Back in their earliest days, motorcycles were little more than bicycles with engines. Italian manufacturer Lampociclo is trying to bring that simple, timeless style back for the modern day e-bike market. Its bikes combine the latest technology with styling cues from a time gone by.

"When motorbikes were little more than bicycles it was fun to drive them, people making these motorized bicycles had greasy hands, and no two of these vehicles were alike," the company explains. "They were built with passion and for this reason they were and are valued. Now just remove the smell of gas … here we are!"

Though its bikes also bear similarities to older models, such as the Werner Motocyclette from around the turn of the century, Lampociclo says its design ethic is inspired specifically by motorcycles from the 1920s. This retro influence comes through in available components like the springy leather saddle, oversized LED headlight and handlebars.

Lampociclo's motor and battery look large and unwieldy compared to the hub motors and frame-integrated batteries of other modern e-bike designs, but they mirror the frame-filling engines and tanks of classic motor bicycles from the likes of Indian and Harley-Davidson. The battery is stored in the lockable, hand-welded aluminum "tank" hanging from the top tube. That tank even comes complete with an available "gas cap" covering the charging port. The lithium iron phosphate battery takes about six hours to charge.

Despite their yesteryear looks, Lampociclo bikes are based on up-to-date e-bike technology. The pedelec powertrain kicks in power from the bottom bracket-mounted motor when the rider starts pedaling. The standard motor is a 250-watt brushless model, but larger 350- and 500-watt options are available. The standard 250-watt, 3-speed system provides speeds up to 15.5 mph (25 km/h) and enough battery power for 43 miles (70 km) of range. Motor output can be tweaked via a three-setting switch. More powerful motors with throttles can push the bike to speeds up to 28 mph (45 km/h).

Each Lampociclo bike is handcrafted and custom built, giving the buyer much input into its equipment. He or she can select from different gearbox, saddle, grip, wheel and handlebar options, as well as add accessories like baskets and racks. The steel frame comes in three different sizes and a variety of colors.

After nearly three years of development and multiple prototypes, Lampociclo launched its first bike at the Milan motorcycle show last November. The company also attended the recent Eurobike show.

Lampociclo ships its hand-built bikes all over Europe. It offers shop test rides at its Verona headquarters and home test rides in the greater northern Italy region. It also offers two-day new-bike trials backed by a refund. Because of the custom nature of its bikes, it does not list pricing, but you can find out more on its website.

Source: Lampociclo