Stephanie Weaver

The Current News: Sep 17, 2021

As part of the buildup to our Electric Revolution Live event in May 2022, as a follow-up of our Electric Revolution exhibit at the Petersen Museum, we are ramping up reportage on the EV scene.  It's an ever-evolving, even frantic, landscape of electric vehicles, and it can be tough to keep abreast of all the latest bikes, batteries, and news constantly flooding the market. That’s why we’ve re-launched our weekly EV News Roundup to bring you cherry-picked stories that matter to you.

This week in EV news sees a baby-toting EV cargo bike, a fold-up e-Bike, a reimagined electric motorbike platform, a new drop from one of the OG e-Bike manufacturers, and updates on President Biden’s EV tax credits.

Zaiser Motors Drops a Platform Redesign and Sporty e-Bike

The Zaiser Silhouette is long enough for a serious cruise, and has room for 300 miles of battery storage. [Zaiser]
Zaiser Motors, a Denver-based technology startup and creator of the world’s first Electrocycle, the Silhouette, announced earlier this week that it would be dropping the Arrow, a sportier model, that will be built on the company’s newly designed Electrocycle platform. After reaching its initial funding goals in just six weeks, Zaiser is using the capital to enhance the development of the Electrocycle platform. The Electrocycle Silhouette is a twin-hub electric motorcycle with a staggering 300-mile range, top speeds of 120 mph, and a starting price tag of $25,000. Its baby brother, the Arrow, will have a range of 160 miles and can be cranked up to 100 mph.

With the launch of the Arrow, Zaiser is hoping to target urban riders and daily commuters who are looking for a lighter, more affordable EV option. The Arrow costs $8,500 and weighs 380 pounds.

Monday Motorbikes Introduces the Piezo

The new Piezo model from Monday Motorbikes, still bearing a Puch-inspired frame system. [Monday Motorbikes]
San Francisco EV startup Monday Motorbikes recently announced its newest generation of electric motorbikes. Dubbed the Piezo (after piezoelectricity, an electrical charge built up in response to mechanical stress), the lineup will be the company’s eighth generation of EVs.  The Vintagent has been following the Monday story since 2013, after encountering founding engineer Nathan Jauvits on a San Francisco street with his home-built EV Puch moped, which he intended to make into a production machine.  We look forward to new models!

Carqon Classic Caters to the Kiddos

The hand the rocks the cradle: the Carqon is kid friendly for the bicycle set. [Carqon]
Dutch company Carqon wants to help parents ditch the stroller once and for all. Its electric cargo bike, the Carqon Classic, features a large nest that cradles your kid in comfort. The integrated children’s door, featuring double childproof safety locks, allows youngsters to effortlessly climb aboard all on their own. You can tote around up to two tots and an infant. The bike’s low center of gravity, hardy off-road tires, and front-fork suspension ensure a safe, smooth ride for all.

Everybody wear a helmet, ok? Still, strapping your child into a reinforced passenger compartment sounds like a good thing. [Carqon]
That's especially easy on bicycle friendly Dutch roads, although we see plenty of cargo bicycles carrying kids to school in urban areas of the USA.  Perhaps the safety angle will be push growth for Carqon?

Meet the World’s First Folding e-Bike

Clever folding design and amazingly inexpensive: the new Fiido folders. [Fiido]
Anyone who’s carried luggage on a train or subway understands the importance of compact carry-ons. But what if you have to travel with your e-Bike? The Fiido X folding bike is the EV world’s answer to this question. Created by the direct-to-consumer Chinese company, Fiido, the fold-up e-Bike can be easily stowed away in your car, under your work desk, or even in the overhead compartment. The Fiido X is available in three models, ranging in price from $1,098 to $1,298. All models max out at 20+ mph and feature a built-in battery and light magnesium frame that weighs no more than 40 pounds. Though the Fiido X is a pedal-assist only e-Bike for now, the company plans on selling a mod kit later down the road for riders that want to add a throttle.

