A Plug-In You Can Pedal

Benelli launches E-Classica electric bicycle.

Last fall at the EICMA show in Milan, Italy, Benelli unveiled a pair of stylish naked bikes, a Four and a Single. For the most part, however, the company is operating as an advanced design and R&D; department for its Chinese parent, Quian Jiang.

Now, Benelli has come up with an electric option for a struggling European economy. The E-bike Classica has a traditional step-through frame and appears solidly built. Filling the space between the frame downtubes is a 36V, 9Ah lithium-ion battery that powers two electric motors packaged in the wheel hubs.

Two versions of the bike are available: 1) a smaller model with 26-inch wheels and a three-speed Shimano Nexus transmission; or 2) a larger edition with 28-in. wheels and an eight-speed Nexus. Claimed range using electric power alone is 45 miles at 15.5 miles per hour. Of course, range can be extended by pedaling, using the electric motor as an “assistant.” A full recharge takes four to six hours.

Benelli Classica with 28-inch wheels

Benelli Classica with 26-inch wheels

Benelli Classica - electric motor throttle and battery charge status lights

Benelli Classica - lithium-ion battery

Benelli Classica - rear wheel hub inclusive of small electric motor and Shimano Nexus 3-speed transmission

Benelli Classica - traditionally-styled seat with leather trim