Tim Huber

The Current News: Oct 17, 2019

An Electric Monster?

A concept of a Ducat e-Monster, with characteristic trellis frame and minimal bodywork doing a good job of holding the battery pack and motor. Kudos! [Alessandro Lupo]
As more and more motorcycle companies make the shift into the electric segment, there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing some seriously slick fully-electric models in the coming years. Giving us a possible glimpse into what an electric future might look like, designer Alessandro Lupo — who is probably best-known for his Audi Supersport 10R motorcycle concept — recently unveiled his renderings of a battery-powered Ducati Monster.

The design uses the Italian naked’s hallmark trellis frame, sculpted tank (which acts as a storage compartment), and exposed powertrain, though features a slew of modern tweaks and elements such as a bobbed street-fighter tail and X-shaped LED headlight. A blend of vintage cafe racer aesthetics with contemporary and futuristic visual themes, Lupo says he chose the Monster as the basis for his electric concept because he felt it’s the Bologna brand’s most iconic model and recognizable model. While it’s only a digital rendering, this is one Monster of a Monster.

Arc Bankrupt After $1,000,000 In Crowdfunding 

It was supposed to be the future of badass, but now there's only a memory. EV companies burn through cash like incinerators... [Arc]
At EICMA 2018, a high-end electric motorcycle model was unveiled, known as the Arc Vector. It was admittedly an impressive machine, boasting a futuristic design, top-shelf running gear, a curb weight of 485lbs, a 2.7-second 0-60mph time, and a powertrain capable of generating 133hp and 292ft-lbs of torque. Despite the Vector’s roughly $110,000 price-tag, the startup was nonetheless able to raise more than $1.1M through crowdfunding in order to get production off the ground. Sadly, less than two-months after securing said funding, the company has now filed for bankruptcy, putting an end to the exclusive electric — at least for the time being.

New Thai Electric Startup Seeks Funding 

The Spider concept machine, taking inspiration from Keanu Reeve's Arch motorcycles. [Spider]
As one electric startup goes under, another emerges, with the latest being the “Spider” electric motorcycle project. The brainchild of designer, Piriya Chitpranee, who has previously worked doing R&D for Honda, the Spider is a fully-electric power-cruiser concept that puts a modern twist on classic American iron. The design is sporty and minimalistic and features an array of modern hardware dressed up as old-school cruiser components. At this point, the Spider is limited to a single profile rendering, and Piriya has yet to release any information on specs or the powertrain. At this point, it’s become increasingly clear that no segment is off-limits from electrification.

Yamaha Shows Off Two E-Scooter Models Ahead Of EICMA

The new Yamaha EO1 scooter, looking sporty and aggressive. One of 18 new models coming to EICMA this year. [Yamaha]
This year, Yamaha has some big plans for EICMA. The tuning fork company says it will be showing off no-less-than 18 models, one-third of which will make their world premiere. In an effort to drum up some hype prior to the annual show in Milan, Yamaha has decided to give the motorcycling public a sneak peek at a few of its upcoming electric offerings.

The Yamaha E02 is a commuter-friendly e-scooter. [Yamaha]
The first battery-powered Yammy is the E01; a 125cc equivalent electric scooter designed for urban use and with fast-charging capabilities. The E02 is a smaller, equally-slick 50cc equivalent scoot, that, like its big sibling, sports modern bodywork and a flashy livery with neon highlights and a synthetic material adorning the seats. Yamaha also gave an early glimpse of its E-Vino, an electric version of the brand’s popular 50cc vintage-themed scooter. While none of these models offer any particularly groundbreaking features or technologies, they do clearly demonstrate that major manufacturers like Yamaha are making electric two-wheelers a bigger and bigger part of their lineup.

Dutch Treat

The Brekr has a simple spine frame that wedges the battery in the middle, like a vintage flat-tanker. [Brekr]
This week we were also treated to a new electric moped from Dutch outfit, Brekr. Dubbed the “B4000” (or “Model B”), the newly-unveiled machine boasts a unique design that borrows stylistic elements from classic mopeds, motocrossers, and mountain bikes. Constructed around an aluminum frame and riding on full-size forged wheels, the B4000 is powered by a swappable 1.9kWh battery that affords a 30-50 mile range. The Model B can also use two batteries, doubling the mopeds range.

A simple battery swap-out system makes charging a snap, indoors. [Brekr]
The Model B also gets full-suspension fore and aft and can reach a top speed of around 30mph. The company says it hopes to have the B4000 in showrooms by the Spring of 2020, with the model initially being released in the German, Dutch, and Belgian markets before a wider rollout at a later date. The B4000 will reportedly cost €4,199 ($4,650).

HORWIN Europe Drops Two New Electric Moto Models

The new Horwin electric motorcycle from the veteran Austrian ebike producer. [Horwin]
In addition to all of the new electric scooters models that have been popping up, this week we also saw a new electric motorcycle from Austria’s HORWIN — which already makes several electric models, ranging from Bird-style scooters, to full-on electric MXers. HORWIN’s latest machine, the CR6 is a fully-electric standard/naked-style motorcycle offered in two specs; the base model; and the Pro.

The Horwin Pro from Austria. [Horwin]
Both versions use the same Panasonic 18650 lithium-ion battery with a 55aH capacity and 72v output. An 80-percent charge can be achieved in three-hours, which offers a range of approximately 90-miles (or 80 miles for the Pro-spec). Top speed is said to be 60mph for the regular model and 65mph for the Pro, which also weighs in at 13lbs more than the base CR6’s 295lb curb weight. According to HORWIN, the CR6, while only making 10hp, is reportedly good for a whopping 218ft-lbs of torque, while the Pro model makes an even crazier 223ft-lbs (and 14hp). Both bikes have a 55-inch wheelbase, 32-inch seat height, and full suspension and single discs front and back. The biggest difference between the two versions is the CR6 Pro comes with a clutch and a five-speed gearbox. Right now, both versions are available for pre-order (only in Germany and Austria) with a price of €5,890 ($6,525) for the CR6 and €6,990 ($7,750) for the CR6 Pro.

India’s Super Sleek “F77” eBike Concept 

In the Lotus school of design comes the Ultraviolette from India.  The F77 is the first Indian high-performance motorcycle. [Ultraviolette]
Founded in 2016  Ultraviolette is a Bengaluru-based company focused on sustainable mobility and EV infrastructure. After receiving financial backing from India’s TVS Motor Company, Ultraviolette is now building what it’s touting as “India’s first high-performance electric motorcycle” (which it may be if it beats the Emflux One and MANKAME EP – 1 to market). Called the “F77”, the trick new Indian ebike is quite the looker, with a modern and aggressive design. Underneath the fancy bodywork the F77 hides a powertrain with a 25kW (33.5hp) output, though aside from that details are pretty scant, outside of the fact it’s being compared to 250cc ICE models. Ultraviolette will officially debut the F77 on November 13 in India, when full specs are expected to be unveiled along with a physical prototype.

Gogoro Launches New Smart E-Scooter

The new Gogoro design, from this Taiwanese pioneer of the 'battery station' concept.  Graphics looking an awful lot like our 'Custom Revolution' catalog! [Gogoro]
Gogoro, a major player in the EV game, has just pulled the cover off its latest proton-powered product with the all-new VIVA Smart Scooter. Built as a small-displacement scooter equivalent, the VIVA boasts 21-liters of storage space, a curb weight of only 175lbs, and a 50+ mile range, though the batteries are swappable, and Gogoro has a leading network of battery charging stations.

The new Gogoro Viva comes in colors. [Gogoro]
What makes the VIVA “Smart” is Gogoro’s iQ System, which links to scooter to a smartphone and allows for a range of features like geofencing, powertrain, and battery monitoring, LED lighting throughout, and even security features like fingerprint and face-scan unlocking. Offered in five playful color options, the VIVA is expected to go on sale this month with an MSRP of $1,800, before hitting additional markets in Q1 of 2020.

Dyson Concept Vaporware Sucks Up Attention

That sucking sound you hear? That's vaporware stealing your attention...[Saharudin Busri]
Dyson Vacuums has a well-established reputation for its outside-the-box industrial design and cutting-edge technologies. Inspired by the famous appliance outfit, concept artists, Saharudin Busri just released images of his Dyson-inspired electric motorcycle concept, and it’s as weird as it is awesome. Sporting a hubless wheel setup and a collection of space-ship-themed visual elements, Busri’s concept is one of the most futuristic-looking two-wheelers I’ve ever laid eyes on. The photos pretty much speak for themselves, so I’ll end things there.

Electrifying Classic Cars

Sacrilege or genius? We know one thing: if all EVs looked this good, they would be a LOT more popular! [Lunaz]
With one foot in the future and the other firmly planted in the past, Lunaz Design is a new outfit specializing in converting classic cars into electric motor and battery-powered rides. While Lunaz is far from the first to convert an ICE car to electric, the Silverstone-based company has come out the gate swinging with its first trio of projects; a 1953 jaguar XK120 with an 80kWh battery; a 1961 eight-passenger Rolls-Royce Phantom V powered by a 120kWh pack; and a 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud with an unspecified battery.

The Rolls Royce is certainly a suitable subject, as silence was always one of their aims. [Lunaz]
On top of the electric powertrains, the British business is also revamping the interiors of these elegant, high-dollar classics with features such as SAT-Navs and other modern infotainment setups. The converted cars are also laced up with regenerative braking and fast-charging capabilities, and the like.  Lunaz’ rides supposedly pack quite a punch, too, with their electrified four-wheelers putting down as much as 590hp while still offering a healthy 250 mile range on a single charge. Based on their first three projects, we seriously can’t wait to see what Lunaz has in store for its next classic conversion .

Harley Pulls Plug On LiveWire Production 

Deadwire. But only temporarily - what did you expect? This will be sorted out quickly, too much is at stake. [Harley-Davidson]
Despite the MoCo’s grand ambitions and commendable effort, things with its inaugural electric model, Livewire, aren’t exactly going as planned. Not only are sales failing to meet the company’s projections, but Harley has now (at least temporarily) pulled the plug on deliveries and production of Livewire after experiencing some major charging issues. Harley is urging LW owner NOT to do any home charging, and only to power up their bikes at “professional charging stations”.

Unless there's something we don't know, production will resume shortly. [Harley-Davidson]
This is a pretty major blow to Harley, though it says the LW is still totally safe to pilot. And, the first batch of bikes was limited to only 1,600 units, so Harley won’t have to undergo an enormous recall, though it’s still bad news for the Milwaukee firm which plans on introducing a handful of additional electric models in the coming years. Hopefully, Harley can get this sorted out quickly, so it doesn’t destroy its EV’s reputation right out of the gate.


The Current News: Oct 3, 2019

This time 'round, a Spanish company gives the Honda Super Cub the EV treatment, BRP unveils a host of new electric concepts, UBCO releases a hardcore trail bike, Loncin teases its stylish new naked, a sexy off-road scooter from down under, and Sur Ron continues to make moves with yet another new model.

Sur Ron Unveils Street-Legal “Storm Bee”

The Sur Ron Storm Bee [Sur Ron]
Shortly after the company confirmed it has a new model coming down the pipe, Sur Ron has now officially introduced its “Storm Bee”, giving the public its first glimpse at what’s expected to be the production version of the new on/off-roader. Unlike the manufacturer’s prior offerings, which are sort of dirtbike/mountain bike hybrids, the Storm Bee is a full-on dual-sport, and will be offered in off-road or street-legal specs.

At the heart of the battery-powered MXer is a 22.5kW (30hp) air-cooled electric motor paired with a 4.6kWh battery — that uses Sony VTC6 cells — and a 150V sine wave controller. Together the components constituting the powertrain are good for a top speed just shy of 70mph, a range of 60 miles (at 31mph) and a cool 382ft-lbs (520Nm) of torque.

Concept drawings of the Storm Bee [Sur Ron]
The Storm Bee boasts modern MX bodywork wrapped around a rugged yet lightweight forged aluminum chassis. The e-bike sports an upside-down fork and rear mono-shock that both offer a range of adjustability and nearly a foot of travel. Braking duties go to small single discs fore and aft, and the road-going version will feature ABS and smart-phone connectivity. The Storm Bee tips the scales at just 280lbs at the curb for the street-spec, and 260lbs for the off-road model.

Pricing has yet to be announced, but Sur Ron’s existing wares have competitive MSRP’s, so I assume the Storm Bee will be priced similarly. The bike is slated to hit dealerships in certain markets before the end of the year, followed by a rollout into additional regions in 2020.

Droog Moto Goes Electric

The Droog Empulse R [Droog]
As electric motorcycles take on an increasingly important role in the overall motorcycling landscape, more and more customs outfits are seeing clients commission electric builds. The latest shop to tackle a bespoke battery-powered project was Washington’s Droog Moto, with the husband and wife team being tasked with bestowing their signature post-apocalyptic scrambler treatment upon a Brammo Empulse R.

'Tank' details on the Droog Empulse R [Droog]
One-off elements on the creation include a custom tank cover, skid-plate, sub-frame and seat, and modern beak fender and bespoke housing for the project’s seven-inch Halo-style LED headlight. Other knickknacks include the outfit’s DM Fat Bars, LED lighting throughout, a modified swing-arm, and of course Droog’s hallmark knobbies.

The Droog Empulse R with aggressive styling. [Droog]
Dubbed the “E-Scrambler”, the bike uses the stock 40kW (53.6hp) water-cooled permanent magnet AC Motor pulling energy from a 10.2 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with an on-board J1772, level II charger that can fully replenish the cells in 3.5 hours. The custom’s 46.46ft-lbs of torque is fed through an IET six-speed gearbox with a hydraulically-activated wet clutch. The E-Scrambler also gets dual front discs with Brembo four-pot calipers, Marzocchi forks, and a Sachs’ mono-shock.

Spain’s Environmentally Friendly Cafe’d Commuter

The OX Riders 01 [OX]
A new Spanish startup, ØX Riders, has just pulled the cover off a prototype version of its inaugural model. Named the Ø1, the proto is constructed around the frame of a vintage gas-powered bike that’s been fully stripped down and built back up using 3D-printed parts comprised of biodegradable plastic filaments. The Ø1’s design is a very deliberate blend of modern and vintage aesthetics, with an upswept rear frame hoop, cafe crossed headlight, spoked rims, inverted forks with fork guards, drilled side covers, and a knee-dented tank shell, all fixed to a traditional single backbone frame.

The ØX Riders commuter bike on display in Bilbao [OX Riders]
Taking almost nine months to complete, the Ø1 was built with a focus on environmental sustainability and minimizing CO2 emissions throughout the production process. ØX Riders didn’t reveal any of the model’s specs, aside from relaying range and top speed, which are 50 miles (80km) and 75mph (120km/h) respectively. While that might not sound too impressive, the reality is that the Ø1 isn’t about pushing the performance envelope and is more about providing an attractive, environmentally conscience two-wheeler, capable of competently performing commuting duties and the like, and from that standpoint, the Spanish startup has very much succeeded. The Ø1’s price — which has yet to be announced — will obviously play a pivotal role in the model’s success or failure.

VOGE Shows Off Affordable ER 10 E-Naked

The new VOGE ER 10 [VOGE]
In 2018, on the heels of the Chinese firm’s wildly successful Firefly electric off-roader, Sur Ron introduced a sleek and affordable electric naked bike called the “White Ghost”. The company released images, details, features, and specs, but after the initial press blast, the White Ghost just kind of faded into oblivion. Behind the scenes, however, moves were being made. Sur Ron ended up handing production of the White Ghost over to Chinese powerhouse, Loncin Motors. One of the Chongqing conglomerate’s subsidiaries is VOGE Motorcycles, which will sell the White Ghost under its banner, only rebranded as the “ER 10”.

The VOGE's Sur-Ron engine is visible beneath the minimalist bodywork. [VOGE]
The ER 10 uses Sur-Ron’s 60V/6KW DC motor, and a 60V/70Ah lithium battery with Panasonic 18650 cells, good for delivering 14 Kilowatts at peak power. With a 254lb weight, the ER 10 can reach speeds of over 60mph and can travel over 60 miles on a single charge. The powertrain is housed in a forged aluminum frame with inverted forks and a mono-shock.

At $4750, the VOGE is in the vanguard of affordable ebikes for commuters. [VOGE]
The ER 10 is reportedly priced at $4,750, which is pretty impressive considering its performance, appearance, and features. That’s a bit more than half the (base) price of Zero’s entry-level FX ($8,495). VOGE is expected to unveil the final production version of the ER 10 at EICMA later this year, though there’s no word as to whether it's destined for North American shores.

BRP Unleashes Seven Electric Prototype Vehicles

New BRP electics: a trike and a motorcycle [BRP]
Six months after acquiring an array of assets and IP from the now-defunct Alta, Bombardier Recreational Products — better known simply as BRP – has unveiled a slew of fully electric prototype vehicles. First revealed at the Club BRP 2020 event in Las Vegas, the Canadian company showed off a total of seven proto-offerings, including an electric version of the Cam-Am Ryker, an electric motorcycle concept, and two e-scooters; a small-displacement step-through-style equivalent; and a larger leaning three-wheeler. “BRP has been working for some time on how to create e-vehicles to bring new experiences to potential and existing riders. As we’ve said, it was never a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. We are truly excited about electric and see it as a potential opportunity for our business. For the moment, these are preliminary concepts as we are currently evaluating market viability,” stated Denys Lapointe, Senior Vice-President of Design, Innovation and Creative Services.

A full line of electric prototypes from BRP. [BRP]
The most interesting of the newly unveiled machines is the e-bike, which has been dubbed the CT-1. The fully-electric two-wheeler sports a sleek monocoque design with a modern bobber-style seat, a single-sided swing-arm, and a trick-looking LED headlight set up.

The BRP TWeLVE three-wheeled scooter [BRP]
On top of showing off the new concept vehicles — which also included an electric jet-ski and go-kart — the Quebec-based firm released a statement from Denys Lapointe, Senior Vice-President of Design, Innovation and Creative Services. Lapointe explains that these new products showcase BRP’s future plans, and signal its intent on further tapping into the EV space. Though the electric vehicles are all in the early prototype phase, BRP says it’s not a matter of if these will see production, only when.

UBCO Unveils Hardcore Electric Trail Bike

The UBCO FRX1: pushing the boundaries between ebike and emoto [UBCO]
UBCO, the New Zealand-based outfit behind the utilitarian “2X2” ebike, has just debuted its latest offering with the all-new FRX1 Freeride Trail Bike. First revealed at the recent AIMExpo in Columbus, Ohio, the FRX1 has a 2.2 kWh Lithium-ion battery that affords a 62-mile range and can be fully recharged in 2.5 hours. Regenerative braking is reportedly capable of recycling as much as ten percent of the charge, too. And with a weight of just 115lbs, the FRX1 can reach speeds of around 50mph.

115lbs + 50mph = seriously fun times with the UBCO FXR1 [UBCO]
Unlike the modular and highly-versatile 2X2, the FRX1 is a performance-oriented model aim at recreational riders than farmers and ranchers. Falling somewhere on the spectrum between a motocross mount and a hardcore downhill mountain bike, the FRX1 boasts an advanced T6 aluminum alloy mid-drive frame paired with long-travel suspension and traditional MTN bike geometry. Pushing the two-wheeler along is a liquid-cooled brushless motor offering 20 (peak) horsepower, delivered through the bike’s “Super Pedal Assist” throttle.

Silicon Valley Startup Launches Crowdfunding Campaign For New E-Scooter

A friendly design from the Silicon Valley startup OSLO. And why is everyone going all-caps? [OSLO]
Karmic OSLO, a new Silicon Valley-based startup just kicked off its crowdfunding campaign for its new OSLO e-scooter after spending several years developing and refining the idiosyncratic new scoot. The Bay Area company is seeking $200,000 in hopes of pushing the model into production and hopes the OSLO’s unique design will help that goal along.

A escooter for the iPhone age: it could have been designed by Jony Ive, but wasn't. [OSLO]
Powered by a swappable 480Wh battery and a 250W motor with 33ft-lbs of torque, the OSLO’s pedal assist is delivered via one of three ride modes, though is capped at a 20mph top speed, per its Class 2 eBike classification. Offering a real-world range of 20-miles, the battery uses the 21700 cell size, which was co-developed by Panasonic and used by the Tesla Model 3.

You meet the nicest people on a Karmic OSLO. [OSLO]
Where the OSLO stands out, however, is its appearance. With a low-slung aluminum frame cloaked in thermoplastic bodywork with integrated LED lighting strips throughout — including a daytime running light — along with five-arm wheels shrouded in disc covers, an external LCD display, the OSLO sports an incredibly clean and contemporary design, packing a myriad of modern features into a minimalistic and chic package.

Could it be any simpler? [OSLO]
Karmic is also working on a variety of optional upgrades for the OSLO including a bigger, 500W (with 48ft-lbs of torque), a Gates Carbon belt drive, front and rear cargo racks, an integrated LED display, Aero wheel covers, metal fenders, an auto-locking security system, just to name a few. The company also says in the future it plans on selling a longer range (1kWh) battery, an OLED touchscreen, and a smart-phone connected app.

Australian Outfit Releases Breathtaking New Electric Scooter

At the futurist, aggressive end of design, we have the NKD, looking sharp. [Fonzarelli]
Australia’s wonderfully-named Fonzarelli, has recently introduced the world to its wild new electric scooter model, called the “NKD”. Touted as a rugged dual-sport scooter, the NKD features a futuristic design with a variety of sci-fi and customs-inspired visual themes. The NKD packs a mid-drive permanent magnet brushless motor with 9.6kW (12.8hp) and more than 40ft-lbs of torque on tap. Paired with a 3.5kWh Lithium-ion battery that yields a 75 mile (120km) range, the powertrain allows the NKD to achieve a top speed of 62mph (100km/h), which can be reached from a standing start in five seconds flat. Marking the New South Wales firm’s fourth model after the release of the FZ, S1, and X1, the new NKD is backed up by high-end adjustable suspension and regenerative hydraulic disc brakes front and back.

A distinctive design for those less interested in appearing nice! [Fonzarelli]
The overall appeal of electric scooters have, until now, largely been their economical and efficient nature, and much less their appearance and attitude. The NKD takes e-scooters in a new direction however, with a genuinely attractive small-wheeled runner, powered by electricity and dripping in awesome. Pricing is also fairly competitive, starting at AUD $9,990 (or about $6,700 US), though thus far the NKD’s release is limited to its native Australian market.

The Honda Super Cub Undergoes The EV Treatment

With the millions of Super Cubs around the world, will an electric conversion be successful?[Rottwellmeyer]
Rottwellmeyer, a company in Spain, has commenced a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo in hopes of putting their Otto ebike into mass production. Currently, in the final prototyping phases, the Otto is largely based on the legendary Honda Super Cub — the best selling vehicle in all of history. While Rottwellmeyer isn’t the first outfit to release an electric Super Cub, it does appear to be the first offering a ready-made version, instead of the existing conversion kits. The Otto uses a monocoque composite frame with carbon reinforcements, a 3kW brushless hub motor, and a Lithium-ion 58.8V, 27.2 Ah, 1.6kWh battery. Weighing in at under 85lbs, the Otto offers a range of up to 75 miles (120km), and a top speed of almost 30mph (45km/h), though that number is limited in order to comply with European/EPA regulations.

A clean design made cleaner with the use of batteries and a hub motor [Rottwellmeyer]
The Otto is incredibly clean and sparse, without any visible powertrain components and very few external lines or wires. Contemporary-style fenders, high-rise bars, LED lighting, bar-end mirrors, and a smattering of carbon fiber bits come together to put a modern twist on the beloved 1960s Honda. The crowdfunding campaign promises early investors Otto examples for around $3,300, including shipping (with a delivery date scheduled for March of 2020). Unfortunately, things aren’t looking good for Rottwellmeyer’s $79,000 funding goal, as the project has yet to gain a single large backer.

Nice touches like a slim disc brake suggest an upgrade from the 1957 design. [Rottwellmeyer]
Either way, the Otto offers an interesting look at how electrics continue to permeate the landscape. The idea of implementing an EV powertrain into a much-loved existing design is definitely a worthwhile idea, and to Rottwellmeyer’s credit, they’ve done a great job of executing the thing.


The Current News: Aug. 28, 2019

Electric news from around the world this week: ebike sales surge in Europe, Chinese motocrosser Sur Ron looks potent, Evoke unveils new models, Blacksmith has a menacing new design, Moto Parilla kills it with a radical new ebike, Harley-Davidson reveals a super-cool kids scooter, Rad Power has a groovy new ute, the new Čezeta is retro-awesome, Rwanda moto-taxis go electric, and the Indian company Emflux goes naked.

Electric Vehicles Registrations Spike In Europe

The Electric Night Ride is an example of surging interest in EV events: this shot if from the third Paris ENR. Find more here: [ElectricNightRide.eu]

This week The European Association of Motorcycle Manufacturers (or ACEM) released figures on lightweight electric vehicle registrations for the first half of 2019, with the numbers showing a 70% increase over Q1 and Q2 of 2018. In the first six months of this year, a total of 35,810 electric mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles were registered in Europe.  France was the market leader in Europe, closely followed by Belgium, and then the Netherlands, with 8,723, 8,087, and 6,321 unit registered respectively. Trailing behind the Netherlands is Spain (with 4,052) and Italy (with 2,426) which accounted for over 18% of new European registrations. Of the more than 35,000 new electric vehicle registrations, just under 80% (28,577) of those were mopeds, a little over 16% (5,812) were motorcycles, and the remaining four-or-so-percent (1,412) were quadricycles. If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, electrics are the future. 

