Thoughts on Electric Motorcycles?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Designer Jake, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. jrflanne

    jrflanne Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    147
    I took a Zero for a spin and will take one for a demo ride. I left pretty impressed with it. The instant torque was fun. The price is high. I just bought a Griso for about $1500 less than a Zero. It will be interesting to see the future of electric bikes.
    #21
  2. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,070
    Location:
    Sonoma, Calif.
    .hmm! I actually have an aircraft starter motor I inherited and a welder too.....might try that
    #22
  3. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,331
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Answers below.

    We've known how to make electric vehicles that are as good or better than internal combustion ones since about 1910, EXCEPT for energy storage. An electric car is as good as or better than a normal one except it has a fuel tank that holds 2 gallons, weighs 1500 pounds, and has to be filled with an eyedropper over 4 hours. Same with the bikes -- they work great except that they have 50+ pounds of batteries that hold the equivalent of about 1 gallon of gas and take a couple hours to recharge. I wouldn't consider buying a regular bike that had a 1-gallon gas tank, much less one that took a long time to refill -- that limitation would make it nearly useless as a general use vehicle.

    Plus, what's one of the most troublesome components now of your car, bike, laptop, phone, whatever? The battery. The idea of the entire vehicle being powered by them is dumb.

    When you've got a way to store electricity that has a decent energy density, can be replenished in a couple minutes or less, and is reliable and durable, THEN I will have some interest. Until then, fuhgeddaboudit.

    PhilB
    #23
  4. corndog67

    corndog67 Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,281
    Location:
    Santa Maria, CA
    Featherbed frame? A 1950s reference.

    The electrics are probably the future. I'm not into them yet, although I looked at a bicycle last week that went 28 mph, and 120 miles or so the guy claimed.

    We'll see. They'll only get better
    #24
  5. larryboy

    larryboy Chopper Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Oddometer:
    15,374
    Location:
    Returning likes on redemption road.

    That's what's interesting, with rebates from the government and company discounts you actually CAN buy one for your 50% off proposal. Local rag, City Bike just did an article about it. I might have the details a little off, don't have the paper in front of me, but I was surprised at how cheap it would be to get onto one.
    #25
  6. Casey.

    Casey. Nerd on a bike

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Oddometer:
    70
    Location:
    Wichita, KS, USA
    Love the analogy.

    And as we're learning from 787s, they still "combust" :wink:

    I'm still looking forward to hydrogen as pointed out in Top Gear. I think electric is a middle phase that will be a blip between gas and its replacement.
    #26
  7. VxZeroKnots

    VxZeroKnots Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,968
    Location:
    Durango CO
    I think they are the future, and am excited to eventually own one. I may end up building an electric dirt bike as a project. We need to figure out energy storage because the motor characteristics are vastly superior to IC.

    Bring them on!
    #27
  8. moparren

    moparren Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    210
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    The tech is growing rapidly. I have heard that capaciters will be replacing batteries in the near future. If that is true, it wil change the game drasticly. It is my opinion that motorcycles are the perfict platform for EF development because they are lighter and you don't have to deal with things like heaters or AC.

    Check out the El Moto forum, lots of experience there.

    http://www.elmoto.net/forum.php?
    #28
  9. Vankaye

    Vankaye n00b on the move

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    225
    Location:
    TampaBay
    I am excited about Electric Bikes as well. Not so much for cars. I still love me a v8.

    I love the analogy of one gallon tank that has to be filled by a dropper. Perfect. Exactly why I don't own one yet.

    My three words: Not Enough Juice

    That said, if I went to a Zero Dealership and they offered me a spare battery that could be charged in the time it takes to drain the running one... for free... I'm in!!
    #29
  10. avgas

    avgas amateur

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    83
    Location:
    Oregon
    I think we'll see more and more electric motorcycles in the future. Currently they have pretty limited range. Everyone already knows that though, and you can either live with that, or you can't.

    I think the energy density issue will be solved though, and when that happens they'll (obviously) become more popular. Don't get me wrong, I love internal combustion engines, but I'd love to see a city that was quite and filled with fresh tasting air.
    #30
  11. craydds

    craydds Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,170
    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    Hey Snarky, my problem is that I cannot find an extension cord long enough to reach from Hell Paso To Lost Causes.
    #31
  12. Dave.0

    Dave.0 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    835
    Location:
    north texas for now, sedona when I can get away
    When I looked into getting a zero DS, the tax breaks and rebates that were being offered for electric cars didn't apply, maybe they will come back though and make it more "affordable" - otherwise I'd like to know about what other discounts I could get
    #32
  13. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    962
    I've long thought an electric dirt bike or quad could be delightfull. The torque curve of a connected electric motor would be fantastic for controlling my way through tricky parts. No slipping the clutch, no banging up and down the gears. The comparative quiet would also allow me to see more wildlife.

    Lack of range is the biggest drawback, though that's changed quite a bit in the past few years. The fun of accidentally running out of power somewhere way back would also not be pleasant. I can walk out and back in with a gas can. Not so easily done carrying a bunch of batteries.
    #33
  14. garandman

    garandman Wandering Minstrel

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,418
    Location:
    Dorchester, MA / Goshen, NH
    Personally I think electric motorcycles aren't quite ready for prime time.

    But I've had an electrically-assisted bicycle for four years, and it is awesome for getting around the city. It's classified as a bicycle so you can use bike paths, bike racks, take it in the T, etc. But it will go 20mph without any real pedaling and is the fastest way around the city without sweating.

    We built it up from a pre-built hub motor and wheel, controller, and upgraded the original sealed lead acid battery back to a 48v Life pack. I've gone 12 miles on one charge, not sure what the real range is - some say it's 40-50 miles.

    The best thing is I can pedal up a hill and pass some spandex-clad dude on a $2,000 road bike going uphill, and say "Hey, how's it going" as I pass him. They never seem to notice it's an ebike and kill themselves to get back in front.

    Hub motor.
    [​IMG]
    #34
  15. dmcd

    dmcd Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    626
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Michael Rutter did a 104mph average lap of the 37 mile Isle of Man Circuit during the TT Zero in 2012, They were hitting over 150 mph in places. Below is a short video of his team mate during practice. Looks exciting enough for me!


    http://youtu.be/4IxEnViCDyg
    #35
  16. Homerb

    Homerb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    481
    Location:
    Toukley NSW Australia
    ^^^^^^^^^
    What he said!
    #36
  17. Warin

    Warin Retired

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,532
    I suppose it depends on your definition of adventure riding.

    To me it is a long distance, multiday thing. I've carried 33 litres of fuel at times ... difficult enough with a high energy density fuel like petrol (gas) compared to batteries. The isle of man race is only one lap for the electric bikes .. the gas guzzlers do 2 laps on one tank of fuel. And their refueling is quick, much quicker than recharging a battery.

    ---------------------
    For commuting they are fine - short range and long time refueling are not too much of a problem for the average commute.
    #37
  18. PhilB

    PhilB Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,331
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Right. And they can do one lap. Which means that in a four-lap race, which is what the ICE bikes generally do, the electric bikes would lose to a good bicyclist.

    PhilB
    #38
  19. Homerb

    Homerb Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    481
    Location:
    Toukley NSW Australia
    True, but motorcycling is about having fun. (for me anyway). Id rather do 1 lap at the iomtt at 100 mph plus on an electric bike than four laps on a bicycle!
    #39
  20. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    9,766
    Location:
    the 'Ha
    Well said! :super
    #40