Archive for the ‘Electric motorcycles’ Category

Riderless Bike: What’s The Point?

Thursday, August 20th, 2015
Riderless motorcycle

The concept as visualized.

OK, I do understand the point; it just seems so wrong.

I’m talking about an article I ran across titled, “Police Bikes That Have No Rider.” The article discusses what is essentially a land-based drone motorcycle intended as sort of a RoboCop. What the heck, if Google can create a driverless car why can’t someone create a riderless motorcycle? Apparently they can.

The gist of the concept is this:

Deemed the interceptor, this concept is a driverless police vehicle. It would be equipped with 3D cameras and an extremely complex monitoring system. The “drone” will be able to monitor the streets, issue citations, and record violations in real time. Another widely accepted use for this vehicle would be nightly patrols and neighborhood watch, while being almost completely silent.

What we seem to be looking at is a very much cooler rendition of R2-D2. Just kind of a droid.

But with no rider there is no one to enjoy the bike. How wrong is it to have a motorcycle that cruises around but there’s nobody riding? Motorcycles are meant to be ridden.

Of course the real issue with something like this is the same as with those automatic traffic cameras that catch you speeding or running a red light (or yellow light, depending on how they’re set). Let’s face it: Every one of us speeds at times, and theoretically it would be possible to fine everyone every single time they committed any infraction, but I don’t think anybody wants that. So consider this additional portion of the article:

Not only does the Interceptor monitor for speeding violations, it is also constantly scanning and running liscense plates to check for registration violations. When it senses a violation the Interceptor records the action in real time. Making use of its state of the art audio visual system to make sure that the entire encounter is recorded, including real time stats that include speed, and direction. The Interceptor will then immediately issue a citation that will be delivered via e-mail, text, or postal service. The Interceptor will then continue on its way, there is no need for the vehicle to stop. If the violator continues the illegal behavior the Interceptor will notify local offices and they can then stop the suspect.

Does the name “Big Brother” creep into your thoughts?

Anyway, be alerted. This is something we may see in the future. That means it’s time now to be thinking about how we feel about this sort of thing and formulating the opinions we want to pass along to our lawmakers when the time comes, or perhaps even before.

Biker Quote for Today

Didn’t see me? Or didn’t look?

Riding the Electric Harley

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
Ken On Harley Livewire

Taking the Livewire for a stationary ride before getting out on the road on one.

I was really annoyed when I found that registration was closed for demo rides on the prototype electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire. I had gotten an email inviting me to come see it and ride it and I had replied asking if I needed to do anything or just show up. I guess it was a mass email, though they did a good job of making it seem personal, and I got no reply. So doing a quick check before heading over to Mile High Harley-Davidson I spotted a link to register and clicked it. Registration was closed. Rats.

OK, I figured, I still want to see the bike, and they say you can do a stationary demo even if you can’t go for an actual ride. Plus, it might be that some folks who registered will fail to show up and I can still get a ride. So I went on over.

I walked up and a woman asked me if I had a reservation. I said no and she immediately asked if I’d like to be put on the waiting list. You bet. She said check back in 20 minutes.

In the meantime, I got all the paperwork done and took a spin on the stationary bike they had set up with rollers. It was a real bike and it really ran, you just didn’t go anywhere. It was a good introduction to how the bike works so they wouldn’t have to explain all that when you were getting ready to actually ride. And they shot your picture and emailed it to you. That’s me up above.

At the appointed time I checked back and they had a bike available, but there was one guy ahead of me on the list. She went searching for him but couldn’t find him so I was in. Run grab my helmet off my bike.

We got the usual demo lecture and they walked us through start and getting ready. You have two modes to ride in, Range Ride and Power Ride, the first getting better miles out of a charge in the battery, the second giving you more power (read: fun). I chose Power Ride.