Sur Ron Goes Big With New E-Moto Model

Sneak peek of the new Sur Ron motocrosser, looking fast and capable. [Sur Ron]

It was also recently revealed that Sur Ron, a Chinese outfit best known for its high-performance electric bicycles, is currently working on a full-size off-road motorcycle model. The sleuths at EV Nerds got their hands on spy-shots and a short video of the forthcoming model undergoing testing dubbed the “Booom Bee”, since which time Sur Ron has officially confirmed the ebike’s on its way. 

Facebook leaks give us the new Sur Ron motocrosser. [Sur Ron]

What Sur Ron hasn’t confirmed are the rumored specs, also released by EV Nerds, who listed figures for two different the Booom Bee battery variants; a 72V; and a 96V. Under its most powerful ride mode (“Turbo”, the former has a top speed of 62mph (100km/h) and a range of at least 75-miles (at an average pace of 31mph (50km/h). The latter tops out at just under 70mph (about 110km/h), though no speculative range was cited. 

Boom Bee should be the name of Sur Ron's new motocrosser. [Sur Ron]

Sur Ron’s current flagship, the Light Bee (or Firefly in some markets) is offered with either a 48V or 60V  battery paired with a 6kW (8hp) motor that offers a top speed of 50mph. The Light Bee starts at $3,495, so we assume the Booom Bee will cost around twice that. 

Evoke’s Updated Ebike Enters Production 

The Evoke Urban model is using Zero's model: build it simple, affordable, and relatable. [Evoke]

Beijing-based firm, Evoke Motorcycles also made headlines this week upon announcing that an updated version of its Urban ebike model is on the way for 2020, having entered production last month. While it’s incredibly similar in appearance to the outgoing model, the 2020 Urban boasts a bevy of upgrades. Throttle response has been improved, the user interface has gone from a touch-screen to a handlebar-mounted control setup, and the Sine Wave Inverter (controller) is twice as powerful as the 2019 model’s, now with 800 phase amps. 

Let's hope that's not electric smoke! The 2020 Evoke Urban might just sell in huge numbers, given the ready market in China for EVs. [Evoke]

Top-speed is a claimed 81mph (130km/h), range is 125-miles (200km), and batteries can be charged in as little as 90-minutes. While an hour-and-a-half is nothing to write home about, Evoke says the batteries in its aluminum billet-framed “6061” e-cruiser prototype from earlier this year can receive an 85% recharge in only 15-minutes. Now we just have to wait and see if Evoke can make their battery a reality. 

Blacksmith Unveils All-New E-Scooter Concept 

Vincent Black Prince, anyone? The proposed new Blacksmith scooter has a menacing vibe, and we like it. [Blacksmith]

Just two-months after pulling the cover off its B2 e-cruiser concept, Blacksmith Electric is showing off yet another fully-electric concept, this time in the former of an e-scooter. The vintage-themed concept is called the “B3”, and it features a 5kW (6.7hp) continuous electric motor with a peak power rating of 14.5kW (19.4hp). The torquey motor is good for hauling over 440lbs (200kgs) up a 25-degree gradient, and a top speed of 75mph (120km/h), though it can be electronically limited. 

A 75mph escooter? Yes please. We like the lines, let's see the thing in metal. [Blacksmith]

Powering the B3 is Blacksmith’s “High Energy Density NMC battery pack with Intelligent Bluetooth BMS”. Blacksmith has yet to announce capacity, and though it didn’t say at what speed, the B3’s reportedly capable of traversing 75-miles (120km) on a single charge. Like its cruiser concept sibling, the B3’s batteries can be swapped out. Blacksmith also holds the only Indian patent for Gogoro-style battery swapping stations, which the B2 and B3 will benefit from, should the Chennai-based outfit bring said stations to market. The B3 will also sport integrated GPS, blindspot detection, and like the battery’s name implies, it will offer some kind of smartphone connectivity/interfacing. With an elegant, retro-European appearance and a slew of modern tech under the hood, the Blacksmith Electric B3 will make for a competitive product, should it enter production. 

Italian Outfit Unveils Bold Off-Road eBike

One of the coolest ebikes yet seen, a futuristic mix of shapes reminiscent of the Confederate Hellcat. [Parilla]

This week we were also treated to the ultra swanky Moto Parilla electric bicycle. Designed for hardcore trail-riding, the Italian two-wheeler is offered in a number of different specs, ranging from 250 up to 750W. The mid-drive motor is linked to an Enviolo CVT and draws from a 650Wh battery. The Moto Parilla doesn’t use a throttle and instead employs a boosted pedal-powered setup. The frame is a hybrid aluminum and carbon fiber structure paired with a top-shelf mono-shock and a modern girder-inspired front-end.  Produced in small numbers, the Moto Parilla also gets Formula Cura-E Custom line hydraulic disc brakes clamping down on a 380mm disc up front and a 210mm unit out back. There’s also integrated LED lighting, hand-stitched leather seat, and thick beefy spoked rims wrapped in rugged 4.8-inch Maxxis tires. The highlight of the entire thing is undoubtedly the design, resembling what might happen if Confederate or Curtiss penned an electric bicycle. 

The Parilla Mistero limited edition version - about as cool a street machine as we've seen. [Parilla]

The Moto Parilla starts at just under $7,300, though only 130 units will be produced this year. The company is also building 15 Anniversary Edition bikes, which will feature a 1,000W motor and a $10,900 price-tag. It’s unclear if the Moto Parilla of today has any connection to the Italian motorcycle marque founded back in 1946, but either way, they’ve built one seriously interesting ebike. 

Rad Power Bikes Launches New Electric Utilitarian Two-Wheeler

Rad Power to the beach! With a pair of utilitarian ebikes, and optional carrying cases. [Rad Power]

The Seattle-based Rad Power Bikes unveiled a new utilitarian model this week with the all-new “Rad Runner”. The cargo-bike is capable of schlepping around up to 300lbs of goods and constructed around a rigid frame.  The Rad Runner is powered by one of three geared hub motors; a 750W for the US market; a 500W for Canada; and a 250W for Europe. The motor — which is operated via a twist grip and boasts four power modes — sucks energy from a 48V 14aH Lithium-ion battery that’s good for a range of somewhere between 25-45-miles. 

The manufacturer is also offering supplementary kits for the bike, such as the “passenger package” which is comprised of a rear pillion, folding foot-pegs, and transparent protective rear-wheel side covers. There’s also a center console package, which like the passenger pack retails for an extra $99. Slated to hit the market sometime in late September of 2019, the Rad Runner starts at $1,299 in America, $1,799 CAD for our brothers and sisters to the north, and €1.199 for the European market. 

Hyundai Introduces Foldable E-Scooter

The Motocompo of the 2020s? The Hyundai folding escooter prototype looks like the perfect fit for urban mobility. [Hyundai]

This week the Hyundai Motor Company became the latest car-maker to show off a Bird/Lime-style last-mile scooter. Weighing less than 17lbs (7.7kgs), scooter offers a range and top speed of 12.4-miles (20km). The e-scooter’s regenerative braking is also said to be good for as much as a 7% recycle charge. A 10.5aH Lithium-ion battery is nicely built into the bodywork, as are LED lights, front and back. 

The folding escooter is considered a 'last mile' device, to get from where you're parked to where you want to be. [Hyundai]

What sets the scooter apart is its unique folding design, which enables it to break into thirds that can be folded up into a neat rectangular cube. The South Korean auto company actually unveiled a similar e-scooter at CES in 2017, though they’ve clearly made some major headway in the last two years. As of right now, the Hyundai scooter is still just a concept vehicle, so there’s no word on whether it will see production, or if it does, what its pricing might look like. 

Harley-Davidson Reveals New Balance Bike and Pedal-Assist Concepts

The Harley-Davidson balance scooter is a big hit on social media, mostly because the photo campaign is adorable. [Harley-Davidson]

This week Harley-Davidson released images of three new electric bicycle prototypes on its “Future Vehicles” section on its website. Harley doesn’t give any specs on the trio of two-wheelers, or really any information for that matter. The photos, however, reveal a group of pedal-assist models with different frame setups — two of which look a lot like the chassis on H-D’s flat-track-inspired ebike concept. There’s no word if or when these will see production, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that we’ll be seeing some decidedly unHarley Harley offerings in the very near future. 

The electric-assist Harley-Davidson bicycle prototypes. [Harley-Davidson]

Harley’s electric protobikes weren’t the only news out of Milwaukee this week. Back in March news broke that Harley-Davidson had purchased STACYC, an electric balance bike company. Fast forward to today and we’re getting our first look at Harley’s new balance bikes, which are essentially rebranded STACYC offerings. Built to teach 3-7-year-old riders the fundamentals of throttle control and balance, Harley is offering two models; the 17lb IRONe12; and the larger 19lb IRONe16. 

Little big man: the balance scooter looks like a gateway drug to get kids into EV two-wheelers. [Harley-Davidson]

The MoCo’s balance bikes feature aluminum TIG-welded frames adorned in Harley-Davidson branding and compact Lithium-ion batteries that offer between 30-60-minutes of ride time. Top-speed is adjustable — as is seat height — though on the highest setting they top out at about 10mph. While this isn’t really a new product, so much as its a reskinned version of an existing one, it’s still great to see Harley making moves to establish a greater presence in the EV market, and diversify its ware, while hopefully establishing some brand loyalty with the next generation of riders. 

Rwanda Approves Electric Motorcycle Taxi Rollout 

Rwanda, like most African countries, relies heavily on inexpensive moto-taxis, typically using Chinese IC bike, but is not pushing electric machines. [Kigali]

Another major first happened in the electric vehicle realm this week when Rwanda approved the rollout of an electric motorcycle taxi service. Just like rickshaws in India or tuk-tuks in Thailand, moto-taxis are a huge part of daily life for people in Rwanda where the capital city of Kigali is home to over 30,000 two-wheeled taxis.  Initial trials began toward the tail-end of 2018, but the president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame has just now officially approved the program. Kigali, Rwanda-based electric motorcycle outfit, Ampersand, stepped up as an early provider for electric moto-taxis. Ampersand’s e-scoot is roughly comparable to a traditional gas-powered 125cc bike, offering a top speed of just over 50mph (about 85km/h) and a range of 40-miles (65km). In addition to saving taxi operators a marked amount on petrol, the electric bikes are expected to lessen greenhouse gas emissions in Rwanda by a staggering 70%. 

Selling it where it counts: in the income earned by moto-taxi drivers. [Kigali]

Rwanda is the latest in a growing number of nations that are attempting to make major shifts to usher in an era of green technology. The new e-moto taxi initiative is backed by the UK’s Department for International Development (or DfID) which is using the republic in Africa — where the continent’s motorcycle taxi market is worth an estimated $4B — as something of a guinea pig to see how a similar program might work in a city like London where traffic crawls at an average speed of under 8mph. 

Emflux Announces High-Performance Electric Naked Model

The new Emflux Two sportsbike from Bangalore, India. [Emflux]

Bangalore’s Emflux Motors gave a sneak peek at its second model which it's touting as its more affordable offering than the Emflux One halo bike. Simply dubbed the “Emflux Two”, the new model appears to be a sporty naked model being offered in two versions; the base model; and a +-spec.  

The Emflux Two will have two models, one with more range and power. [Emflux]

The base model’s top-speed will reportedly be 90mph (160km/h), and range is said to be 90-miles (160km) as well. The Emflux Two+ will boast a top speed of around 112mph (180km/h) and a range of 124-miles (200km). The + will also be capable of clocking a 3.6-second 0-60mph time — the same as a Ferrari F50, a Lotus Evora GT430, or Mercedes SLR McLaren — while the standard Emflux Two takes a still respectable 4.5-seconds. 

Advertising the Emflux Two is all we get for the moment. [Emflux]

Emflux has been promoting its “Emflux One” electric superbike since early 2018, and despite plans to have it on the road by the end of 2019, the Indian firm is now stating delays —primarily due to a lack of funding which has slowed some aspects of development— have pushed the planned date back another year to the end of 2020. The Emflux One’s pricing is estimated to be in the $9K ballpark, so the Two’s pricing should be extremely competitive. 

The Čezeta Scooter Goes Electric 

After a half-century hiatus, the delightful Čezeta is back in production as an electric scooter. [Čezeta]

Despite not having seen production in over half-a-century, the Čezeta has recently been revived, and the company is now offering fully-electric scooters, styled after the Torpedo-esque two-wheelers built from ’57 through ’64. Born out of a four-year development process, the new electric Čezeta scoots have just received some $660K in crowd-funding. Half-a-dozen dealerships throughout Europe have already signed on to carry the proton-powered runners.

With the clean lines of its 1960s forbear, the Čezeta is sure to be a hit. [Čezeta]

The classic appearance is juxtaposed by modern adaptive headlights and a high-tech powertrain. Of the handful of new Čezeta models, the highest-spec — the Model 506/02– has a top speed of around 75mph and a range of over 90-miles. The models start at around $15,000, though they come with top-of-the-line parts from names like Rizoma and Beringer. The company appears to be starting small, however, with plans of only producing 50 of the 506 units this year.

Little known fact! George Brough, founder of Brough Superior motorcycles, considered importing Čezeta scooters into the UK the late 1950s! How cool is that? [Hockenheim Museum Archive]

The Current News: July 5th 2019

Curtiss Unveils News V8-Style Battery Setup

The new Curtiss Zeus V-8 has a unique fan-shaped pattern of battery 'cylinders' [Curtiss]
Just in time for the 4th of July, the Alabama-based startup, Curtiss (known as Confederate until 2017) unveiled the latest iteration of its 2020 Zeus electric motorcycle. The latest version of the Zeus features a new battery setup that mimics Glen Curtiss’ 1907 V8-powered bike, with four pairs of cylinder shaped batteries aligned in a flared V-formation (to maximize air-cooling) and a girder-inspired front-end. The batteries reportedly pack 16.9kWh of juice and were developed in collaboration with YASA, which also provides its proprietary P400 R series motor for the 2020 model.

The response on our own social media (@thevintagent on Instagram) to the new Curtiss design has been overwhelmingly positive. [Curtiss]
Other tweaks to the Zeus include a frame comprised of various trick metals, a matching swing-arm, and carbon fiber wheels. The minimalistic ebike has a more production-ready appearance than its predecessor, and Curtiss — which managed to raise over $350K from more than 180 investors — claims the powertrain is good for some 217hp (160kW) and 147 ft-lbs of torque.

A closer look at the batteries: in a private discussion with Curtiss designers Jordan Cornille and JT Nesbitt at the Quail last May, both mentioned the 'aha' moment when it was decided they could configure the battery packs in a different manner than any previous vehicle. [Curtiss]
These specs aren’t new, however the latest version of the Zeus does look to be significantly lighter than the prior gen which makes its immense power all the more usable. Pricing has been announced at $75K a pop when the model goes into limited production starting next year.

Poland’s New Moto-Style Electric Micro Car

Tall, narrow, and a leaner, the new Triggo takes up the mantle of the Corbin Swallow of the 1990s. Will a more congested world finally accept this concept? [Triggo]

Triggo, a new Polish startup, has just pulled the cover off its new two-passenger EV. The Łomianki-based company’s aim was to develop a vehicle that offers the maneuverability of a motorcycle while retaining the comforts and safety benefits of a car. The tilting four-wheeler boasts tandem seating, an enclosed cockpit with luxurious like a stereo, seatbelts, and AC, and front-wheels placed a few feet apart for maximum stability. When attempting to squeeze through traffic at low speeds, the front-wheels come closer together, fitting into recessed wheel wells, allowing the Triggo to easily navigate urban congestion, not unlike a bike or scooter. When parked (with the wheels brought in), the Polish microcar only takes up around 1/5th the space of the average car too.

The company is aiming to release additional prototypes within the next year, and says it plans on forgoing the traditional sales model in favor of renting the machines out via a sharable service (like dockless scooters). Unfortunately Triggo has yet to reveal any performance or technical specs, though that will likely change over the coming months.
Final Specs On Erik Buell’s Ebike Revealed
Our Editor in Chief Paul d'Orleans tries the Fuell for size in NYC. [Francois-Xavier Terny]
Erik Buell’s latest two-wheeler firm, FUELL, has finally released official specs on its inaugural offering, the Fluid ebike. The model is powered by a 500W Bofeili, pedal-assisted, mid-drive motor married to a pair of removable 1,008Wh batteries offering a 125-mile range. A Gates carbon belt drive system, Shimano Alfine 8-speed geared hub, adjustable suspension, hydraulic disc brakes,and an IPC color display all come standard on the ebike. The Fluid generates 73.75 ft-lbs of torque and has five different power modes. The two 504Wh cells can receive an 80-percent charge in 2.5-hours, though a complete recharge takes twice that.
The Fuell Fluid is a totally competent, well-designed ebike, with an easily extracted battery pack and excellent range. [Fuell]
The new pedal-assisted ebike is scheduled for a release in September of 2019 and will carry an MSRP of $2,999. While the first FUELL model is an electric bicycle, the startup — which was born out of a partnership between Buell, Vanguard Motorcycles, and Spark Racing
Technology — plans on releasing its first electric motorcycle, dubbed the “Flow”, in two different versions; an 11kW (15hp) variant; and a 35kW (37hp) spec. While FUELL is just one of many new ebike startups, there’s good reason to believe the company will be successful, with the outfit’s crowdfunding campaign achieving 1,100-percent of its funding goal, largely on the strength of Erik Buell’s involvement alone.
General Motors Joins The Ebike Game
An American automaker entering the ebike scene? Only in Europe! [GM]
This week American automotive powerhouse, General Motors showed off its new ebike model. Operating under the brand name of “ARiV”, GM has released its electric two-wheeler in two different specs, known as the “Merge” and the “Weld”. Both models feature alloy frames paired with 16” wheels, and GM’s own proprietary 240kWh battery that reportedly affords a range of around 40-miles and a cool 55.3 ft-lbs of torque. The 250Wh Lithium ion batteries have a 3.5-hour charge time and are removable/swappable.
The non-folding ARiV ebike, the Weld. [GM]
Additional standard features found on the Merge and Weld models include hydraulic disc brakes, LED lightning, mud-guards, multiple power modes, USB port, and smart-phone handlebar mounts. They also come with a dedicated app that offers GPS services, ride history info and statistics, odometer, and a few other minor features. GM has also opted to give the bikes a “walk assist feature” that takes the hassle out of pushing the 48.5lb Merge and 43lb Weld. Aside from added weight, the only major difference between the two models are that the Merge is a folding bike while the Weld is not. GM overall has done a pretty decent job developing these ebikes, especially with how well-integrated most features are into the frames. The auto giant won’t initially offer either ebike in its native market, and is instead initially releasing the two models in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Pricing has been announced at €2,800 ($3,150) for the Weld, and €3,300 ($3,700) for the Merge, and an outfit called, Life Cycle will provide a support network for the first three markets.
First MotoE Round Set For This Weekend
Badass on its way! The first Moto-E series begins. [Energica]
After more than a year of preparation — and a major setback in the form of a catastrophic fire —the very first FIM Enel MotoE World Cup race will take place this during the Sachsenring MotoGP round this weekend. The single-manufacturer series will see an entire grid of pilots fielding Energica Ego Corsa machines — special race modified versions of the electric Italian sport bike. A total of 18 riders from 12 different teams will compete, including current premier class factory April rider, Bradley Smith, two-time MotoGP runner-up, Sete Gibernau, and former Moto3 champs Mike Di Meglio and Nico Terol, just to name a few. Even though every rider is campaigning the same machine (further modifications permitted are extremely limited), lap-times have nonetheless been surprisingly close, suggesting we have some exciting racing in store over the half-dozen scheduled rounds.
The current competitors in the Moto-E series. [Dorna]
The inaugural event will consist of an eight-lap race around the left-hander-heavy German circuit, which is relatively short compared to the 30, 28, and 27-lap MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 races taking place on Sunday. This is due to the Ego Corsas’ limited range, and is the same reason the MotoE class won’t perform a warmup lap prior to the race. Following this weekend’s MotoE race will be a second round at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, and then a third and fourth round at Misano, and a fifth and sixth at Valencia. It’s been a long time coming, but electric superbike racing has finally hit the main stage.
Untitled Motorcycles Takes On The Zero SR/F
Looking like a futuristic, deconstructed jet fighter, the Untitled-SF Zero SR/F custom ebike has an aggressive edge. [Ludovic Robert]
Over the last year or so, there’s been a noticeable increase of custom motorcycles built around electric donor bikes. Some of which we (the Motorcycle Arts Foundation and curator Paul d'Orléans) feature at the Petersen Museum at our 'Electric Revolution' exhibit, through Nov. 24th. The most recent e-custom is a one-off version of Zero’s new SR/F, built by Hugo Eccles of Untitled Motorcycles of San Francisco. At the heart of Eccles’ ebike are the machine’s controller, charger, motor, and batteries encased in aerospace-grade aluminum housing wrapped in a trellis-style chassis. A sharp, MX-style tail section protrudes from the main frame, while a hollow, faux fuel-cell gives its rider the leverage needed to properly control the bike in the corners.
The Untitled-SF e-custom bodes well for the future of electric custom motorcycles, with its badass attitude. [Ludovic Robert]
In typical UMC SF fashion, the entire build, dubbed the “XP”, boasts an incredibly finished look to it, with the majority of wires and cables (including the throttle) being routed internally. Winglet-esque pieces jet out from the forks and act as mounting points for the XP’s dual LED (Motobox) headlights. Other custom details like the one-off fork tubes and futuristic front fender further Eccles’ cohesive visual theme and drive home the factory-finished appearance that’s become a hallmark for the industrial designer turned bike builder.
Kawasaki Files Patent For New Hybrid Motorcycle
The first hybrid Kawasaki? Patents drawings are vague, so don't expect the bike to look like this... [US Patent Office]
Another piece of news broke earlier this week when it was revealed that Kawasaki filed patents concerning a new hybrid motorcycle. The patent images don’t actually show what the bike will look like, and instead focus on the housing and arrangement for the gas/electric powertrain. In this case a single-cylinder engine and transmission share their casing with an AC electric motor located just behind the cylinder bank, while the battery is found above the gas mill. The gas tank is then positioned on the left side of the bike while the coolant tank is found on the right.

 

After our discussion of hybrid motorcycles last week, it's interesting to see a patent filed on exactly this theme. [US Patent Office]
It’s unclear if the EV bits will provide improved range, aid the gas engine’s performance, or provide some other electronically-powered feature altogether. Like all patents and concepts, this hybrid project’s existence in no way guarantees that the gas/electric model
will ever see production, though we at least know that Team Green is considering the possibility — and throwing time and money at it — behind closed doors.
Pioneering Electric Car Heads To Auction
The 1898 Riker, a significant American electric car, from the original era of EV production, when EVs were on par in sales with IC and steam cars through 1910. [Pacific Grove Auction]
This week it was announced that one of the most historically significant electric vehicles ever built is headed to auction for the first time, ever. The 1898 Riker was built and raced by Andrew L. Riker, who in the late 1880’s founded the Riker Electric Motor Co. in
Brooklyn, New York. Riker’s electric car — which supposedly offered 40mph speeds and an impressive range of 50-miles on a single charge – proved itself on the race track where it bested grids of gas-powered machines in competitions like the Narragansett Races, the 1898 Mechanics Fair at Charles River Park in Boston, and the 1900 Paris Exposition. That same year Riker also secured first place in what was supposedly America’s first 50-mile road race (held on Long Island), and set a national record when it completed a mile run in just 63-seconds.
The 1898 Riker as it looks today - almost like new! An amazingly well-preserved EV that will surely ttract significant buyer attention. [Pacific Grove Auctions]
The 1898 electric racer is said to be in 100% original condition, still wearing its original license plate that bares Riker’s initials. Supposedly this 1898 Riker was the very first car to be registered in the State of New York (and possibly the entire country according to some sources). Riker later went on to serve as the chief engineer at Locomobile and eventually became the very first president of the Society of Automotive Engineers, making this already important piece of EV history all the more significant. In 1929 the specimen was donated to the Henry Ford Museum, before being given back to the Riker family in the mid 1980s. The Riker will cross the auction block for the first time ever at the Pacific Grove Auction on Aug. 15 in Pacific Grove, California, during this year’s upcoming Monterey Car Week.
The grandaddy of them all, but not the first electric car! But perhaps the best preserved early model. [Pacific Grove Auction]

Zero at Pike's Peak 2019

Zero electric motorcycles have been around 13 years, and while some of its engineers have independently raced the company’s wares, this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) marks the first time Zero officially backed a race entry. The primary motivation was to get the firm’s new SR/F model out in public view, but Zero’s inaugural race entry is part of a bigger shift taking place in the racing arena. While this is technically a factory backed effort, Zero doesn’t have a dedicated race department: their competition machine was built by company engineers. In order to demonstrate the new 'electric naked’s performance prowess, a handful of upgrades and modifications were made to the bike, though an effort was clearly made to make sure the racer remained an SR/F at heart.

