Among an endless sea of interchangeable and uninspired electric bike designs, the Cafe Racer style e-bike from Texas-based motorsports manufacturer Volcon stands out as a unique and well-appointed breath of fresh air. Featuring two beefy 20 x 4-inch all-terrain tires, a 350-pound capacity, and a 750-watt motor capable of reaching speeds of over 28 miles per hour, the Volcon Brat aims to blur the line between traditional commuter and dirt bikes to deliver a comfortable and speedy riding experience through a variety of rugged urban and off-road environments without breaking a sweat.
Since its inception in 2020, Volcon has built up a line of all-electric powersports vehicles with two and four-wheel offerings that include a nearly-silent motorcycle called the EVO and a high-tech utility task vehicle named the Stag. The Brat is Volcon’s first product designed for both on and off-road use, setting it apart from the company’s other vehicles and making it a uniquely appealing alternative to a traditional e-bike. Here’s a rundown of what it’s like to set up and ride the Volcon Brat in an urban environment and a little bit more about what makes its design so special.
Classic looks, modern flexibility
At first glance, the vintage-inspired Volcon Brat looks much more like a mini moped than an electric bike. Featuring a 30-inch-high bench seat, laced wheels, and a pared-down version of the same exo-arch frame found on the company’s larger EVO dirt bike, the Brat has a tough yet airy silhouette that belies its 86-pound weight and roughly 6-foot length. The bike is powered by a high-torque 750-watt motor and appointed with a host of high-quality components including hydraulic disc brakes, a front and rear suspension, LED headlights and taillights, and a Bluetooth-compatible display connected to an easy-to-access control pad on the left handlebar. A lockable storage compartment mounted to the top tube also offers built-in USB charging for your devices on the go.
The Volcon Brat ships as a street-legal class 2 electric bike with a selectable range of operation modes and a top speed of 20 miles per hour. In the bike’s default and most economical mode, users can travel up to 70 miles on a single charge using motor-assisted pedaling. Modes 2 through 4 enable the use of the Brat’s throttle, with each mode offering increased power and acceleration compared to the previous mode. For use exclusively on private roads, Volcon’s app also allows access to off-road mode, which unlocks speeds of up to 28 miles per hour when operating in modes 3 and 4.
While the Brat requires very little maintenance, Volcon recommends that users periodically inspect the bike’s handlebars, tires, frame, and other components for signs of wear. The bike carries an IP54 rating that gives it the ability to ride in slightly wet conditions, but it should still be stored in a dry place and kept away from excessive water and snow. In terms of longevity, the Brat’s replaceable battery is designed to maintain a capacity of at least 60% for up to 500 charge cycles, which is on par with other e-bikes in its class.
Setting up the Volcon Brat
The Volcon Brat ships via freight and arrives strapped to a pallet in an easy-to-open box. While the bike certainly isn’t as big or as heavy as a traditional moped, it’s still large enough that it requires two people to safely lift and move it during the delivery and assembly process. For this reason, it’s also much safer and easier to assemble the Brat at street level where it’s received or in a ground-floor space rather than in any space accessed by stairs. After the box is opened, it doubles as a rudimentary stand, making the rest of the setup process fairly straightforward and painless.
After stripping the Brat of its protective shipping foam and zip ties, users can outfit the bike with its kickstand, battery, pedals, headlamp, fenders, and handlebars—a process that takes no longer than 20 minutes using the included tools and quick start guide. The Brat’s tires will also need to be inflated to a pressure between 20 and 25 psi depending on the rider’s weight and intended terrain of use. Finally, the battery needs to be charged up to 100% before first use, which takes anywhere between 4 to 7 hours when using a standard household outlet and the included multi-voltage charger.
Riding the Volcon Brat
Riding the Volcon Brat through a densely-populated urban environment feels both thrilling and effortless, offering a markedly different riding experience when compared to a traditional bike. The Brat’s large all-terrain tires and adjustable full suspension allow it to roll with ease over the pits, potholes, and unpredictable bumps of weathered and highly-trafficked asphalt, delivering a relatively comfortable and secure-feeling ride with plenty of grip. The bike’s fat tires do make it less responsive to swerving and other quick movements, reducing its suitability for actively passing between cars or traveling at high speeds in crowded areas. Instead, the Brat is much more comfortable when cruising in a bike lane or traveling within traffic on a road with a low-speed limit.
Accelerating on the Brat becomes progressively easier as you cycle through its throttle modes. In pedal-assist mode, the bike offers a small reduction of friction and resistance to achieve a riding experience that feels similar to that of a standard road bike. The mild-to-medium throttle power offered by modes 2 and 3 is ideal for the majority of everyday traveling and commuting, allowing the bike to tackle small hills and varied terrain with generally minimal rider pedaling required. Mode 4 offers the highest torque and is arguably the most hair-raising of the Volcon Brat’s modes, allowing the bike to accelerate from 0 to 20 miles per hour in just 9 seconds on flat paved roads.
Despite its formidable size and power, the Brat inspires a feeling of confidence and security when used as intended thanks to its host of safety features. Its bright headlamp, always-on taillight, automatic brake lamp, and built-in reflectors give the bike fantastic visibility in low-light and nighttime settings, especially when riding in car traffic. Stopping on the Brat from its top speed also feels stable and secure thanks to its responsive hydraulic disc brakes, which are well-suited to making small and large speed adjustments alike. The bike also features a built-in horn accessible via the bike’s control pad that’s ear-catching enough to alert drivers, pedestrians, and other riders of the Brat’s presence—a must-have safety feature when riding on crowded city streets.
Is the Volcon Brat right for you?
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly and economical way to navigate bustling city streets, an all-terrain vehicle for off-road adventuring, or a versatile solution that combines both, the Volcon Brat is definitely worth considering. Its standout build quality, power, and adaptability set it apart from traditional e-bikes and offer a glimpse at the best of what the e-bike market currently has to offer. While its larger size and heavier weight compared to traditional bikes might be a challenge for city residents with limited or hard-to-reach storage areas—particularly if outdoor storage is not readily available—its off-road pedigree makes it a perfect fit for traversing even the most unforgiving urban roadways with ease.