legal status, Hanebrink told us that "the benefit of a legal electric bicycle is, of course, that it does not require registration, drivers license, or special motorcycle permit, etc. and can be operated where motorcycles are not permitted (National Forest, BLM land, and so on). The owner can register it as a motorcycle, if desired, and benefit from applicable tax rebates."

"There are two operating modes – Legal and Competition. The fact that a vehicle is capable of higher speeds does not in any way imply that the operator intends to break the law. Look at any car or motorcycle on the road today, some of which can exceed 200 mph. The rider may choose pedaling, or full fairing. Both are legal. The law does not require the rider to pedal, only that the pedals be operable."

Pricing starts at US$16,940 and customers ordering now can expect delivery by the end of March 2013. Each model is built in consultation with the buyer, where custom options like different colors and LED lighting/turn indicators can be selected.

Product page: Hustler X5