Zero motorcycles have been raced at Pike's Peak before, like the Hollywood Electrics entry, but this year marked their first factory effort. [Zero]
“This is the first time we’ve put such a concerted focus into the race and the SR/F was the perfect bike to back with our best effort,” stated Zero’s Senior Communication Manager, Dan Quick, who spoke with us about racing Pikes Peak. With 110hp and an insane 140 ft-lbs of torque in its stock form, the changes to the SR/F consisted of binning components not vital for racing, like the onboard chargers. Showa’s top-shelf Balance Free forks and shocks were used, plus forged aluminum Dynamag rims wrapped in Pirelli Superbike slicks, plus  one-off rear-sets and 'bars built to suit Supersport racer Cory West’s desired specs. The rear-brake has also been relocated to the left-side of the handlebars where a clutch lever is normally found, giving West the ability to freely use the rear brake at full lean.

The Zero SR/F racer is a bad mofo, with over 100hp and 140ft/lbs of torque. [Kevin Wing]
The Pikes Peak SR/F got a new carbon fiber reinforced composite bodywork, designed by Tom Zipprian and 3-D printed in-house.  There’s also a new, racier monoposto seat perched atop a custom steel chromoly subframe, adding lightness and an inch to the stock (31”) seat height. Special firmware was cooked up for Pikes Peak that bolsters acceleration: in particular, drive out of the corners. A Gates carbon belt unit was added to smooth the drive  and compensate for an improved power-to-weight ratio - the bike has shed 50lbs from stock.  When asked if there were particular challenges to prepping an electric bike for racing at Pikes Peak, Quick responded, “We have plenty of unique competitive advantages over an ICE motorcycle racing this event, but we also have the trade off of a handful of unique challenges, as well. Most notably, there is no Level 2 public EV charger on the mountain, so we have to make logistical accommodations to account for that. That small hurdle is pretty low, though, when considering the benefits of racing an electric Zero Motorcycle up the mountain.” When pressed further about these advantages, Quick elaborated, stating, “The direct drive electric motor being powered by a Gates Carbon Belt gives us instant torque and the benefit of always being in the right gear. Also, having no internal combustion makes for faster turns because we’re not competing with internal rotational mass that comes from a gas engine’s operation. Plus, EV’s don’t suffer the same performance detriments that arise while climbing in elevation due to a thinning atmosphere the way that combustion engines do.”

The power plant for the racing Zero is essentially the same as their street model. [Kevin Wing]
This last point is a significant one, as the iconic hillclimb starts at at 9,390-feet and climbs 4,720 over 12.42-miles to the 1,415-foot summit — more than 2.5-miles above sea level. That kind of altitude has the serious potential to sap power from a gas engine. With the SR/F’s massive amount of torque lending itself particularly well to a hillclimb, and an electric motor that won’t suffer from altitude, Pikes Peak makes something of a perfect showcase for Zero’s newest bike. When I inquired about Zero’s aspirations on the mountain this year - gunning for a win in the electric class or across the entire two-wheeled field? -  Quick answered candidly, saying “That all depends on where in the building you’re asking. The folks who are responsible for the safe ascent of the bike and rider are being, understandably, far more restrained in their responses. The reality is, though, that we’re not racing in an all-electric class but rather we’re in the open heavyweight division and are going to toe the line against the biggest factory race outfits in the world.”  Their modest optimism proved prescient, as Zero took 5th place in the Heavyweight class, with a 10:45 time, over a minute behind the fastest overall motorcycle, an Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 at 9:44.

The Zero SR/F Pike's Peak racer was tailored to suit Supersport racer Cory West. [Kevin Wing]
“We'll undoubtably learn lessons that could inform product development because we’re going to be closely monitoring a massively powerful display of what the SR/F is capable of. The reality is, though, a few runs on the mountain aren't an ounce of what we put bikes through during our own rigorous R&D process. We’re here for our employees, to compete, and to learn. It would be great to have a strong finish, but as cliché as it may seem, any chance to support our passionate and fiercely competitive employees is truly already a win.” After qualifying rounds, we had a more realistic sense of how the SR/F stacked up against the rest of the competition in Colorado. Cory West qualified ninth overall with a time of 4:46:407. That time placed West in sixth-place in the Heavyweight Class and makes it the second fastest electric this year (in qualifying), behind Robert Barber on the University of Nottingham’s “UoN-PP”.

On the track! Team 0 / Zero on the incredibly demanding course. [Zero]
When asked how the company hopes its Pikes Peak entry might change the public’s perception of Zero and its bikes, Quick said, “I think every opportunity to get Zero Motorcycles and EVs into the public eye is a great opportunity to boost awareness and credibility of the space. The electrification of transportation is inevitable, and the automotive space is already doing a lot of great work to endear consumers to that eventuality. Being able to produce top performances by EVs at events like PPIHC, though, are ways to legitimize that claim in the minds of folks who aren’t as comfortable with change as our riders are.”

Showing the changes for the racing SR/F [Zero]
While electric motorcycles have been on the rise over the last decade, the number of producers has snowballed in 2019, with dozens of small electric startups, and production electrics from big name companies. When questioned about how Zero views the recent influx, the communications manager stated, “Every time another brand enters our space, be they a mature brand branching out into a new field or a boutique manufacturer, it brings more attention and awareness to electrification. We’ve invested 13 years and over $250 million into building the category of electric motorcycles for riders all over the world, and that puts us in a very favorable position. The reason we’ve been able to continue thriving from a leadership position is because we still maintain a posture that never allows for our guards to drop. This entire effort should be some evidence that we’ve got no plans to slip into complacency. Ultimately, though, we wish all electric manufacturers well and genuinely hope they enjoy some similar successes to ours. That happening can only help fuel the fire that leads to a better future for motorcycling in general.”

Though Zero didn't win outright this year, we’re living in the final years of internal-combustion engine dominance in racing. Back in 2013 Lightning’s insanely fast LS-218 became the first electric motorcycle to outright win the two-wheeled class on America’s Mountain, completing the 12.42-mile course in just 10:00.694, a full 20-seconds ahead of the runner-up — a Multistrada 1200 S. And it was just last year that a new outright course record (of 7:57.148) was set by Volkswagen’s fully-electric I.D. R racecar. Pikes Peak is just foreshadowing what’s almost guaranteed to come in the rest of the racing world.


Where are the Hybrid Motorcycles?

Despite hybrid powertrains permeating the auto industry over the last two decades, gas/electric-powered motorcycles have failed to gain much traction in the motorized two-wheeled sector. However as electric powertrain technology continues to rapidly evolve, it’s hard to imagine we won’t soon start seeing the rise of the hybrid motorcycle, though it probably isn’t what you’re expecting.

Yeah you're looking at a hybrid: the McLaren P1 with 903hp.  [McLaren]

When most people think of a hybrid, they think “Toyota Prius”, and as a result, hybrid vehicles have developed a reputation for being pretty lackluster in the performance department. That changed around 2011 when BMW unveiled the i8, hybrid supercar featuring a 228hp, 1.5-liter engine paired with a 129hp electric motor. Not long after BMW’s release of the (production) i8 in 2013, other supercar manufacturers followed suit with the creation of their own hybrid offerings; Ferrari with the 950hp LaFerrari, McLaren with its 903hp P1, and Porsche with the 887hp 918 Spyder, and so on.

A peek inside the McLaren P1 hybrid, showing the central battery location. [McLaren]

With the unparalleled amount of torque on tap, it makes sense to utilize electric powertrains at lower speeds, while the ridiculously powerful gas-engines come into play and do their thing at higher speeds, providing the best of both worlds. The electric motors also help the gas engines to perform better, keeping turbos spooled up and plugging in the gaps in an engine’s torque. The makers of these hybrid supercars aren’t using electric motors because they’re trendy or environmentally friendly, they just want to deliver the fastest, baddest machines on four-wheels, and adding a few electric motors to the mix is currently the best way of doing that. This same formula hasn’t been applied to motorcycles as there’s a number of factors currently standing in the way such as the added cost of hybrid motorcycle production, and the lack of real estate where engineers could feasibly shoehorn a couple hundred pounds of batteries into a bike. 

Hurry up with the future! Over the years we've seen some pretty bonkers hybrid concepts, like the Yamaha Gen RYU [Yamaha]

While mileage has been a major factor in the auto sector’s adoption of hybrid tech, fuel-efficiency  isn’t typically a major concern for buyers in most two-wheeled segments, aside from the small commuter sect which happens to be the only segment offering production hybrids like the Yamaha Grand Filano, Honda PCX Hybrid, or Piaggio Mp3 Hybrid. Even if a manufacturer wanted to improve mileage — or lessen emission output — there are plenty of cheaper, more practical ways of accomplishing that than the implementation of an EV powertrain.

France's failed Furion M1 hybrid combined a Wankel engine with an EV powertrain.  (I spoke with David Garside, designer of the Norton rotaries, about just such an application, back in 2011 - pd'o) [Furion]

A lot of factors would have to align before a full-size hybrid motorcycle sees production, though it appears behind the sense major marques are already exploring the technology behind closed doors.  Back in 2015 word broke that Suzuki was working on a supercar-style hybrid that used a turbocharged engine paired with two electric motor generator units; one to keep the turbo spinning at the ideal operating rpm; and the other to help boost engine performance, fill in the gaps in torque, and smoothen out gear-changes. The Japanese marque filed several patents for its blown liter-sized hybrid, though to date, nothing has come of it.

BMW's recent hybrid fuel tank patent. [BMW]

More recently BMW Motorrad filed patents revealing the marque is working on a hybrid motorcycle that uses a gas engine aided by some electric motors that offer a boost in low-end torque. The patent images reveal a fuel-cell with a soft, flexible bottom that can store a large battery in order to provide boost (or whatever other electronically-driven features), or the battery can be removed, upping the fuel capacity. Prior to this, the brand filed a patent for an electronically-driven front-wheel on an AWD system, similar to the 2WD GS prototype built a few years ago by German tuner company, Wunderlich. 

Wunderbar! The Wunderlich conversion for the BMW R1200GS AWS X2 prototype [Wunderlich]

If a major manufacturer does introduce a performance-oriented hybrid motorcycle, I’m betting it’ll be what’s called a “Mild Hybrid”. Mild hybrids feature both gas and electric motors, however, they can’t run on the electric powertrain alone, and instead, use the electric motor to help bolster the gas engine’s performance, or add an additional feature like AWD. Plenty of firms already use small electric motors to perform tasks like reversing on large touring bikes, so it’s not a huge stretch to think electric motors could be used to improve a motorcycle’s performance. One thing is certain though: motorcycle hybrid technology will be very different from cars.

A diagram showing the inner workings of Honda's PCX Hybrid scooter [Honda]

The Current News: June 28 2019

Electric Vespa Conversion Kit

The MovoVeloci team: Alex Leardini, Leonardo Ubaldi, and Chiara Bizzocchi [MotoVeloci]
MotoVeloci, an Italian custom motorcycle shop, recently launched a new electric powertrain conversion kit for a variety of different 50cc Vespa scooters spanning several decades of production. The kit features 1.5kWh Lithium battery — that weighs only 13lbs (6kgs) — paired with a 6kW (8hp) motor encased in aluminum alloy housing. The new powertrain boasts an “urban” range of up to 62-miles 100km) and a top-speed of 28mph (45km/h) though the accompanying app allows a 56mph (90km/h) top-speed to be unlocked. Charging takes three-hours via a standard 230V socket and the batteries are removable.

In order to minimize change to the iconic scooter’s appearance, the Rimini-based outfit opted to use an app that allows owners’ smartphones to display speed and the rest of the pertinent information instead of mounting new digital clocks. The kit does require the bulbs and horn to be swapped out, but it still uses the scooters’ original frame,  wheels, and rear brake. The kit is reportedly available for the Vespa 50N, 50R, 50Special, 90, 90SS, 125 Primavera, 125 ET3 , and all PK 50 and 125.

Blacksmith B2 Concept

The Blacksmith B2 is a very different animal than their first ebike! [Blacksmith]
Blacksmith Electric is an ebike and technology outfit in India that built its first electric motorcycle prototype back in 2005. The following year the Chennai-based startup applied for a patent regarding public swappable battery recharging stations, just like we mentioned Kymco and Gogoro are currently doing. Despite obviously being pretty ahead of their time, Blacksmith’s previous concept bike wasn’t much of a looker, however the images the company just revealed
of its newest B2 Concept ebike look markedly better aesthetically.

Proving dramatic growth in design competence is possible: the first Blacksmith prototype of 2005 [Blacksmith]
The B2 is reportedly powered by an Asynchronous 5kW (6.7hp) motor married to a High Energy Density NMC battery that supposedly affords 70.8 ft-lbs of torque, a top-speed of 75mph (120km/h), and a 150-mile range when using the “dual battery”. Charging takes four-hours, and as you might have guessed based on the company’s history, the B2 will have swappable batteries that can be replaced at public changing stations. At least if all goes according to plan.

The new Blacksmith fire-proof battery swap station.  The Indian company filed for a patent for their swappable battery station in 2006 (granted in 2014). [Blacksmith]
The B2 is linked to an app and uses what the company calls an “artificial intelligence system”. Other highlights include an antitheft alarm and circuit-closing system, projector headlight and LED lighting throughout, allow wheels, digital instrumentation, and Blacksmith’s (patent pending) “Traffic Indicators”. Blacksmith says it’s aiming to have the B2 on the market in India by sometime in 2020, though obviously concept images don’t in anyway guarantee production. Time will tell, but it looks like we might have another cruiser-style ebike on the way.

Regent NO.1 Heads To Production

The 1970s charm of the Regent ebike [Regent]
After showing off its prototype Regent NO. 1 ebike over the last few months, the Swedish startup recently announced its 1960’s-inspired ebike is headed to production, with Regent shooting for a release in May of 2020. At the heart of the NO. 1 is a 72 V, 80 Ah battery linked to an 8kW (11hp) continuous, 15kW (20hp) peak rear-hub motor that together offer a 93-mile (150km) range thanks to a svelte 286b (130kg) curb weight. The NO.1 doesn’t have any foot controls, just pegs, and front and rear ABS-linked disc brakes — which featured regenerative braking — are both controlled via levers on the bars. Aside from a touchscreen, the NO.1 may have the most vintage-themed appearance of any ebike on the market, though underneath its retro exterior the Regent hides an array of modern tech including geo-fencing restriction capability, built-in GPS, and an anti-theft device.

The Regent ebike is ready for production [Regent]
The Regent NO.1 is available for preorder on the company’s website, with a 10% earlybird discount being offered on the first 100 units sold at the special MSRP of $10,800 (€9,500).

BMW Motored Introduces the “Vision DC Roadster” Concept

Big news from BMW, and finally, a major manufacturer delivers a badass prototype electric motorcycle. Kudos to Edgar Heinrichs and his Munich team for a killer design. [BMW]
BMW made waves when it debuted a handful of future EV-related offerings and prototypes, including the ridiculously sleek “Vision DC Roadster” Concept. By far one of the most striking concept bikes released in the past few years, the electric Roadster explores new EV tech as well as future styling and design options for the marque, while staying grounded in the BMW image and identity. The Bavarian brand already offers hybrid and fully-electric models, and in the last decade has been one of the major innovators in the high-performance hybrid powertrain field.

More like this, please! Showing the way forward for the whole ebike industry: make it killer, and they will come. [BMW]
Despite using an electric powertrain, BMW managed to retain some of the iconic characteristics that have become hallmarks of its two-wheelers practically since the firm’s inception. In place of the traditional boxer engine is an electric motor pulling juice from laterally-mounted batteries which mimic the typical flat twin layout, as do the large cooling fins on the battery pack. Housed under the battery is the motor which is directly linked to the ebike’s exposed universal shaft. Wrapped around the laterally-mounted, protruding batteries is a milled aluminum frame capped off with a tubular structure — that highlights the lack of fuel-cell while still giving the pilot a shape conducive to aggressive riding — feeding into a sporty perched tail section. Out front is a modern take on the classic Duolever front-end, complimented by a gorgeous and wildly unique U-shaped LED headlight.

High-performance electric motorcycles will remain tadpoles due to their need for big batteries, but this is a shark of a tadpole! [BMW]
BMW hasn’t released any info on the DC Roadster’s powertrain or performance, though considering the main focus here is the appearance, it’s not crazy to assume it may have just used the 12.7 kWh battery unit found in the C Evolution scooter and i3 car. While it appears this is more of a design exercise than it is a legitimate vehicle slated for future production, it’s nonetheless fascinating to see the company not only further explore EV technology, but also to find a way of integrating new powertrain tech into its products while still retaining the character and overall visual-theme associated with BMW Motorrad.

Revolt Unveils RV400 eBike (With Faux Exhaust Sounds)

The new Revolt goes Brrrrm! [Revolt]
India’s Revolt Intellicorp just pulled the cover of its long-anticipated fully electric, sporty, smart bike, the RV400. Roughly the equivalent of a 125cc ICE-powered machine, the RV400 has a top-speed of 53mph (85km/h) and a range of 97-miles (156km). Revolt has yet to divulge official powertrain specs, however the motor — a mid-mounted belt-driven unit — is expected to land somewhere between 6-10kW (8-13.4hp) marks. In spite of its budget nature, the RV400 comes with an inverted front-end and rear mono shock, LED lighting all around, fore and aft disc brakes, and a snazzy street fighter look.

Targeted at the domestic Indian market, which is the world's largest. Look to India to become the largest consumers of electric motorcycles in the very near future. [Revolt]
Touted by the manufacturer as “India’s first AI-enabled bike”, the new RV sports a modern suite of more than 20 technological bells and whistles like remote keyless starting, geo-fencing and GPS tracking, cloud and smartphone connectivity, battery station finder, live onboard monitoring of the powertrain and remote diagnostics, and onboard digital storage for license, registration, and other documentation, just to name a few. One of the most interesting features on the RV is the fact its app enables users to change the bike’s faux engine note on the fly. There are currently four settings; Revolt; Roar: Rage; and Rebel; and they allow the electric motor to sound like anything from a single-cylinder lump, to a multi-cylinder superbike, to a big-bore V-Twin, though Revolt says future additions will be available in later updates.

While the RV400 already has a pretty solid range, especially for city riding, Revolt aims to make buyer’s lives even easier by offering a network of swappable battery stations, like several companies we’ve recently discussed. Owners also have the option of sliding the
batteries out and charging the cells themselves via a standard wall outlet — which takes four-hours. The company also says it will provide “door-step” battery delivery, albeit for an added fee.

Different detail specs for the Revolt RV400 [Revolt]
Revolt has yet to announce an official MSRP, though the RV400 is expected to be priced around the  ₹ 1.1-1.25 lakh mark ($1,300-1,800). Earlier this week Revolt began accepting preorders which only require Rs 1,000 down which comes out to less than $15! The RV400 can even supposedly be preordered on Amazon. Initially offered only in “Rebel Red” or “Cosmic Black”, Revolt aims to produce more than 100,000 units in the first year of production with the first deliveries slated to start as early as August of 2019, though for now it appears the new model is limited to its native Indian market. Because of the constant advancements being made in the EV industry, it’s easy to see the Revolt RV400 as just another ebike, but make no mistake, this new model is a big deal. While its specs might not be anything too crazy, and none of the visual design is all that outside the box, this is nonetheless a relatively sporty and high-performance, fully electric motorcycle with an almost 100-mile range, a 53mph top-speed, smart-tech integration and connectivity, all in an attractive package for less than $2K. That’s a game changer right there.

Piaggio India Invests In Electric

You great big electric APE! The venerable workhorse APE has long been available with an electric option, and now they'll be made in India too. [Piaggio]
Last week the Piaggio Group’s Indian division announced it will be investing RS 200 Crore ($28,894,000) on R&D for its Ape three-wheeler lineup, including the release of a fully-electric version of the popular auto rickshaw. Other major firms in India like TVS, Bajaj, and Mahindra all already offer electric e-auto rickshaws, so there’s clearly a market there. Piaggio’s forthcoming electric Ape will supposedly be priced similarly to the company’s recently released Ape City+, a 230cc three-wheeler available in four fuel types which range in MSRP from Rs 1.74 lakh ($2,513) and Rs 1.9 lakh ($2,745). According to Piaggio India, the electric Ape(+) is able to be priced so competitively thanks to a deal with Sun Mobility which will provide battery swapping stations and therefor the cost of the batteries don’t have to be factored into the price. Be it scooters, motorcycles, cars or auto rickshaws, everything is going electric!

The classic APE design, perfect for tuk-tuk duties or mobile espresso bars! [Piaggio]

The Current News: June 20

A five-minute electric motorcycle charge?  Read on! "Enormous changes at the last minute" sums up the EV industry at the moment, as more OEM manufacturers join the rush to bring viable vehicles to market, and the world's largest companies seek innovative solutions for the world's transport problems.

Shared Electric Platform For KTM, Bajaj, Husqvarna On The Way

A rendering of the Bajaj Urbanite e-scooter [Bajaj]
Back in 2008, Indian powerhouse, Bajaj Auto bought a 48% stake in KTM. The investment resulted in Bajaj producing some of the Ready To Race Brand’s small-displacement models, though a new cross-manufacturer project is on its way from the Indian/Austrian operation, and this time they’re going electric. The new powertrain has already been spotted testing in the form of Bajaj’s Urbanite (electric) scooter, but it now appears this same system will find its way onto a myriad of additional small-displacement-equivalent machines. This includes more scooters and mopeds, as well as entry-level motorcycles and possibly off-road offerings. And with Bajaj already responsible for the largest three-wheeler market share in India, the possibility of a three-wheeler using the electric power plant is a definite possibility. Bajaj’s executive director, Shally Seth Mohile already confirmed that both KTM, and its subsidiary, Husqvarna, will each get at least one new model using this new powertrain — which is reportedly a 48-volt unit with somewhere between 4hp and 13hp (3kW to 10kW). Between the existence of the KTM Freeride E-XC and the pint-sized SX-E5 (which is also sold as the reskinned Husqvarna EE5) there doesn’t appear to be a ton of room for another, relatively small electric off-roader in the KTM product range, so it should be interesting to see what the Austrian outfit has up its sleeve. No additional information was revealed; aside from Bajaj confirming mass production will commence in 2022.

Suzuki India Goes Electric


On June 11, 2019 Suzuki India unveiled its new Gixxer SF 250 in Ahmadabad. The reveal was followed by an announcement from the head of Suzuki India, Koichiro Hirao, who stated the Japanese marque is working on a new electric platform. The news doesn’t exactly come as a surprise considering it was just last week that India announced its intentions for all new sub-150cc two-wheelers to go electric by 2025 (and all three-wheelers by 2023). No details on models or specs were given, but based on the target market it’s pretty safe to assume it will be roughly comparable to a 125-250cc gas-powered bike.

Yamaha Launches EC-05 Electric Scooter

Yamaha's team-up with Gogoro means an infusion of serious motorcycle tech to the well-funded e-scoot company from Taiwan. [Yamaha]
In 2018 Yamaha went into business with Gogoro, a high-tech, well funded Taiwan-based, e-scooter company founded in 2011. The basis of the joint venture was for Yamaha to utilize Gogoro’s existing power plant in one of its own models, bypassing the need for developing the powertrain from scratch. Because of this, there’s good reason to expect Yamaha’s new scooter, the EC-05, to be on par with the second gen Gogoro model which means a top speed of somewhere between 50-60mph and a 62-mile range when using a pair of the Taiwanese firm’s storable/swappable (2170) Lithium ion batteries.

Under the skin: the new Yamaha e-scooter has a mix of tubing and sheet metal pressings for its chassis. [Yamaha]
Like many of the electric scooters on, or coming to market, Gogoro’s two-wheelers use swappable batteries, though it’s unclear whether these units jive with the standard electric scooter/motorcycle battery that the Tuning Fork Company is developing in collaboration with the other three big marques on the island (Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki). Gogoro already has an impressive network of swappable battery-charging stations scattered over Taiwan, which is the only place Yamaha’s EC-05 is initially being released. Deliveries for the Japanese-designed, Taiwanese-powered EC-05 are slated to begin around August.

Facebook’s Free-Wheeler Patent

What are we looking at, Facebook? A robotic self-balancing electric motorcycle platform. [US Patent Office]
While not exactly a motorcycle, this new patent for a motorized two-wheeler is nonetheless a pretty fascinating find. Filed by Facebook, the patent depicts a fully electric, symmetrical, self-balancing machine with a single, free-spinning caster-style wheel (the type on an office chair or the front of a shopping cart) on each end. Both wheels are capable of powering, steering, or braking the vehicle with disc units horizontally mounted above both wheels.

A caster wheel and a fixed wheel, meaning the motorcycle can turn within its own length. [US Patent Office]
One might think the design is intended for schlepping stuff around a sprawling campus – like Facebook HQ — or a massive Amazon-style warehouse, the patent suggests otherwise, stating the company sees a wide array of potential uses for the autonomous two-wheeler such as a rugged military-type vehicle capable of traversing harsh terrains and conditions, or as the base of a robot capable of doing medical surgeries. More importantly, the patent goes on to explain how the machine could also benefit motorcycles in a number of ways. “The motorcycle's power assembly (which may include both driving and steering assemblies) may be located entirely outside the circumference of its wheels, thus protecting the power assembly from forceful impacts as well as environmental conditions that may surround its wheels. Similar benefits may be achieved by disposing the motorcycle's brake assembly distally from its wheels. The robotic motorcycle disclosed herein may also be configured to allow its wheels to freely rotate 360 degrees about its steering axis without becoming entangled by electrical wires or other components of the drive assembly.”