e-Bike Tax Credit Slowly Makes Its Way Through Congress

President Biden is pushing hard for more EVs on the road as part of a broader strategy to fight climate change. [Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/CNET]
Remember how we told you about President Biden’s proposed EV tax credit back in April? Well, it has slowly been creeping up through the Congressional hierarchy, offering a $4500 subsidy to buy an EV.  That amount may almost triple to $12,500, if the current bill becomes law.  But there's a catch: the EV must be made in the USA with union labor in the bill as written, which has both Tesla and Toyota pushing against the bill, as neither company qualifies [If only Congress had been so concerned about either qualification in the 1980s/90s, when industry left the USA in droves and American industry hollowed out  - Ed.]  A phase-out schedule based on income brackets of $75,000 and over has also been proposed. The text also uses the troublesome “under 750 watts” phrase when defining e-Bikes that qualify for the incentive. Ideally the wording will be updated to say “not more than 750 watts” to be inclusive of all e-Bikes that are currently legal throughout most of the country.  For a decent exploration of the issue, check out this CNET article.

[Editor's note: I've been asked the same question by every E-Moto manufacturer I've met: 'what will move the needle on ebikes in the USA?'  I've always answered the same, 'Legislation.'  Which they've always found discouraging, but it's exactly what propelled China to the top of global ebike usage, with millions on their streets today.  EVs have their issues, from rare mineral extraction and its political/social/environmental cost, to clean electricity production, but walking on the streets of Shanghai today is to experience quiet and relatively pollution-free streets.]

 

 

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: Sept 10 2021

As part of the buildup to our Electric Revolution Live event in May 2022, we are ramping up reportage on the EV scene.  It's an ever-evolving, even frantic, landscape of electric vehicles, and it can be tough to keep abreast of all the latest bikes, batteries, and news constantly flooding the market. That’s why we’ve re-launched our weekly EV News Roundup to bring you cherry-picked stories that matter to you.

It’s that time of the week to plug in, charge up, and ride out! The first full week of September has been a crazy one for electric motorcycles. From BMW releasing yet two boundary-pushing e-bikes (you’re guaranteed to love the 186 miles worth of range on them) to four moto giants partnering up to launch a battery swapping system, this week’s EV news roundup is bound to get all you electric vehicle nerds fired up!  It's all movement towards the Electric Revolution.

BMW Drops two new E-Bikes: High-Speed and Low-Speed

The BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY skirts the line between bicycle and motorcycle, but is legally firmly in the moto camp. BMW built the concept vehicle to push boundaries on legal issues cropping up for e-bikes that are as fast as motorcycles. [BMW]
BMW is no stranger to making a big splash. And that’s just what the company did at the recent IAA Mobility show in Munich, Germany. The luxury vehicle and motorcycle manufacturer unveiled two new EV bikes at the event, under an 'adaptive mobility' (AMBY) banner: the BMW Motorrad Vision AMBY, a low-speed electric motorcycle, and the I Vision AMBY, a high-speed e-bike.  And while the two machines are similar, one is firmly in the motorcycle camp in using a twistgrip for power, requiring a helmet, and having no pedals. The Motorrad Vision AMBY is ultralight at 65kg (145lbs), and can travel up to 186 miles in its lowest power setting, while hitting speeds of up to 37 mph in the highest mode. Fun fact: the highest speed on the i Vision AMBY doesn’t fit into any current EV legislations, and is intended to push legislative boundaries for adaptive speed limits for varying conditions.  For example, with 'geofencing' the top speed could be regulated in pedestrian zones to a 16mph, while in open country the full 37mph could be exploited.  Our American readers are surely horrified at the concept of a motorcycle designed to invite legislation, but BMW sees a connected future, where all vehicles will communicate, with each other and with local speed limits too.

The new BMW I Vision AMBY is a sleek modernist pedelec design with full suspension. [BMW]
On the other hand, BMW’s I Vision AMBY pedelec tops off at 37 mph. With wide tires and a hefty suspension system, this bike looks like it’s certainly ready for the trail.

CAKE and Polestar Announce the Maiden Electric Mobility Bundle

Polestar carries CAKE: the new Makka two-wheeler on the back of a Polaris 2 sedan. [CAKE]
CAKE and Polaris have teamed up to release a new electric mobility bundle that merges the convenience and comprehensive all-road capabilities of the Polaris 2 electric car with the urban agility of the CAKE Makka moped. A rear tow bar mount will enable the bike to be easily transported behind the car and simultaneously charged.