One thing they made absolutely clear was that “This bike accelerates and brakes unlike any other bike you’ve ever ridden.” I’ve ridden electric bikes built by Zero so the acceleration part was not true for me, but the braking part was. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

We pulled out. The ride leader was determined to let us see how these puppies ran so he set a quick pace. Of course there are no gears to shift, you just twist the throttle. Acceleration was hard and smooth. (I’d been told earlier that the bike will go 0 to 60 in four seconds.) And there wasn’t a bit of the Harley “potato-potato” rumble. You did hear the drive belt.

Handling was great. This is a sportbike with that sort of agility and that sort of riding position. Not a tight, cramped position, but rather, a comfortable one. With your feet below you, not out in front. That’s how I like it.

One thing made it totally clear that these are prototypes and that is the mirrors. Yes, in order to be street legal they had to have mirrors but I had to look for them. It turned out they are below the handlebars and were totally hidden by my hands. Worthless. Even once I found them I couldn’t see a thing in them. Heck, I almost couldn’t see them.

And then there’s the brake. Pretty much all electric bikes use regenerative braking in order to extend the battery range. This uses the turning of the motor or wheels in braking to generate power that is fed back into the battery.

Well, Harley has carried it to the max. When you want to stop on the LiveWire you just release the throttle. The bike stops quickly. But 99% of the time you stop without ever touching the brake; you just taper off on the throttle till you get to where you actually want to stop completely. Then maybe you use the brake. Maybe. Or maybe you use the brake then to keep from rolling. They did suggest that you tap the brakes once to let the person behind you know you’re stopping.

So how did I like it overall? I liked it. It was fun. It was fast, it handled well, and it’s a motorcycle. What’s not to like?

Will I buy one if Harley builds them for sale. I’ve never been a Harley guy and I’ve never wanted any Harley I’ve ever seen. If they build this thing it will be the first Harley I’ve ever even considered buying. But they’ve got a long road to go to get the range up to where they’re competitive with other electric bikes out there, and the price would have to be reasonable.

But if they do bring it out, will I want one? Yes.

Biker Quote for Today

If you want a motorcycle just because of the way it sounds, do yourself (and us) a favor and find a different hobby please.

A Story About Zeros

Monday, August 26th, 2013
Zero Electic Motorcycles

These old (now) Zeros were the first I ever rode. This was several years ago and they've just gotten better.

I hate it when I get so busy that I miss out on things I wanted to do. That happened this weekend when in the middle of Saturday afternoon I was plowing through old emails I had put aside to get back to when I had the time. I opened one from Grand Prix Motorsports and it was announcing a demo days event on Friday and Saturday, with the opportunity to ride some Zero electric motorcycles.

I’ve ridden Zeros before but they keep getting better and I definitely wanted to check out the latest ones. Rats. I guess in the future I need to at least put things on my calendar as soon as I hear about them.

Zeros have been of continuing interest to me in more ways than one. I was working on a story for Rider magazine recently and one particular Zero was at the center of it.

It started out that I approached Rider editor Mark Tuttle about doing a piece on Craig Vetter and his Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge. Mark was interested so I spoke with Craig and it turned out the timing was really good. This year’s Vetter Challenge was coming up shortly at the Vintage Motorcycle Days event the American Motorcyclist Association puts on each year in Ohio and Craig was very excited about one particular entrant.

Craig had been working with Terry Hershner, prepping Terry’s Zero S to ride cross-country. Craig was handling the streamlining that would enable Terry’s electrical power to carry him further, while Terry was amping up the electrics, adding extra batteries and charging units. By the time they got done Terry could go 150 miles or more at 75 mph between charges and, with the proper charging units, could recharge in an hour. Craig figured Terry was going to be a break-out winner in the Vetter Challenge and what a momentous event that was going to be.

So I wrote the piece and sent it to Mark, Craig provided some photos, and all we were waiting for was the event. After it was over I was going to add a couple follow-up paragraphs and Rider was going to run with the piece.

Then Mark and I both got an email from Craig: Terry’s wheel bearings had gone out on him on his way to Ohio. Originally built to carry a weight close to 500 pounds, with all the extra gear Terry had been running with more than 1,000 pounds. The wheel bearings had taken all they could. Terry would not be competing in Ohio. And Rider would not be running the piece, at least not at that time.