Damon Launches Prototype Smartbike

We love exploded views! What's up inside the Damon e-Bike? [Damon]
Damon, a Canadian electric motorcycle startup founded two-years-ago, just pulled the cover off its first prototype model, and with it comes a host of new cutting-edge safety features. The Halo bike is seemingly powered by Zero’s Z-Force motor, and the Vancouver-based firm has yet to reveal specs on the bike, but performance figures aren’t really the point here. The full-faired yellow sportbike boasts embedded crash-detection sensors, fore and aft-facing 1080p cameras, and 360-degree radar detection, constantly scanning the road in real time. If a hazard is detected the rider is alerted via haptic feedback in the handlebars and flashing LED lights. The smart bike also gets a super trick curved OLED screen that displays information and a live-feed to the rear camera.

The Damon is a very attractive electric sportbike. [Damon]
Damon also says the foot-pegs, handlebars, and seat can be adjusted, enabling riders to get a nice upright position for commuting around town, and a hunched forward position for the backroads and twisties. The entire system can be linked to Wifi, Bluetooth, or 5G, pairs with an Android or iPhone app, and appears to run off a mix of Android OS and Damon’s own proprietary software. In a press release the company refers to the prototype as a “technology demonstration platform”, and goes on to explain how it felt an electric motorcycle was the ideal platform to use as it sees the segment as “the future of motorcycling”.

A handsome machine from all angles [Damon]
Damon’s bike is only going to get smarter over time too. Each one of its bikes out on the road will feed data back to a network that will analyze things like the cause of accidents and other hazards in order for the algorithm to learn, adjust, and ultimately improve. Despite the company unveiling a prototype with its own uniquely designed bodywork, it appears Damon’s aim isn’t to build electric motorcycles as much as it is to build the technology to supplement them and make riding safer.

The new Damon electric sportbike. [Damon]
Damon is reportedly already in talks with law enforcement agencies in the US about retrofitting existing fleets with Damon’s smart-moto-tech. The company’s website does curiously have a “book a test ride” section, so take make of that what you will. With $2.5M in funding already secured — and Erik Buell sitting on the company’s advisory board — there’s a good chance this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from this Canadian startup.

ARC Crowd-Funding Goes Live

The ARC Vector has a musclebike vibe. With an all-carbon chassis, the weight is kept down to 465lbs, and with 133hp, a top speed of 150mph is projected.  [ARC]
British electric startup, ARC, kicked off its crowd-funding campaign this week on Crowdcube with the goal of raising £850,000 ($1,070,000) to fund its Vector ebike and its 65,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in South Wales. At the start of the month ARC’s founder, Mark Truman announced the Vector was headed to production in 2020, which has likely helped assure investors that the company is making more than just vaporware. The startup has already previously received the backing of InMotion Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s Venture Capital fund, and as of the time of writing the crowd-funding campaign has collected 80% of its goal (almost £685,000) from more than 430 online investors, with a full eight days left on the clock.

With stacked headlamps and a forward swingarm, the ARC rings bells from the ELF racers of the 1980s. [ARC]
ARC’s inaugural model features a 133hp 399V electric mill (though it only has 109 ft-lbs of torque which isn’t much for an ebike of this size) supposedly capable of traversing 230-highway-miles or 387-city (or 270 mixed) on a single charge. Top-speed is claimed to be around 150mph, steering is performed via a hub-center-style setup, and thanks to its carbon fiber monocoque frame, carbon swing-arms, and minimalist design, the Vector weighs in at a respectable 485lbs. The bike also sports what ARC calls its “Human Machine Interface” (of “HMI”) that pairs with the company’s Zenith helmet, which features a heads-up-display and a haptic feedback system. Only 399 units are being produced, each with a price-tag of just over £90,000 ($110,000).

Electric Motion Expands With New Facilities and Models

The Electric Motion Epure Lite, a trials machine for low-impact riding [Electric Motion]
Electric Motion is a French marque that produces lightweight electric off-road and trials bikes. With a network stretching across the world with a presence in Australia, Japan, North America, South Africa, and all over Europe, the company is already well established, however the addition of a new factory in Vendargues in the south of France, and four new models for 2020 make it abundantly clear that Electric Motion has even bigger aspirations.

The Epure doing what it was designed for! [Electric Motion]
With an eye mainly on the competitive and recreational trials markets, the firm’s 2020 range is comprised of an enduro-esque bike dubbed the Escape, as well as three electric trials bikes; the Epure Lite, the top-shelf Epure Race, and the Epure Sport, the latter of which is supposedly the first electric trials motorcycle to be sold with a diaphragm clutch. The torquey electric motor combined with the precision offered by a clutch definitely makes the Epure Sport a noteworthy offering. While the twist-and-go function of many electric bikes may lower the intimidation factor and help to bring new riders into the fold, the implementation of a clutch (or clutch “conversion kit”) on electric bikes have serious potential to bring existing riders into the EV arena who don’t want to give up that aspect of motorcycling.

Tactica Expands Into US Market

The Italian company Tactica is making hard-core off-road e-bikes: the T-Race Motard and Enduro [Tactica]
Based in Torino, Italy, Tactica is an electric motorcycle manufacturer that produces both on and off-road models. This week — exactly one decade since the firm’s inception in June of 2009 — on its official Facebook page the company announced its plans to setup a new sales and servicing HQ facility in Miami, Florida. Though the company says this move is the first of many in its eventual plans to continue expanding into South America and the Caribbean, there’re several factors that make tapping into the US a particularly good move for the Italian ebike maker. In addition to its T-Race lineup, which consists of a motard model, a cross bike, an enduro, and a “rally light”, Tactica’s only other offering is a fully electric cruiser, and if you want to sell cruisers, the US is the place to do it.

Tactica's T-Cruise model, looking like an electric VMax. [Tactica]
Based on the T-Race platform, Tactica’s electric cruiser, the “T-Cruise” is touted as offering all the benefits of modern EV powertrain technology in a classic, American cruiser-style package. The T-Cruise has dual “engine braking” maps, two power maps (Eco and Sport), and a PMAC motor paired with a five-speed “gearbox” and hydraulic clutch. The 27kW version — the largest of the three sizes offered — has a claimed 59hp and 73.75 ft-lbs of torque, a range of 186-miles, and a 1.5-hour charge time when using a fast-charger (otherwise its 7-hours with a standard 220V outlet).

A rendering of the T-Cruise in red. [Tactica]
So far the machine only appears to exist in prototype form, though Tactica is taking pre-orders for the T-Cruise on its website. Preorder pricing starts at €11,965 ($13,430) for the 9kW version (which has a 70-mile range), €16,299 ($18,295) for the 18kW-spec (which has a 137-mile range), and €24,508 ($27,509) for the largest, 27kW size.

BP’s 5-Minute Recharge Milestone

BP is moving forward in claiming the electric charging station business. [BP]
Over the last year, British multinational energy company, BP has made several moves to get its foot into the EV trade. After announcing company projections pointing to 15% of all vehicles going electric by 2040, BP began its modern foray into EV tech under the banner of BP’s “Advanced Mobility Unit”, by investing $20M in StoreDot, an Israeli firm working on ridiculously fast, five-minute EV battery charging. Since then BP has acquired UK-based charging company, Chargemaster (with plans of installing 100 new 150kW chargers in the UK in 2019), and invested heavily in PowerShare, China’s EV charging infrastructure. But it was BP’s initial investment into StoreDot that made headlines this week when the two companies publicly demonstrated what BP’s $20M had been going towards. Using an electric scooter from Spanish make, Torrot, BP and StoreDot showed off their technology which allowed the escooter — with a range of 43.5-miles (70km) — to receive a full-charge in just five-minutes. As promised.

A Torrot Muvi E-scooter as used in the BP 5-minute demonstration [Torrot]
It’s worth noting that the Torrot was running one of StoreDot’s special batteries and not the stock unit, though this is obviously a major breakthrough that puts electric recharge times much closer to that of filling up the old fashioned way. The Israeli outfit plans on releasing equally fast smartphone chargers in 2020 that offer full juice in 5-minutes, though its joint effort with BP hasn’t ended. As BP was quick to point out; this is a major milestone for the EV industry, and it has the potential to really shake things up. Five-minute charges largely negate range-anxiety and long wait times — both of which have been major downsides associated with two-wheeled EV’s in the past. Between this breakthrough and the increasing global network of charging infrastructures, the charging hassle involved with EV ownership is on its way out.


The Current News: June 10

It’s 1903 all over again, and with so many companies flooding our inbox with electric motorcycle news, The Current channel on TheVintagent.com is presenting a weekly roundup by our EV Editor Tim Huber.  Dig it!

The Bird Electric Moped

The concept sketch of the Bird two-seater e-scoot [Bird]
Bird, the company who’s sharable electric scooters litter the sidewalks of almost every major city, has just revealed its latest offering; a rentable, fully-electric, two-up-friendly moped, simply known as “The Cruiser”. The design has what’s surely an intentionally old-school feel to it with oversized fenders and chunky tires, though it also sports hydraulic disc brakes fore and aft, LED lighting, a two-passenger bench seat, LCD matrix display, and modern 12-arm rims.
Rear suspension consists of a classic dual-shock setup, while the front-end appears to be rigid, though several outlets have reported that it’s, in fact, a functional unit.

An extremely simple chassis and readily available battery/motor tech makes for a very scalable manufacturing solution for Bird. How well it succeeds may impact the whole motorcycle industry. [Bird]
Bird says the “seated vehicle” will give riders the option of using either pegs or pedals, and utilizes a 52V battery that will offer a claimed range of 50-miles on a single charge. It did however reveal
that in addition to renting out the two-wheeler, Bird also plans to sell them directly to the public for $1,299. The mopeds are slated to be released in a handful of test cities this summer so keep an eye out. With an estimated top speed of around 30mph, these things seriously have the potential to be some fun little runners, and will likely serve as a gateway to motorcycling for many who’re unacquainted with travel on a motorized two-wheeler. Not to mention the clutchless twist-and-go setup will definitely diminish the intimidation factor for a lot of people, helping to bring new riders into the fold.

Tempus Unveils New “Titan R”

The Titan R pushes all the right buttons with its retro/Brat charms. [Tempus]
After first unveiling its retro-themed CRT1 ebike, Tempus is back with another vintage-styled model, the “Titan R”. A 1,000W rear-hub motor paired with a 52V 12Ah Lithium-ion battery powers the lightweight bike. The powertrain is good for a top speed of 28mph (45km/h), offers a range of 40-miles, and requires between four and five hours to fully charge. Other features include a round LED headlight and a pair of circular LED taillights, digital instrumentation, front suspension, and front and rear disc brakes. The Titan definitely has a brat/café vibe to it, with a thin, flat, ribbed leather saddle and a knee-dented faux-fuel-cell. The components are said to be fairly high-end, and the bike uses some quality materials like aircraft-grade steel, which helps to explain the $2,899 price-tag.

None More Black

All Black Everything: the new Sur-Ron LB-X RS series [Sur-Ron]
Half downhill mountain bike and half-electric motocrosser, the new Sur-Ron LB X-Series RS Black Edition is a surprisingly trick yet rugged ebike. As the name suggests, the model comes in an all blacked-out color scheme, though the limited edition two-wheeler also gets Rock Shox Debonair Forks which are highly adjustable and upgradable, weigh only 5.8lbs, and offer 7.8” of travel.

Just like 1903: a jockey shaft translates the Sur-Ron's motor power to the final drive system of the. [Sur-Ron]
Powering the 110lb (50kg) Black Edition is an 8hp (6kW) mid-drive motor that affords a 45mph (72km/h) top speed. A number of independent outfits are also currently working on bringing homologation kits to market for the Sur-Ron that include all the necessary bits to make the bike fully street-legal. So far there’s been no word on pricing, but we can assume the LB X-Series RS Black Edition to be priced towards the higher end of Sur-Ron’s wares, which typically run in the $3.5-4.5K ballpark.

The Thin Line Between Bicycle & Motorcycle

The Delfast Top 2.0 is a boundary-blurring e-moto of the sort we expect to transform the motorcycle industry. [Delfast]
Another example of a bike that blurs the line between motocrosser and a mountain bike is the new Delfast Top 2.0. Though the 2.0 does have pedals, chances are they won’t get much use, as the off-road-oriented sled boasts a top speed of 50mph (80km/h). The gen-one’s 3kW motor has been replaced by a more powerful 5kW unit on the 2.0, which is also said to offer better heat management/dissipation than its predecessor. The new unit also benefits from a more advanced controller. The larger motor pulls power from a surprisingly large, 72V 48Ah battery that yields a whopping 3.5kWh of juice. The Top Two also gets improved stopping power thanks to dual hydraulic disc brakes out front, and soaking up bumps in the trail is a beefy set of inverted forks and a rear monoshock, with all of this riding on what looks like off-road appropriate sized spoked rims. The thing also gets a pretty trick color display and some cool MX-inspired aesthetic bits. The price has been set around $3,900 and deliveries are expected to commence in the final quarter of 2019.

BMW’s Continued Foray Into EVs

BMW's current e-scooter, the C-Evolution [BMW]
These days it’s not just startups like Lime and Bird (and Uber and Lyft) that are getting into the rentable scooter game, you also have a number of major auto manufacturers tossing their hats in the shared scoot ring. The most recent automotive powerhouse to unveil a standup electric scooter was none other than BMW.

Patent plans for the new BMW shared e-scoot collaboration with Micro. [BMW]
Dubbed the “BMW E-Scooter”, the machine was born out of a joint venture between BMW and the German outfit, Micro (the force behind the Micro Scooter). The BMW scooter is pretty unremarkable however, at least on paper. A 150W motor with a 12mph (20km/h) top speed, and a 7.5-mile (12km) range. Charging takes two-hours, and pricing has been set at $890, which is pretty damn steep considering what else is out there. The reality is people will probably still buy it, largely thanks to having a few Roundels on it alone. BMW and Micro are also offering a $225 push-powered version called the “City Scooter”, and a toddler push “scooter” (vehicle?) for $135.

BMW's IC C-1 scooter, which could be ridden without a helmet due to its roll cage. [BMW]
Earlier this week it was also revealed that BMW has filed a series of patents in its native Germany for an enclosed/roofed version of its popular C Evolution scooter. The images show a roof supported by what looks like a roll-cage of sorts, as well as a backrest, and a seatbelt. It may be easy to scoff at this idea from sunny California, but in regions that receive heavy rain throughout the year, this could actually be a major selling point.

BMW's kiddie City Scooter. [BMW]
It’s unclear if the roof will be sold as an option for the existing C Evo, if it will be a separate model, or if it will be offered as a bolt-on addition to the current generation of C Evolutions. Because this is merely a patent, there’s no way of knowing if this will ever see the light of production, however, this wouldn’t be the first time the Bavarian brand has dabbled with roofed, seat-belted scooter offerings. Back in 2000, BMW introduced the C1 scooter, followed by an electric concept version of a model known as the C1-E back in 2009. A decade later and here we are again, discussing the possibility of an electric, roofed BMW scooter. Oh, how history repeats itself.

22Motors’ “Hill Assist”

The 22Motors Flow scooter. [22Motors]
22Motors — makers of the Flow electric scooter — have just received approval for a patent for what the Indian outfit is calling “Hill Assist”. This is supposedly a first for the scooter world. Essentially the feature will prevent the scooter from rolling backward when facing uphill. With an electric motor having maximum torque on tap at any moment, I’m a little unsure as to why this feature is entirely necessary (and I was also born and raised in San Francisco so I think I might know a thing or two about negotiating hills).

The Flow's display screen. [22Motors]
Arguably the bigger news regarding 22Motors this week is its recent partnership with established player, Kymco. The two companies are joining forces to develop their “Ionex” swappable battery charging stations — an early step in a larger push to introduce a more robust urban EV infrastructure. These stations would allow riders to pull up, swap out a used battery, plug it in, and exchange it for a fully charged cell, eliminating wait/charge times. This also speaks to the even bigger societal embrace of EV technology as a whole.

AMA Supercross Ushers In An Electric Generation

While we weep for the loss of Alta as a competitor, we're excited to see e-MX racing at the National level  [AMA]
Despite superior performance figures on paper, convincing some riders/racers and fans to embrace EV technology is a major uphill battle. Nonetheless, as electric motorcycles continue to permeate every aspect of the two-wheeled world, race organizers are hustling to get in early on the action. Knowing the change may be controversial, AMA Supercross has formulated a rather clever, low-risk means of running an electric class as early as next season. The plan is to convert the current Junior Race Program to an electric class for 2020. KTM is currently the primary sponsor of the class, and the Ready To Race brand just so happens to have recently released its first electric kid’s dirtbike, the SX-E5 (plus Husqvarna, which is owned by KTM, also released its EE 5). These mini 50cc equivalent MXers will be raced by riders in the seven-to-eight-year-old class.

The Husqvarna mini-moto e-MX racer. [AMA]
The idea appears to be to create a new norm for the next generation of racers. These kids will start on electric bikes, and move up to larger electric offerings, as they get older. By the time some of them are racing at the top-level on full-size electric bikes, it’ll be all they’ll ever have known. And in all fairness, with their ample torque and relatively low top-speeds, electric powertrains seem like something of a perfect fit for dirtbikes, and hopefully, this is something AMA Supercross will be able to shine a light on. This is a long-term plan, so don’t expect to see Cooper Webb winning races on an electric anytime soon, though in a decade’s time, don’t be surprised if the best riders are earning titles aboard electrics. The seed has been planted.


The Current News: May 29

It’s 1903 all over again, and with so many companies flooding our inbox with electric motorcycle news, The Current channel on TheVintagent.com is presenting a weekly roundup by our EV Editor Tim Huber.  Dig it!

Sarolea Streetfighter

The new Streetfighter. [Saroléa]
Back in July of 2018 we reported on Sarolea introducing the beautiful Manx7, a full-faired, retro-inspired, street-legal ebike derived from the Belgian outfit’s SP7 TT racer. Fast forward to this week, and the high-end ebike purveyors have pulled the cover off the latest iteration of the Manx7, and it’s every bit as breathtaking as you’d expect. Penned by Serge Rusak, the so-called “Streetfighter” version of the Manx7 was born out of a collaborative effort with The Mighty Machines. The limited edition model reportedly packs a 163hp (120kW) motor with a whopping 331ft-lbs of torque, and is capable of doing 0-60 in three-seconds. Range is over 200-miles on a single charge, and the 22kWh battery can reach an 80-percent charge in only 20-minutes. The thing also has the same AI integration found in the base model.

The MM.01 Streetfighter in the studio. [Sarloléa]
With just 20 units to sell, the “MM.01” project is being sold as a package bundle, comprised of the bike itself, a matching carbon fiber Hedon Heroine helmet, a super dapper slim cut tailored suit with removable padding from Café Costume, and a fixed blade Damascus steel knife with carbon (G10) handle/grip. Unsurprisingly, the naked Sarolea package is far from cheap, with an MSRP of €69,999 (or $78,250), though damn is it pretty.

Ebike Thesis

Josh Probst with his thesis project  in its first state - MAYA. [Josh Probst]
Dubbed the “MAYA” — short for “Most Advanced, Yet Adaptable” — this fascinating-looking ebike was Josh Probst’s senior thesis project at the University of Houston. The recent Magna Cum Laude graduate says MAYA’s chassis was designed to be highly modular, allowing for a wide array of different aesthetic and powertrain options to be bolted on.

The MAYA in its final form. [Josh Probst]
Despite being built by a 22-year-old undergrad college student, MAYA boasts a remarkably finished appearance (though I can’t help but notice it bares a striking resemblance to the Essence E-Raw). Either way, kudos to the kid, and hopefully this isn’t the last we hear of him.

Team Twente’s “Eclipse GP”

The Eclipse GP looks race ready! [Eclipse]
Made up of a couple dozen students from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, Electric Superbike Twente has just unveiled its second race bike, which features an all-new powertrain. Known as the “Eclipse GP”, the highly developed two-wheeler is slated to compete in this year’s upcoming Moto-E Championship. Last year, the team’s “Liion GP” — which made 200hp and offered a 0-60mph time of less than three-seconds — claimed the European title, though Team Twente is well aware that the rapid progression of EV technology means resting on their laurels isn’t an option if they hope to recreate their feat from 2018. To ensure the best results possible, the outfit recruited seasoned supersport racer, Jor Hamberg (#95), to pilot the Eclipse for the 2019 season. Just like with gas-powered race bikes, competition fosters growth and advancement that helps motorcycling progress as a whole. And based on the machines currently being campaigned in electric classes all over the world, we have a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

Ebike At A SKatepark

There’s no shortage of awesome footage on professional MX rider, Josh Hill’s Instagram page (the guy has over 300K subs for a reason) though an upload of his from last week certainly caught our attention. The clip shows Hill piloting an Alta bike around a concrete skatepark — wonderfully demonstrating the ebike’s power and agility. As someone who grew up riding 20” BMX, and has spent untold amount of times at my local skatepark, this video was right up my alley, though I imagine just about anyone who’s ridden a motorcycle can appreciate the insane level of skill and control Hill has over the bike.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw-xHUxnHRr/

Silence Expands Into Europe

The Silence scooter from Spain. [Silence]
With more than 7,000 scooters sold since the company was first founded eight-years-ago, Silence — an electric scooter company — has more electric vehicle registrations in its native Spain than any other make. The Barcelona-based brand’s S01 model e-scooter has been a massive hit in its home market, prompting the company to set its sights on the larger European market. The first major step in this plan occurred this week when the Spanish firm opened its first flagship store in Luxembourg. Roughly comparable to a 125cc gas-powered scooter, the S01 sports a sleek modern design, LED lighting, and removable “trolley-style”, batteries that can be wheeled out when removed from the scoot. The company is also reportedly offering what it calls a “Solar Tree”, which will charge multiple batteries without being connected to any grid.

CAB Unveils The Wildly Potent “RECON” eBike

Got juice? CAB's RECON. [CAB]
Though CAB Motorworks was founded back in 2013, it wasn’t until 2016 that the Southern California-based startup popped up on the radar of the motorcycling and ebike world when its CAB EAGLE was featured in a number of popular publications. Using the hype and momentum gained in 2016, CAB has just debuted its latest fully-electric two-wheeler; the CAB RECON. Don’t let the pedals fool you, the RECON’s 20 kW “Sine Wave System” supposedly makes it the most powerful electric bike on the planet, generating an insane 320ft-lbs of torque — 100% more than the EAGLE — in a super lightweight package. The RECON also boasts a 20% increase in top-speed over its predecessor, which means it tops out at a bit over 60mph, though it gets there damn quick. The RECON also uses some neat ways to dissipate heat, including housing the (weather-proof) controller outside the “body cavity” allowing for better airflow. Other highlights include a 19” front wheel (with 8” of travel) and an 18” rear (with 10” of travel), and a shockingly effective regenerative braking system.

The RECON in non-wheelie mode [CAB]
While CAB’s RECON looks like an incredibly fun machine, it’s unfortunately out of most rider’s reach, with a base-price of $10,499 — though that number jumps up to over $14K if one opts for all the add-ons.

Bajaj E-Scooter Spotted

Though the company isn’t very well known in the US, Bajaj Auto is a powerhouse of a motorcycle manufacturer in India. The firm makes up an impressive share of the overall motorized two-wheeler market in its native region, however the company for whatever reason has been reluctant to jump into the ever-growing electric scooter segment. That’s all about to change however, as earlier this year at a press conference Bajaj announced that it would begin selling e-scoots under a new brand called “Urbanite”.


Flash-cut to earlier this week and spy shots and video was revealed of what’s believed to be Bajaj’s inaugural electric scooter. Overall the industrial design is pretty unremarkable, however the fact such a large company is joining the ebike fray is definitely big news.

Ather To Offer “Affordable” Electric Scooter

Ather: making ebikes cheaper? [Ather]
Roughly a year ago, Ather Energy announced that it was in the process of developing two new electric scooter models. Ather followed this announcement with the release of the model “450”, though its pricing greatly exceeded that of your typical internal-combustion-engine-powered scooter. In an effort to expand, Ather is now focusing on delivering a more affordable electric scooter model that can be sold in much higher volume. Details are still incredibly scant, but the company has also announced that it plans on releasing a full-on electric motorcycle at some point in the next couple years as well.

India’s Plans To Go Fully Electric By 2025

Typical street scene in India: breathe in the air.  In contrast to any Chinese city, in which under-250cc internal combustion engines are banned. [Internet]
It’s well known that India is by far the largest motorcycle/scooter market on the planet, making up around 1/6th of the global market, with literally millions of two-wheeled units sold annually. While China has been quick to embrace EV technology, the same can’t really be said for India, as ebikes and escooters only account for a small minority of overall moto sales — despite the number (126,000 units) roughly doubling over last year. With this (and a lot of pollution) in mind, India’s government has just announced an extremely bold plan: for all new three-wheeled vehicles to be fully-electric by (April) 2023, and all sub-151cc two-wheelers go to green by (April) 2025. With more than 75% of registered vehicles in India being of the two and three-wheeled variety, it’s hard to overstate the significance of this news.