“Our new electric mobility bundle comes as a unique first step to solve the worldwide problems of city mobility as well as to accelerate the transition towards an emissions-free future. Instead of wasting time in a car queue, struggling to find a parking spot or squashing up in a crowded subway train, we together with the team at Polestar want to make the future of mobility flexible, accessible and emission-free - while aiming to create cities for people, not for cars that pollute,” CAKE CEO and founder, Stefan Ytterborn, stated in a press release.

Would you buy this bundle? Let us know in the comments below!

VanMoof Becomes “Most Funded e-Bike Company” After Raising $128 Million

The VanMoof ebike is chic and simple, and now the best-funded company in the global market. [VanMoof]
As part of its goal to put out 10 million e-bikes in the next five years, VanMoof has recently raised $128 million in funds. The Amsterdam-based company is using those funds to roll out branded stores and service hubs in more cities across the globe. VanMoof has already grown its retail and service footprints from eight to 50 locations worldwide during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vehicle Manufacturing Giants Team Up to Create a Battery Swapping System

Four major motorcycle manufacturers join forces to harmonize EV manufacture in regards to charging and batteries. [SBMC]
Honda, KTM, Yamaha, and Piaggio have all signed an official agreement to provide a battery swapping service to the moto community worldwide. The four companies are the founding members of the Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC), seeking to broaden the use of light EVs, including motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters, focussing on issues such as recharging times and battery life.  Most importantly, the group seeks to create an international standard for charging ports for all two-wheeled electric vehicles.

Schaeffler Group Reveals a Chainless e-Bike Drive System

The Schaeffler bike-by-wire system of pedal crank power. [Schaeffler]
Schaeffler Group recently unveiled its new bike-by-wire system, called the 'Free Drive'.  It's a pioneering system consisting of a crankset generator, rear hub motor, and human-interface panel that utilizes automotive technologies to allow e-Bikes a physical disconnection between the crank and  rear hub motor. To put it simply, the system doesn’t use a belt, chain, or driveshaft to connect the rear hub to the generator/crankset.  There's an external battery to both absorb excess energy from pedaling and to power the rear wheel hub motor at a continuous 250W: thus the battery recharges as you pedal and gives a reasonable power. The system might prove ideal for ultralight, multi-wheel delivery vehicles on which a chain drive might prove cumbersome.  Ultimately, freeing a crankset from the wheel drive will also ease the development of new 'architectures' for bicycles and light multi-wheel vehicles, making feet-forward or even hand-crank vehicles much easier to build, without long or multiple-chain systems connecting the rear wheel.  Imagine the possibilities.

 

 

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: Sep. 3, 2021

As part of the buildup to our Electric Revolution Live event in May 2022, we are ramping up reportage on the EV scene.  It's an ever-evolving, even frantic, landscape of electric vehicles, and it can be tough to keep abreast of all the latest bikes, batteries, and news constantly flooding the market. That’s why we’ve re-launched our weekly EV News Roundup to bring you cherry-picked stories that matter to you.

This week has definitely been an exciting one for the world of electric motorcycles! From BMW dropping an EV bike catering to Gen Z (as a millennial, I feel slightly slighted), to an e-motorcycle setting a new land speed record at Bonneville, here is this week’s roundup of awesome EV stories from the Electric Revolution.

CrownCruiser Sets a New Standard for EV Bikes

The Crown Cruiser uses a carbon fiber chassis for a unique and chic urban style. Its designer Adebola Adeleye has been experimenting with ebikes for years, and is using an Indiegogo campaign to launch production. [Crown Cruiser]
A seamless blend of retro aesthetics, high performance, and pioneering technology, the CrownCruiser just dropped on Indiegogo. With throwback styling, tons of curves, and a tech pedigree backed by input from aerospace industry experts, the CrownCruiser promises to deliver an unrivaled riding experience within a 100-mile range. With a brushless DC hub motor that produces a maximum output of 100W and an affordable price tag of $3,150, the CrownCruiser is the brainchild of Adebola Adeleye. Using his background in aeronautical engineering and his passion for exploration, Adeleye set out to create an EV motorcycle that mated form with function.

