Ah, the French*. Indelibly stained by fine wine, fresh baguettes in the morning, the faire la bise (the double kiss on both cheeks), and a genetic grasp of joie de vivre. While their 24 Hours of LeMans is one leg of the Triple Crown of Motorsport (with the Indy 500 and Monaco Grand Prix), their contemporary competitive motorcycle output is minimal today, a situation that rankles many natives. After all, the French invented the automobile (1770), were first to patent the motorcycle (1870), built the first motorcycle industry, and pioneered every engine configuration used on motorcycles today – check out the 1914 Peugeot racer with four-valve heads and double overhead camshafts!
While Peugeot could claim to be the oldest motorcycle producer in the world (since 1898), they haven’t built anything larger than a scooter for decades. The Voxan was a valiant attempt to revive French sport bikes, and in the V-twin vein, the new Brough Superior was designed and is being built in France – just don’t tell George! Hope for the future of French motorcycle manufacture might arrive in the form of electric bikes: we reported earlier this year on the Essence Motorcycles E-Raw, and now we can add Jambon-Beurre to the list. Paris-based Jambon-Beurre Motorcycle is run by Antonin Guidicci, a part-time fashion photographer, and his partner Benjamin Cochard, a former automotive financial executive. In 2016, a year after collaborating on other motorcycle projects, they began discussing electric bikes. Time spent riding a BMW e-scooter convinced them to explore e-Bikes as a possible business opportunity, and from that brainstorming session came this road-legal 100 hp flat tracker powered by a Pymco Technologies motor.What began life as a rolling Franken-chassis, with parts from a 1993 Suzuki DR800, a Honda XL and a classic BMW, has become a 350-pound dirt track ripper capable of zero to 60mph in three and a half seconds. The duo used various forms of manufacturing to piece it all together, relying heavily on laser cutting, 3D printing, machining and waterjet cutting. Charge time is two-and-a-half hours on a standard electrical system, but only 20 minutes on a special car charger, with a range of 62 miles. Top speed is limited at 100 mph, based on current gearing. The motor is a big 80 kW brushless beast designed for military drones, with 133 pound-feet of torque. The battery pack was co-developed with Pymco Technologies to deliver about 800-amps of current under 110 volts, and is assembled from 580 lithium-Ion cells with a proprietary battery management system, with forced-air cooling. Those engine specs sit squarely between a Harley-Davidson XR750 (with ~95 reliable HP, and more if you dare), and pretty close to the new Indian FTR750 (109hp), which begs the question…and we don’t have the answer yet!According to Cochard, it took six months to build this e-Tracker, which was the first step of their plan. They’re working on a proper production-friendly model, with a prototype slated for testing sometime in 2018. If response is positive and funding is found, Guidicci and Cochard hope to begin production in 2019. Because it’s electric, the Jambon-Buerre is already street legal, but the concept of an e-flat track series is appealing, as is the thought of mixing it up with the noise boys. Will that happen? Let’s hope, even if it’s ‘only’ in a Hooligans-style series. [*with Boulanger as author, and d’Orléans as editor, there is obviously no DNA conflict of interest in this article]