The plan comes from the Niti Aayog (policy commission) think tank headed up by India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. This announcement doesn’t include larger displacement offerings, which, while put out more emissions, only make up a small percent of India’s motorcycle/scooter sales. The plan does however make mention of the government offering up more subsidies for electrics as well as an additional investment in charging infrastructure. This massive push will not only result in massive growth and development in the Indian EV sector, but will almost certainly have a profound impact on the global market as well. We’ll be sure to report on updates on this monumental announcement as they come in.

[China has had this plan in place for 6 years , and currently has 3 Million e-scooters on its urban roads, and leads the world in EV sales - pd'o]


The Current News: May 22

It's 1903 all over again, and with so many companies flooding our inbox with electric motorcycle news, The Current channel on TheVintagent.com is presenting a weekly roundup by our EV Editor Tim Huber.  Dig it!

Triumph Announces First EV Project

An electric Bonneville? Tim Huber's sketch of an EV/EB. [Tim Huber]

At this point, it seems like it’s not a matter of if every big-name motorcycle company will release an electric model but when, and the newest major player to announce that it’s tossing its hat in the
two-wheeled EV ring is Triumph. Dubbed the “TE-1”, the project will take place over the next two-years, culminating in the unveiling of what will reportedly be a highly-compact, cutting-edge electric powertrain — with a production model assumably following not long after. The Hinckley firm isn’t going the project alone and has partnered up with a number of other electrical engineering outfits that have been tasked with developing individual elements of the forthcoming electric Brit bike. Williams Advanced Engineering is responsible for creating
the batteries while Integral Powertrain is handling the electric motor (and silicon carbide inverter). The University of Warwick will then carry out the long-term research and testing of the new systems, with Triumph being left with developing the machine’s chassis and executing
its final design. It should be interesting to see if Triumph takes the vintage-aesthetic route, and releases an electric Bonnie-type bike, or if it will follow Harley’s lead in introducing an entirely new aesthetic to the firm’s lineup. Time will tell.

Tork’s T6X Gets Closer To Market

When the Indian motorcycle industry goes electric, the rest of the world's EV industry will be changed. India is the largest consumer market for motorcycles (1M/month!) and has the largest motorcycle companies too. [Tork]

For the last seven-years, India’s Tork Motors has been slowly developing its upcoming electric streetbike, the T6X. The Pune-based firm began accepting pre-orders a while back, and aside from final pricing — which is believed to be around 1.25 lakhs (roughly $1,875) — the company has already released most of the T6X’s specs; 20ft-lbs of torque powertrain, 100km/h (62mph) “cruising speed”, 100km range, and an 80-percent charge-time in one-hour.

Unlike most electric startups, Tork — which is now being seen as the primary competitor of Revolt Motors — has a wealth of experience to draw from when it comes to developing its bikes. The company has been taking part in the TTXGP for the last several years with a great deal of success. This know-how is expected to translate into real-world performance, though the machines “affordable nature” gives me pause. The T6X will also be connected to the cloud, allowing it to receive firmware and software updates as the tech progresses, helping to “future-proof” the sporty electric commuter. We’re not sure when the T6X will finally debut, though the release of a new promo video from the Indian outfit hints that it’ll be sooner than later, with Tork expecting to have some 5,000 T6X examples on the road by the end of 2019.

Pursang Rises From The Dead 

The Pursang returns! An e-Tracker ready for a Hooligan race near you. [Pursang]

The Pursang name is being revived, and this time around is setting its sights on the EV sector. This week at the Barcelona International Motor Show — which saw its 100th anniversary this year — Avan, the Indian firm behind the revived Spanish brand, took the opportunity to show off two of its production prototypes. The first is called the “E-Street” and is reportedly powered by a 6kW (roughly 8hp) Ashwoods brushless motor paired with dual, removable Torrot battery cells, all
housed in a chromoly frame shrouded in lightweight plastic bodywork. The E-Street rides on a set of 18” aluminum wheels with stainless spokes, and supposedly offers a range of 55-to-75-miles (depending on how hard you push it), a top-speed of 75mph., and will be reportedly be priced at just shy of $10K.

Easy access! [Pursang]
The more noteworthy proto-specimen shown off this week is known as the “Big Bore”. The protobike is a modern take on the flat/street-tracker aesthetic adorned in carbon fiber bodywork. At the heart of the ironically named “Big-Bore” is an 11kW motor wrapped in an alloy frame. The tracker tail and number-plate flip up to reveal the model’s pair of batteries which can be removed for easy charging. Other amenities include fork guards, LED lighting throughout, Renthal bars
and MX-style foot-pegs, LCD instrumentation, spoked rims, Nissin brakes, with waved rotors, and chain final drive. Pricing is supposedly somewhere just south of the $15K mark and pre-orders are
seemingly available on the Pursang website, though there’s no mention of when shipping will begin.

Unu Debuts 2nd Gen E-Scooter

The Unu e-scoot has tons of cargo space [Unu]

If you reside in North America, you probably aren’t familiar with Germany’s Unu Motors, though it’s nonetheless one of Europe’s leading scooter companies, specializing in cheap, economical two-wheelers. This week the Berlin-based brand pulled the cover off its latest e-scooter, and while it’s technically a second-generation version of an existing offering, it’s undergone a complete redesign and could be arguably classified as an entirely new model. The gen-two sports a much sleeker visual theme which is a major departure from the gen one, plus specs have improved and a host of features have been added.

She comes in colors! The Unu will soon be everywhere, with its ultra-low price. [Unu]
The new Unu features a Bosch hub motor housed inside the scooter’s Vespa-style single-sided swing-arm and removable batteries from LG. The powertrain yields a 45km/h (28mph) top-speed and is available in three different specs; a 2kW model for $3,125 (€2,799), a $3,675(€3,299) 3kW version, and a 4 kW $4,350 (€3,899) scooter. Other standard amenities are as you’d expect with things like LED lighting and regenerative braking. The scooter also boasts a surprising amount
of storage space, with room for two ¾ helmets and a pair of batteries under the seat. Like the majority of modern e-moto offerings, the Unu 2.0 is a fully-connected machine with GPS navigation and smart-phone pairing and everything that comes with that (remote unlocking,
geo-fencing, etc). The gen one’s instrumentation has also been replaced by a tablet-esque screen.

All black everything for the streets of Europe, at first. [Unu]
Pre-orders are currently being accepted (limited to Germany, France, Austria, and the Netherlands for now), and the company is offering early buyers a $110 discount (€100) plus a free helmet, and an additional year of warranty on top of the standard two-year plan. Unu
is also offering financing plans as low as $77 per month, with the German outfit delivering scooters directly to the customer’s door.

Aritra Das’ Electric Panigale Concept

Faster than a Panigale? We'll see about that, but this e-concept fits with the family style. [Anitra Das]

As a brand with a reputation for delivering some of the most breathtaking motorcycle designs on the market today, it’s no surprise that moto and EV enthusiasts are itching for a glimpse of Ducati’s debut electric superbike. Though it didn’t come from the Bologna brand’s official design team, a new rendering of an electric Ducati superbike popped up on the web this week and has been making its rounds online. Dubbed the “Elettrico”, the digital rendering comes from Aritra Das, a 26-year-old designer from India with zero formal training and an impressive portfolio of superbike and supercar concept renderings. Das’ latest concept envisions an electrified version of Ducati’s existing flagship superbike, with similar lines and shapes to that of the Panigale V4, plus the rest of the amenities typical of a Ducati (single-sided swing-arm, Brembo brakes, carbon fenders, and the classic deep red paint job).

It’s hard to say if the presence of the shifter on the left side was an oversight or an intentional choice, suggesting the e-Duck could sport a manual transmission. The size and shape of the faux-fuel-cell missed the mark a tad IMHO, and I’d love to have seen something novel done with the belly-pan area instead of simply deleting the section normally occupied by the under slung exhaust. Gripes aside, I’m genuinely excited about Ducati joining the EV segment, now we’re just
waiting on an announcement about the real thing.

Chasing Land Speed Records In a Home-Brewed Streamliner

Sketches for the cast-off bin Landspeeder special. [Shea Nyquist]

An aerospace engineer and EV enthusiast has set his sights on a land-speed record, and he’s cooking up a bonkers, home-brewed machine in order to bring the plan to fruition. The brainchild of Shea Nyquist, the fully-enclosed “Lark Racer” — which features 22kWh LiFeP04 battery cells linked to a 200kW (268hp) motor— is comprised of a collection of recycled parts as well as whatever Shea had sitting around his shop. The streamliner has a very Max Max-esque feel to it, with Nyquist personally designing and building each element of the racer himself. The project features a full custom chassis with separate pairs of rear-shocks soaking up the bumps fore and aft (helped along by a GPR stabilizer). Nyquist also implemented his own traction control system that alerts him if the front and rear wheel-speeds begin to vary. The entire machine was reportedly built for around $10,000, which is a lot of money, but a fraction of what most spend on land speed racers. Nyquist is gunning for getting his name into the record books at El Mirage later this summer, as well as a possible run in Bonneville the following month depending on his first attempt. If you’re interested to see how Shea has gotten the project to where it currently is, or if you want to follow his upcoming attempts, the guy has thoroughly documented the creation and testing of his “Lark” streamliner on his Youtube channel:


The Current News

It's like 1903 all over again: with so much e-bike news every week, it's hard to keep track of who's announcing what, but fear not, Tim Huber is keeping score. Here's a few announcements from the past week:

The Electric “Ducati” Scooter

Not what we were expecting: the re-branded 'Ducati' e-scooter [Ducati]

It was only a few months ago that Claudio Domenicali, CEO of Ducati, publically stated that an electric production model wasn’t far off. Still, the news this week of an E-Ducati was a surprise, as it wasn’t what you’d expect. Instead of developing its own electric offering, Ducati — which in fact originally started out producing various electronic devices like radios and razors — has partnered with Vmoto to deliver what’s essentially a re-skinned version of an existing electric scooter dressed up in a Ducati Corsa-inspired livery. The Bologna brand won’t actually have any part in building the scoot, that job goes to Vmoto — which is the firm behind the electric Super Soco lineup — which will sell the limited edition two-wheelers through its existing dealer network whilst Ducati is tasked with the marketing. Dubbed, “the CUx Special Edition Ducati”, the small-wheeled runner is a Duck-ified version of Vmoto’s CUx model, which features a 3.75hp 2,700-watt Bosch motor drawing from a 60V/32Ah Lithium ion battery. Specs appear to be unchanged from the base model, which means a 3.5-hour charge-time, 46-mile (or 75km) range, and a 29mph (or 45km/h) top-speed. Standard amenities will include multiple ride modes, remote key start and unlocking, LED lighting throughout, built-in camera, and what I suspect will be a few other minor additions to what its manufacturer is calling a “luxury version” of the CUx — which, by the way; will reportedly carry a “luxury price”.

The CSC electric scooter with color options [CSC]

CSC Adds Another Electric To Its Lineup

The California Scooter Company — or CSC —is an Azusa-based outfit that sells rebadged Chinese bikes and scooters at bargain basement prices — low-figures that are helped along by CSC’s business model that forgoes a dealer network in favor of shipping fully assembled units directly to the customer’s door. The brand’s had success with a variety of small-displacement models ranging from enduros to café racers, though in Summer of 2018 CSC released its first electric offering with the City Slicker; a sub-$2K Grom-style mini with an electric powertrain. Fast-forward to today and the budget bike purveyor has pulled the cover of its next proton-powered model, the Wiz electric scooter. The Wiz is propelled by a very similar powertrain to the City Slicker — a 3kW motor paired with a 2.1kWh battery (0.3kWh more than the City Slicker) — albeit uses a rear-hub unit instead of the Slicker’s mid-drive. The battery affords a 33-48 miles (53-77km) range and can be removed from under the seat for easier charging. And with a top-speed of around 45mph the 200lb Wiz is up for just about anything, short of freeway stints. The affordable $2,495 price also gets you a standard luggage rack and a painted removable rear hard case, USB port, LED lighting, three ride modes (plus a reverse “gear”), cruiser-control, and regenerative braking. CSC is currently accepting deposits on pre-orders, with units slated to ship out around July.

Will the first truly affordable e-Bike come from India? The Revolt has a projected $1700 price tag. [Revolt]

Revolt’s AI-Enabled Electric Naked Heading To Market

If you want to get a production vehicle onto India’s showroom floors and public roads, you’ll first need certification from the Automotive Research Association of India, or “ARAI” for short. The independent body does homologation and certification for manufacturers producing vehicles for both the domestic market and for export. Put simply, getting ARAI certification is one of the final major hurdles marques must overcome before sending a model to production. For this reason, the news this week of India’s Revolt Intellicorp receiving ARAI-approval for its now forthcoming AI-equipped ebike definitely caught our attention. Thus far details are still scant, though the certification revealed the bike will yield a 97-mile (156km) range on a single charge, and will supposedly cost approximately Rs 95,000 ($1,350) — Rs 120,000 ($1,700) minus a Rs 25,000 ($355) FAME II subsidy. This is significant because it’s an early example of EV technology becoming increasingly affordable, which in the past has been one of the biggest drawbacks associated with going electric. On top of the price, Revolt’s concept renderings depict a pretty attractive modern, belt-driven naked with sharp lines and a sporty and aggressive feel, bolstered by an inverted front-end, monoshock, and radial mount caliper(s) up front, and superbike-style fenders fore and aft. The bike will supposedly be offered in a number of motor/battery sizes, with the largest reportedly being a to 4.5kw with a 45amp controller. Pre-orders are scheduled to begin in June of 2019, with deliveries following in September.

The Zero SR-F is their most visually compelling model to date. [Zero]

Zero Secures Another $25M in Funding

Zero Motorcycles is having an incredible couple of years. Having gotten in early on the two-wheeled EV game back in ’06, the California-based business is now poised to ride the current wave of growth the industry is experiencing. The company already has military and law enforcement utilizing its electric wares, and now, just on the heels of unveiling the sexy new SR/F, Zero is announcing its officially received an addition $25,000,000. While that’s undeniably a good chunk of cash, it only accounts for 10% of the total funds raised by the company in its 13-years of operation. According to a press-release put out by the company, Zero is not only the biggest electric motorcycle manufacturer in the world, but its sales actually surpass that of all the other electric motorcycle marques put together. Though Zero’s bike’s already offer impressive performance and specs, this cash infusion ensures further R&D which is practically guaranteed to translate into even better range, shorter charge-times, higher top-speeds, etc.

Go fast, quietly. Energica offers track classes free with a purchase of their top Corsa model [Energica]

Energica Offering Free Trackdays & Training With Purchase Of Ebike

A few months ago we spoke with Energica CTO, Giampiero Testoni, who explained that one of the biggest challenges the company faces, is simply getting riders to give Energica’s bikes a try. The ridiculous amount of torque instantly on tap at any given point makes for a wildly fun riding experience, and typically all it takes to convince someone is a few minutes in the saddle. Knowing this, the Italian ebike maker is now offering “My Electric Academy”, an on-track training program aboard Energica bikes at Italy’s Modena Circuit. The course will be held on two days (May 31st and June 23rd) and is limited to ten riders per day. Each group of ten will then be split into two five-person groups who will be receive expert instruction from coaches including one of the brand’s official test riders, Alessandro “Branna” Brannetti. The cost of the daylong program is €990 ($1,100), though if you purchase an Energica motorcycle within a month (30-days) of completing the training program, the outfit will refund the $1.1K in its entirety. Well played Energica, well played indeed.

What's going on at Yamaha? Check the patent office! No exhaust pipes here. [Yamaha]

New Yamaha Patents Hint At Production Electric Motorcycle

Yamaha has shown off a number of pretty slick electric motorcycle concepts over the last half-decade or so, though the Tuning Fork Company has yet to officially announce a production electric motorcycle. Because producing the technology is becoming cheaper as specs and performance improves, it won’t be long before Yamaha reaches a tipping point where the release of a moto EV becomes finically viable/worthwhile. While it doesn’t look like we’re quite there, a new patent from the Japanese firm suggests it’s definitely fine-tuning elements of an electric behind closed doors for when the time is right. The patents tell us that Yamaha is toying around with, of all things, charging port locations. The images show Yamaha is diverging from the traditional top-of-the-tank-port setup, and exploring a number of different charging port location options. This includes an offset setup toward the front of the tank that would be positioned facing straight up when the bike is leaned over on its side-stand. Another shows the charging port housed in the headlight assembly, which may sound strange but looks surprisingly at home next to the other round elements in the headlight housing. The remaining setup sees the port on the back of a TFT/LCD-style display that rotates/pivots to allow access to the plug. Now it’s only a matter of time before Yamaha releases an electric motorcycle — and one that will quite possibly have an interestingly placed charging port.

Big and bad with a new lease on life: the second-gen Lito [Lito]

Lito Motorcycles Unveils Limited Edition Sora 2.0

After releasing the $40,000 first generation Lito electric motorcycle, Lito has just pulled the cover off the next generation of its electric sport-bobber. The Sora 2.0 was unveiled last weekend at the 2019 Quail Motorcycle Gathering, where the company let attendees check out the high-spec, high-dollar ebike up close. The carbon-clad e-bobber features an 18 kWh battery connected to a liquid-cooled, three-phase, permanent magnet AC motor that are good for a 180-mile range — double that of the gen one. The Sora 2.0 also affords a 0-60mph time of three-seconds flat, a top-speed of 120mph, and a cool 66ft-lbs of torque (and 108hp). On top of the improved specs — which include a 25lb reduction in weight — the Sora 2.0 also gets a smattering of top-shelf componentry. The 6061-T6 aluminum chassis is complimented by a 48mm inverted Ohlins fork and a monoshock from the Swedish suspension outfit in back, while braking hardware is provided by Beringer, who teamed up with Lito to design the units for the Sora 2.0; a pair of floating 320mm discs bit by four-pot radial-mount calipers in front and a single floating 230mm disc with a dual-piston caliper in the rear. Other high-end goodies include carbon wheels from Rotobox, an electronically adjustable seat that goes from 29.5 up to 33.5”, LED lighting throughout, 5.7” touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, a liberal amount of carbon bits, and a bevy of parts from Rizoma. Unsurprisingly, the Sora 2.0 doesn’t come cheap, however you may be surprised to learn to what extent, as the second gen — which is limited to just 20 units — carries a whopping MSRP of $82,250.


Bonhams Spring Stafford 2019

The Bonhams Spring Sale at Stafford is always a bellweather auction for the European scene, and this year Bonham's two-day sale is choc-a-bloc with a mind-boggling array of truly historic machines.  Give the full online catalog a view to see what we mean, but just the spares / basket case selection is tempting, like Manx Norton or Velocette KTT engines or whole projects, and other complete-looking Vintage flat-tankers needing your love and time.  There's also an incredible array of vintage off-road racing machinery, including several historic ISDT winners, among the 'ordinary' exotica from around the world and from every era of MX racing.  We've sampled just a few of the amazing machines - give the catalog a look!

Ex-Bud Ekins ISDT-Winning 1962 TR6SS

Bud Ekins at work in the 1962 ISDT aboard this very 1962 Triumph TR6SS: an epic achievement for an American desert racer in a European game. [Bonhams]
If you have even a tenuous grasp on the history of off-road motorcycling, you probably know the name; Bud Ekins. In addition to his iconic stunt work, the AMA Hall of Famer was also something of a legendary desert racer in his earlier years. Though he’d nabbed a myriad of local and district championship titles, it wasn’t until the 1962 season that Ekins achieved his first International Six Days’ Trial Gold Medal — as well as an open class title — riding a factory-prepped TR6SS. Produced solely in ’62, the TR6SS was the last year Triumph
employed the pre-unit construction design, and one of the most sparsely found post-WW2 Triumphs.

The ex-Bud Ekins 1962 Triumph TR6SS on which he won a Gold in the ISDT. In perfect unrestored condition. [Bonhams]
After Ekins’ win in West Germany, the 650 racer ended up in the hands of moto-frame guru Eric Cheney, who in 1989 sold it to his pal, Bob Gardiner. That same year Gardiner received a ’62 ISDT poster along with the Bud’s Gold Medal trophy cup — both items which are included in the sale of this ex-Ekins TR (which was authenticated by Ekins himself). Though the front fender has been replaced, this #5 machine (which has less than 4,500 original miles) is otherwise as it appeared when campaigned by Ekins in ’62, making it a very prized and unique piece of motorcycle history.

An awesome history: first the 24 hours at 100mph at Montlhéry, which broke the Velocette 24-hour record, then the  Barcelona 24-hour, and Silverstone 1000km races. Arguably, this is the most important of all post-war BMW racers, as this was a production machine, not a specialized Grand Prix sidecar racer. [Bonhams]
Record-Breaking 1961 BMW R69S Racer

In March of ’61 UK-based BMW dealer MLG built a pair of boxer twin racers to compete in long-distance racing, and to attempt to break the 24 hour record at France’s Montlhéry circuit. Despite Velocette being the first to take the record earlier that year, with an average speed of 100.5mph for a full day, it wasn’t long before the Birmingham-based brand’s record was beaten by one of MLG’s specially-prepped R69S by almost 10mph thanks, to an average pace of 109.24mph in the 24hr [and an extra 100cc - pd'o]. The MLG BMW — campaigned by riders Ellis Boyce, George Catlin, John Holder, and Sid Mizen — also set a slightly faster record over 12 hours, with an average speed of 109.39mph, not to mention its various successes later that same season at the Silverstone 1,000, and Barcelona 24hr races.

The MLG-tuned BMW R69S as it is purported to appear today, fully restored. The 1955-69 BMWs with Earles forks are not typically blood-curdling cafe racers, but this one certainly qualifies, and was road tested at 118mph by Bruce Main-Smith in 1961. It must absolutely be the most badass BMW up to their Paris-Dakar winners in the 1980s. [Bonhams]
After its illustrious ’61 season, this MLG racer traded hands on numerous occasions before ultimately coming into the possession of the current owner in 1999,  seven years prior to undergoing a professional restoration which included the addition of a new “Peel-style” fairing (from Sprint Manufacturing). Because of this restoration, there are a number of key differences between how this machine appears today versus when it was campaigned almost six-decades-ago, such as the chassis — which appears to have been replaced) and front shocks. This storied cycle also interestingly has one extra digit in its VIN, though BMW fortunately provides a free service where you can email them a VIN and it will reply with information about the example such as when and where it left the factory, original color, factory options, etc.  There is some question as to how much of this machine is the ex-MLG winner: best do some homework before bidding!

Five Moto Guzzi Singles

An amazing vertical flight of Moto Guzzi singles, from ordinary F-head roadsters to a production racing special. [Bonhams]
In the early 1920s Moto Guzzi introduced an advanced prototype design with an array of sophisticated features, such as an overhead camshaft, unit-construction motor with geared primary drive, and four-valves per cylinder. It was a far-seeing prototype, and the basic pattern of the laid-down single became the standard for Moto Guzzi production until the late 1960s, when their 90deg V-twin was installed in a motorcycle chassis. While Moto Guzzi became known for their outrageous Grand Prix racers in the 1930s-50s, with one, two, four, and eight cylinders (all designed by the genius Giuliano Carcano), it was the humble flat single that ordinary riders got, and they were excellent, beautifully engineered machines.

The 1930 Moto Guzzi Sport 14 with F-head (OHV inlet, side exhaust) cylinder head, as per Harley-Davidson through 1930. [Bonhams]
By 1923 Moto Guzzi unveiled a production version of the prototype known as the “Normale”, though it differed from the original in a myriad of crucial areas, namely, its inlet-over-exhaust valve setup — a decision made in an effort to minimize production costs. Over the next decade or two, Guzzi continued to refine its single-cylinder design, introducing a number of updated models along the way such as the Sport 14 in ’28, followed by the Sport 15 and GT 16 models introduced in ’31, and the first overhead street valve models, the V and GTV in ’34.

The 1935 Moto Guzzi TT250 racer with OHC racing engine in an uprated chassis. [Bonhams]
The upcoming Stafford sale will see five beautiful Moto Guzzi singles spanning 11 years from 1928 to ’39. Taking their turns crossing the auction block (in order from oldest to newest) will be a 1928 GT Norge, what’s believed to be a 1930 Sport 14, what’s thought to be a 1932 GT 16, a 1935 250cc racer (comprised of a TT250 engine and various parts from a ‘30s PE250 Roadster), and finally a 1939 Model W.  It's a fascinating lineup, and a rarely-seen timeline of Moto Guzzi development.

1955 Vincent 998cc Black Prince

 

The Axis of Evil? There's a reason the Vincent Black Prince was used at the Thought Police mounts in the very first production of '1984' - read more here. [Bonhams]
Building on the success and stellar reputation of the earlier Black Shadow and Rapide, in the mid-1950s Vincent Motorcycles introduced new variants of these models, with  protection from the wind and elements, as well as bodywork shrouding the advanced V-Twins.  The enclosed Rapide became the Black Knight while the enclosed Black Shadow became the Black Prince. On top of the bulbous bodywork, Vincent also introduced a new frame and rear suspension setup (with a single shock and fully-sprung seat), new oil-tank, and a hand-operated center-stand, while the already impressive engine got coil ignition and Amal Monobloc carbs.