To learn more about the Crown Cruiser, or support their Indiegogo campaign, click here. [Crown Cruiser]
Currently, manufacturing of the carbon fiber frame and other components of the bike are being developed by a leading independent materials manufacturer that has previously worked with Formula 1 teams. The CrownCruiser is currently ready for production. To make riding easier, Adeleye’s startup is planning to install swap-and-go battery stations across cities in the UK to allow riders to power up in seconds.

CAKE Launches Third Platform: Makka

CAKE's Makka with optional saddlebags. [Cake]
CAKE's third model platform was released this week, the Makka.  A light urban delivery or pleasure vehicle, it requires no license for riders 15 years an older, and is street legal.  It's also CAKE's first motorcycle with an in-wheel motor, with a step-thru chassis that's similar to their Ösa platform, but uses only large-diameter tubing with no spine member. It looks to be a perfect last-mile delivery vehicle, and comes with a range of accessories, from racks and saddlebags to a child safety seat!  We believe that's a first from a motorcycle company.

An industry first? The Makka with optional accessory child safety seat! [CAKE]
With cities and its mobility changing faster than expected with cleaner and more efficient solutions, we have been eager to share the Makka. An urban short-haul vessel, compact in size and price, reaching a wide audience in the process of deciding what their future means of transportation will be. I’m proud to introduce the CAKE urban shuttle, Makka.”, says Stefan Ytterborn, CEO and Founder.

BMW is Targeting a Younger Crowd with Its Motorrad Concept CE 02

The new BMW Concept CE 02 is a mini urban runabout with styling cues taken from indie ebike builders and customizers. It's an important move for BMW, which has struggled to reach new or non-riders and especially the youth market (in common with most OEMs). The future of fun is the future of motorcycling! [BMW]
Do you know what is rad? Luxury vehicle manufacturer BMW’s Motorrad Concept CE 02. Catering to Gen Z youngsters ages 16 and up who aren’t that familiar with riding, the EV bike boasts styling that’s worthy of the ‘Gram, smart technology, and a design that enables riders to pick a posture that best suits them. While traditionalists might roll their eyes at the lack of footrests and gears, we’re pretty pleased that BMW is trying to get the next generation aboard two-wheels.

Making tech specs irrelevant in pursuit of pure enjoyment is a drastic shift in approach for BMW, which has been steered for decades by a corporate culture of increasing tech and sophistication, which began to alienate new riders. [BMW]
Head of Design for BMW Motorrad, Edgar Heinrich, is clear about the inspiration behind the CE 02: "At first glance, there is little about the BMW Motorrad Concept CE 02 that is typically BMW Motorrad – it’s something completely new. We want to strive for something novel and be pioneers – which is what we’ve proven ourselves capable of with various projects in the past. The Concept CE 02 features new proportions and modern forms of single-track mobility in an urban environment. In addition, we wanted to achieve a level of design innovation that we have not had before at this level. Straightforward use was important, but above all the emotional component was crucial, as well as riding fun.”

The Nicolai Eboxx Ultra E-Bike is Beastly

The Nicolai Eboxx blurs the line between bicycle and enduro motorcycle with high performance, speed, and comfort with full suspension. [Nicolai]
The man behind the Nicolai Bicycles brand has been putting out wild e-bikes for a long time, and his brand new 275 Nm monster is no different. Recently featured at Eurobike 2021, the Eboxx Ultra delivers power between 15 to 35 kW. Despite its power, the Eboxx Ultra is a cumbersome machine, clocking in between 121 and 143 pounds. This makes the Eboxx Ultra more comparable to a light enduro motorcycle that a mountain bike.  It looks comfortable and fast for the trails less traveled, and the Eboxx Ultra handles itself pretty nicely on the pavement, reaching top speeds of about 40 mph.

