IF THE DESIGN of most electric motorcycles leaves you cold, a pair of young engineers from Hamburg might just have the answer. Meet Metorbike; a pint-sized café racer that could pass for a vintage moped, in both looks and sound.
The idea for Metorbike was conceived by friends Michael and Marvin, back when they were studying together. Both of them love café racers, and both of them had wondered if an electric drivetrain could be as elegant as a vintage combustion engine. So they decided to build a prototype to test their ideas.
Tinkering away in one of their grandfather’s garage after hours, the duo put their mechanical engineering and mechatronics studies into practice. And when they ran into a task that was beyond their collective abilities, they simply up-skilled.
Working with an old Puch X40 moped chassis as a base, they built the first Metorbike prototype entirely by themselves… and then things escalated. Michael and Marvin decided to turn their hobby into a business, and take Metorbike from a proof of concept to an actual small-scale production bike. It took them three years to get there, but its finally paid off.
Limited to 50 units, the first edition Metorbike is now ready to order. It’s made to spec, meaning that you can pick not only the color of your Metorbike, but the trim too—right down to the wood, leather and switchgear. All for the tidy sum of €7,749 [around $8,510], plus extras.
Each Metorbike starts out with a repurposed Puch X40 moped frame, sourced from a number of suppliers. The frame’s modified to suit the Metorbike layout, then stamped with a new frame number. (Yes, Metorbike is registered as a motorcycle manufacturer.)
Next, a set of refurbished Aprilia RS 125 forks are fitted to the front end, via a set of bespoke yokes. Custom-made YSS shocks prop up the rear, and the bike rolls on 17” spoked wheels, with an Aprilia disc brake up front.
Powering Metorbike is a 7 kW [peak power] brushless motor, housed in a milled aluminum casing. It’s a gorgeous design, and we’re betting many a passer-by will mistake it for an old Puch engine out on the road. Power is sent to the back wheel via a traditional chain drive.
Even though electric bikes don’t need fuel tanks, this one has one—and it serves a purpose, too. The carbon fiber shell actually houses the battery, which comes from a partner company that up-cycles used Volkswagen batteries. It’s designed to be swappable too, if you’d prefer to keep a spare unit on hand rather than wait for a recharge every time.
Rounding out the bodywork is a solid wooden café-style tail unit, topped off with leather upholstery. Each unit starts out as a set of planks in a choice of three different woods. Those are bonded together to form a blank, the blank is then cut on a five-axis milling machine, and the final form is hand-finished to perfection.
Metorbike’s trim is as good as what you’d expect to see on most high-end custom motorcycles. There’s slick LED lighting all-round, and the cockpit wears clip-on bars dressed in leather grips. Many of these parts are customizable, too.
The speedo is another tidy detail. Embedded in the top yoke and made specifically for Metorbike, the round dash is completely touch-enabled. You can even use it to select the bike’s soundtrack.
Yes, you read that right—this electric moped makes a noise. What looks like a chambered exhaust under the motor is actually a sound system, pre-loaded with an array of motorcycle engine noises. It’s wired directly into the bike’s controller, so that the sound responds to throttle inputs in a realistic way.
As for the numbers that count, Metorbike weighs 75 kilos [165 lbs], tops out at 50 km/h [31 mph] and has a range of 50 km [31 miles], give or take. So it’s not going to go anywhere far, or get there particularly quickly—but then again, neither would a Puch moped back in the day.
What that does mean, is that it’s legally ‘small’ enough to operate with just a car license in Germany. So potential Metorbike owners need not go through the rigmarole of obtaining a bike license, making this tiny scoot not only adorable, but accessible too.
We wouldn’t say no to it for Sunday morning jaunts to the local café. Would you?