Forget your Bagger: the Vincent Black Prince is the meanest, coolest touring motorcycle ever built. [Bonhams]
Despite Phillip Vincent’s belief that said updates would be the next step in the evolution of motorcycling [and he was right, but too early - pd'o], the general public didn’t feel the same way, preferring the traditional, non-enclosed Vincent offerings. The plight of the Black Knight and Black Prince’s production was then exacerbated by delays of the model’s fiberglass bodywork. This ultimately prompted Vincent to push out more than half of the planned units sans bodywork, making fully-enclosed examples rare, as only approximately 200 or so ever left the factory. This particular original matching-numbers 1955 Vincent Black Prince  hasn’t been fired up in more than a decade, and will undoubtedly require some love. Having said that, this 1955 specimen does boast a number of noteworthy features such as its factory sidecar fittings and 18” alloy wheels. Included in the sale are also the Black Prince’s original handbook, purchase receipt, and a handful of various spare parts.

Trio of BSA Gold Stars

A trio of classic BSA Gold Stars in immaculate condition. [Bonhams]
In addition to the collection of flat-head Guzzi singles, the upcoming Stafford sale will also see three noteworthy Beezers cross the auction block. Produced from 1938 to ’63 and offered in (primarily) 350 and 500cc displacements, the Goldie was a staple in the mid-century Clubman racing scene, with a deep record of wins to show for it, and is probably the famed British firm’s most iconic model of all time. In addition to the bike itself, BSA also offered customers a vast array of factory add-ons and extras, letting owners tailor their respective Goldie to their needs.

A 1954 BSA CB32 Gold Star, one of the first swingarm Goldies, that kicked butt in the Clubman TT at the Isle of Man. [Bonhams]
The Gold Star served as the successor to BSA’s Empire Star in 1937 as the M24, and the Goldie was a markedly more potent machine, with the all-alloy cylinder/head that became the trademark of the model. The sporty new offering was a pretty major departure from the Birmingham company’s bread and butter; dependable, no-frills commuter bikes.

The classic 1956 BSA DBD34 Gold Star in Clubman trim, one of the ultimate cafe racers of the 1950s/60s. [Bonhams]
Offered here are three variants of the Gold Star ranging from a 1954 500cc specimen, to a half-liter 1956 Clubman, to what’s easily the coolest of the three, a 1962 646cc Rocket Gold Star Replica. The first-year replica — which was also previously owned by Bob Gardiner — did feature BSA’s then-new unit-construction design, albeit it’s still one of the outfit’s final pre-unit wares. Produced for only two model years, around 1,800 units left the factory prior to BSA pulling the plug.  It's a rare and beautiful factory café racer.

One of the rarest Gold Stars, a twin-cylinder Rocket Gold Star model from 1962, with the gorgeous styling of the Clubman single. [Bonhams]

Oberdan Bezzi: Analog Designer for the Digital Age

Oberdan Bezzi is best known for his digital renderings of motorcycles, which over the last decade have become increasingly internet-famous. While Bezzi’s online creations are done, as he says, “without order from company or customer”, he has helped design IRL models that have seen production. For legal/contractual reasons Bezzi can’t  comment (or confirm or deny) on what models he’s worked on, though he did assure me “there are many”.  Bezzi’s work isn’t limited to any particular genre or type of motorcycle, and the designer has digitally sketched models from just about every brand (some no longer in existence) in just about every style under the sun, from choppers, to ADV machines, to café racers, and so on.

The man himself, looking pensive. [Oberdan Bezzi]
Bezzi has a life-long interest in motorcycles, and hails from a region in Italy that’s home to a number of iconic Italian auto and moto manufacturers. “The passion for engines is part of people's DNA here”, stated Bezzi. The digital prototype purveyor says he’s been penning
motorcycles “practically since he was born,” and explained that as a kid in school, if a subject didn’t have any bearing on bikes, Bezzi had no interest in the subject. “Then over time I started presenting my drawings to the magazines of the (motorcycle) sector and I came to know the managers of the Style Centers (i.e. design departments) of various (motorcycle) companies, where I started to collaborate in design. I was an internal designer for a few years, and then became a freelancer, as I am today. In total it’s been just under forty years.”

A recent cafe racer
design for the Royal Enfield twin, called the 707 Gentleman Racer [Oberdan Bezzi]
When asked about his design process, Bezzi explained he tries to put himself in the shoes of the customer who’d buy the bike. “As a designer, my mission is to meet the expectations of the motorcyclist, this often contrasts with the inputs given by the manufacturers, which, for obvious commercial reasons, try to keep costs down, so it’s always a struggle between the designer’s ideas and those trying to rein in expenses.” Despite motorcycles being industrial products with objective specs and performance targets, Bezzi still thoroughly believes our emotional connections to aesthetic designs is the strongest factor in determining a model’s success. “Motorcycles are products that are born to be sold and like all products — especially for those that must satisfy our ego — if they are ‘ugly’, they sell little and poorly. It’s impossible to satisfy everyone's needs and tastes, so I believe good design is correctly responding to the desires of the many, but not everyone.”

"The motorcycle doesn’t re-invent itself every time"

When asked where Bezzi looks for inspiration after nearly four decades of penning two-wheelers, the designer explained it all comes down to knowledge. “If you know the history of the motorcycle and the history of a brand you’re developing a project for, you can always find the answers. The motorcycle doesn’t re-invent itself every time, it’s a continuous process of refinement, of trial and error. Today’s motorcycle is technically very different from the first motorized bicycles, but in the end, it always has two-wheels with an engine in the middle surmounted by a tank and a saddle. The motorcyclist is intrinsically traditionalist and doesn’t want to change that.”

A proposal to revitalize the defunct Italian brand Cimatti with a modern, universal 450cc motor, with styling based on the 1974 Sagittarius. [Oberdan Bezzi]
Inquiring about his favorite prototype or production models, it became clear that Mr. Bezzi has “a bit of a thing” for sportbikes and race hardware. “Among the bikes currently in production, my favorite is Ducati’s (L) twin-cylinder Panigale as it just perfectly embodies the Italian spirit. Though of my all-time favorites, there’s probably Honda’s oval-piston NR750, and above all else, their 2007 RC212 V MotoGP mount." In Bezzi’s lifetime, he’s had a front row seat for a myriad of legendary motorcycle designers, and when asked which designers’ work he personally enjoys Bezzi, told us he’s always greatly admired the work of long-time Honda designer (and creator of the 2013 CB1100), Mitsuyohi Kohama.

A suggestion for revitalizing the Bimota brand, with an 1125 supersports motor, called the Bagarre. [Oberdan Bezzi]
There’s a bit of an irony to Bezzi’s online popularity. The Italian grew up amidst what he describes as “a generation that expressed its ideas with pencils and markers by hand." Despite his aversion to the digital medium, the designer is no dinosaur, and recognizes the
need to embrace modern day technology in his line of work. “Unfortunately, the need to quickly share information and to change details forced me to use the PC (which I hate) and the normal commercial drawing and retouching programs."  He may hate the computer, but it's done a good job making him Insta-famous.

Working in the Brat Style for Big Sur Motorcycles. Bezzi says: "the Brat Style motorbike, whether it is road or off-road, makes refinement and good taste its weapon, precisely because the maximum sobriety of its technical equipment does not allow for "special effects" that technologically more advanced vehicles can boast. It's the pure essence of a motorcycle, therefore, where the few indispensable "ingredients" must be finely calibrated to obtain a satisfying result." [Oberdan Bezzi]

The Current: Shed One

Decades ago numerous outfits from across the globe made names for themselves selling DIY motorcycle kits that buyers could purchase and assemble themselves.  Companies like Rickman, C&J Frames, and Trackmaster thrived on selling everything needed to assemble your own high-performance two-wheeler. Fast forward to the present, however, and moto-kit operations have become rare – something that can largely be chalked up to millennials’ general aversion to mechanics  (not to mention an overall decline in interest in motorcycles).

The basic architecture of the Shed One, with additional parcel rack up front. [Shed Rides]
A new UK startup, Shed Rides, is aiming to change this via the introduction of a new DIY moto-kit for the modern era, comprised of a modular, upgradable, electric platform designed for short-distance riding/commuting. Shed Rides isn’t just selling kits too, it’s also offering a range of add-ons and accessories, as well as the knowhow to enable even the least mechanically-minded individuals to build their own electric bike. “Shed One is not designed to worry a Ducati Panigale but riding something self-built and customized to your own satisfaction would reward its owner with a sense of achievement and connection whilst zipping along,” explained Shed Rides’ Andy Trainor.

Andy Trainor, founder of Shed Rides. [Shed Rides]
Framing A Good Idea

The platform is centered on a CAD-designed, TIG-welded, steel, “container” style chassis featuring a motor-plate that’s been pre-drilled allowing for a number of different electric AC or DC powertrains to bolt directly in — though Shed Rides makes specific reference to a 22hp unit in a recent press release. Thanks to Unistrut-compatible frame-spars, powertrain and other internal components can easily be mounted too.

The “Frame One” also boasts cross-tubes that serve as mounting points for a number of bolt-on racks — which are offered in standard units or available custom – and other accessories. The company says the chassis was designed to accommodate generic, readily available suspension and brake components from existing pit-bike models, making sourcing parts both easy and affordable.

The basic welded frame, with space to easily insert the batteries and mount the motor. [Shed Rides]
An Education In e-Bikes

On top of simply selling customers the Shed One kit, the West Yorkshire-based startup has announced it will be offering a myriad of classes, teaching owners how to do everything from assemble, to maintain, to upgrade their new e-Bike. The hands-on education consists of both classroom lessons and classes held in a workshop.

Classes are slated to begin in September of 2019, and a free one-hour teaser workshop is available to anyone — plus discounts on classes will be offered to Shed One buyers. For more information on specific lesson plans you can checkout the “Courses” page on the Shed Rides website. While the classes do cost money to attend, Shed Rides says it will also be offering (Ikea-style) phone and email support for technical help and troubleshooting.

Good Today, Good Tomorrow

Shed Rides has also accounted for the rapid pace at which EV tech is currently advancing, by offering future-proof upgrades that are supposedly to be made available down the road, allowing owners to up-spec their motors, batteries, controllers, etc. This should, in theory, prevent the Shed One from being totally obsolete by the time the Shed Two rolls around.

A Shed One cafe racer with aluminum 'tank' and seat unit. [Shed Rides]
Bells & Whistles, Add-ons & Accessories

Like many of today’s highly-modular offerings, The Shed One — which is said to be street-legal — is being launched with a bevy of bolt-on parts and accessories, allowing customers to tailor their respective machines to their specific tastes and needs. In addition to the aforementioned luggage racks, Shed Rides is also reportedly offering a number of (plastic vacuum-formed) body panels, stands, displays (including using a Smartphone), regenerative braking, Bluetooth connectivity, alarm, remote starting, and a slew of electrical bits such as lighting,

Team Green? The Shed One with off-road styling. [Shed Rides]
What Say You?

Despite the Shed One not officially launching until September, the company is already keen to receive public feedback on its inaugural offering. For this reason Shed Rides will be attending North England’s upcoming Manchester Bike Show — held on the weekend of March 23rd/24th  2019. According to the company’s press release, the feedback received on the Shed One’s final design, and custom/add-on options will help the startup determine an ultimate price for the DIY kit — a factor that I imagine will play a pivotal role in determining Shed Rides’ overall success.


The Current: Talking Tech With Energica CTO Giampiero Testoni

Smart-tech now pervades the transportation industry, with the rapid advancements of Lidar and GPS placing us on the precipice of an autonomous driving revolution.  Driverless technology is expected to make traveling on our roads exponentially safer... experts even anticipate a donor organ shortage(!), as a large percentage of donated organs come from crash victims.  Motorcycles don’t share the demand for autonomous “smart piloting”, as manual control is fundamental to the riding experience.  However, scoots still need improved safety - more so than cars they share the road with.

Welcome to the Future: the Energica Bolid-E presents riders with smart devices instead of mirrors

How does a manufacturer bolster rider safety via today’s array of existing smart gizmos and gadgetry? Well if you’re Energica Motorcycles, you partner up with one of the world’s leading technology companies and create a sleek, fully electric prototype that takes motorcycle safety from a passive to active pursuit. Towards the end of 2018, Samsung Italia and Energica unveiled their vision for the next step in rider safety, called the “Bolide-E” smart bike concept.

We recently caught up with Energica’s CTO, Giampiero Testoni, to pick his brain on the purpose of the high-tech project, the challenges he faced completing it, whether or not any of the Bolide-E’s smart safety features will trickle down to production, and what we have to look forward to down the road from the rapidly emerging sector of electric motorcycling.

The Bolide-E Concept

For anyone who might have missed EICMA, the Bolide-E prototype is based on Energica’s EsseEsse9 model, which has been treated to a myriad of trick Samsung-related tech. In place of traditional mirrors, the proto features a pair of Galaxy A smartphones that act as Heads-Up Displays. These smart mirrors are also linked to the “Smart Ride” system that has forward and rear-facing cameras, and an array of sensors allowing it to detect potential  hazards, which alert the rider via the aforementioned pair of HUDs.

In place of a traditional keyed ignition, is a digital unit that enables users to unlock/start the bike via a Samsung Galaxy watch, meaning — just like with many modern cars — owners can simply walk into a vehicle and go, based on the proximity to a digital key sensor. Between the bike’s existing onboard sensors and hardware, and the pair of Smartphones’ GPS units and accelerometers, the Bolide-E can also record a host of different metrics about each ride, which can be reviewed (or shared) after the fact.

The Bolid-E concept was shown at EICMA in Nov. 2018 [Marcello Mannoni]
Giampiero Testoni Energica Chief Technology Officer

Testoni’s entire career has been working with motorcycles in various capacities. After earning a degree in mechanics, the Italian started at a Moto2 race team lead by CRP Technology in 2005, before going on to co-found CRP Racing.  He helped construct a race team from the ground up in order to compete in the Italian and European championships, as well as in a few wildcards in the 125 Moto3 class.

“Motorcycles have always been my passion,” Testoni tells me in distinctly Italian accent. “So, to me racing is something of the apex of a career in motorcycling.”

After a few years as a partner at CRP Racing, electric racing was on the rise, and it didn’t take long for an intrigued Testoni to get in on the action, with his firm eventually developing the eCRP racer.

“In 2009 there was the first electric (Isle of Man) TT, and the following year I was asked to build an electric bike, and from then onwards I’ve worked on electric. We raced in 2010 and 2011 and we won the European championship and were runner-up in the World Championship for electric. It was still a small championship, but it was still an achievement“.

Around this time Testoni and the rest of the team started another concept project, developing a model that would ultimately become the first Energica prototype, thanks to funding from CRP. “From there onwards it was just industrializing the product, then the Ego, Eva, EsseEsse9, which were all built from the same platform.”

The Bolid-E is the first product of Energica's collaboration with Samsung [Marcello Mannoni]
Managing Moto-E

As CTO, Testoni looks after the development of all of Energica’s road and race bikes.  This means he’s not only responsible for the wares you find in dealerships, but he’s also the chief of the firm’s ongoing Moto-E project, which will see riders competing in a single constructor spec-series aboard specially track-developed versions of the Energica’s flagship (Ego) model.  The appropriately dubbed the Ego Corsa will debut at five circuits on the 2019 MotoGP calendar (and in 2020 and ’21).

The 160hp Corse-spec bike tips the scales at around 80lbs less than the stock model, largely thanks to carbon fiber bodywork, plastic battery enclosures replacing aluminum, and the removal of the onboard charger.  Testoni notes their specially-developed battery is not only lighter, but also holds almost twice the capacity of the road model’s unit. The Ego Corse also looks the business, with full race bodywork and running gear, and a sleek and minimalistic new tail section.

“It’s a dream come true for us, and it says ‘okay, we’re the best on the market, and we’ll be the only one supplying these machines to everyone (in the new spec- series)."

Samsung's first move into two-wheeled technology; an unusual collaboration, but one likely to be seen more often. [Marcello Mannoni]
Back To The Bolide-E

One of the first questions we had for Testoni was how the collaboration with Samsung came about?  Testoni explained that Samsung Italia reached out to Energica to arrange a meeting  exploring a joint project that could yield symbiotic results for both outfits. After the companies shared their future projects, an agreement was reached to develop a prototype for EICMA.

When we asked Testoni what the ultimate purpose of the project was and if any of the features on the prototype are slated for production in the near future, he explained that the Energica is hoping for that, though there’s still a lot of red tape to sort through before you’ll see these features on bikes in showrooms.

Teaming Up With A Tech Giant

“A big part of the aim was also to build a relationship with Samsung. We obviously wanted to showcase the technology, and the potential for the implementation of Samsung’s tech in our bikes.  Plus we wanted to do it on something that nobody had done before, as our vision is to have the most innovative motorcycle on the market. Some of the features we already knew we wanted to implement in the near future, for example, the unlocking of the bike with the Galaxy Smartwatch is something we’re seeking to put into production.”

Testoni did however made it abundantly clear that he sees benefits to a relationship with the tech hardware giant. “Having a partnership with them will allow us to know what they have coming out next month, because we can’t really speak about years down the road with technology development, but we can accurately see what’s coming in the next month or two. So we can definitely gain an advantage from being privy to whatever Samsung Italy has slated to bring to market, enabling us to find ways of utilizing newly emerging technologies.”

When asked what benefit(s) all the Samsung tech afforded, Testoni stated unequivocally it's improved rider safety, without sacrificing rider control.

“We don’t want to make autonomous intervention in the bike, we want the rider to still ride the bike.  We want the aid of  extra eyes in the form of cameras, sensors, etc — things that have become common in autonomous driving — that can signal the rider, via a flashing light on the dash or a haptic system, and alert them to potential dangers, like someone crossing the street.”

 As to whether the motorcycle will intervene on its own, for Testoni the answer is no. “Our system would just alert the rider, but then it’ll be up to the rider to brake, or release the throttle, but it will be a great help. It means having more technology at your disposal."

Faster and safer? That's the goal of Energica: surpassing IC motorcycles with electric bikes, and making them smarter. [Marcello Mannoni]
Speed Bumps Down The Road

When asked about the biggest obstacles to creating and developing the Bolide-E, Testoni explained the most difficult aspect was time — or rather the lack of it.

“We were fortunate there weren’t any major problems, but time was definitely the biggest issue. We had to fit everything into only a few months and make it all work in time for the EICMA show. But, we’re pretty accustomed to making things work under difficult time constraints, so we finished a few days before the show, with enough time to get the photoshoot taken.  As far as big technical issues, we didn’t face any.”

Bringing a prototype to EICMA is one thing, but as Testoni explained, industrializing tech features and bringing them to market is a markedly taller order, especially from a legal standpoint.  “One of the most tricky parts right now is having the two screens in place of mirrors - that's not currently allowed as the law states  you still need to have physical mirrors.  But we can take some of the knowhow gained from working on the Bolide-E and possibly still apply a screen somewhere else on the bike.”

“As far as the law goes today ... we’re hoping this will change, as technology is moving really quickly, and I think the rule-makers will start to understand that we’re going to increasingly rely on new technologies.  It’s always a challenge when you have something like a mirror that’s been around forever: altering a safety feature that’s been a staple is tough. They’re very, very slow in changing the laws and they make it hard to bring things to homologation,”

When asked where Testoni sees the future of electric motorcycles in the next 5-10 years, the CTO says he thinks acceptance and confidence will definitely continue to increase — in part thanks to Tesla  — as will the public’s being education on EVs.  Testoni thinks within the next couple of years, battery technology will advance to the point where electric bike performance will surpass internal combustion performance.

“What is not possible, we’re finding ways to make happen.”

 


Savic: Australia's First Production E-Moto

In late 2018 Australia’s first-ever electric motorcycle marque pulled the cover off its inaugural prototype; the C-40. While the café racer prototype made headlines, the Aussie startup and its 27-year-old founder, Dennis Savic, have big plans for silent two-wheelers from Down Under. We caught up with the ambitious Melbourne-based millennial, engineer, and MBA holder to discuss how all this came to be and what Savic Motorcycles has in store for the future.

The new Savic, Australia's first e-Bike [Savic]

How did this all start?

“Well, this is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. So when I was 14 I decided I’d study engineering at university which is where I was introduced to the world of entrepreneurism. From there I identified a gap in the market and that was electric motorcycles.”

In the years leading up to the project Dennis Savic became increasingly familiar with the ways motorcycles were designed and manufactured — deconstructing existing models on the market and essentially reverse engineering them in his spare time.  His first big project was completed at uni, though looking back Savic says it was, in his words; “mega rough”.

Dennis Savic with his prototype Savic e-Bike on its launch in Australia. [Savic]

When asked what drew him to the EV sector, Savic, without missing a beat, explained, “They (e-Bikes) are just so smooth and easy to manage. They have a unique type of power and it just makes you feel like you’re in Tron when you’re riding one.

The world first became introduced to the new Australian start-up back in mid-late November at the 2018 Melbourne Motorcycle Expo when Savic and the team debuted their prototype, the C-40 — a modern, fully-electric, 80hp, two-wheeler dressed up in retro-inspired, café-themed bodywork .The proto was comprised of an array of off-the-shelf components (including the motor and controller) constructed in and around a hand-fabricated steel-tube chassis and homemade battery-box. Dennis says the idea behind the C-40 was to show the market what the company was working on, and, more importantly, to receive valuable feedback from the public.

Ultimately what separates Savic at this point in time from the rest of the electric scoots on the market is largely its appearance. While Savic will offer a few unique features here and there (none of which Dennis could legally comment on at the time) the company didn’t set out to reinvent the wheel, and rather to introduce a fun and stylish machine that excels in city environments, instead of trying to take on the gas-powered bikes. While 80hp and a 150-mile range is nothing to scoff out, it’s also nothing to write home about.

With lines very much like an early Egli, the Savic seeks to fill an entrepreneurial niche. [Savic]

“It’s electric, so the reality is; you’re not gonna get on a racetrack and go head-to-head with a Panigale lap for lap.,” explains Savic. “We obviously have a bit of a range limitation so naturally our products are gonna be centered around being really fun urban runaround bikes ideal for daily use, and for a bike like that there are a lot of options so it’s really important to make something that’s unique and stands out.”

When I inquired as to why Dennis opted to go with a cafe racer design for the new firm’s inaugural offering, he replied, stating, “I’m obviously personally a big fan of the cafe racer style, I really like that kind of harmonization between classic design and advanced technology, and an electric motorcycle platform is a great medium for combining the two.”

After showing off the prototype, the company plans on releasing a batch of just ten “C-FE” (or “Founder’s Edition) models in 2019.  These will essentially be micro-batch early production models, a la MV Agusta’s Serie Oro range, with the C-FE reportedly being virtually identical to the later larger production model (the C-Alpha) albeit with fewer custom paint, trim, and finish options — which the C-FE will have an insane amount of thanks to its low volume production.

The Savic team with prototype #1. [Savic]

 In 2020 the outfit aims to transition into larger-scale production (around 50-100 units) with a total of three models; the 25kW C-Omega; 40kW C-Delta; and the 60kW C-Alpha — though each of the trio will have several battery pack options which affect not only range, but also the bike’s power capability. Savic also hopes to invest in tooling around this same time to help keep the cost of manufacturing as low as possible, as keeping the Aussie ebikes’ price point accessible is of great importance to the Savic company. Another way Savic is keeping costs down is by not spending any money whatsoever on marketing or advertising. The company wasn’t even on social media when it launched.

Despite its small size and low volume production, Savic — currently comprised of about 7-8 people working nights and weekends, plus four dedicated advisors and another handful of specialist consultants — according to Dennis, is able to effectively sell his bikes at a relatively affordable price largely thanks to the company’s distribution model which, not unlike Tesla, sells directly to consumers without going through any distributors or retailers. I.e. there aren’t a series of middle-men taking their cut along the way.

Dennis says the three models will have a rough gas-powered-engine equivalent, however he made it abundantly clear that the two aren’t directly comparable.

“They have a completely different torque curve and totally different acceleration,” relayed Savic. “But to roughly compare them, the Alpha would be similar to a displacement between 600-1000cc’s, the Delta would be closer to a 500-600cc, and the Omega would be like a 300cc. But here’s the thing; a 300 Ninja has a peak power of 25-30, maybe 32kW, as where our bike has the same power rating but it also has instantaneous torque so the two are pretty different beasts.”

The C-40 prototype was constructed around off-the-shelf parts. [Savic]

When asked how the prototype will differ from the production models, Dennis explained that the C-40 was constructed using off-the-shelf components such as a generic motor and controller, built in and around a bespoke chassis and battery box. The production vehicles on the other hand will sport a powertrain — which will reportedly be stressed and liquid-cooled — that Savic has designed with a supplier specially for the start-up’s two-wheelers, along with a custom, sealed, powertrain enclosure, plus the production Savic will pull from an array of pouch-style battery cells and not the cylindrical units on the concept. Dennis also says he plans on using a single-sided swing-arm unit on the production bikes, which will supposedly start at $20,000AUS (or about $14,300 US). The 27hp entry-level Omega will reportedly MSRP for $12,000AUS (about $8,700US)

Dennis says the feedback he’s received has been staggeringly positive, noting that a lot of Australians really like that the Savic is Aussie-designed and made, which is good because Savic only plans on initially releasing to its native market in Australia, though Dennis did tell me he plans on starting to penetrate other regions like the US in Europe in the coming years.