EV Motorcycle Sets New Land Record

Ukranian ebike maker Delfast utilized the Dnepr name (and dummy fuel tank) for a run at Bonneville, hitting 107.2 mph with rider Serhii Malyk aboard, on Aug 21, 2021. [Delfast]
Two weeks ago on the Bonneville Salt Flats, the Ukranian ebike manufacturer Delfast set a record in the new “A Omega” class. The 68-horsepower Delfast Dnepr ran 107.2 mph with professional rider Serhii Malyk, who set previous records in 2017 and 2018 astride Delfast ebikes.  Delfast now owns the Dnepr name and intellectual property rights, and used a 1980s Dnepr two-stroke 'fuel tank' on the e-racer as a nod to the past.  If the name doesn't ring a bell, Dnepr was one of the companies producing clones of the BMW R71 model during and after WW2 (along with Ural and Chiang-Jiang, Yangtze, etc), as well as building their own designs of two-strokes and even Wankel-engined prototypes before hitting troubles with the fall of the Soviet Union.   Now Delfast is reviving the Dnepr name, which resonates in the former Soviet bloc countries, and is looking to secure a foothold in the future with their hi-tech ebikes.   Delfast is dedicated to producing economical ebikes with great performance - they currently hold the world record for the longest distance travelled on a single charge with their Prime ebike, rounding the Kiev Velodrome for 228 miles!

Expannia's new EV Concept Worthy of Daytona Bike Week

Expannia has a bold new lineup of motorcycles, microcars, sedans, and busses, all slated for future production. Their ebike is slick and attractive, but features limp-rod fake exhausts...why?
It's a beauty without them. [Expannia]
Far from the caterwauling cries of Harley exhausts we expect to hear bellowing up and down Main Street during Daytona Bike Week, Miami-based startup Expannia is quietly working on a lineup of muscular EVs. As the initial part of an ambitious plan to rollout compact cars, SUVs, and microcars by 2026, the company’s e-bike, slated for next year, is a true stunner. Housing 20 to 25 kW motors powered by a 6 kWh battery, the bike promises to reach top speeds of 75 mph and have a 93-mile range. While the bodywork is angular and frankly stunning, the designers in a fit of insecurity have fitted faux dual exhaust pipes and air intakes, to fool whom?  Ditch the chrome bits, Expannia, and be bold in your EV heart!

Ford and GM’s Stance on EV Impact of Gas Vehicle Values

The switch to EVs will not impact resale values, according to US industry bigwigs. Thoughts on that? [Aaron Bragman]
Automotive manufacturing giants, Ford and GM, are both expressing confidence that the global pivot to using EVs will not negatively effect the values of gas-powered vehicles. C-suite executives at both companies do not expect major changes within their leasing portfolios due to the ever-growing demand for electric vehicles. Do you think they’re right?

 

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: Aug 27, 2021

As part of the buildup to our Electric Revolution Live event in May 2022, we are ramping up reportage on the EV scene.  It's an ever-evolving, even frantic, landscape of electric vehicles, and it can be tough to keep abreast of all the latest bikes, batteries, and news constantly flooding the market. That’s why we’ve re-launched our weekly EV News Roundup to bring you cherry-picked stories that matter to you.

From the affordable and super durable SONDORS Metacycle EV bike that features hub motor technology designed to eliminate the common chain/belt final drive (a frustration to many of you traditional riders, we know!) to batteries that promise to charge to 80% in just 30 minutes, here are our picks for the most buzzworthy EV stories of the week!

The SONDORS Metacycle Will Soon Be Hitting the Market

The Sondors is a sleek, modern design with sufficient identity to stand out in the market, and very reasonably priced.  'Cost of entry' is second only to 'range' on the list of gripes for potential e-bike buyers. [Sondors]
Priced to please at $5,000, the SONDORS Metacycle electric motorcycle is swiftly approaching its Q3 2021 shipping date. Durable enough for the daily commuter, the Metacycle delivers up to 80 miles on a single charge and can hit top speeds of 80 mph. While that won’t win this utilitarian bike any trophies on the racetrack, its affordable price-tag is sure to be appealing for the average rider who is looking for a highway-capable EV bike. The Metacycle offers hydraulic brake locks, a digital full color display, adjustable suspensions, and a rear hub motor. SONDOR’s motor choice is in stark contrast to the mid-mounted motor that most electric motorcycle manufacturers opt for. This streamlines the bike and eliminates the need for extra components, dropping the Metacycle’s price exponentially.