Can you say frustrating?

All is not lost, however. The next Vetter event takes place in California in October, and we’re counting on Terry being there. Of course this means I’m going to need to rewrite the piece a bit; a lot of it was focused on the (then) upcoming Ohio event. Oh well. Mark said he plans to run the piece right away on the website and then run a further revised and updated version of it in the magazine sometime next summer.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
OFMC day three brings a patch of dirt

Biker Quote for Today

Been there, broke that.

The Skinny on ScooTours, Denver’s Scooter Rental Outfit

Monday, June 10th, 2013
Rocky and Rachel on scooters

Rocky and Rachel are ready to head for Red Rocks.

Making a living renting scooters is probably not an easy thing to do. In fact, David Howard, who has been running ScooTours Denver “since the snow stopped,” specifically did not ask folks who have tried it and quit it because he didn’t want to be talked out of his plan to do so. And you know what? His business model just might work.

David and I went for a ride Sunday on a couple of his electric scooters. David has these electric Vectrix VX-2s that we were on as well as a herd of Kymco People 50s, which are gas-powered. The key with all these scooters is that they are small enough that you don’t need a motorcycle validation on your driver’s license and you can park them anywhere, like a bicycle. That’s very important in the rental business. If your clients have to be validated motorcycle riders your potential for business just got cut by about 90 percent.

David promotes his business telling prospective customers he is set up just across the street from the blue bear, the big piece of public art that stares into the Denver Convention Center from the sidewalk. The way he is set up is what’s really interesting.

This block is where Bubba Gump’s sits, and the parking lot right next to the restaurant was where David worked out a plan with the operator to store his scooters. He was going to put a portable storage shed in one corner of the lot and work out of that shed. But the city said no.

Long story short, David confirmed with the city that it is legal to park small scooters like his on the sidewalk chained to bicycle racks. So he does. There are a few racks right by Bubba Gump’s and there are other racks around downtown where, when things are going on in those areas, he will park the scooters. They have seats of his signature green color that make them very visible and they are clearly marked as being for rent, with the phone number prominently displayed. If someone walks by and wants to rent one they call the number and David arranges to meet them and do the deal.

Walk-bys are his number one source of business, with number two being people who see people he has rented to riding by and getting interested. He also has made contacts with concierges at all the major hotels. That way, if a guest asks what there is to do in the area, renting a scooter and cruising around Denver is an option that may spark some folks’ interest.

So we were hanging out by the parking lot and David’s phone kept ringing. And people kept stopping to inquire. In fact, there were a couple guys in town for a convention there across the street who had seen the scooters the day before and decided they wanted to take advantage of a gap in their schedule to go cruising. Now was the time.

Unfortunately, as David explained to them, the paperwork and the prep–getting them familiar and comfortable with the vehicles–takes about 20 minutes and that would only have left them with about half an hour to ride. And they absolutely didn’t have time the next day or any other day of the week. Really too bad you guys didn’t call yesterday so it could have all been set up.

Meanwhile, we were there to meet Rachel and Rocky, who had called ahead to rent a couple scoots. Once they were mounted David asked them to ride around the parking lot a few times to get familiar with the scoots and also to help him get comfortable with them as riders. Rocky seemed totally natural right from the start. Rachel seemed tentative at first but very quickly her confidence blossomed and they were ready to roll. Rachel told me she has ridden jet skis, so she does have familiarity with the whole hand throttle, personal vehicle thing.

David then had them ride around the block just to get a bit more at ease, and then they were ready to be off. They have only been in Denver about five months and had not been to Red Rocks so that was their destination. It just seemed like a fun thing to do to head out there on a scooter.

So there’s more, and this post is getting long. I’ll pick back up next time.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Ride report: Spending time on a Vectrix VX-2

Biker Quote for Today

You’re a biker wannabe if you’ve never seen a sunrise from two wheels.

Pikes Peak for 2013 to Feature New Electric Motorcycle Class

Monday, May 13th, 2013
PPIHC 2010

A scene from downtown Colorado Springs during the 2010 PPIHC.

