“Hackers are the new Hot-Rodders” – Dave Mucci

‘The Hack’ opinion column is written by our newest contributor to The Current, Harry Fryer.  He’s the founder/CEO of Blaise Electric, and an employee/investor in the Bike Sheds Motor Co. in London

We are in a turning point in history to invent a new culture.

1. Accessibility

The Super73 is an accessible platform for customizing, being inexpensive and simple. The E-Hooligan by Roland Sands Design is an example of the experimentation and fun possible with smaller eBikes. This machine was featured in our Electric Revolution exhibit at the Petersen Museum. [RSD]
EVs are more accessible than petrol vehicles and more fun to build from a custom perspective. They’re clean and they force builders to move away from the cut-and weld-style builds to a more advanced approach to custom design and development. However due to the clean aesthetics there’s also less room for hiding mistakes and errors. To some extent customising an electric motorbike versus a combustion one will probably accelerate the interest. Dynamics and customisation from a functionality perspective will become easier and promote the idea of individual add-ons.

2. Greater Interest To New Builders

Traditional custom builders like DeBolex engineering have adapted to eBikes, as with this stunning ‘TW Steel / Oil in the Blood’ converted Energica Ego sports machine for our Electric Revolution exhibit at the Petersen Museum. [DeBolex]
We will see interest in custom work grow as new riders are brought into motorcycling through electric, especially with younger generations who are used to on-demand products and deeply personalised experiences. Manufactures will have to make the most of the opportunities this new technology brings and custom designers will be ready to meet the need for an electric motorcycle that lives up to the modern consumer’s expectations.

3. Manufactures and custom designers will work together

Hugo Eccles and his Zero XP, an example of a collaboration between a brand (Zero) and designer, currently on view in our Electric Revolutionaries exhibit at the Petersen Museum. [Aaron Brimhall]
This new age will bring an exciting opportunity for manufactures and custom designers to work together to evolve the industry. Established motorcycle manufactures are being challenged by disruptive start-ups. These necessary brands restrained by legacy and established design language, are struggling to escape their own conventional character and respond to the challenge of electric. Custom designers think and work outside of these constraints and don’t have an extended product line to think about, which puts them in the perfect position to challenge what’s always been done and push the vision further.

4. Mechanics will become Electricians

‘Hackers are the new hotrodders’ – Dave Mucci.

The administration of power is done digitally, so those who know code will have immense tuning flexibility compared to gas engines. It will be really interesting seeing the state of the custom scene down the road, when todays technology can be picked up at the salvage yard for a few pounds, and everyone has their own mini- manufacturing plant at home in the form of rapid prototyping machines. Tuning engines and big bore kits will now be micro chips wired in to motors that de-restrict power. There will of course be upgrades in the form of bigger motors and more powerful batteries but tinkering will be done digitally and altering code. This can all be done without altering the shape, size and aesthetics of the bike which will make it harder to differentiate custom from factory.

5. Classic Biker Culture Will Have To Adapt

Traditional motorcycle shows like at the Bike Sheds (here), the Quail, The Handbuilt Show, and the One Show are already including eBikes in their lineups. [The Bike Sheds]
The custom motorcycle culture is so deeply routed in sound, smell and touch. These senses with the experience of riding at speed create the adrenaline fuelled excitement associated with a custom motorcycle. The vibration of an engine, sound of an exhaust and smell of fuel that brings years of nostalgia will be non-existent in electric motorcycles. So we are living in a new era of transformative emotion whereby we are the generation to create and establish this new feeling and nostalgia our great grand kids will feel. Knowing what we know and how we grew up with petrol motorcycles can give us a relative foundation to apply to electric motorcycles.


The Ösa:work is a new category machine built by CAKE: a utility machine of a different stripe. [CAKE]
One thing to add, motorcycles are categorised by the shape, size and power of the engines which determine what style and purpose they are made for. For instance a Harley Davidson Fat Boy has a heavy, low end power engine for cruising, and a Yamaha YZ250 has a small, light single cylinder engine with quick acceleration for steep climbs and off-road terrain. With electric motors not constrained to these factors, will we develop more all around, all purpose machines creating a whole new category?


Harry Fryer is CEO of Blaise, selling custom parts for E-Bikes. He’s an early employee/ investor of the Bike Shed Moto Co in London, and his latest custom build was featured in Built Mag and Bike Exif. His column ‘The Hack’ explores trends in two-wheeled EVolution.
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