Game Changer: Retrorides launches an electric scrambler

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
Retrorides By Lourenço
is well-known in custom BMW K-series circles. The Brazilian workshop has built some of the sharpest K-series café racers around, and even written a literal book on how to do it. Now, they’re looking to establish themselves in a whole new niche.

After 30 years of customizing petrol-powered motorcycles, Retrorides By Lourenço is launching its own small production electric motorcycle company. And their first offering looks pretty damn good.

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
Based in a town a couple of hours away from São Paulo, Retrorides is run by Gustavo and Rodrigo Lourenço, and their father José. “We always had the dream of having our own brand of motorcycles,” says Gustavo.

“But with internal combustion engines this was not possible for a small company like ours, due to the complexity of the parts and mainly due to the cost of building a combustion engine. With the advancement of technology and the arrival of electric motors, this dream became possible.”

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
“We wanted to fill a gap in the electric motorcycle industry. We were tired of seeing electric bikes either look like MegaBeast Investigator Juspion’s bike, or dull. We believe that electric motorcycles can indeed have the DNA of custom motorcycles, combined with performance and cutting-edge technology, but without losing personality and style.”

Retrorides’ new company is called RTR Electric Motorcycles, and this is the RTR 799e. Sitting somewhere between a neo-retro scrambler and a modern supermoto, the 799e will be built-to-order in Brazil, with a range of customization options available to buyers.

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
“The initial idea was for the bike to have the Retrorides DNA (custom motorcycle style), so we decided that this bike had to be a scrambler,” says Gustavo. “The style is very versatile for urban use, and allows for a super comfortable riding position.”

“With the opportunity for customization, we can preserve the spirit of ‘crafted by hand,’ while using new technologies to increase safety. We also believe that our motorcycles should be built with noble materials that do not harm the environment—so our bikes are built to last and designed to be upgradable.”

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
Rather than adapt an existing internal combustion bike platform to run with an electric drivetrain, Retrorides designed the 799e from scratch. The process involved a substantial amount of 3D design—including digital simulations to make sure the bike would function correctly in the real world.

“The engineering of electric motorcycles is completely different. There is no vibration, and we can change the center of gravity, among many other concepts that are different,” Gustavo adds.

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
The first big decision was whether the bike should have a ‘fuel tank’ or not. It’s a common argument: does it make sense to have a tank on a bike that doesn’t carry fuel, or does a tank serve a purpose beyond aesthetics?

In the end, the team decided that they’d only add one if it added to the bike’s overall practicality. So they built a seven liter glove compartment, big enough to carry a few essentials, or squeeze a rain suit into in a pinch. It, along with almost everything else on the 799e, was shaped out of aluminum.

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
Retrorides built the tubular steel frame and swingarm too. It’s an elegant design, with the upper frame rails hugging the ‘fuel tank,’ and the lower bits wrapping around the battery box. The battery is further protected by two custom-made guards—integrated with the bike’s sump guard, they’re covered in a military-grade anti-scratch coating.

Attached to the chassis are a set of Showa forks, with 17” wheels wrapped in Pirelli MT60RS tires. Retrorides have specced the 799e with disc brakes, with a regenerative braking system built in.

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
The bike’s powered by an 8 kW hub motor, with a 72 volt / 60 Ah battery. Early numbers point to a top speed of 127 km/h [79 mph], a 120 km [75 mile] range, and a five-hour charge time. The motor can be pushed to 12 kW via a boost button; Retrorides calls it ‘Road Runner Mode.’

All the bits in-between—like the motor mounts, yokes, levers, mirrors and foot pegs, were CNC-machined from aluminum. The bike features all the requisite LED lighting, and the seat is covered in a weatherproof synthetic leather.

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
Aiming to go into production in December, Retrorides—or, rather, RTR Motorcycles—are currently looking for investors, while working on homologation in Brazil, the USA and Europe. They’re also testing and tweaking the 799e as they go, by trying out different motors and setups.

Once it’s ready, RTR Motorcycles’ website will include a bike configurator, allowing customers to customize their build with different colors, seat materials, tires, headlights, and side cover options.

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides
Gustavo praises the bike’s torquey feel and the fun of riding through the countryside silently. But what’s really struck him, is the feedback from others.

“We have already broken a lot of prejudices with this bike,” he says. “I must confess that many bearded men in leather vests who have ridden this bike have returned with a smile on their faces and asked about the price!”

RTR Motorcycles | Instagram

RTR 799e electric motorcycle by Retrorides