Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: 500W Classic-Looking E-bike!


Hey, guys! I’m John with Electric Bike Report, and today we’re diving into the Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus St, a classic-looking e-bike from Retrospec that’s more than meets the eye. 

While its vintage charm may catch your attention, this bike is not just about style – it packs some serious punch. So, buckle up and join me as we explore how the Chatham Rev Plus St performed in our rigorous testing.

From its classic design to its powerful features, we’ve taken this e-bike through a series of tests to evaluate its performance in various aspects. Let’s embark on a ride together and explore the capabilities and nuances of the Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus St.

Let’s take a ride together and uncover the impressive features and capabilities of this classic yet powerful electric bike.

MaterialAlloy, 6061
Motor48V/500W geared
DisplayB&W LCD center mount display with 6 levels of asist
Shifter(s)Shimano Tourney 7 speed
BrakesTektro mechanical with 180mm rotors and semi-metalic pads
Drive ModePAS/Thumb throttle Left side , cadence sensor
Tires26x3.0 with puncture protection
ChainKMC Z7
HeadsetThreaded,, 1 1/8"
Battery500Wh/48VLG 21700 cells; Charge on or off bike
Range52+ miles
Recommended Weight Limit350lbs

Design and Build Quality

The Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus and Chatham Rev Plus St immediately catch the eye with their impressive design, successfully blending old-school elements with contemporary features. Having reviewed numerous cruiser-style bikes, the seamless integration of classic aesthetics and modern functionality in this model stood out.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: Design and Build Quality

One striking feature is the availability of four retro color options, with the mentioned “matcha” color being just one of the choices. The bike is also offered in eggshell white, Everglade green, and matte navy. These color options, along with details like tan wall 26 in X 3in Compass street tires, brown faux leather grips and saddle, and aluminum trim, contribute to the overall classic feel of the bike.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: 26x3.0 with puncture protection tires

Upon riding the Chatham Rev Plus, testers appreciated its comfort and ease of use. The step-through design, with a stand-over height of 21 inches, ensures easy mounting and dismounting without the need to lift the leg over the saddle. The inclusion of a top tube in the frame design adds extra reinforcement. The bike’s comfort is further enhanced by a wide and thick saddle, a natural and upright riding position, and handlebars that position the hands at a relaxed angle.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: Shimano Tourney 7 speed

An attractive aspect of the Chatham Rev Plus is its relatively affordable MSRP of around $1,300. This price point positions it as a cost-effective option in the cruiser e-bike market, offering good value for money.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: Tektro mechanical with 180mm rotors and semi-metalic pads

The bike comes equipped with practical features such as a chain guard to prevent clothing from getting greasy or caught in the chain ring. The inclusion of Tektro mechanical disc brakes with 180 mm rotors, complemented by matching aluminum brake levers, ensures reliable stopping power. An integrated headlight and a battery-powered tail light on the seat post contribute to visibility and safety. Additionally, the bike offers mounting points for fenders, a cargo rack, and a forthcoming basket, enhancing its versatility.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: B&W LCD center mount display with 6 levels of asist display

While the bike may not be UL certified at the time of release, there are plans for UL2271 and UL 2849 certifications in the coming months. The presence of these certifications is crucial for ensuring the safety and reliability of the e-bike.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: on the road or driving test

The cockpit features a simple yet functional setup. The control panel and throttle lever are conveniently placed on the left handlebar, with a unique design placing the throttle under the button pad to optimize space. The right handlebar includes an over-the-bar shifter that complements the bike’s overall feel. The central display, while basic, provides essential information.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review

So, the Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus and Chatham Rev Plus St offer an appealing combination of design, comfort, and functionality at a competitive price point. As the bike delivers better-than-expected real-world performance, it proves to be a value-packed option for those in search of an affordable and stylish cruiser e-bike.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus: Motor and Driving Test

The Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus boasts a powerful 500W rear hub motor combined with a Cadence Sensor, offering riders six levels of pedal assist. The drivetrain features a 7-speed Shimano Tourney setup with a 42-tooth chainring and a 14-to-34-tooth cassette, providing versatility in various riding conditions.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: 48V/500W geared motor

To evaluate the bike’s speed capabilities, a speed test was conducted across its six pedal assist settings. Starting with no motor assistance, the test progressed through each level, showcasing the incremental speed increases with each setting. The throttle acceleration test demonstrated the bike’s ability to quickly reach 20 mph, emphasizing the efficiency of the motor in response to rider input.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: on the road or driving test

Results indicated that the Chatham Rev Plus performed admirably in terms of speed and acceleration. The pedal assist settings exhibited smooth transitions, with the highest setting reaching a maximum speed of around 21 mph before settling at a steady cruising speed of 20 mph. The throttle acceleration test also demonstrated the bike’s ability to swiftly reach the 20 mph mark, highlighting its responsive motor.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: on the road or driving test

Furthermore, the Chatham Rev Plus demonstrated impressive climbing capabilities during a hill test. It successfully navigated a steep hill in pas6, showcasing its ability to handle challenging terrains. The bike’s performance during the test set new records for the cruiser category, surpassing expectations.