Anyone who doubts that electric motorcycles will be more and more common in years to come just has their eyes closed. They just keep getting better and better, with greater and greater range as batteries continue to improve. Plus, they’re fun to ride! I know; I’ve ridden a bunch of them.

All this is not lost on the folks who host the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. For the first time this year they will include a class for electric bikes. At this moment there are six competitors entered in this class, all riding Zero bikes: two FX models, one MX, and three S. Just so you’ll know, the FX is for urban riding and is billed as “the fastest accelerating Zero ever.” The MX is the track bike in the family, and the S is the basic street bike.

The riders on these bikes include Aaron Frank, editor of Motorcyclists magazine, five guys I’ve never heard of: Nathan Barker, Jeff Clark, Jeremiah Johnson, Rich Ted, and Brandon Miller. People who follow racing more closely may have heard of some or all of them, as they’ve all got experience.

From what I read it seems this could become a popular class, at least for awhile. Whereas racers in other classes have worked for years developing better and better (read: more expensive) machines, to the point that it squeezes out the small guys, electrics is wide open and nearly everyone is riding a bike that is nearly stock (read: inexpensive, at least compared to what it could be).

Now, I’m not at all sure why there are no competitors on bikes from other companies. Where are the Brammos? Where are the guys who are competing in the Isle of Man on various custom bikes? This class ought to grow in years to come.

Of course, there is one electric superbike competing, a Lightning, ridden by Chip Yates, but in a different class. That gives you some idea how good that bike is. “We don’t need no stinkin’ class of our own; we’ll go up against the gas burners!” And Yates will have competition: Greg Tracy will be riding a concept model Amarok P1A Super Bike.

This year’s Pikes Peak in set for June 30. The week before that, though, is the best time to see the machines and meet the riders. I’m going to try to get down there again this year.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Tilting Motor Works offers a fun trike conversion

Biker Quote for Today

Sometimes riding a slow bike fast is an adventure in itself.

Kickstarting A ‘Going Green’ Electric Motorcycle Project

Monday, February 11th, 2013
Dan Patino's Kickstarter page for his Going Green project

Dan Patino's Kickstarter page for his Going Green project.

One of the more entrepreneurial people I know is Dan Patino, and Dan is back now with his latest project. Working through the crowd-funding website, Dan is seeking to raise money to do a documentary film about going green on an electric motorcycle.

As Dan’s page on Kickstarter tells it, this is to be “An Electric Motorcycle, HD POV Cameras, Social Media, The Wild West, and 7 Months of Filming. Discovering innovative and creative ways to be, “Going Green.”

This Documentary Film is a creative and innovative Project. With the goal of documenting and discovering that being, “Green” can be fun! While filming this documentary, I will be on a 100% Electric Motorcycle. Sharing with the public how fun, practical, and rewarding riding an electric motorcycle can be. We will be traveling to the latest innovative “Green” programs being implemented today. Seeing what is being done about reducing carbon emissions. As I travel along, I will be documenting the public’s views on carbon emissions, and the greater issue of Global Warming.

Join me in the beautiful Western US in making this film. Filming begins on Earth Day April 22, 2013 and ending Nov 1, 2013. The Film will be produced and release on Earth Day, 2014.

In case you’re not familiar with how crowd-funding via works, the person seeking the funding puts up their proposal with a set amount needed to get going. If that amount is not pledged within the specific time allotted, nobody hands over a penny. In return for their money, presuming the project does get funded, the fundee commits to specific rewards or product or whatever to those who pledge, and usually the more you pledge the more stuff you get.

In Dan’s case, this ranges from a $10 donor receiving a thank-you note and a signed photo (electronic) all the way up to a $10,000 donor who would get everything smaller donors receive plus an invitation to come to the filming and be in the film, as well as being listed as “Executive Director” in the credits.

Dan figures that he will need to raise $49,777 to carry out this project and he has until March 11 to raise the money. So far he has two backers who have pledged a total of $110. So he has a ways to go and just a month to get there.

