A haute ride

For a chic two-wheel ride that celebrates Italian Week Palm Beach in style, hop on the bella Benelli Classica eBike, which importer Larry Ferracci calls “an haute item.”

Benelli Classica eBike

It’s being shown from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. today and Friday at MacKenzie-Childs Palm Beach, 238 Worth Ave.

Benelli, a century-old luxury Italian brand known for its motorcycles, launched the Classica in December. For Italian Week, it’s available for test rides and for sale with a percentage of proceeds benefiting Il Circolo Palm Beach.

The Classica, which is perfect for urban streets, has a top speed of 20 mph and a range up to 40 miles. It comes in white, cream and black with natural saddle-color leather handlebar grips and seat. Its features include a lightweight lithium battery pack, with Samsung cell technology, that is concealed in the front frame. Recharging is as easy as charging a laptop.

It can be ridden as a bike without pedal-assist, or its rider can twist the shift on the grip to engage the motor and change speeds. Its LCD display shows battery capacity, speed and total distance.

“It’s a classic Milan bicycle and that’s what appeals to me,” Ferracci said. “And I like to think of riding a bike as fun.

“The last time I was in Palm Beach at the Four Seasons, I rode one of their bikes south to Manalapan. It was a nice leisurely ride and I was cruising looking around, but it took longer coming back because of 10 to 15 mile-an-hour headwinds.”

That’s when he wished he was riding a Classica electric bike with pedal assist, he said.

How does the bike work? Just like a bike. With its step-through design, you just get on and pedal. Engaging the motor is intuitive, with the dash integrated into the handlebar. From the grip, twist it on, choose the speed level, pedal and the system activates. It also has a throttle for a burst of energy.

Benelli Classica eBikes, priced at $2,100, can be drop-shipped anywhere in the United States within three or four days. For information, visit www.benellibikesusa.com. They also are available at specialty bicycle dealers, including Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop.

Easily maintained and serviced, “it is 98 percent a standard bicycle, with most of its components available at any bike shop,” Ferracci said. “There are only three special components: the front motor, display and battery pack; and a bike shop can call us for those parts, and we’ll send them.

“Keep air in the tires and the batteries charged, and you’ll have an enjoyable time.”

Written for Palm Beach Daily News, February 26, 2015

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Christine Davis

About Christine Davis

Christine Davis is a freelance writer who covers real estate, homes, health and science.