Stephanie Weaver

It's Fuell Not Buell

Riders the world over were ecstatic when news broke that Buell Motorcycles has resurfaced. But despite that company’s pioneering ploys for the future, it will go forth without its founder, Erik Buell. Buell Motorcycle’s story is surely a wild ride. The company was created in the early 1980s by former road-racer Erik Buell. The machines bearing his name boasted advanced chassis built from Erik's racing experience, and air-cooled engines manufactured by Harley-Davidson. In spite of the brand’s initial success, it struggled after 2009. The company, becoming a division of Harley-Davidson in 1993, was closed down by the (non-riding) CEO of Harley-Davidson during the Great Recession. The same man who publicly wondered why people ride sports bikes shut down one of the most innovative lines of sporting motorcycles seen in decades. Michigan-based Liquid Asset Partners (LAP), a specialist in dismantling and selling off corporate properties, was hired to liquidate Buell’s assets.

Erik Buell, a perfect example of an American maverick, has been making waves in the motorcycle industry for 40 years. [Fuell]
Despite this tremendous blow, Erik was not deterred, and founded Erik Buell Racing (EBR) in late 2009. “I ran a small company called EBR which designed a lot of innovative product concepts for HERO, and also evolved the Buell 1125 motor into an 1190 version, of which we made a few thousand. The EBRs were exciting; however, I found it more interesting creating radical concepts for HERO. Although these were concepts and most did not get to production, after so many years doing more conventional products, I found real inspiration in being able to stretch into new areas, like the HERO Leap, iOn, RnT and SimplEcity,” Erik stated. But history repeats itself, and just as it had done with Buell Motorcycles, Liquid Asset Partners liquidated EBR in 2015, after HERO was unable to pay its bills. This time, LAP decided to keep the EBR brand, and carried on producing EBR bikes in limited quantities.

Erik Buell's original hybrid, the 1982 Buell RW7501: a chassis of his own design housing a Barton racing two-stroke engine.  Erik quit his job at Harley-Davidson to develop a limited number of these racers, before they were rendered obsolete by rule changes at the AMA.   His next engine?  A cache of 50 unused Harley-Davidson XR1000 motors left at the factory after the model was dropped, for his RR1000 model of 1987. [Buell]
Now it seems that the original Buell Motorcycles brand is back from the dead, with a stream of future models in the pipeline, according to press releases.  Buell Motorcycles is on target to release 10 performance-based models by 2024, including touring, dual-sport, dirt, and cruiser bikes.  But Erik Buell isn’t involved with either the Buell or EBR brands. Instead, he has turned his attention to the EV market, co-founding FUELL in 2018. “I co-founded FUELL because there was clearly a great need for new products and innovations in the electric motorcycle/bicycle world. That is where I have been for the last three-plus years, and it is very exciting to be free to design radical stuff,” Erik explained.

The Fuell Fllow eBike bears much of the original thinking behind Erik Buell's work. It's intended as a light urban commuter. [Fuell]
Erik believes that the future is electric. He sees the EV market growing, especially in urban areas that allow for short-distance trips. “The growth will be mostly urban short distance as the energy density of batteries is far less than that of gasoline. Thus, long range between re-fueling stops is simply not a technical possibility on a two-wheeled vehicle. To get extra range, much more weight must be carried than for equivalent range using fossil fuel. In a four-wheeler, that weight is not noticed. In a two-wheeler it is unmanageable. However, in shorter, lower speed trips, electric makes a lot of sense, and will also be forced by urban governments. Years down the road higher-energy-density batteries will come, and of course more recharging stations and more rapid recharging speeds as well. But that is way out, and the urban/suburban use and need will drive the market for some time,” he explained.

