Toby Roberts’s Concept Z Delivers Ludicrous Acceleration and a Stripped Down, Flat Track Style

There are very few journeys more tantalizing that those fulfilled on an electric motorcycle. Mating all of the vigor of a gas-powered machine with a sustainable alternative, electric motorcycles are bound to take over the market as easily as they eat up the road.

The Concept Z in real life: huge battery and motor, ultralight flat track style chassis, minimal design. [Ed Motorcycles]
Ed Motorcycle’s Concept Z by Tony Roberts is the newest electric motorcycle to hit the market. The almost naked bike’s design is heavily inspired by flat track motorcycles. With a minimal yet durable frame, the large air-cooled, radical flux, interior permanent magnet brushless Zero 75-7R motor and battery are set at the center of the vehicle. A solo seat and two LED headlights complete the machine, and that’s basically it. It’s a completely nominal machine that ignores all of the bells and whistles and can reach top speeds of up to 93 mph with current gearing.

Growing up playing with buggies and bikes at his parents’ service station, Roberts discovered the world of electric vehicles in 2007. “I was building off-road dune buggies when I saw The White Zombie, a Datsun 1200 electric car that was involved in drag racing. That caught my attention and I thought that I could convert one of the buggies over to electric.”

The semi-monocoque chassis of the Concept Z uses aluminum boxes for strength, and the battery box as a stressed member of the frame. [Ed Motorcycles]
After trying his hand at developing the buggies and e-bicycles, Toby set his sights on the motorcycling realm with his Concept Z electric motorcycle, a totally self-funded solo project. “I chose the flat track style because it has an aggressive stance,” he explained. “I was inspired by the original tubular framed Zaeta 530 flat track bike. I loved that motorcycle. From there, I wanted to make the concept accelerate as fast as I could while still being usable.”

One of the most notable features of the Concept Z is that the gearing has been carefully calculated to full maximize the torque curve. The wheel RPM and motor RPM have been aligned so that max torque is provided. This equates to 850nm of torque at the rear axle.  While that sounds tremendous, it does equate to around 70hp at the rear wheel, and an expected sub-3 second 0-60mph time: Roberts is looking for a professional rider to establish actual figures – any volunteers?

Looking purposeful from any angle, the Concept Z is an attempt to balance traditional design cues with new technology, and creates an aggressive vibe. [Ed Motorcycles]
“The big advantage with the electric drivetrain is how the motor delivers torque. Unlike a gas bike where the torque is constantly changing with engine RPM (think of a bell curve graph), the electric motor has maximum torque from zero RPM and the delivery is very linear (flat line on a graph). This translates to great acceleration as the torque which turns your wheel is at a constant level as speed increases and the rider can always get this maximum torque instantly by simply twisting the throttle. There is no gear down changing to increase the available torque at the rear wheel as needed with a gas bike,” Toby explained.

The Concept Z provides a unique riding experience unlike that of a gas motorcycle. It has no gears, no clutch, and no exhaust. While some would argue that the electric motor removes a lot of what makes bikes appealing, for those who adore acceleration over everything else, the Concept Z will deliver.

The motor is co-axial with the swingarm pivot, meaning no alterations in chain tension as the swingarm moves over bumps. [Ed Motorcycles]
Stephanie Weaver is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she’s not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.
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