I certainly wish Dan the best in this latest venture, and I told him that if he gets it going I want a chance to ride the electric bike. I’ve ridden Zeros but have never ridden a Brammo, and I presume from the photos he posted that he plans to use a Brammo.

But as of this moment, the clock is ticking. Gonna be interesting to see if he can make this work.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Motorcycle safety studies continue

Biker Quote for Today

Bikes are better than women because motorcycles don’t mind if you look at other motorcycles, or if you buy motorcycle magazines.

Should Electric Motorcycles Sound Like Cards In Their Spokes?

Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Zero Electic Motorcycles

These Zero electric motorcycles might need playing cards in their spokes.

Every kid who has ever dreamed of riding a motorcycle has at least considered the option of attaching playing cards to their bicycle wheels so the spokes will hit them and make “motorcycle-like” noises. I know I did more than just consider it.

Is that what we need to do with electric motorcycles? After all, they’re so quiet pedestrians are likely to walk out in front of them while busy texting on their smart phones.

This is a serious question, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) wants to know what you think about it. No, not the playing cards, but should electric motorcycles be required to make some noise that warns people that they’re there?

The proposed rule is titled, “Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards; Minimum Sound Requirements for Hybrid and Electric Vehicles.” Here’s part of it:

As required by the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act (PSEA) of 2010 this rule proposes to establish a Federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) setting minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles. This new standard would require hybrid and electric passenger cars, light trucks and vans (LTVs), medium and heavy duty, trucks, and buses, low speed vehicles (LSVs), and motorcycles to produce sounds meeting the requirements of this standard.

This standard would ensure that blind, visually-impaired, and other pedestrians are able to detect and recognize nearby hybrid and electric vehicles, as required by the PSEA, by requiring that hybrid and electric vehicles emit sound that pedestrians would be able to hear in a range of ambient environments and contain acoustic signal content that pedestrians will recognize as being emitted from a vehicle.

So the NHTSA is asking for comments. The Motorcycle Industry Council has come out against the rule, for a variety of reasons that I don’t find particularly compelling. Not that I support the rule; I just don’t think the MIC has made much of an argument.

So what do other people think? Well, conveniently, the (currently) 80 comments are all right there for anyone to read, so let’s read a few.

Kipling Inscore (is that his name?) says, in part:

I do not believe that current study shows sufficient evidence of a safety problem caused by electric (EV) and hybrid (HV) vehicles being too quiet; I think further study is needed. I will, however, state my remaining points as if assuming that there is a “quiet vehicle problem” and that the solution is to impose a minimum sound requirement. A minimum sound requirement should apply to all motor vehicles, not just those currently most likely to be too quiet.

Now there’s a familiar argument. Funny, I’m accustomed to seeing it presented in regard to the issue of motorcycles making too much noise.

Joel Stottlemire says that:

The proposed regulation on minimum sound requirements for hybrid and electric vehicles are at best only minimally effective. At any speed faster than a few feet per second, audible warnings do not give sufficient reaction time to pedestrians and contribute to noise pollution.

Says David B. Rees:

I oppose mandatory noise pollution. The proposed standards do not appear to appreciably increase safety but do increase noise pollution. We should be aiming to make noisy cars quieter, not quiet cars noisier.

And here’s a note from Joe Adams:

Our society is becoming more and more noisy. Many low flow toilets sound like an explosion when operating. Many hand driers sound like a jet aircraft. City streets are extraordinarily noisy. The new electric cars are a step in the direction of achieving more QUIET in society. Adding an artificial noise to these cars is similar to adding the reverse backup “beep” on construction vehicles. The flaw in the concept of reverse backup alarms is that such alarms fail to acknowledge a basic trait in human nature: people tend to filter out irritating noises that go on all day long.

There seems to be a consistent theme there. I didn’t read them all but the comments I did read are pretty solidly in opposition to this rule. What do you think? You can offer your own comments to the NHTSA up until March 15.

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Biker Quote for Today

You’re a biker wannabe if your $500 boots aren’t scuffed from riding.