The Fuell Fllow electric-assist bicycle is on the market now. [Fuell]
Diehard Buell Motorcycle fans are guaranteed to love FUELL’s bikes. “The bikes are fun, nimble and very quick-accelerating. So they have a number of attributes Buell riders enjoy. They also bristle with innovation, which appeals to these riders,” Erik said.  The Buell Motorcycles name may be back and making sports motorcycles, but Erik, in his usual maverick way, has set his sights on the future, via electric-powered motorcycles and bicycles.  Our Publisher, Paul d'Orléans, even managed a test ride on the electric-assist Fuell Flluid bicycle in New York City three years ago, courtesy Fuell CEO François-Xavier Terny, whom he met via Terny's other motorcycle projects in the past (Confederate, Vanguard, Veldt helmets, etc)

Our publisher Paul d'Orléans checking out the Fuell Fllow at their pop-up store in NYC in the Fall of 2019. [Francois-Xavier Terny]
...and Paul d'Orléans road testing the Fuell Flluid in NYC's Chinatown in 2019. "It was a blast, so to speak, and made a zippy ride through urban streets super easy and fun." [Francois-Xavier Terny]
Buells are Cool. The amazing Ronin 'Oishi Yoshio' Pikes Peak racer, a feature of our Custom Revolution exhibit at the Petersen Museum. [Ronin Motorworks]

 
 

Stephanie Weaver is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she's not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.

The Current News: MicroMobility by LEF

Need a comfortable, convenient, and eco-conscious way to get around town? The LEF by EV Mobility provides a sleek solution to short trips that will surely crush the e-bike/car combination chimera. The Dutch three-wheeled product features a cocooned cockpit designed to comfortably accommodate one passenger. A clear canopy ensures the occupant is weather-protected while the three 10Ah lithium-iron battery capacity promises a maximum range of 60 miles (90 kilometers) per charge. The LEF can reach a top speed of 16 mph/25 km, making it the perfect personal mobility machine for urban dwellers.

Easy to drive plastic pods! The LEF is an update of the Sinclair C5 concept, but looks a lot more safe and weather-tight. [LEF]
The main body is made from recyclable polyethylene. Inside, the driver can keep tabs on speed, battery status, and kilometers driven via a digital display screen. There are LED lights on the front and rear, a USB port for charging smart phones, and enough storage space to fit a 50-liter bag, groceries, and other possessions. Other features include electric windshield wipers, LED turn signals, and side mirrors. The entire vehicle barely tips the scales at 198 pounds. Designer Erik Vegt was inspired to create the LEF because he wanted to provide people with a personal mobility option that used less money, energy, and resources. After three years of development, the product was approved by the RDW and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Yes, the LEF is cool. And minimal, and un-intimidating. [LEF]
“The less is more idea brought the LEF alive. Our intention was to use less energy per kilometer than a human powered bike does while providing comfort. And we succeeded. The LEF, meaning ‘courage’ or ‘guts’ in Dutch, is a low speed, high efficiency, simple product that delivers a smooth ride. We also wanted to tackle the environmental problems we face and show what else is possible,” Erik explained. Before diving into the LEF project, Erik spent 15 years designing innovative wheelchairs for the disabled. His team has been involved with greener mobility options for many years. They were also responsible for designing and building diesel motorcycles, including the Track T-800 CDI. Since diesel engines are no longer an option in the Netherlands, the switch to electric naturally happened.

An appealing shape and proportions just might propel the LEF into general usage. [LEF]
The beautiful thing about the LEF, besides its miniscule eco footprint, is that practically anybody can operate it. The vehicle is intuitive and easy to handle. The retractable handlebars make entering and exiting the tub a breeze while the steering wheel-mounted throttle seamlessly speeds up the machine. The LEF’s starting price is €4,380 (about $5,309) and is available in seven gorgeous colors. While no driver’s license is required (at least in the Netherlands) to operate the vehicle, drivers must be at or over the age of 16. “The LEF represents a new way of thinking. We see a bright future for this vehicle,” Erik said.

A herd of LEFs in warmer times: a perfect beach transport. [LEF]
The Current News keeps track of the latest developments in the two- and three-wheel EV market.

 

 

Stephanie Weaver is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she's not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.