The Savic Team: best of luck for creating the future! [Savic]

Heidi Zumbrun on Exhibit

Back in late 2017 we highlighted some motorcycle photography from Los Angeles-based photographer, Heidi Zumbrun. Now, after another year of traveling the world and photographing motorcycle, surf, and skate culture, Heidi is back with a new gallery exhibition. Held at the Lair Gallery in West Hollywood’s Tesse Cafe at Fred Segal, this recent exhibit was curated by Stacie B London and showcased a body of work focusing on and celebrating the unique culture and energy of the motorcycle and surf community.

Skate, surf, and motorcycle culture are Heidi Zumbrun's best known subjects [Heidi Zumbrun]
Upon the exhibition wrapping up, we spoke with the woman behind the photos about her latest show and delved into the challenges of capturing motorcycling in photography, what exactly it is that sparks her interest in these cultures, and what she’s trying to capture behind the camera.

For anyone unfamiliar with you or your work, can you tell us a little about your background with photography and motorcycling?

“Sure: I’ve been riding a motorcycle for 20-plus-years,  I have an MFA in photography & I’ve been taking pictures since I was 16.  Luckily along the way my lifestyle and my photography work have merged….

The gallery in Fred Segal [Heidi Zumbrun]
What parallels do you see between surf and moto?

Well, riding waves, riding roads - there’s an immediate parallel right there.  Holding your line on an open road or riding down the line surfing a wave in the open ocean -I think there’s a sense of freedom in both & they tend to attract very like minded passionate people who love the outdoors, motion and speed.

Ayumi Yamakita prepping for a flat track race at Wheels&Waves California [Heidi Zumbrun]
Can you tell us about the recent show?

This particular exhibit was curated by Stacie B. London and it’s a culmination of the last year or so of my photographs documenting friends, racers & local riders in the motorcycle and surf community. The selection of images are from a body of work that I’ve been showing throughout the year- primarily images from the Mexilog Festival -a longboarding, single-fin festival in Mexico – Hell on Wheels -a local vintage dirt bike racing club here in Los Angeles, & the Wheels and Waves festival in France and California.

Olivier Prat at Wheels&Waves Biarritz in the surf contest [Heidi Zumbrun]
What is it that you’re trying to capture or convey in your photography?

I’m trying to capture, at least in this body of work, the people in my community. The people in the moto and surf culture, my culture, fascinate me- as does the history and the craft of building motorcycles and surfboards and the riders relationship with them. I definitely lean towards a vintage aesthetic and I love longboarding, single-fins, vintage motorcycles, and the vintage bike scene. I’m trying to document the people that make up this community who are doing incredible things- whether it’s racing or competing, building bikes or shaping boards. I really want to tell their stories.

Do you see yourself as having a particular style?

I think my style is unstyled.  My photography is mostly done on the fly, which means I try to capture natural moments.  Mainly I’m trying to be as unobtrusive as possible and just document moments & people.  I do a lot of what I call lurking haha

Fashion and motorcycling legend Nick Ashley at Wheels&Waves Biarritz [Heidi Zumbrun]
Do you have a favorite piece from the recent exhibition?

It’s hard to choose a favorite, but if I had to choose, I’d say it’s the one of Edie Ashley & Alena Chendler taken right after getting off the track. It was taken at Wheels and Waves in Biarritz, France after Edie had finished her first race at the Deus Swank Rally- it was pouring down rain- they’re sopping wet from riding and Edie covered in mud -I just love everything about the mood of this shot.  (Edie is from England and Elena is from Russia and they both came to France to participate in the W&W races and festivities.)

What’s the hardest thing to convey about bikes from behind the lens of a camera?

Speed.  You want to stop motion and show speed at the same time- this is a bit of a contradiction.”

The Stopnik family doesn't only play with choppers as the Cycle Zombies MC...as noted at Wheels&Waves California [Heidi Zumbrun]
We asked the exhibition curator Stacie B London what she felt makes Zumbrun’s work special & London explained that she “wanted to curate a collection of Heidi’s photographs because I think she takes really beautiful and honest photos.  Heidi has a magical eye and combines her art school education with her fashion world experience to document this renaissance of motorcycles, racing, surfing and SoCal culture with an honest narrative that only people who are experiencing it usually see.  She’s able to insert herself into the dirt, water, ditch, or cliff to get the shot she wants in order to tell her story.  Her background in art and fashion has developed into an interesting and clean aesthetic.  There’s purity to her work- so that the image is about the purity of the excitement and experience in the moment.”

Heidi Zumbrun in the Lair Gallery [Stacie B. London]
Links : website www.heidizumbrun.com  instagram @heidizumbrun

https://www.instagram.com/heidizumbrun/@thelairgallery

music by Rocco Deluca sponsored by Sol Beer, Topo Chico Mineral Water, Freddy Cerrato

 


The Current: Novus, the Monocoque Flyer

With the rise of the electric powertrain we’ve seen all manner of electrified two-wheelers, however we’ve never seen anything quite like the Novus before. Constructed around a trick, hollow carbon fiber monocoque chassis with integral bodywork, the elite runner boasts gobs of power, striking modern looks, and freeway-capable speeds, all in a sub-90lb package.

It's the darling of the new-tech mobility press, with aggressive styling, and techology akin to F1 cars [Novus]
Based in Brunswick, Germany, Novus was founded by Réne Renger and Marcus Weidig, a pair of diehard motorcycle and engineering enthusiasts who met at university. Rather than simply design a new motorcycle — granted that’s no easy task — the Deutsche duo set out with the goal of 'changing mobility perceptions.' And you gotta hand it to them, the Novus is a pretty sexy little scoot, and at 86lbs ready-to-ride, it requires very little energy compared to a two-ton electric car, offering riders one of the least impactful mobility options available, that still allows for some fun in the corners.

While attending CES 2019 to promote their new e-Bike, co-founder and co-CEO Marcus Weidig took some time out of his hectic day in Vegas to talk to The Current about the Novus.

Novus was co-founded by Réne Renger and Marcus Weidig [Novus]
On the spectrum between full-on electric motorcycle and e-bicycle, where would you say your bike resides?
"With its 60mph top-speed it’s definitely a proper motorcycle. No pedals, not a bicycle. There are more powerful motorcycles for sure, but with the Novus’ power-to-weight-ratio, it’s a blast to ride.

Where was this bike designed to be ridden?
Based on its range and suspension setup, it’s primarily meant to be piloted in cities and urban areas. Thanks to its weight of only 85lbs, it’s possible for people to put the Novus in an elevator to get it to an apartment living room, to charge or store. It’s also ideal for yacht owners who’d probably never consider bringing their 350lb Ducati onto their boat, but could with the Novus. It’s not meant to replace walking or bicycling, it’s more for leaving your eight or ten-cylinder car in the garage without sacrificing in the style department.

The sculptural qualities of carbon fiber are infinite, and are here used to create a hollow monocoque chassis [Novus]
What were your primary objectives when designing the Novus? Is there a particular gap in the market that you see it filling?
Well, an electric drivetrain is a completely new technology, however most of what we see with electric motorbikes is a combustion engine being replaced with an electric motor and batteries. Instead, we tried to clean the slate of all known ideas of what motorcycle is in our heads, take inspiration from the bicycle world, and design a two-wheeled vehicle from the ground up around an electric powertrain. In our eyes, electric drive makes the most sense in a lightweight package like a motorbike, much more so than in a 4,000lb car.

Can you tell me a bit about the frame?
The Frame is a monocoque, completely made of carbon fibre composites, which is unique for a motorcycle. It’s completely hollow so all the technical components can be placed inside. The frame is both the outer skin/bodywork and a load-bearing structure that affords ample rigidity and significantly reduces weight. There’s no motorcycle like it on the market today. It requires an enormous effort, even supercars aren’t doing it like this. We took away everything that wasn’t necessary in order to keep it clean, like a sculpture.

The suspension on the Novus was designed in-house specifically for this project. Can you elaborate on the suspendsion?
Because the Novus falls in a spot between a motorcycle and a bicycle in terms of weight, we had to design a system that could compensate for the Novus’ light weight, and the speeds it’s capable of achieving.

The claimed 147.5ft-lbs of torque is pretty bonkers. Is that 200Nm figure accurate? If so, why does this 85lb two-wheeler need so much oomph?
That figure doesn’t directly translate to the amount of torque in a combustion bike — there are e-Scooters with similar power, but Novus is weighs considerably less, allowing for a unique and agile riding experience.

Scale: about like a 125cc motocrosser, but much lighter, and much cooler [Novus]
What else about the Novus is unique?
In terms of quality, Novus is more than a collection of expensive parts and materials. Its quality is such that it’s designed and engineered to be a long-term product, expected to last — and function — for years, ultimately adding greatly to the sustainability of the product. This largely justifies the need for quality and the extensive efforts involved in its development.

A closeup up the custom disc brake rotor, and the carbon fiber forks [Novus]
It probably goes without saying that the Novus’ price tag is pretty steep - $39,500. Can you tell me a little bit about how you landed on that MSRP?
To produce a high-quality bike completely in composites that’s limited to 1,000 units takes an extraordinary amount of labor. Just setting up the tooling alone is pretty exorbitant. Also, the phase where we combine the frame and exterior is particularly costly. The high level of integration of its components brings up costs too. Developing a motorcycle with no superfluous parts was a massive design and engineering challenge that we think customers will appreciate.

If we filled the empty center with batteries, could we quadruple the 60 mile range? [Novus]
What are your future plans for the Novus?
We want to change the perception of the motorcycle and to show that it’s possible to do things differently. Not just to be different – to create something new with an added value. We have many ideas in our minds, many focused on sustainability, such as natural fiber composites, and we’ve got some non-motorcycle ideas in the works."

Weidig credits his passion for mechanical quality and precision to his birthplace of Glashütte, in Eastern Saxony, Germany, and his upbringing as the son of a toolmaker.  With Novus pitched as an ideal option for yacht owners or to replace your 10-cylinder car, it’s abundantly clear the German outfit is targeting an affluent demographic, but with its wicked performance, radical-tech styling, and ultralight package, this cutting-edge machine creates its own niche, and could become a must-have for the Tesla set.

What we want: a ride on this ultralight superbike [Novus]

Top Ten Bonhams Vegas 2019 Highlights

Though Bonhams’ annual Las Vegas auction isn't as overwhelming as Mecum’s Sin City sale in terms of sheer volume, the elite auction house’s event at the Rio boasts a stellar collection: some of the  most unique and sought-after motorcycles in existence. Regardless what era or genre of scoot you might fancy, there’s guaranteed to be something for everyone at this year’s Bonhams Vegas sale. With several hundred lots to choose from, we can’t dive into every specimen going under the hammer this month, so let’s unpack my  ten favorite examples from Bonham’s Jan. 24th Las Vegas 2019 Auction:

1. 1989 Magni Moto Guzzi Sfida

Arturo Magni, while former head of MV Agusta's race shop, applied his skills to many other makes [Bonhams]
After cutting his teeth at Gilera’s race department for three years, Italian motorcycle legend, Arturo Magni, accepted a position heading up MV Agusta’s race program. Magni spent a quarter-century with MV, during which time he secured a whopping 75-world championship titles for the Varese marque. After MV shut down its race department, Magni took the wealth of knowledge he amassed with company and in 1975 started his own moto-operation. With some help from his sons, Magni began transforming MV Agusta road bikes into bonafide racers, eventually developing his own frames — chrome-molybdenum and tig-welded steel tube units — to wrap around four-cylinder MV mills.

Looking fast because it is fast, a Magni Moto Guzzi is a rare and gorgeously built cafe racer [Bonhams]
In the years that followed the Magni Company went on to introduce a multitude of different models, using engines from other various manufacturers like Honda, BMW, Suzuki, then finally in 1985, Moto Guzzi. In 1989, after releasing several Guzzi-based bikes, the Magni Co. launched the Sfida (Italian for “Challenge”). Powered by an air-cooled, four-stroke 90-degree traverse, OHC, 948.8cc, V-twin (that reportedly made between 85-90hp), the Sfida was fed via a pair of 40mm Dell’Orto carbs (though some were supposedly fuel-injected), and married to a five-speed transmission. Wrapped around the MG lump is a chromoly frame that’s been paired with 40mm adjustable Ceriani forks up front, and Magni’s "parallelogrammo" rear suspension out back. Additional highlights include Brembo braking hardware and spoked EPM rims.

Need proof that it's a genuine Magni? You could ask them directly, but this VIN stamp should suffice.  Built by a legend, with more World Championships under his belt than any other human in any field of sport or motorsport. [Bonhams]

Tipping the scales at just 427.6lbs (194kgs) dry, the Sfida — like the Arturo 1000 and Classico 1000 — was adorned in retro-themed bodywork inspired by the Italian racers of the 1960s, complete with hand-hammered aluminum tank, a la MV and Gilera’s fuel-cell’s from back in the day. Further complimenting the hand-formed tank is an equally attractive half-cafe-fairing and a humped monoposto tail. Expected to bring in somewhere between $15-20K, this particular Magni Moto Guzzi left the shop in 1989, and remains in pristine, all original condition to this day.

2. 1926 Triumph Model P

The 1926 Triumph Model P is a picture of reliable simplicity [Bonhams]

After the conclusion of the first World War, Triumph returned to full-time civilian scoot production. Taking advantage of the reputation the brand earned with soldiers during the war, the British marque decided to introduce a new utilitarian, barebones, side-valve single-cylinder model in 1924, with the Model P. Though the Model P didn’t boast any technological or mechanical innovations — or really any bells and whistles for that matter — the bike’s £42 MSRP made it a wildly popular offering, greatly undercutting competitors’ budget models.

The Model P's 500cc sidevavle motor was unstressed and earned the company a reputation for building dependable machines.  Note the bulbous silencer body beneath the footrest, and Triumph's double-barrel carburetor, in which the fuel flow and air flow are controlled by two separate levers. [Bonhams]
Despite its affordable price-tag, the Model P was a pretty decent performer, which practically guaranteed its success. In fact, the Model P was such a good seller, that Triumph wasn’t quite ready for the wave of orders that rushed in following the side-valve single’s release. Eventually the marque setup a haphazard assembly line and was able to pump out the backlogged orders, resulting in a nice profit for the company, and playing an important role in the outfit’s transition to mass production.

A 500cc machine with barely over 240lbs weight is possible with a minimal open frame, and simple mudguards. [Bonhams]
This particular 1926 Model P — which is fitted with optional acetylene light — has previously undergone an “amateur restoration” before winding up at Oklahoma’s Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum where it has remain for the last decade or so. Expected to bring in between $6-8K, this charming British single is a gorgeous example of a pre-Great Depression model, when motorcycles were still evolving from pedal-powered bicycles.

3. Ex-McQueen 1971 Husqvarna 250 Cross

Steve's 250 Husky, for real. [Bonhams]

When Torsten Hallman introduced America to lightweight Swedish machinery in 1966 it forever altered the landscape of off-road competition in the States. Hallman spent a season traveling around the US and competing in various races aboard a Husqvarna — all of which he won. Because of the Swede’s success, other riders quickly took notice of the nimble dirt-goer, one of whom was actor and moto-legend Steve McQueen.

What the people want: Steve McQueen on a Husqvarna! [Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated/Getty Image]
McQueen was supposedly introduced to Husky’s bikes during the filming of On Any Sunday, and from that time forward the filmstar and avid rider always had numerous Huskys in his personal stable. McQueen also famously rode a Husqvarna in the 1971 hit movie, as well as on the cover of a Sports Illustrated later that same year.

The Husqvarna 250 Cross was the best motocrosser in the world, which is why Steve McQueen bought them! The stickers are 'as per Steve'... [Bonhams]
Though this particular example isn’t the legendary 400 Cross previously owned by McQueen, it is a genuine ex-McQueen Husky 250 Cross, purchased brand new by his production company, Solar Productions in ’71 before later trading hands and undergoing a major restoration. The sale of this bike includes a collection of paperwork on the two-wheeler, authenticating its prior ownership. Expected to fetch between $50-60K, this 1971 Husqvarna 250 Cross is an iconic bike from one of motorcycling’s biggest celebrities of all time. This same auction will also see an ex-McQueen 1938 Triumph 5T Speed Twin — expected to take in between $55-65K — cross the block.

4. 1941 Indian 741B Scout

The cool and compact Indian Scout in its final incarnation [Bonhams]

Though motorcycles had seen action in military conflicts in a limited capacity, it wasn’t until the first World War that motorized two-wheelers were utilized on a mass-scale, and by the time the Second World War rolled around, motorcycles were commonplace on the battlefield. Despite bikes leaving riders woefully exposed, motorcycles were often still the best choice for carrying out tasks like recon, delivering sensitive intel, or just shlepping wounded soldiers or supplies through harsh terrains.

We love the metallic green paint on this 741 Scout! [Bonhams]
At the outbreak of the Second World War, the US military commissioned a series of motorcycle prototypes from various US manufacturers. Despite Harley’s WLA objectively being the scoot of choice amongst US armed forces, Indian nonetheless attempted to grab a piece of that lucrative pie, so the Springfield-based firm lightly modified its existing Sport Scout to create the 640B. Unfortunately, it was widely considered under-powered, so Indian went back to the drawing board and developed a second militarized model; the 741B Scout.

Cutting a slim profile with an open cradle frame, the Indian 741 Scout [Bonhams]
The newer model was powered by the 30.50ci (500cc) V-Twin used in the marque’s previous generation Junior Scout. In order to make the 450lb 741B more suitable to military applications, its compression was lowered, an over-sized sand and water-resistant air-filter was tacked on, girder forks were lengthened to bolster ground clearance (and to provide ample mounting points for rifle scabbards and radio kits), saddle bags were added to the mix, and a perforated shield was attached to the righthand-side of the engine in order to minimize radio interference from the coil ignition. Of the more than 40,000 bikes and sidecar to leave the Indian Motocycle factory — which earned an “E” pennant from the Army-Navy Production Board for the marque’s stellar work — from ’39 through ’45, some 35,000 of those units were supposedly 741Bs.

While civilianized (or painted for the groove army), this 741 Scout retains its excellent mil-spec air cleaner setup [Bonhams]
This particular civilianized 741B Indian has undergone an extensive restoration, though unlike original war Indian examples — which left the factory without baring any company badges or emblems (aside from an information plate) —this ’41 Scout has been hit with a coat of metallic Las Vegas Green, finished off with gold Indian logos on the tank. This is also seemingly one of rare war Indians that was purchased by non-US allied forces, which is presumably how this bike wound up in New Zealand. This 1941 Indian 741B Scout is expected to go for between $12-15K when it takes its turn under the hammer.

5. 1958 Moto Parilla 250 Gran Sport

A wonderful piece of racing history, with a full dustbin fairing, banned later that year from GP competition [Bonhams]

Moto Parilla first came on the scene in a post-war Italy in ’46, debuting its inaugural offering, a quarter-liter, four-stroke single-cylinder racer with overhead camshaft. In the years that followed the Italian outfit improved on its existing designs, tinkering with the machines and squeezing out more and more power. In ’53 Parilla unveiled its first high-camshaft engine model, before proceeding to release a range of “camme rialzata” bikes ranging in displacement from 125-350cc’s.

A very famous racing marque in its day, whose legacy is nearly forgotten today. The period-correct AMA sticker is a nice touch. [Bonhams]
The company continued to improve the high-cam models, with the 250 version putting down a cool 26 horses (at 9,500rpm) by 1960. Despite their age, these peppy singles remained competitive, prompting Parilla to keep versions of the high-cam in production (for a total of 15 years) until the company finally went under in ’67.

Looking mean and fast standing still, in the late 1950s all of Italy aspired for a bike like this Parilla Gran Sport [Bonhams]
This 250 Gran Sport specimen is a 1958 model year, and appears to have undergone an extensive restoration. The camme rialzata 250 lump hides behind a beautiful, handmade, aluminum, full “dustbin” style fairing — complimented by matching aluminum cafe hump. The rims are also aluminum units. Decorating the hand-formed bodywork is an attractive paint scheme — a combination of gloss red and exposed, polished metal — adorned in racing numbers and a variety of stickers and decals.

6. 1949 Salsbury Model 85

Built courtesy the excess capacity of the aircraft industry, the Salisbury was a very advanced scooter, with a modern shape, and a host of innovations that made it easy to drive. Today, they're rare and coveted by scooter fans. [Bonhams]

In 1936 E. Foster Salsbury introduced the Salsbury Aero Model Motor Glide, a cleverly designed scooter with its drivetrain stuffed under the seat. Only a couple dozen examples were manufactured before Salsbury pulled the cover off a new groundbreaking model in ’38 that featured a CVT (or constantly variable transmission), as well as a host of other features implemented in an effort to entice car owners to two-wheeled travel.

The ubiquitous, remarkably reliable Briggs&Stratton sidevalve motor, which is here combined with a variable-drive system of Foster Salisbury's invention. [Bonhams]
Dubbed the Salsbury 50 and 60, the new models were engineered specifically with ease-of-use in mind, making the Salsbury scoots a markedly more attractive offering to the average car owner than the average, manual transmission two-wheeler would. In ’47 the marque took things one step further with the introduction of the Super Scooter Model 85. Also known as the “Imperial Rocket”, the new machine featured car-style, foot-controlled gas and brake pedals, along with bodywork capped in chrome-plated, spring steel bumpers, and an enclosed engine that shielded the rider from the collection of greasy mechanical parts under the arm-chair cushion that Salsbury passed off as the Model 85’s saddle.

Looking to the future! while the future for the Salisbury scooter wasn't long, the ideas it pioneered became industry standards in a few decades [Bonhams]
At the heart of the Imperial Rocket was a 6hp fan-cooled, four-stroke, 320cc single-cylinder engine capable of getting the scooter up to approximately 50mph. The 85’s unique bodywork was inspired by the aviation designs E. Foster Salsbury did during WW2. After producing somewhere between 700 and 1,000 units, the company was forced to close its doors for good in ’48, however scooter units continued to be sold through 1950. This particular 1949 Salsbury Model 85 has received a gorgeous restoration, and is expected to bring in between $8-10K when it goes under the hammer later this month.

7. 1989 Gilera 500 Nuovo GBM Saturno

 

As big 1980s singles go, the Gilera Saturno was the hottest of them all [Bonhams]

Born out of a joint effort between Gilera and Japan’s Itochu Corporation (commonly known as “C. Itoh & Co.” in English), the Nuovo Saturno was a result of dropping the Italian marque’s newly designed single (first seen in ’85 on the 350 Dakota) into a lightweight sport chassis, adding Marzocchi suspenders, Marvic rims, and Brembo brakes, fore and aft, then finishing off the package with a cafe tail, sporty tank, and a half-fairing – penned by Japanese designer, H Hagiwara and Gilera’s Sandro Colombo.

Fantastic cockpit for the GB version of the nuovo Saturno, and all-black finish for the TT [Bonhams]
Not unlike the Western motorcycle market today, 1980s Japan had a distinct appreciation for classic and retro-themed offerings, so when it came time to debut the cafe’d thumper in ’87, the company opted to revive its famed “Saturno” moniker, capitalizing on the island’s love for the classic 1940’s model. While the model’s initial release was limited to the far east, the stylish single’s success prompted the firm to begin offering the Nuovo Saturno in other markets including Europe. Despite becoming available in most major markets, the half-liter half-naked only remained in production for less than half-a-decade, making surviving specimens fairly rare.

Slim and light, with tremendous tuning potential, or you could simply enjoy the 43 rear-wheel HP. [Bonhams]
The nimble little runner yielded 43hp, which admittedly isn’t much, though the bike’s sub-320lb weight still ultimately afforded it a top-speed of 115mph. Despite its alluring appearance and a relatively advanced power plant — water-cooling, dual exhaust ports, toothed-belt-driven double-overhead camshafts, four-valve cylinder head, forged piston, single-piece crank, etc — surprisingly few units ever left the factory, with only a fraction of said units officially exported to foreign shores, making examples exceedingly rare. Even more seldom found are special limited edition models, such as this 1989 GBM-spec Nuovo Saturno which was released to celebrate the TT. Originally from Japan by way of New Zealand, this half-liter specimen appears to be all original, wearing its factory paint, and lovely dual-can under-tail pipes, half-fairing with headlight bubble and transparent hand-shields. Despite leaving the factory almost thirty-years-ago, this bone-stock two-wheeler arguably looks more like a one-off Italian cafe racer than it does an unmolested factory offering.

8. 1970 Cushman Car with 1946 Cushman “Husky” Model 53A

Hands down, the #1 stealer of hearts at Las Vegas this year, the Cushman-powered carnival car with trailer and scooter. In red! [Bonhams]

Founded in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1903, the Cushman Scooter Company first got its start producing farm equipment and two-stroke boat motors before later expanding into an array of additional applications, including scooters and minibikes. In 1922 the American outfit introduced the “Husky” engine; an air-cooled, four-stroke, horizontal-shaft single. In 1936 Cushman decided to develop a small scooter around the Husky engine in an effort to sell more of its Husky mills, resulting in the Cushman Auto-Glide.

