Andrew: The name just flowed. It was just
Vintage Electric. That was before even I thought it was going to be a business. It was like,
“I want to build a vintage electric bike.” Then, bringing it around and getting people’s
interest, and thinking I could actually build them for customers, deliver, and make them
as happy as I was when I first rode mine. It was easy, just Vintage Electric.
Shea: At first impression, it’s almost like owning a witch’s broom. It’s like flying.
It’s just free power. It’s crazy. Wind in your face, you get up to speed real fast,
and it puts a big smile on your face. Andrew: The approach we’ve taken with Vintage
Electric is to create an item that gets people out of their cars, and allows them to feel
the freedom of their first bicycle, leaving your parents’ house and riding around the
block, but it brings it to an older generation where people can hop on a bike, go down to
the coffeeshop, meet up with their friends and ride 30, 35 miles per charge. It’s really
a great commuter. You can ride to work. It only takes an hour and a half to recharge
when you get there, and then ride right back home.
Shea: I think we just need it to be a lot more bicycle-aware, which is cool. I think
we’re going to be a big advocate for that in the future, and get people on the streets
in a safe manner, and make it more feasible for people to really enjoy electric bicycles.
Andrew: We built the prototype in my parents’ garage. I was determined to beat my buddy
with his 125 gas motor with this electric bike. Shea really helped out. He was helping
out with a lot of the welding and manufacturing the forks and the front end stuff. It was
all really happening right in the garage. Shea: Me and Andrew teamed up. I ended up
moving all my tools, all my motorcycle stuff, all my fabrication stuff into this spot with
him. He was going to do the design side. Then, the bike thing took off, so now it’s all melded
into one little piece. We use my shop, and the design studio and everything to make a
good team, where we can all be creative, let ideas flow, and we can build cool stuff.
Andrew: I started this thing off wanting to design bikes. That’s really what I feel that
I’m good at. This team has gathered around me to pick up all the pieces that I leave
in the wake behind me all day long, shipping and handling, making sure that new models
can be engineered to perfection and actually work. It’s one thing to draw it on a piece
of paper and say, “This is what I want it to look like”, but people from our team step
up and they make that a reality. Shea: It’s cool to see something being up
on the wall that I’ve just welded, two days later being back in a rolling chassis with
a crazy color combo or some sort of weird anodizing going on. Things are really rolling
over here. It’s cool to come in every other day and see how much change has happened.
To put your time and energy into something that has a lot of emotion involved in it and
to see it given back with the success of being in Wired magazine, and BBC website. It’s cool
to see all that pan out from this little idea that has risen. I think the team we have here,
we’re all on board to really see our goals and our dreams achieved.
The main thing here is we want to bring back that technology and that innovation that’s
happening in the electric industry, and throw it back into the bicycle. We came up with
this heat-sink aluminum box that went in there. Everything else from there was fit and finish.
We spent a lot of time looming each wire so that it had a nice little finished piece to
it. I think just building longevity into the product and showing that the fine details
are the most important part to us, the leather and all the ties, all the wire routing’s all
been thought out. I think that’s the most important part of doing all this. I went through
a couple of different designs. I think we’ve really fine-tuned the way it is now.
Andrew: We really create these bikes and build them from the ground up. First step in that
process would be doing all the metalwork, so manufacturing the frames, manufacturing
the forks, milling out all the crowns. As soon as that’s done, everything gets shipped
off to powdercoat. Once it’s powdercoated, everything comes back. Final assembly, gets
put together, tested, gone through a whole series of tests, make sure every one is perfect
for the customer. Then, out the door it goes. I think the coolest feeling of doing this
whole Vintage Electric is dropping a bike off. When you hand it off, it’s your baby.
It’s been in the shop. You’ve seen it, “Oh, this color is so great.” When you give it
to the customer, they’re happy. That email you get one month or two months later of how
happy they are, and the way it’s worked, and the way it’s changed their lives, allowed
them to go out and do more things. Shea: What we want to drawn on is we want
to have a quality product that lasts, that is a strong piece that can fall off the back
of your truck, and you can get it fixed. You’re not just going to break all the plastic apart
and be like, “That’s a piece of junk.” We want it to be reliable. We want it to be strong.
We want it to be something that you’re going to cherish for a long period of time.
Andrew: The idea of going back to building and creating products that are meant to last,
something you can pass down to the next generation. You look even at a toaster that my grandma’s
had for the last 60 years. It was designed so well. It looks great, and it still works.
I think the whole idea of planned obsolescence is total bullshit. It shouldn’t happen. It
shouldn’t be around. Every product we build should be built to last, and built to upgrade.
That’s what really inspires me is always the vintage stuff that has such quality built
into it. That’s why bringing quality back with the vintage design is important to me.
Being 22 and trying to convince people to fund you, to really believe in you, you have
to work twice as hard to make people believe that this is a real company, it’s the real
deal, and we ship these bikes out to everybody.