 


The Current News: EV 'Bush Bikes' Protecting Wildlife

Back in December, Sweden-based EV motorcycle manufacturer, CAKE, announced that it would do its part to help combat endangered wildlife poaching in Africa with a line of silent solar-charged “bush bikes.”  A team of CAKE, Goal Zero (maker of off-grid solar-charging products), and the Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC - a private college specializing in conservation education and training), have combined to put an end to rhino poaching.

The Kalk AP (Anti-Poaching) is silent and self sufficient, as it's supplied with its own solar charging station. [CAKE]
They’ve dubbed the partnership the Electrical Bush Bike Anti-Poaching Act. “It is somewhat unreal how the sun and solar power, together with the technology of these silent off-road motorbikes can serve as something of a perpetual machine that works toward the general obligation of sustainability and, in this specific instance, to serve the purpose of saving species from extinction,” CAKE’s CEO and founder, Stefan Ytterborn, commented.

Stefan Ytterborn, CAKE's founder and CEO, sending innovative and critical support from his tiny company to the much needed conservation group SAWC. [CAKE]
An estimated 30,000 species are thrust into extinction every year, with poaching being a main driver. Animals such as the black rhino, African elephant, lion, mountain gorilla, and imperial zebra are all gravely threatened by poachers. Rangers combing rural land to track and apprehend poachers mainly utilize dirt bikes for transportation. While these off-road bikes effortlessly navigate the unruly and unforgiving African terrain, their loud combustion engines can easily tip off poachers. Additionally, they need to constantly be refueled.

The Southern African Wildlife College has trained over 17,000 people across its various accredited programs and courses. This remarkable achievement was reached without any government subsidy, so support with transportation needs in their conservation efforts will make a real impact. [SAWC]
CAKE’s EV motorcycles harness the power of the sun to operate, and thus do not need helicopter support to be refueled and are completely self-sufficient. Their innovative electric engines hum at just above a whisper, enabling rangers to efficiently sneak up on and catch unsuspecting poachers. CAKE plans to present the complete bush bikes by the end of this month.

The SAWC serves the south-east corner of Africa, with a very large, multi-national preserves that are constantly under threat from poachers. [SAWC]
CAKE’s EV Food Delivery Box

Not only is CAKE working to protect endangered wildlife in Africa, but the EV motorbike manufacturer is also collaborating with Dometic to revolutionize food delivery services. Called The Dometic Food Delivery Box, the temperature-controlled electric-powered box will keep delicious meals at the perfect temperature during the “last mile” of the delivery journey. The delivery rider will also be able to keep a close eye on the food’s temperature through a connectivity feature.

Your dinner, delivered hot? [CAKE]
The box is specifically made for CAKE’s Osa EV motorcycle and connects directly to the same battery that powers the bike via an electric cord. CAKE’s Osa battery will allow both the vehicle and the food storage box to operate for up to four hours. The product is slated to launch this September.

 

Stephanie Weaver is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she's not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.

The Current News: Guido Comes to America

When most folks think about electric motorcycles, a reliable, eco-friendly method of transportation typically comes to mind. An art form doesn’t. The Guido EV motorcycle concept is looking to change all of that. Inspired by the Rolls Royce 130EX concept with fully-covered fenders and named after the 17th-century Italian Baroque painter Guido Reni, the Guido puts form and aesthetics above everything else. Vlad Belyakov of Box39, a custom motorcycle workshop in Moscow, is the main designer and fabricator behind the Guido. He has drawn worldwide recognition for his heavily modified Harley-Davidsons, which feature parts milled on modern Haas 5-axis machinery. The Guido concept was originally built by request for a Haas machinery dealer located in eastern Europe, for the purpose of showcasing what the machinery can do.

