Retro is big in the motorcycling world these days, and — while there is no official electric Honda motorcycle out, just yet — there are literally tons of ’70s-inspired Honda bikes running around, from the playful Honda Monkey, Cub, and Trail to the brand’s menacing CB1000R Neo-Sports Cafe bike. But those bikes simply
mimic recall the spirit of 1970s style. If you want authentic, look no further than the 1975 CB200 shown here.
Built by an EV conversion startup called Omega Motors, this electric Honda motorcycle packs a 10kW drive unit from Golden Motor that’s good for a 60 MPH top speed and about 30 miles of driving range. So, like, we’re not breaking any really new technological ground here, but that’s not really the point of a build like this.
“We wanted a bike that performs like a modern day electric vehicle,” explains Nick Nieminen, one of the company’s founders, “a modern day electric vehicle, but (one that) inspires similar emotions to the motorcycles that we’ve grown to love — rather than a boxy, futuristic aesthetic.”
That drive to preserve a particular aesthetic also led to what is, arguably, the heaviest engineering lift of the build: a custom-made, hand-crafted 1.6 kWh battery pack made specifically for Omega’s CB200. “We had considered buying something off the shelf,” says James Hollis, one of Nick’s partners (Ian Iott is the third). “The options for an appropriate pack back then were extremely limited. It was mostly small e-bicycle packs, or bulky kits for golf carts that would’ve made for a really underwhelming motorcycle experience.”
Looking at the details on the bike, everything is period-correct — but it’s not the ’70s as they were, it’s the ’70s as they’re imagined by someone who has already decided they were great. The livery on the tank, the leather-matched seat, the hand-fabbed aluminum battery enclosure … it’s all just so. Just right. Even the use of the original controls, buttons, and dials. All of it speaks to a real love for what these guys were doing.
And, sure, the electric motor’s specs may be a little bit underwhelming in this day of 500-mile Lucid Airs and 400 mile mainstream Ford electric trucks, but it’s enough for a ’70s peanut-tank bike. Beyond that, the bike is a great example of what some really talented guys can do with enough tools and time. As for me, I hope they answer my emails. I need an electric GL1000!