At some point, pedal power becomes purely ornamental. The ONYX CTY2 may very well be that point.
Back in the day, if you wanted to sneak a motorcycle in under the radar as a moped, you had to jump through some gnarley hurdles. Those hurdles usually involved (a) starting with something that was legally a moped (which used to mean 50cc or less and no more than two horsepower), and then (b) squeezing every ounce of power you could out of it with fueling, air, and exhaust tweaks. Either that, or shoehorning an engine swap (preferably a two stroke) into your moped frame.
When electric mopeds came along years later, the government struggled woefully to address the legal grey area these two-wheelers represented. Nowadays electric moped laws vary state to state, but most agree that electric mopeds are something with under 1,000 watts of power on tap, a 20mph maximum speed, and (by some comically bureaucratic logic) a set of bicycle pedals. Go ahead, look it up. This designation ushered in the age of the “ornamental pedal” in which we currently exist, and few “mopeds” out there dare to point and laugh at current regulations quite as boldly as the new ONYX CTY2. Here’s why.
Yes, Officer, The ONYX CTY2 Is Totally A Moped
Before you even reach the specs of the ONYX CTY2 on the Onyx Motorbikes website (that’s “motorbikes” mind you, not “mopeds”), you’ll find a quote that sends a clear signal as to what this “moped” is all about. Here’s the abbreviated version:
“Part bicycle. Part motorbike. Part middle finger to the world. Being electric lets you go anywhere a bike can go. The CTY2 can get you there. Fast. Park it on sidewalks. Ride in the bike lane. Take it up the elevator.”-ONYX Motorbikes
Now, two important facts about the CTY2 from folks at Onyx: Its peak power is rated at 4000w (nominal is 1500w), and its top speed is 40mph, or “up to 45 mph” depending on who’s asking. So how is the CTY2 still a moped, you ask? Simple: Rider modes.
Legally, the ONYX CTY2 ships as a cut and dry moped. That’s because it ships in “ECO” mode, which electronically limits the bike to a 20mph top speed. So yea, as far as Uncle Sam is concerned, this might as well be another fancy eBike.
Of course the pedals are essentially pointless, and the CTY2 features two additional power modes, with “NML” mode upping the ante to 30mph, and “SPT” unleashing the rear hub motor’s full 40/45mph potential. Yea buddy. Welcome to the Wild West.
So yea, all you need to own and ride the ONYX CTY2 in most states is a beating heart and 15 or 16 years of age under your belt. The whole driver’s license, registration, and vision test thing is nobody’s business but your own (and possibly your parent or legal guardian, again, depending on your domicile).
And while the CTY2 may still be a far cry away from what most of us would consider a proper motorcycle, it’s much less like a proper bicycle, and yea, we’re into that. Pedals be damned.
Onyx claims the CTY2’s 23Ah battery is good for 60+ miles of range in ECO mode, and even in its sportiest setting, you’re still looking at a claimed 40 miles of range. That translates to roughly 5-6 hours of charge time from 0-100% with a standard home charger, which will soon be cut down to about 3 hours when Onyx releases their 9 amp fast charger. Throw in full suspension front and rear, LED lights everywhere, a large backlit display, and a handsome “wood grain” finish over the battery box, and the ONYX CTY2’s $3,700 price tag starts making sense. If you’re interested in this backroom brawler, pre-orders are officially open on the Onxy website, and new CTY2’s are scheduled to begin shipping this July.