Husqvarna Unveils Its First EV Street Bike

The E-Pilen concept has been on display since Spring, but it's looking ever more likely to enter the market in 2021. [Husqvarna]
With the public hungry for more EV options, many motorcycle manufacturers are desperately trying to keep up with the demand. Husqvarna is no exception. Known for its high-quality off-road bikes, the company is now shifting its focus to the EV sector with the release of its first EV concept, the Husqvarna E-Pilen. Fans of the brand’s Vitpilen or Svartpilen gas-powered motorcycles will already by familiar with the E-Pilen’s styling. The concept sports a similar body and panels that will contain three removable battery packs that promise a range of 62 miles.

Stand-up electric scooters are among the most popular EVs on the planet, and almost disposable in urban areas. Still, Husqvarna sees a potential for the market in personal mobility. [Husqvarna]
The E-Pilen is the first in a long line of EV projects by Husqvarna’s parent firm, Pierer Mobility. The company plans to release a variety of electric motorcycles and scooters built on a 48-volt platform, with powers spanning from 4kw to 11kw.  Their Vektorr scooter and Bltz stand-up electric scooter fill out their upcoming EV lineup.

At Energica, Shorter Charging Times Are Around the Corner

The stunning Energica Ego cafe racer built by DeBolex Engineering for our Electric Revolution exhibit at the Petersen Museum in 2019, the 'TW Steel Oil in the Blood' custom. [Tom Homa]
If you ask any gas-powered motorcycle enthusiast why they aren’t keen on making the transition to electric bikes, they’ll quickly cite refueling and range as their largest discouragers. But this could all change soon.  Our friends at Energica Motor Company, an Italian manufacturer of electric motorcycles, have already implemented faster charging for their model lines, including the CHAdeMO standard for the Japanese market.  But, according to the company’s CTO, Giampiero Testoni, even swifter charging times will be arriving soon.

In a recent interview with Visordown, Testoni stated, “Of course, there was already a Japanese standard, but we were the first to start on a European standard, enabling charging to 80% in half an hour. In real use, when you stop for refueling, you go and drink some coffee, 20 minutes, it’s very easy to reach that target.”  While this is a good start, Testoni believes that an 85% charge in just 15 minutes is completely achievable in the very near future.

An EV Ducati?!

Italjet harkens back to the era of the Wedge with their concept for an EV Ducati, a retro-futuristic shape reminiscent of deTomaso's designs for Benelli's 250-4, and Giorgetto Giugiaro's boxy 860GT of 1975, which was a flop, it should be noted.  Car designers never seem to nail it with the motorcycle crowd, who seem to prefer substance over styling. [Italdesign]
A company hailed for having a combustion-engine soul, Ducati is becoming increasingly involved in e-bicycles. However, a recent electric motorcycle concept dubbed the “Ducati 860-E Concept” could soon plunge the Italian company into the world of EV bikes. Created by Italdesign, a company that has a long-standing relationship with Ducati and even collaborated with them to designed the firm’s Urban-E electrical bicycle, the 860-E draws inspiration from the 1970s L-twin to convey a neo-retro model of a Ducati electric motorcycle.T he concept’s circular headlights, arching tank, and gilled side covers all pay tribute to Ducati’s distinct visual trademarks. Other features will include LED lighting, dual-mount front brakes, and an inverted front-end.

Ghanain Teenager Builds Solar-Powered Wooden Scooter from Scrap

Samuel, a 17-year old student in Ghana, gained insta-fame last week for his home-built, solar-powered electric scooter, built entirely from scrap wood and discarded parts.  The scooter charges its battery from a small solar panel on the back, uses very low-draw LED lights front and rear, and incorporates the small electric motor from his mother's sewing machine!  The scooter is totally functional, and captured global attention after a Ghanaian YouTube star (Efo Selasi) featured him on his channel.  Now we wonder, how can we get this young man a scholarship for the engineering school he is so clearly ready for?

 

 

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

 


EV Tax Credit: Ditch Your Car?

Would you abandon your car if given a Federal tax credit to buy an E-Bike?  Despite the 2021 tax deadline being pushed back to May 17, thousands of Americans are still scampering to organize their paperwork to enjoy hefty tax refunds under the new tax code.  But would you give up your car for a large EV tax credit?