The machinery in question at the Box39 the workshop in Moscow. [Box39]
“The Guido motorcycle is a concept of design,” said Stan Pavlov from Henne Co., a Fort Lauderdale-based company that sells finished custom bikes milled on Box39’s machines and is representing them in North and South America. “This motorcycle is not about mile range. It is nothing but form. In five years, the Guido may be in a museum of art.” The Guido’s massive front wheel, which has a diameter of 30 inches, took 200 machine hours to manufacturer. This, along with the handcrafted aluminum body, is a true testament to the painstaking detail Belyakov has invested in the design.

200 hours were required to make this one-off 30" diameter wheel. [Box39]
Despite the proclamations that Guido is all about form, it is a rideable work of art, just not on the streets. Other specifications include a 17-inch front wheel tucked underneath the bodywork, a front end Girder suspension, hydraulic rear brakes, and a battery-powered motor. A unique feature about the Guido EV concept is its customizable suspension for both wheels. The rider simply straddles the bike, scans their fingerprints, and the electric motor raises its rear suspension and raises the body against the front wheels for a precise and perfect fit.

The handlebars are a masterpiece of minimalism, made a bit easier by the electric powertrain. [Box39]
According to Pavlov, Belyakov represents a new school of motorcycle customizing. Box39 has been in operation for over nine years. Pavlov is a two-wheel junky himself, being a Bonneville racer and bike and hot rod builder. “I believe that we are living in a fast-paced world,” Pavlov commented in regards to the future of e-bikes. “Information and technology are both so swift. If I say that in 10 years we’ll only be riding EV vehicles, it may happen in just five. The EV revolution era already exists. It’s just a matter of time until the world catches on. When we do have the same batteries in all of our vehicles, car and bike brands will start a design war. Modern day is not about design. However, down the road, all concerns will center around the customer’s choice for vehicle forms only. This is why the Guido concept is so revolutionary.”

It was all worked out in a sketch first, then plugged into a CAD program for the 5-axis milling machine to get to work. [Box39]
Amazingly well finished and minimalist details set Guido apart. [Box39]
The headlamp and grille, reminiscent of 1920s Art Deco automobiles. [Box39]
Guido in his elegance. A unique motorcycle design, made especially unusual in being an EV. [Box39]
 

 

 

Stephanie Weaver is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she's not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.

Serial 1 E-Bike: Harley-Davidson’s Past and Present

Get your motor runnin’, err, make that charging.

A few weeks ago, Harley-Davidson’s spinoff brand, Serial 1, announced that they would be taking pre-orders for their new e-bike portfolio. According to Aaron Frank, Brand Director, the initial product offerings will be targeted toward casual recreational riders and urban commuters.  Available in four different models, the battery-powered bikes will have a price range of $3,399 to $4,999, and will be available in America and Germany next year, with additional countries to be added as they support new growth opportunities. But with an iconic name like Harley-Davidson, why would the Serial 1 brand branch off?

Ready for urban realities: the new Serial 1 Mosh has enough power for city antics [Serial 1]
“Engaging the e-bicycle market through this joint venture with a dedicated brand allows Harley-Davidson to play a key role in the e-bike mobility revolution while allowing Serial 1 the opportunity to focus exclusively on the e-bicycle space, to better understand the customer, and to deliver an unmatched riding experience rooted in the core Harley-Davidson values of freedom and adventure,” Aaron explained. While the Serial 1 collection represents the future of electric bicycles, the company is also harnessing the power of the past. Two years before Harley-Davidson was founded, 20-year-old co-founder William S. Harley drew up plans for a small motor designed to be used in a traditional pedal-bike frame.

The cockpit of the Serial 1, showing the watch-sized digital display and relatively normal ebike controls [Serial 1]
“When the company was founded in 1903, the motorcycle was the cutting edge of personal mobility,” Aaron explained. “Thus, Harley-Davidson Motor Company became a motorcycle company. I believe that there is a strong case to be made that if Harley-Davidson was formed in 2020, the pedal-assist electric bicycle could be considered the cutting edge of personal mobility, at least in urban areas. So in some ways, Serial 1 is about channeling that original entrepreneurial spirit of Harley-Davidson’s founders, and applying it to our modern context. And that’s why the company takes its name from ‘Serial Number One,’ the nickname of Harley Davidson’s oldest known motorcycle.”

