Well, that’s the proposition being floated by Hanebrink with its new Hustler X5 electric street bike which, among other near electric motorcycle touches, is said to have a top speed of around 80 miles per hour. It also looks nothing like anything else in this company’s portfolio, with its typical offerings appearing more to be like this.
Now if the specs hold true to this 80 MPH threshold, this is easily one of the fastest electric bicycles we’ve written about. Sporting a 14-speed gearing transmission and driven by a Crystalyte 5303 electric motor powered by a lithium on battery pack that’s rated at 82 volts and 20 amp hours, the X5 reportedly also has a range in electric mode of around 200 miles, which would also make it one of the longest driving electric bikes we’ve seen.
So how exactly does the X5, which looks like a compact electric motorcycle in the photo above, actually qualify as an electric bicycle? For one thing, it has pedals. That’s right – pedals. As Autopia recently reported, "when the juice runs out, use a coin to turn the fasteners and pop out the pedals from behind the fairings to go on human power.” Keep in mind you’re pedaling though a 120 pound frame, so trying to go uphill in this manual mode might prove to be one hell of a workout on your legs.
The other real question here is in regards to its street legality. How can this be an electric bike when it hits its top speed in the bike lane? As Hanebrink notes, the X5′s design offers 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." What’s likely the secret to this? The 80 MPH is reached by the rider in what’s described as "competition mode," meaning its factory settings likely are a lower speed that’s unmentioned by the manufacturer. To hit the higher speed, you’ll need to know how to monkey with the settings.
The X5, which will be available in March, has a frame that’s built out of aircraft grade aluminum tubing. It sports Brembo four piston hydraulic disc brakes in the front and Avid hydraulic brakes in the rear. Those who order one can also get controllers and packs that are custom built to individual needs. Before buying one though, at a retail price of $16,940, you should probably check your state’s laws governing electric bicycles, as it would really suck to get pulled over by a cop in the bike lane for riding something that straddles the fence between e-bikes and e-motorcycles.