A BICYCLE REVOLUTION
When Mathieu Rauzier, designer and director at Rayvolt Premium E-Bikes, couldn’t find a motorcycle that married classic beauty with modern technology, he decided to design one himself. “He drew from the past,” says Graham Kresfelder, Rayvolt’s UK specialist. “He was inspired by the greatest components of classical design, the understatement, the overstatement, the carefree sunny days with the wind through your hair.”
At that time, Mathieu was living in Barcelona. “As you walk down streets like Passeig del Born and Placeta de Montcada, all manner of electric contraptions go whizzing by,” says Graham. “This had a great impact on Mathieu’s design – he realized the future was electric. As beautiful as the old machines were, he didn’t want to rehash the past.”
And so the Rayvolt Electric Cruzer was created, combining the breathtaking beauty of café racers and California cruisers, but with the internal-combustion engine replaced with electricity and pedal power. “It is a bike that has been designed electric,” says Graham. “The rear hub motor can unleash 1,000 watts of power to the rear wheel. The biggest difficulty for a customer in the e-bike market is to find a model created with quality components that last. Any Rayvolt model is not just another retrofit bicycle. This makes such a difference. The range is greatly increased, the motor is more responsive. It’s really a delightful bike, technology-wise – from the ultra-efficient lithium battery pack, to the brushless sine-wave-driven motor on the rear hub, it’s right in front of the curve.”
Taking his Rayvolt Cruzer out on the streets of London, Graham finds he gets a reaction wherever he goes. “It puts a smile on folk’s faces when I ride by,” he says. “A car was chasing me the other day, driving like crazy, blowing its hooter. I wondered what had I done? It drove up beside me and the driver shouted out his window for me to pull over, waving like a madman. I thought it must be serious. When I stopped, he jumped out his car and came over to me. I was ready for trouble, but all he wanted to know was where he could get a Rayvolt of his own! He had fallen in love with it on first sight. He had to have one.”
The bikes are created in El Born, the heart of Barcelona’s Old Town. The workshop, an ancient building built with Roman brick, is two doors down from where Picasso lived and worked as a young man. Rayvolt is a company that takes its moral and ecological obligations seriously.
“Our bikes are manufactured in a sustainable way,” says Graham. “We avoid using harmful materials. It isn’t necessary to compromise on quality or responsibility any more – the technology and processes are now available to let us create something environmentally friendly from start to finish.”
And owning a Rayvolt has changed Graham’s outlook on life. “These bikes are designed and assembled in this spectacular workshop by true craftsmen,” he says, “and then there’s the fact that they are completely green, no emissions, no pollution. It’s a great feeling to be travelling in such an efficient way, it has awakened something in me. I want to make a difference, I even carry a reusable coffee cup around now, that’s the kind of thing this machine does to you. It makes you feel good.”