First ride: Bultaco Brinco
Motor brushless electric, AC
Power 2Kw (2.6bhp)
Seat height 1011mm+
On sale Now
‘It certainly gets the endorphins going’
“Forget the distinction between motorcycle and bicycle,” says Bultaco Marketing Manager Alessandro, “just ride it.” The Brinco really does blur the distinction between the two – it’s got pedals, but with a 2Kw motor (about 50cc moped power), decent suspension, brakes and motorcycle attitude.
Bultaco relaunched itself two years ago, and the off-road Brinco R went on sale in 2015. This latest addition to the range is road legal, opening up the appeal to commuters, green laners and those who do a bit of both. It’s classed as a moped, but opt for the restricted version (15.5mph) and it qualifies as a pedelec (electric bicycle) – that means no licence, insurance, tax or MOT, and it can be ridden by a 14-year-old. A Bultaco dealer can derestrict it, but of course that turns it into a moped and you’ll need all the legal stuff.
You sit high on the Brinco, over 1000mm off the ground, but that’s so your legs can get a good power stretch for pedalling. And the pedal power does make a difference. The average human produces about 200 watts, adding a 10% boost to the Brinco’s output, and resulting in nippy acceleration up to an indicated 31-32mph. With 18 gears, you can keep pedalling at that speed, and though you’re not adding a lot of power, it certainly gets the endorphins going.
The Brinco slips through traffic easier than a veteran courier on a 125 trailie. All the ingredients for traffic slicing are there. The high seat gives you a good view and at 42kg, it weighs half as much as the simplest moped, so it’s very easy to flick around stationary queues.
That’s backed up by decent brakes – Magura discs at both ends, with a dinky little four-pot caliper on the front, and multi-adjustable suspension. In fact, the Brinco is really an on/off-roader, and Bultaco underlined the fact by taking us to a BMX track, where it coped easily with assorted whoops, dips and berms.
The Brinco is expensive at £4495, though the price will come down if the Government gives electric two-wheelers the same subsidy it offers on electric cars. Bultaco claim a range of ‘up to 100km’ (62 miles) on a charge, but that’s probably optimistic – a full recharge takes three hours, for which the battery is unlocked from the bike and taken indoors.
Nimble as a mountain bike with extra power, the Brinco could kickstart a whole new sector. But it’s expensive. 3/5 stars