Harley-Davidson has spun off its EV division, and is launching the Serial 1 e-bike brand as an affordable fun/commute vehicle. See our post here. [Harley-Davidson]
The Age of Electrifying

The current US administration has big plans for electric vehicles. Despite his love for his 1967 Corvette, President Biden plans to spend up to $174 billion to get Americans behind the wheels of electric cars. He also plans to make electric vehicles more affordable by offering rebates, tax credits, and other incentives. The President also hopes to have a million charging stations scattered across the country by 2030. Other government officials are following suit. Congressmen Jimmy Panetta and Earl Blumenaurer of California and Oregon were inspired to propose the Electrical Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act. They want to drastically reduce carbon emissions by getting more cars off the streets. The Act promises to provide tax credits to individuals seeking to purchase a new e-bike. In fact, consumers would get up to 30% of their total e-bike purchase back come tax season. However, the limit caps off at $1,500.

In Europe, EV manufacturers benefit from government support, and individuals earn tax credits when buying EVs, lowering their price dramatically in a bid to make them more popular. Sweden's CAKE has become very successful with niche marketing its KALK and OSA models, and the Elektrafuture urban MX series in France features racing CAKE models. [Fabio Affuso]
While a tax credit sounds tempting, does the purchase of an electric car or e-bike make a significant environmental impact?  And exactly how many people are actually buying e-bikes? Would riding an e-bike save the planet? According to a recent study published by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, 45% of trips taken by e-bike riders in the US are done instead of driving a car. An additional study claims that the 15% of Americans riding e-bikes in lieu of cars could cut our carbon footprint by as much as 12%. This is huge.

Would You Take the Tax Credit?

The E-BIKE Act has a good chance of passing, but will it encourage more consumers to go electric? While Europeans have been encouraged to buy e-vehicles thanks to new legislations, and government subsidies for EVs, would America do the same?  Not surprisingly, an overwhelming percentage of Americans prefer gasoline vehicles. Right now, EVs make up less than 2% of new-vehicle sales in the US. While numerous automakers are embracing electric vehicles as their future, promising to end production of gas-fueled cars and trucks by the 2030s, consumers are still dragging their feet. They have lots of reasons: the high price of EVs, the lack of charging stations in many areas, the limits on range and charging times.  For most Americans, the timing just isn’t right for the purchase of an EV, yet.

In China, electric two- and three-wheelers circulate in the Millions in large cities. Here, a Shanghai carpenter has transformed his electric scooter into a utility vehicle. [Paul d'Orléans]

EV sales have taken off in Europe, and eBike sales are enormous in China, because gas-powered small vehicles are already illegal in most Chinese cities.  To walk on the streets of Shanghai is to experience the future of the West, as most light vehicles zipping through the city are already electric, even shaggy 3-wheel lumber haulers that in previous centuries were horse-drawn, then powered by smoky two-stroke engines in the 20th Century.  Today Shanghai's streets are relatively quiet, and the air is free of exhaust smoke, which compares extremely favorably to a walk through Paris in the summer, where every stoplight becomes a drag race for dozens of small two-stroke scooters, that fill the air with a noxious, eye-watering cloud.

E-Bike Apps are hugely popular the world over, leading to unexpected problems like bicycles being heaped on popular corners. Such problems have been dealt with harshly in some cities, by cities simply scooping up and trashing ebikes by the heapful. The problem has eased, but exemplifies the type of unknowns created by new tech. [Paul d'Orléans]
Will the EV experience ever gain traction in the USA?  Without legislation encouraging (or requiring) EVs, it will take a very long time before Americans embrace battery power en masse. The Vintagent's own Paul d'Orléans notes, "I've been asked by every eBike maker - 'what will move the needle on sales?', and my answer is the same: only legislation will create mass adoption, for better and worse."   With the proposed E-BIKE Act tax incentives, more people will surely be inclined to give electric vehicles a go, but at what scale we can only wait and see.

Clean in the Streets! A Serial 1 on test: e-bikes, electric-assist bicycles, and electric mountain bikes are the biggest growth sector on two wheels. [Serial 1]
[Feature image: Wisconsin State Journal, Amber Arnold ]

 

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

 


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.