Here is the first thing you need to know about the Jackrabbit micro bike: You will attract attention. I couldn’t wait to unbox my bright-yellow bite-sized ride, immediately taking a bunch of videos to send to all my friends.
I rode it to the post office and someone stopped me at the bike rack. When I parked it outside the brewery for outdoor lunch, a car pulled over and rolled down the window to ask me about it as I scooted past. In my opinion, such extreme cuteness is a hugely underrated aspect of riding a micro vehicle. Not only is it way more convenient, but you’re also way more likely to ride if you experience constant validation every time you go out.
As ebikes have gotten bigger and ever more motorcycle-like, several companies have turned in the exact opposite direction, making bikes that are easy to throw in the trunk of your car or stow in the corner of a dorm room. The Jackrabbit is the first of these that I’ve tested, and it’s by far the cutest. It does have its flaws, but unless you’re transporting a kid, a lightweight and relatively affordable micro ebike like this one might be the best solution for you.
The Jackrabbit is tiny right down to the box. The wheelbase, or the distance from axle to axle, is a microscopic 26 inches—my extra-small road bike, in comparison, has a wheelbase of about 40 inches. It weighs just 24 pounds. There are road bikes and even carbon-fiber ebikes that weigh this little, but not many, and definitely not at this price.
The assembly process is easy, and also translates to easy transport—you just fold down the handlebars and take the seat post out, and you can squeeze it almost anywhere you like. It fits neatly both in my crowded garage and in the trunk of my car next to my kids’ scooters and everyone’s helmets on the way to the park, which makes outings with my family a little bit easier.
The Jackrabbit doesn’t have pedals. There are two footpegs, but you don’t have to pedal to propel the bike forward. Instead, you use a thumb throttle on the right hand, which may be awkward for any lefties. The lack of pedal power puts the Jackrabbit in a gray area when it comes to legislation. The New York State DMV, for example, classifies the Jackrabbit as a seated electric scooter; they’re currently working on attaching operable pedals, which would then classify it as a class 2 ebike that’s legally allowed to top out at 20 mph.
CEO Jason Kenagy notes that they haven’t hit any legal hurdles yet, which confirms my suspicion that any electric vehicle that looks mostly like a bike instead of a motorcycle will get treated like one by authorities.
Getting used to not having any pedals is harder than you might think, but I got the hang of it; maintaining a constant speed on the thumb throttle was difficult until I realized I could just jam it down full-time. It has a 300-watt rear hub motor that’s powered by a 36V battery in the down tube. You can remove the tiny battery easily, or charge it in the frame since the bike is so light. It has a stated 12-mile range. Five years ago, this might have been decent. Right now, most ebikes can go more than twice that far.
It took awhile to recalibrate my riding habits. What I thought would be a quick morning trip to a skatepark 1.5 miles away from my house had me walking a mile back home, carrying a micro bike on my shoulder. The battery will also not last very long if you take it somewhere and let all your friends take it for a spin around the block. I suggest bringing an extra battery for longer ride time.
All Curled Up
When you see a person riding around a tiny bike, the first thing that most people think of is a BMX bike. Besides the fact that BMX bikes have pedals, you’ll note that they also have slightly different geometry. You’re supposed to do tricks on them, so the seat and headpost have slightly different angles for better maneuverability.