The Cushman Husky Model 53A on its custom trailer. [Bonhams]
Additional motorized two-wheelers followed, including popular models like the Eagle, Truckster, and the 53A — the latter of which is the example seen on the trailer above (or below?). Powered by Cushman’s Husky engine, this particular pocket-sized scoot has undergone a complete restoration. Pulling the 1946 53A is an even more charming pint-sized vehicle that was originally part of an amusement park ride, but was plucked from the carousel, given a steel ladder chassis that now houses the little sports car’s Cushman Husky engine.

A full engine bay! The Cushman Husky sidevalve motor looks potent in this context [Bonhams]
The bespoke Cushman-powered carnival car is linked to a custom trailer that, like the pair of little Husky powered vehicles, has been adorned in a coat of gloss red paint. The tiny auto also features a collection of exquisite details such as the wood interior trim, lighting, instrumentation, leather upholstery, mirrors, windshield. This unorthodox offering is expected to fetch between $5-6K when it goes under the hammer later this month.

The Beast! 1200cc four-cylinder bikes are common today, but they weren't when Friedl Münch began building them in 1968. [Bonhams]
Working out of his personal shop in mid 1960s West Germany, Friedl Münch produced what many consider to be the world’s first bonafide super bike; the Münch Mammoth (or Mammut in German). Underwhelmed with the motorized two-wheeled offerings of his time, Münch set out to create his own visionary motorcycle. Predating the CB750’s four-barrel by a full two-years, the Mammoth was powered by an air-cooled, SOHC, 1,000cc inline four from NSU’s 1000 TT Prinz. And like the Prinz, the Mammoth’s inline-four was married to a four-speed gearbox.
The late, fuel-injected version of the NSU four-cylinder Prinz motor, known as the 1200TTS [Bonhams]
In order to squeeze more power out of the car’s motor, Münch cooked up special camshafts which were fitted to the mill, along with dual-throat Weber carbs. Other custom bits on the Mammoth fabbed up in Münch’s West German shop included a new oil-pan, gearbox case, and primary cover for the quad-cylinder cycle.  To accommodate for the German liter-sized four-banger’s oomph, Münch developed his own chassis; a twin-cradle structure paired with a fork assembly built by the famous Rickman Bro’s to Münch’s exact specifications. The bike’s single-piece seat-pan/rear-fender combo, rear wheel, and 250mm front double-leading shoe brake — which Münch designed himself in-house — were comprised of electron, a magnesium-alloy that’s as trick as its name suggests/sounds. The antithesis of a parts-bin bike, the Mammoth was created with a spare-no-expense attitude that, while made for a truly stellar motorcycle, didn’t exactly help keep production costs down — costing more than twice that of a high-end BMW of the day.
Yes, it's large and heavy, but actually lighter than a stock Harley-Davidson touring rig by a long shot, with very stable handling [Bonhams]
Despite engine displacement being bumped up to 1.2 liters in 1974, the original buyer of this ’74 example still opted to have the lump bored out to 1,286cc’s in order to produce an even 100hp — a feat that was achieved through the implementation of cast iron cylinder barrels, larger valves, and high-lift cam. A quad-port Kugelfischer mechanical fuel-injection system that functioned via a simple ramp-and-ball layout (this was in the pre-onboard computer-regulated injection) was also employed — resulting in the “E” designation on the bike, with “E” standing for “Einspritzer”, German for “injection”.
How to stop it? In the 1960s, Münch designed and cast up a series of magnesium 2-leading shoe brakes of enormous size, for racing. They proved good enough to haul down a 100+HP behemoth. The rear wheel was designed and built in series after the early Mammuts ripped out their rear spokes! [Bonhams]
The first owner also specially requested that his TTS-E 1200 be equipped with a plush and cushiony solo saddle (with internal tool kit), chromed luggage-rack, nine-gallon long-range fuel-cell, and a long wheel-base frame (2-3” longer than the base unit’s chassis) to bolster the two-wheeler’s sport-touring prowess. Other supplementary add-ons from the factory consisted of dual oil-coolers and a single 200mm Sportlich headlight. In addition to the sled itself, the sale of this relatively immaculate Münch also includes hand-written notes from the model’s creator, Friedl Münch (who sadly passed away in 2014), along with its titles from Germany and the US (Texas), sales brochure, original advertisement poster, original owner’s manual, and a grip of service records and receipts.
Got receipts? Note the legendary Münch catalog at the top, with the nearly naked passenger. Ah, the Seventies... [Bonhams]
Supposedly keeping detailed records wasn’t Münch’s forte, but it’s estimated that around 500 examples were built before operations came to an end in ’75. Of those bikes, only a very small fraction of those came to US shores. This particular three-owner 1200TTS-E Münch Mammut (engine and frame number: 405X246) from 1974 has just 15,000 original miles on the clock, has been verified by the Münch Club as an authentic matching numbers specimen, and is expected to fetch between $115-135K.   Want to know what it's like to ride one?  Read our Road Test of a Münch Mammut here!
 
Combine an amazingly catchy name with world-beating performance and make a legend for all time. The Vincent Black Lightning has a deserved place in everyone's Top Ten of most desirable motorcycles [Bonhams]
Hans Stärkle was a factory rider for the NSU team prior to the war. While racing for the German outfit, Stärkle earned an impressive trio of European championships. After representing NSU for some time, Stärkle jumped ship and opted to compete aboard a Vincent. The rider purchased his Black Lightning brand new in 1949 from the marque’s Swiss distributor, Kämpfen & Hieronimy of Zurich.
Used as the maker intended: the original owner of this Black Lightning hammering around the track [Bonhams]
Stärkle’s Vincent originally came from the factory fitted with Amal TT10 racing carbs, 'HRD Brampton '46 pattern forks', alloy brake plates, and Dural mudguards, though the ex-NSU pilot replaced the bike’s stock front-end with Series-C Girdraulic forks, which handled the stresses of sidecar racing far better than the old Brampton units. The motorcycle was purchased with the express purpose of going sidecar racing in the Unlimited Class. After having the sled in his stable for less-than-half-a-decade, Hans opted to let go of the Vincent, marking the first time it traded hands — an occurrence that would happen three more times.
The heart of the matter: it was the most powerful motorcycle engine in the world for decades, and deserved its reputation. Note the custom, extended kickstart pivot - the standard kicker won't work with Lightning straight pipes. [Bonhams]
The exact history and documentation on this example is extensive, proving the rich pedigree of this elite machine. Expected to generate somewhere between $360-400K at auction later this month, this particular 'RC3548' Vincent Black Lightning will probably be the most exorbitant specimen to grace the Rio All this January.
Yes. Ride your Lightning on the road! The ultimate 1950s cafe racer - nothing could touch it. [Bonhams]
You can click here to check out the complete list of lots for Bonham’s Vegas 2019.

Mecum's Blockbuster 2019 Las Vegas Sale

Already the biggest motorcycle auction in the world by a long shot, this year the Mecum Las Vegas auction at the South Point Casino will be their biggest ever, run over six days from January 22-27th.  Their sale includes 238 bikes from the excellent MC Collection of Sweden, which includes some of the rarest and most desirable motorcycles on the planet, like a 1925 Brough Superior SS100, several Husqvarna racers, early American machines, and European sports and racing motorcycles too. The full Mecum catalog is here, and it's a whopper [full disclosure - our own Paul d'Orléans wrote the auction catalog]. This is going to be one hell of a sale, and Vintagent Contributor Tim Huber picked 5 bikes to discuss from the over 1000 machines for sale.  Here are some of Tim's favorites:
1905 Indian Camelback 
The 1905 Indian 'Camelback' - one of the earliest Indians in existence, and a true pioneer of American motorcycle manufacturing [Mecum]
What’s today known as the Indian brand first began in 1897, operating under the flag of the Hendee Manufacturing Company. Founded by George M. Hendee, the American outfit got its start pumping out bicycles with names like the “Silver King” and “American Indian” — the latter of which was shortened to “Indian”.
Carl Oscar Hedstrom built the first Indian prototype in 1901, and limited production began immediately [The Vintagent Archive]
After a couple years of operation, Hendee brought on Oscar Hedsrom in 1901 to develop a gas engine that could be fitted to one of Hendee’s pedal-powered two-wheelers. Later that same year the company opened its first factory in Springfield and introduced its first prototype; a 2.25hp, 260cc (15.85ci) ) “F-head” (inlet over exhaust) single-cylinder engine that doubled as part of the scoot’s diamond frame. The pedal-assisted runner offered a top-speed of around 30mph and utilized a chain final drive.
Oscar Hedstrom's engine was based on the successful DeDion pattern, but his carburetor was the best in the industry when Hedstrom invented it in 1900 [Mecum]
Dubbed the “Camelback” on account of its rear-fender/fuel-cell/oil-tank combo, the company’s first model  went into production in 1902, and remained in largely unchanged until 1906, when Indians got a top-tube tank.  Indian outsourced the production of its engines to the Aurora Automatic Machinery Co. (makers of Thor) until it began making its own mills in-house in 1907. The Camelback was a strong seller for Indian, largely because the new single was very reliable, thanks to Hedstrom’s patented spray carburetor design. The model was also popular amongst racers.
Using the engine as a stressed member of the chassis is not a new concept! It was one way to strengthen the Hendee bicycle frame, and the 'cartridge' front fork suspension was a great aid in rider comfort [Mecum]
Throughout the duration of the Camelback’s production, the Springfield-based marque developed an impressive reputation, with its machines taking part in an endurance race from NYC to Boston in 1902, one year prior to Hedstrom clocking a new world speed record of 56mph. Indian offered its first ever V-twin to the public in 1907, and soon their V-twins would overtake the single-cylinder models in sales, just as with other American makes. 1906 also saw an Indian ridden from San Francisco to New York in 31.5 days, supposedly sans mechanical failure.

Very few Camelbacks left the factory in its first four years of production, and only a fraction of those still exist today, making early examples particularly rare. This restored 1905 specimen is expected to bring in between $85-110K this January.
1928 BMW R47 Racer
The rear brake pedal operates on the driveshaft coupling to the gearbox, in effect a 4" brake drum, and not very effective. The very large front brake is a racing item. [Mecum]
BMW first got its start making aircraft engines in the First World War, but after Germany was no longer permitted to produce planes or aviation hardware, the company pivoted to building motorcycles (after a less-than-fruitful, short-lived attempt at producing brake systems for trains). In 1923 the Bavarian brand introduced its first motorized two-wheeler, the R32. A truly revolutionary offering in the 1920’s, BMW’s inaugural bike was powered by a 494cc, twin-cylinder, horizontally opposed, four-stroke engine (known as the “Boxer”) — a layout that BMW continues employing to this day.
The strapped-on auxiliary tank is a restorer's favorite: it was offered as an option by the factory for long-distance touring or racing. Note the speedometer at the top of the frame
[Mecum]
The R32 was followed by its higher-spec sibling — and BMW’s first sports model — in 1924 with the R37. Though the R37 was an impressive machine in its time, the suits at BMW knew its relatively exorbitant manufacturing costs were a problem. So the engineers in Bavaria were tasked with delivering a successor to the R37 that was not only markedly cheaper to produce, but one that would also boast superior performance.
Not just for road racing: Ernst Henne waits at a checkpoint for the 1928 ISDT. From the remarkable Stefan Knittel book 'BMW Rennsport' (read our book review here!) [BMW Archives]
The result was the R47. Using the half-liter OHV mill from the R37 as the starting point, the team designed and implemented a new, simplified duplex-loop chassis paired with improved, lighter suspenders in the form of a leaf-sprung trailing-link front fork. A large portion of the electronics were also deleted. In the end BMW was able to bring down the cost of production by more than 1/3 (36% to be exact) without compromising performance — the exact opposite actually. The Boxer’s prowess was a clear reminder that BMW’s former occupation was producing machines that took flight.
The single carburetor casting is clearly seen atop the gearbox here: icing of the inlet tracts was an issue, as was the tortuous induction path - soon twin carbs made their debut for better performance [Mecum]
The revised engine — which was a lot like the unit found in the touring-focused R42, aside from the loss of the side-valves — made around 50% more power at 18hp (at 4,000rpm) and allowed for a top-speed of around 70mph thanks to its sub-300lbs weight. The powerful engine made the R47 particularly attractive to racers, as did the fact BMW further encouraged the new mount’s competition use by selling it as a barebones model that could be fitted with an array of optional factory parts. This included components such as headlights, generators, and horns for road use, as well as number-plates and a supplementary quick-release fuel-cell for longer races.
Additional highlights on the R47 included a Cardan drive rear brake, a Bosch magneto, a three-speed gearbox and a single-plate dry clutch, and most notably; replaceable bushings, and roller-bearings utilized in the valve rocker arms — supposedly a first. Produced for just two-years in ’27 and ’28 before being replaced by the R57, BMW sold more than 1,700 R47s — reportedly ten times the number of R37s sold by the factory.
If the lines say 'Ernst Henne', then you're seeing correctly. This bike is restored to mimic the factory racers of the day, with their peculiar M handlebar bend and vertical grips - a German peculiarity [Mecum]
The R47 has become one of the most prized and sought-after 'flat tank' models from this iconic brand. The Weimar era - after WW1 and  before the Depression - was of monumental importance to BMW, with the brand producing (or rather licensing) its first ever car, the 3-15PS (or the “Dixi”) in 1928, a year prior to a BMW motorcycle (piloted by the great Ernst Henne) achieving the world speed record of 134mph (216km/h) in ’29  on a public highway outside Munich. This particular 1928 R47 racer is in immaculate condition and features a number of period-correct options, including the extra quick-release fuel-cell.
1980 Bimota SB2
The sexy Seventies! The Bimota SB2 is styled unlike any other motorcycle, with extravagant curves emphasized by a 3-tone paint scheme [Mecum]
Not unlike the speed wars of the 1990s, in the 1970s the motorcycling industry experienced a pattern of engine design greatly surpassing that of chassis technology, at least among the Japanese manufacturers dominating the business.  While the first generation of Japanese fours were plenty fast, they seldom possessed adequate frame rigidity, suspension damping, or stopping power to accommodate their increasingly potent power plants.  This inspired three motorcycle enthusiasts in Italy to form Bimota, to create cutting-edge frames to house Japanese engines, which were than outfitted with a smorgasbord of equally trick components.
It's on our list of All-Time Best motorcycle designs, and is still relatively affordable. This example from the MC Collection is pristine [Mecum]
The first model from the boutique manufacturer was the Honda CB750-powered HB1 (or “Honda Bimota 1”) in 1973, and less than a dozen were built. Despite their tiny production, the HB1 gave this Rimini-based outfit a reputation for building first-rate racing chassis, with exceptional build quality.  Two years later Bimota unveiled another production racer, the Suzuki TR500-based model 'SB1' at the 1975 Milan Motor Show.
So body-huggingly erotic it remains unique, the Bimota SB2 is a bike you're fanatical for...or not.  We fall in the crazy-for-it camp.  [Mecum]
At the 1977 Bologna Motor Show Bimota debuted its first road-legal motorcycle, the aggressively sexy SB2. At the heart of the new model was Suzuki’s GS750 mill wrapped in an ultra lightweight chromoly trellis frame.  Its DOHC motor was a stressed frame member, and the frame featured an adjustable steering-head angle. The three-quarter-liter engine had been bumped up to 850cc, and was hotted up with Yoshimura pistons and cams, and the SB2 generated 78hp at 8,700rpm, 42ft-lbs of torque at 8,250rpm, and boast a top-speed of 135mph, making it one of the fastest motorcycles in the world.
Your body here. While some racing motorcycles had knee and elbow dents, production bikes typically have far less interesting shapes. While it isn't slim, the SB2 is definitely biomorphic [Mecum]
The trick frame — which only weighed around 20lbs — was paired with race-spec 35mm Ceriani forks up front and a Corte & Cosso monoshock out back. Braking duties were bestowed upon a trio of Brembo discs married to lightweight magnesium alloy, gold anodized, Campagnolo rims. The SB2 also got brake caliper mounts, fork yokes, and rear-set brackets machined from billet aluminum. Weighing in at just 432lbs, the SB2 was a whopping 66lbs lighter than the stock GS750, though the lightness (and all those top-shelf parts) didn’t come cheap: the SB2 sold for a cool $4,000, (a figure that translates to just over $17K today with inflation) approximately triple the price of the stock Suzuki.
A tuned Suzuki DOHC four, ported, cammed, with racing carbs and hi-comp pistons, the Bimota went as good as it looked [Mecum]
Undeniably the most eye-catching aspect of the SB2 is its sweeping and curvaceous bodywork. The unapologetically 1970s, Tamburini-designed bodywork was made up of a one-piece tank and tail section comprised of aluminum-lined fiberglass, with a removable 3.4 gallon inner fuel-cell. The design originally planned for the exhausts to exit via the tail, though testing revealed that this layout generated too much heat, negatively affecting carburetion: it was decided to run a low-hanging four-into-one system instead. However, instead of redesigning the exhaust ports on the tail, Tamburini opted to use the recesses for the SB2’s rear indicators.
Saddle up! Grow out your mutton chops, pull on your flares, wax your handlebar 'stache, 'cause its the shagalicious '70s, baby [Mecum]
While its performance might not sound that impressive by today’s standards, upon its release, the SB2 was some serious next-level machinery, and the fact it just happened to be adorned in some of the sexiest bodywork of the decade was just the icing on the cake. This particular 1980 example was last ridden in ’84, before being expertly restored in 2012. One of the 140 SB2 units to leave the factory in Rimini, this exact example bears the nickname “The Blix Gordon” and currently resides in the MC Collection of Stockholm, though it’s expected to fetch between $29-36K come its turn to cross the block in January.
1929 Neander-JAP V-twin
With an artist's eye and a Utopian inclination, Ernst Neumann-Neander's idiosyncratic motorcycles are a masterpiece of design, with features predating motorcycle trends by many decades. [Mecum]
Born in 1871 in the Prussian city of Kassel, Ernst Neumann-Neander trained as an artist in Germany, and moved to Paris in 1903 to pursue his art. While there, Ernst befriended a number of major players from the rapidly emerging auto industry. Son of the famous sea and landscape painter, Emil Neumann, Ernst relocated to Berlin in 1908 where he started his own studio, "Ateliers Neumann”, where he designed Art Nouveau-style posters and advertisements for car companies, though it didn't take long for the German to shift his career focus from marketing vehicles, to making them.
The clean lines of the Neander look surprisingly modern for a 1920s motorcycle [Mecum]
Neumann had reportedly been tinkering with motorcycle design largely behind closed doors for around 20 years, building a steam-powered tricycle concept in the late 1800s (hipsters, eat your heart out) before officially starting his own marque. His first foray into vehicle design was penning coachwork for noteworthy companies like Szawe, Schebera, and Rolls Royce. With time, Neumann's work on wheels became his primary focus, and in 1924 he moved to Euskirchen (an hour south of Cologne) where he founded the Neander Motorfahrzeug GmbH.  He also took Neander as his last name, which is Greek for 'new man', as our Ernst was a Utopian visionary, who believed technology would transform human life.
Ernst Neumann-Neander: a true visionary, and a rare radical thinker whose products were commercially successful [Hockenheim Museum Archive]
Motorcycle chassis technology had come a long way since the introduction of the motorized two-wheeler, however there was still plenty of room for innovation as far as Ernst was concerned. In place of the standard structures of the day the former artist assembled a complex riveted box-section frame design comprised of duralumin — an aluminum and copper alloy invented in 1903 by fellow German, Alfred Wilm — plated in cadmium. Though the lightweight metal was primarily utilized by the aviation industry, Neumann felt the trick new material had properties that would lend themselves well to motorcycle frames.
The 'egg' fuel tank with integral speedo. Note the blue leather upholstery, that wraps around the tank and over the saddle. [Mecum]
The new channel-section frame design boasted superior performance capabilities, being light and resistant to corrosion.  As it was rivetted together and could be assembled from prefabricated parts, production time for the frame was reduced fivefold, from around 20 hours to less than four. Up front, Neumann used  a relatively sophisticated suspension setup of his own design, with a pivoting leaf-spring setup, and with the unique spring boxes located at the steering head. As demonstrated by the Neander’s success in competition, when wrapped around the right engine, the Neander frame design made for a particularly competent racer — a fact used to market the unique machine during its short-lived production run.
The performance from the big JAP v-twin makes riding the Neander-JAP a very pleasant experience [Mecum]
The Neander Motorfahrzeug introduced the new frame design on a range of models, with a number of  smaller bikes powered by 175cc Villiers two-strokes, and several bigger singles and V-twins (as large as 1,000cc) from companies like JAP, Motosacoche, and Küchen. The Neander's innovations and racing success brought industry attention, and in 1928 Opel licensed the Neander design, which was sold as the Ope Motoclub, and built until the company ceased motorcycle production in 1931, when Opel was acquired by American auto powerhouse, General Motors.

The Neander’s innovative frame and front-end made it an attractive offering — as Paul learned when he test-rode a JAP-powered Neander in the mountains of Bavaria —  but furthering the model’s desirability was its distinctive appearance which undeniably benefitted from Neumann’s background as a formally trained painter and sculptor. The model sported an body-hugging saddle protruding from a surprisingly modern-looking fuel-cell — both of which were incredibly ahead of their time aesthetically and a major departure from the elongated, tear-drop style tanks and bicycle saddles of the day.
At the dawn of the next decade as the world reeled from a global financial crisis, Ernst Neumann-Neander began developing his vision for a 'people's car' -  a utilitarian, no frills, vehicle for the everyman.  He developed a series of Fahrmaschinen (Driving Machines), which were small cars with an interesting leaning/tilting chassis, that had excellent performance.  But setbacks like exorbitant production costs, a lack of interest from the public, and the machine’s unorthodox nature meant only about 20 were built before the plug was pulled on the project, on the outbreak of World War Two.
Badass, but tiny! One of the Neander racing cars from the late 1930s, powered by the same V-twin motor as the motorcycle for sale here! [Hockenheim Museum Archive]
In the end about 2,000 Neander motorcycles left the factory, plus the Opel models built under license.  Neumann-Neander passed away in 1954 at the age of 83, having pursued his vision and successfully produced his idiosyncratic machines, which today are coveted by collectors.  This particular  Neander is fitted with a JAP 1,000cc, V-twin sidevalve K-series engine, married to a hand-shifted three-speed gearbox, and a Bosch magdyno. Currently part of the MC collection of Stockholm, this 1929 example is all original, even still wearing its leather tank wrap, knee-pads, and pouch/pocket, rear-luggage, and lighting from the factory. This rare museum-worthy survivor is expected to bring in between $50 and 65K when it crosses the auction block next month.
1948 Egli-Vincent Cafe Racer
An upgraded Egli-Vincent, with disc brakes front and rear, and cafe racer styling [Mecum]
Like several other examples on this list, Vincents were ahead of their time in myriad areas, and their well-developed engines held the distinct honor of being the most powerful mills in the world from '36 to '73, though their "frames" left something to be desired over the years. Many racers — including John Surtees — attempted to get around the frame's limitations by dropping the robust V-Twins into a more capable chassis. One racer (and engineer) from Switzerland, Fritz Egli, created his own chassis in 1967 that employed a large tubular backbone unit (welded together, not bolted) that functioned as the oil-tank in addition to the main structural member.
A compelling cockpit - with a big 5" Black Shadow speedometer and smaller rev-counter [Mecum]
Despite the Egli's engine being more than a dozen years old, the excellent frame, when combined with top-of-the-line running gear, resulted in a terrific racer. In 1968 an Egli-Vincent won a prestigious European hillclimb event, and that same year Egli kicked off micro-batch production. Supposedly only around 100 original Egli-built Vincent were ever built, making them wildly hard to find.
The heart of it all, the big Vincent lump, which was the fastest motorcycle engine in the world for decades [Mecum]
After Fritz quit building motorcycle chassis, a talented Egli-Vincent enthusiast, Patrick Godet, started reproducing the Swiss-framed, British-powered icons. Godet's expertise made him the only person to receive Egli's official blessing to recreate his chassis. The Frenchman spent decades building officially licensed Egli-Vincents to order. Godet sadly passed away only a few weeks ago, so the fate of his company is unclear.
Fritz Egli's frame design is barely visible, but uses a large-diameter tube for its backbone [Mecum]
This particular Egli-framed 1948 Vincent cafe racer is propelled by a genuine Series B Rapide engine and shows only 2,352 miles on the clock. The Series B Rapide was the new engine design introduced after World War Two by Philip Vincent and Phil Irving, improving on their already famous Series A Rapide. The new Vincents went on to bag win after win in numerous competitions and classes, including Rollie Free’s famous 150mph Bonneville speed-record in '48.
A young Fritz Egli with his hot Gilera Saturno in the 1950s: Fritz built cafe racers because that's what he rode! See our article on Egli-Vincents here. [David Lancaster]
Expected to fetch between $60 and 80K, this cafe'd Egli-Vincent sports a knee-dented tank, cafe fairing complete with headlight bubble, machined rear-sets, velocity stacks, disc brakes fore and aft, two-into-one pipe, and clip-ons, amgonst other highlights. Part of the MC of Stockholm collection, this gorgeous two-wheeler is adorned in a royal blue livery with silver stripe and genuine Egli-Vincent badges and is one of the raddest cafe racers in the world.
For more info on Mecum's 2019 Las Vegas auction you can check out this full-length preview/promo video for the MC Stockholm collection, or click here to view all 52-pages of the auction's lots.