Move Electric rating: four-and-a-half stars out of five
What am I looking at?
If you’re thinking that the Maeving RM1 looks like a classic British motorcycle from the middle of last century, that’s no coincidence. The new electric motorbike is British designed, engineered and built, at a facility in Coventry, the historic home of the British bike and car industry. It’s meant to be a retro-designed desirable product. And it is.
A retro-styled electric motorbike? Tell me more...
It’s a near 125cc equivalent e-motorbike available in a couple of different flavours, but will be most popular in twin-battery, 45mph form that gives it a range of around 80 miles. There’s a 28mph option too, and you can spec it with a single battery which has a shorter range if you want, but with two batteries and a max speed of 45mph (a bit more on the flat with a prevailing wind) it can still be ridden after only a day’s CBT (compulsory basic training) on an ‘A1’ driving licence and, we suspect, this is the form which suits it best. And in which it’s really impressive.
Maeving believes it has made a bike with more British components than any other bike maker – sourcing from the UK wherever possible. It has a steel frame with a triangle suspended by twin shocks at the rear, and a small leather-like saddle. There’s a footpeg either side of the frame but the controls, like a scooter, are all operated from the handlebars rather than by the feet.
How fast can it go and how big are the batteries?
The motor is an in-hub Bosch unit mounted in the rear wheel, so there’s no chain or drive belt to worry about – although it does make the wheel itself heavier, which can have an adverse effect on comfort and handling.
The motor makes 5.9hp in the bike’s ‘A1’ variant as tested (or 5.4hp in 28mph-limited form), plus 118lb ft (160Nm), whose peak is developed from a standstill. Petrol engines need to rev before they give peak performance. Electric motors give their maximum from rest.
If you specify one battery it’s a 42Ah pack mounted in the silver-coloured front cradle where a bike’s engine would usually be. The smaller silver unit behind houses the inverter and management gubbins. If you spec a second battery – and we would – that sits in the box that looks like a conventional bike’s fuel tank (so, of a fashion, we suppose it still is). That can be a storage box if you only run on one battery.
There is an argument that with an electric bike you don’t need to package elements where you would with an internal combustion engine – so you can have something radical-looking like BMW’s CE-04. But Maeving has packaged the RM1 so that it looks classically cool, and to our eyes, is none the worse for it.