The battery interfaces the pedal cranks and belt drive at the bottom of the frame. [Serial 1]
Depending upon the model, the Serial 1 e-bike can reach top speeds of 28 miles per hour. The top-tier model, the RUSH/CTY SPEED, is equipped with an airy, mid-mounted Brose TF MAG motor that churns out 66 ft.-lb. of torque. This innovative technology is seamlessly paired with the aesthetics of Harley-Davidson’s loop-frame prototype.

A step-thru version, the Rush City ladies' model, is also available. [Serial 1]
Aaron, author of The Harley-Davidson Story: Tales from the Archives, appreciates the company’s compelling history as not only a motorcycle company, but a mobility company. The Serial 1 brand will continue to carry this long lineage of mobility and adventure to a brand new target audience, while paying homage to Harley-Davidson’s past. “You can have that same spirit of adventure in the confines of your city on an electric bike. You don’t have to take two weeks and ride a motorcycle across the country. You can take two hours and discover new parts of your city that are only accessible on an e-bicycle,” Aaron stated.

The Rush City is the top tier version, an urban commuter that just might be the escape hatch Harley-Davidson needs to outgrow its own brand strength. [Serial 1]

 


The Current News: Spanish Classic Magic

Remember the iconic 1968 Bultaco Pursang 250 MKII that Peter Fonda straddled in Easy Rider? Well, wipe that bike of a bygone era clear from your mind. It has now been resurrected and revamped as an e-bike by Spanish motorcycle manufacturer, PURSANG. The bike’s rebirth is due to the tireless love and labor of Jim Palau-Ribes. According to the company’s CMO, Oriol Renart, Jim used to ride Pursang motocross bikes when he was younger and developed a deep adoration for the brand.

The new PURSANG e-bike is compact, sleek, and performanc-oriented, without being mammoth. [PURSANG]
After years of working for other well-known automotive brands all across Europe, Jim decided to leave his career to launch his own project in the form of an innovative and elegant electric motorcycle. “We started with the project two years ago and now we are introducing the motorcycles to the market,” Oriol said. “It’s a history of passion and we all really love this brand and bike.”

JimPalau-Ribes with the latest carbon-fiber electric version of his hommage to Spanish motorcycle heritage. [PURSANG]
After creating some gasoline replicas of the classic Pursang model, Jim decided to create an 100% electric scrambler. Known as the PURSANG E-Track, the carbon-fiber wrapped bike features a 11kW Bosch motor that utilizes three 48V batteries, giving it a range of 140 kilometers and a maximum speed of 120km/h (or 74.5 m/h).  The charging time for the batteries is six hours. The E-Track features three different driving modes, including Go, Cruise, and Boost. The braking system includes a 320mm front brake and a 240mm rear brake. Additional features include inverted front forks fitted with 41mm bars, an adjustable rear shock absorber, tubular chromoly frames, JJuan floating caliper hydraulic disc brakes, Morard wheels, Pirelli Scorpion tires, and a gorgeous and intuitive instrument panel boasting a color TFT screen. The bike can be effortlessly connected with the Bosch app through Bluetooth connectivity.

Clean enough to live with: with no oil drips or gas fumes, complaints about motorcycles in the living room are muted. [PURSANG]
The appealing aesthetics of the e-bike are heavily influenced by the motorcycles of the flat track oval. With high handlebars, a stripped down body, a minimalistic tail, and two superior finishes, fans of dirt track racing are sure to appreciate the streamlined and subtle look. The PURSANG E-Track is priced at €13,700, or $15,000. “We have created 24 units for the first launch. However, over the next year we expect to sell over 4,000 units all over Europe,” Oriol said. “In Europe, the politics are steering us away from combustion engines. We love to ride gas motorcycles, but the future is clearly electric.”

With crossover styling, the PURSANG design hits the middle ground design-wise, with a familiar silhouette. [PURSANG]

 
 

Stephanie Weaver is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she's not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.

