When one thinks of motorcycles, the term “practical” rarely comes to mind. Typically, motorcycles are seen as thrilling playthings designed for speed, long highway journeys, or off-road adventures. However, the Cake Osa+ from Swedish electric motorcycle maker Cake defies these conventional notions, offering a unique blend of practicality and innovation that makes it a standout in the motorcycle world.
From its distinctive appearance to its versatile design, the Cake Osa+ challenges preconceived notions about motorcycles. It doesn’t adhere to the traditional motorcycle or scooter aesthetics, leaving observers intrigued about its true identity.
So, what exactly is the Cake Osa+?
When I rode it for a couple of days in Brooklyn and Manhattan, I was frequently asked this question. While a brief response like “an electric motorcycle from Sweden” sufficed, Cake describes it more vividly as a “workbench on wheels.”
One of the bike’s most compelling features is its modularity. Much like a workbench, it serves as a platform that can adapt to your specific needs. The straightforward top tube on the frame, set at just 31.5 inches (making it an excellent choice for shorter riders), allows for easy adjustments to accommodate various use cases. Need to ride solo? Add a seat. Regularly transporting gear and groceries? Attach a basket to the front or rear.
Design Appeal and Considerations
The Cake Osa+’s design aesthetics may be subjective, and preferences vary widely. Some may appreciate the bike’s simplicity, stark white highlights, and futuristic vibe, while others may hold differing opinions.
However, this unique design has potential downsides. The ease of attaching and detaching accessories means they may be susceptible to theft. This could be a concern when parking the bike on the street, particularly overnight. Nonetheless, this issue is less pronounced for those with access to a secure garage.
There’s also the question of how the bike’s clean, white look will hold up over time. Many of the Osa+’s add-ons, such as the white seat, white basket, and white handlebar grips, may show signs of wear relatively quickly. If you appreciate the aesthetic of a well-worn white sneaker, this may not pose a significant issue.
Unique Startup Sequence
The Cake Osa+ offers a distinct startup sequence. Unlike traditional motorcycles that rely on physical keys, starting the Osa+ involves hitting a button on the battery, activating the bike using the ignition switch, turning on the monochrome TFT screen, and entering a code on the side.
The screen and buttons control the bike’s ride and braking modes. For braking, riders can choose between free-wheeling or regenerative braking to recharge the battery. Regarding ride modes, simplicity reigns, with options for slow, medium, or fast. The straightforward dash displays trip information, speed, and the selected braking and riding modes.
The Joy of Riding
While the Cake Osa+ offers three riding modes, I primarily opted for the “medium” setting. It proved more than sufficient for my riding needs. The electric motor’s whine as it accelerated swiftly was a delightful departure from the typical internal combustion engine growl. Despite a top speed of 56 mph (still requiring an A1 license in the UK or an M1 license in the U.S.), the Osa+’s rapid acceleration made it feel impressively quick, especially during rides across the Brooklyn Bridge and along New York City’s highways.
One of the bike’s standout qualities is its remarkable stability. The 37-pound battery, centrally located within the frame just above the rider’s position, ensures an even weight distribution, resulting in excellent balance. Combined with a longer 52.75-inch wheelbase, front shocks with 120 mm of travel, an adjustable 260-mm rear shock, and 14-inch x 4-inch dual-sport tires, the Osa+ handles pothole-strewn city streets with ease.
This level of stability is particularly valuable when carrying additional accessories. During windy rides, the basket and net that came with my press bike remained secure, with no items bouncing out or shifting noticeably.
Recharging Made Simple (with a Catch)
Recharging the Osa+ is a straightforward process. Detaching the battery from the bike’s frame takes just a minute, making it convenient when you need to recharge the battery. However, the battery is undeniably heavy, which is expected due to its composition of 21700 lithium cells and a capacity of 50 Ah/2.6kWh. Moving the 37-pound battery, especially without assistance, can be challenging. Therefore, urban riders are encouraged to consider renting garage space if available.
Once connected to the charger, the battery charges relatively quickly, taking two hours to reach 80% capacity and three hours to reach full charge. However, it’s worth noting that the charging adapter generates some noise through its cooling fan, which may be noticeable if placed within earshot.
The Price Tag
The Cake Osa+ comes with a price tag of approximately $10,000, and some critics argue that for this amount, one could purchase an exceptional motorcycle in various classes, such as sport, naked, or cruiser. While this criticism is valid, it may overlook the fact that there is no direct competitor for the Osa+ in the market.
Comparable alternatives are few and far between, with adventure motorcycles equipped with panniers coming somewhat close. Most recommendations in this category typically cost more than $10,000. Moreover, none of them embody the design aesthetics that the Cake Osa+ offers.