The overall ride quality of the Chatham Rev Plus was highlighted during a demonstration of its riding position, fit, motor responsiveness, and tire performance. The bike’s retro-style cruiser design offers a comfortable and upright riding position, providing excellent visibility. Despite a rigid frame, the 26-inch by 3-inch fat tires from Compass contribute to a smooth ride, effectively absorbing bumps and enhancing stability.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: on the road or driving test

Adjustability is offered through the saddle and seat post, allowing riders to customize their fit. The motor’s responsiveness, particularly in engaging the pedal assist, was commendable, offering a seamless and enjoyable riding experience. The bike’s overall comfort and feel were praised, making it a standout option in the cruiser e-bike category.

So, the Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus excels in design, build quality, speed, and overall ride experience. It combines classic aesthetics with modern features, providing riders with a stylish, comfortable, and versatile e-bike option. With its competitive price point and impressive performance, the Chatham Rev Plus stands out as a compelling choice for those seeking an affordable and enjoyable cruiser e-bike.

Brake Tests

The Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus St is equipped with Tektro mechanical disc brakes, and their performance was thoroughly tested in a brake test scenario. The test involved pedaling the bike up to its Class 2 limit of 20 mph, applying the brakes, and measuring the distance the bike took to come to a complete stop. This process was repeated three times, and the results revealed an impressive average stopping distance of just 21 feet 2 inches.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: Brake Tests

The recorded stopping distance of 21’2″ stands out as better than the average for all cruiser-style e-bikes tested and even surpasses the overall average for all e-bikes with available data. The current running average for cruiser e-bikes is 23.3 inches, making the Chatham Rev Plus’s stopping distance more than 2 feet better than the norm. This outcome is particularly noteworthy, considering that the bike relies on a mechanical brake system rather than a hydraulic one.

While hydraulic brakes are often recommended for their superior performance, the Chatham Rev Plus demonstrated that its mechanical brakes are more than capable. The excellent braking performance can be attributed to both the quality of the Tektro brakes and the unique features of the bike. Tektro is a reputable brand known for producing reliable braking systems, and the Chatham Rev Plus further benefits from the extra width of its 26-inch by 3-inch Compass tires.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: Tektro mechanical with 180mm rotors and semi-metalic pads

Notably, the tire width on the Chatham Rev Plus is slightly broader than the tires typically found on cruiser-style bikes, which often range between 2 and 2.5 inches in width. The increased tire width contributes to added rolling resistance, aiding in a quicker deceleration and a shorter stopping distance during the brake test.

Battery and Range

One standout feature of the Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus St is its removable 48V 500W battery, seamlessly integrated into the downtube of the frame. This design not only contributes to the bike’s aesthetic appeal but also enhances practicality with easy access for removal and charging.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: on the road or driving test

In a range test, the Chatham Rev Plus St was pedaled in both Pas6 and Pas1 settings until the 500-watt-hour battery was depleted. The results of the test demonstrated an impressive range, with a high-end bracket of 59 miles and a low-end bracket of 23 miles. The test exceeded Retrospec’s advertised range of 52 plus miles, showcasing the bike’s capability to cover substantial distances on a single charge.

While the Pas6 results were slightly below average, it’s noteworthy that the battery size is on the smaller side, which explains the expected outcome. However, the Chatham Rev Plus St still outperformed expectations by providing over 50% more time on the bike and covering 15% more distance than anticipated based on the motor and battery specifications.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: on the road or driving test

Even in Pas1, where the bike was moving at a slower pace, the Chatham Rev Plus St surpassed the expected range. This result is particularly significant as it indicates the bike’s efficiency and the potential for extended rides, making it suitable for daily commuting or leisurely excursions.

Comparatively, when evaluated against other cruiser-style bikes, the Chatham Rev Plus St demonstrated its prowess in terms of range. The test results aligned closely with those obtained from bikes with larger batteries, highlighting the efficiency of the motor and the optimized synergy between components.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus: Conclusions

Overall, our initial expectations for the Retrospec were centered around a mild, casual cruiser-style e-bike. However, our comprehensive testing experience left us genuinely impressed with the bike’s remarkable power and performance. Retrospec not only succeeded in delivering an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable ride but also went above and beyond in terms of functionality and enjoyment.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review

The Chatham Rev Plus excelled across various metrics, providing a comfortable and enjoyable ride while offering solid value for its price. Its performance exceeded expectations, especially in terms of acceleration and hill-climbing capabilities. While there are a couple of areas that could see improvement, such as the battery readout and the abundance of pedal assist settings, the bike’s positive attributes far outweigh any minor drawbacks.

Looking ahead, the addition of a full line of accessories from Retrospec is anticipated to enhance the bike’s functionality, making it even more appealing for commuters. Whether you’re a fan of retro styling or simply enjoy leisurely rides around the neighborhood, the Chatham Rev Plus St promises a fun and enjoyable experience.

Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus Review: on the road or driving test

We appreciate you joining us for this ride and hope you found the review informative. Thank you for reading, and until next time, I’m John with Electric Bike Report, signing off with the Retrospec Chatham Rev Plus St.

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