Elektrafuture 2020

A First-of-Its-Kind Electric Motocross Race Series in Saint Tropez, France

In early September, motorcycle connoisseurs Oliver Le Quellec and Vincent Prat (founder of Wheels and Waves), hosted a world-premiere motocross race for electric bikes in the heart of Saint Tropez, France featuring the motorcycles of Swedish company CAKE.

Past future Perfect by Sebastien Zanella

The chic coastal town nestled on the banks of the French Riviera first became famous in the 1950’s with the release of the iconic film God Created Woman, featuring the smoldering Brigitte Bardot. Saint Tropez has long been a mecca for the international “jet set” crowd. Still widely acclaimed for its pristine beaches and bustling nightlife, Saint Tropez doesn’t seem like the typical place where one would host the electric equivalent of Formula 1. However, due to Prat’s and Le Quellec’s unique vision and the zero pollution and absolute silence that electric bikes offer, the world’s very first electric motocross championship took place amidst bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels in the center of the village.

The track was tight, the action fast and quick. [Fabio Afuso]
“The silence of the motorcycles made it possible to hold the competition in the heart of the city without creating the slightest nuisance, noise, or odor,” Prat explained.

More than 1,700 tons of local soil was moved to create the track. Prat enlisted the help of a local architect to ensure it was the best possible track for the riders.

1700 tons of dirt in an empty lot in the center of Saint Tropez - instant motocross! [Fabio Afuso]
“The track, halfway between a BMX and a motocross track, promised to provide a fast and spectacular spectacle,” he stated.

The ephemeral track’s main advantage was its total visibility, enabling the audience to follow the duels in detail and to fully appreciate the piloting efficiency of the riders.

The competition brought together more than 100 riders with widely varying levels of experience and backgrounds. Motocross world champions such as Mickael Maschio shared the track with pilots who only participated in the sport recreationally. All riders operated the CAKE Kalk, a 67kg electric machine that delivered the power and torque comparable to a 200cc thermic motocross bike.

The CAKE Kalk racers and roadsters in various liveries: a winner of design awards all over Europe for its clean, Dieter Rams styling. [Fabio Afuso]
After a day of qualifying, 48 pilots who achieved the best lap times in their respective categories were selected and divided into three series of 16, including the Swallows, Cuckoos, and Eagles, to participate in one-to-one races with direct elimination.

“The Swallows opened the competition,” Prat explained. “The 16 pilots of a very good level offered a quality show and the victory went to Amaury Mobius.  Then came the Cuckoos category. The winner was Sebastien Jondeau, who perfectly mastered his competition. The Eagles category, made up of pros, delivered a breathtaking performance with virtuosos showcasing the gestural art of the pilot becoming one with his machine.”

A gopher's eye view of the action! The riders could really throw the 63kg bikes around. [Sebastien Zanella]
For 2021, the race is slated to be added to the Urban Motocross circuit and include a trials and an endurance event.

“The objective is to create a real testing laboratory for new mobility in Saint Tropez. Additionally, the promoters are working in collaboration with the Federation to create a real national and international championship,” said Prat.

Organizers Vincent Prat and Olivier Le Quellec take a well-deserved break from organizing a pioneering race event. [Fabio Afuso]
[We are watching the future of motocross competition unfold before our eyes, right in the heart of the most unlikely of places: a major tourist destination on the French Riviera.  Amazingly, a parking lot was filled with dirt, the course shaped, the riders arrived, the race was run, and everyone was pleased, in one of the most moto-bureaucratic countries on earth.  If it can happen in Saint Tropez, it can happen anywhere.  Sadly, although invited over a year ago, The Vintagent team was unable to attend/race at Elektrafuture in person, due to the worldwide travel ban on American citizens for our failure to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 within our own borders. - ed.]

 

Stephanie Weaver is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer. When she's not locked to her laptop, she can be found riding horses and motorcycles.

 


The Current News: Concept Z

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.