The brainchild of Fonz Moto founder Michelle Nazzari and team, the Arthur is one of three models on offer from the Sydney-based electric bike maker, having joined the upper-range X1 electric scooter and the award-winning short-wheel base, off-road NKD in late 2019.
Those who watched 1950s-based sitcom “Happy Days” would understand the reference to Arthur, and also know too well that Henry Winkler’s character, “The Fonz”, whom Sydney-based electric motorbike company Fonz Moto is named after. The Fonz was only ever called Arthur by his “adopted” mother Marion.
Fonz Moto used to be called Fonzarelli. Apparently not enough of the target market (ie, under 30s) had heard of Arthur Fonzarelli, so the name was changed.
The Fonz electric bike sits at the most affordable end of the e-bike range, starting at $3,990 for the Arthur 1, which offers 3kW power, 50km range and a top speed of 50km/hr
The top variant Arthur 3 costs up to $7,290 for 8kW power, 100km range and a top speed of 85km/hr (there is also a $500 upgrade for those after a bit more speed).
First impressions – from a test ride this week when Fonz came to visit the local area – are that the Arthur carries with it the same Fonz Moto old school vibes that underpins the company’s approach to electric mobility. As The Driven’s Sam Parkinson wrote after commuting on it for three days in inner city Sydney, it’s “too cool for fuel“.
While today’s ride was just long enough for a “first impressions” ride, it was enough to make me want to go back for more.
Lined up amongst $2,400 electric bicycles and $5,000 mobility scooters, the Arthur not only stands out, it seems an entirely reasonable price point for what you get.
This is particularly so when you consider you can also buy a petrol-powered 125kW Peugeot Tweet for the exact same price new as the Arthur 1, or Vespa Sprint 150S for the same price as an Arthur 3.
Factor in much-reduced maintenance costs, no petrol costs and it is already cheaper to own than its fossil-fuelled counterparts.
Take a ride on one and in this writer’s opinion, it’s a no-brainer.
Not only are there reduced running costs but there is also no noise, no vibration, and most fun of all, no slow take off.
I rode a scarlet red and range-topping Arthur 3, unfortunately limited to a carpark test only: the Arthur 1 can be ridden with a car licence only in some states (but not in NSW, Tasmania and the ACT), while the Arthur 2 and 3 require bike licences in all states.
That was enough though to experience the difference in torque and power between the three modes, as the Arthur 3 can also be set to riding modes 2 and 1.
Riding mode 1, which is only available on the Arthur 1, would be more than enough to ride about town. It’s a soft start-off that for a non-rider was easy to get used to within a few minutes.
The only trouble with that of course was that after a few minutes, I was switching it straight up to 3. The difference on take-off on level 3 was noticeable, and as Sam Parkinson noted in his 2020 review, “Zippy is a word probably overused in motor vehicle reviews, but I’m afraid I’ll have to continue that trend and use it here for the Arthur 3. It is zippy.”
Compared to the X1, which I rode as a passenger, it’s definitely the younger, less powerful sibling of the two.
Unsurprisingly, it’s really in a whole other ballpark to the much more powerful NKD which I rode around a track and the AEVA expo in 2019. With acceleration from 0 – 100km/hr in 3.9 seconds, that’s a riding experience that is not for the faint-hearted.
Other benefits that come with the Arthur that would make it worth considering if you, like me, don’t have an easy inside area like a garage to park it is the removable battery. I must note though that this is only really an option for the Arthur 1 and Arthur 2 which have a smaller battery than the Arthur 3.
I also like that Fonz Moto offers a $75 mini service on top of its regular annual capped price $150 service, which enables you to skip a 6-month service. The Arthur comes with a 24 month, 10,000km major component warranty and 12-month warranty for smaller components. They’ll also buy your bike back off you if you want to trade up.
It’s available in five colours, including scarlet red, a light dusky blue, a dark khaki green, a deep aubergine purple and black, and you can also choose a leather or “vegan” saddle, as well as a choice of trims if you want a more custom design.
I’ll leave the rest of the technical aspects to Sam Parkinson’s review linked above, mainly because he’s the experienced scooter rider and I am not. But being the non-rider, I can say that this is the first motorbike I’ve ridden that I would consider getting my bike licence for, simply so I can find excuses to ride it into town and back.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.