Grand Prix Motorsports to Carry Zeros

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Zero Motorcycles at Fay Myers

I’ve been reading about how Zero Motorcycles was working to get their electric bikes into regular motorcycle dealerships, and I had presumed that here in Denver that would be Fay Myers. Surprisingly, no. Zero just announced that they will be available instead at Grand Prix Motorsports, over at 3105 West County Line Road, in Littleton.

The reason I was figuring Fay Myers is that Zero was in town recently offering demo rides and they were doing so at Fay Myers. Talking with one of the Zero guys at that time, he told me they were looking to get into dealerships and Fay Myers was high on their list. Then later I got a marketing call from someone at Fay Myers asking about my interest in Zero’s bikes.

Apparently those calls showed insufficient interest to lead Fay Myers to make the leap. But Grand Prix jumped in.

Moving into dealerships has got to be a good move for Zero. I read an interview awhile back with some honcho at Brammo, Zero’s main electric motorcycle competitor, who said their initial expectations had been changed. They started out thinking that having no-shift electrics would help lure in non-riders who would be less intimidated. That has proved to be a wrong assumption. Most people buying electrics already ride gas-powered bikes. So Brammo decided the best way to sell more electrics would be to make them as comparable to the gas bikes as possible, and they are now adding gearing to their bikes, rather than scooter-style twist and go.

It stands to reason then that if people who already ride are the ones buying the electrics, you need to sell the electrics at regular dealerships.

In a related story, I just saw a piece yesterday about a new charging system used by the Nissan Leaf (if I remember correctly) electric car that gives a full charge in 30 minutes. And there was a story in the Denver Post about some local outfit that believes they have technology to produce batteries that are a tenth the size and last 10 times as long as current ones. It is technological advancements like these that are going to make electric motorcycles a truly viable option in a much shorter time than most people think.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Jon Kuo moves into 2nd place in overall points

Biker Quote for Today

Image is only for riders who stay on long, straight roads.

Electric Motorcycles, the Old Style

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Chris Ravana on an electric motorcycle

I had a really interesting visit today with Chris Ravana, of Blindspot Cycles, with him showing me a couple of his homemade electric motorcycles.

The way Chris does it there’s nothing magical, or even particularly high-tech, about building an electric bike. He goes to a salvage yard and buys an old junk motorcycle body, picks up a few necessary parts, and then puts an electric motor in it. The motor runs off a stack of standard automotive-type batteries, although they are of the deep-cycle variety that can stand to be deeply discharged before being charged again.

And there’s nothing all that special about the motor. It’s just a basic industrial-type electric motor.

The whole business couldn’t be much more straightforward. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail here because I’ll be writing a lot more about Chris and his bikes for and, but, as always, I wanted to tell you the backstory here.

I just ran across an article about Chris and what he’s doing by chance, somewhere on the web, and it turned out he lives just up north in Fort Collins. I emailed him about getting together but didn’t hear anything back, so I called. He apologized for not replying but told me his wife had just had a baby the day before. So he’s been a little, shall we say, busy. Oh yeah, some excuse.

Today was a beautiful and warm day so I jumped on the Kawi and headed up there but along the way it got very cold. I was glad I had my electric vest. We talked about his bikes why he does all this, as well as the other things he does, and then it was time to ride.

Chris had two bikes prepped for us and off we went. This is not the first time I’ve ridden electric motorcycles but it’s still a kick. They’re silent when you’re sitting still, but twist that throttle and you absolutely do go forward, as in right now. Then you can cruise along side by side and talk, because there’s no engine noise. Not shout, talk.

What can I say? It was a lot of fun. He’s an interesting guy.

And then, just to show you how fickle the weather in Colorado can be, I headed back to Denver and rode back into sunshine and warmth. I knew there had been a beautiful day somewhere around here.

Recent from National Motorcycle Examiner
Ranks of electric motorcycles continue to grow

Biker Quote for Today

If motorcycles are not allowed in heaven then I’ll ride mine to hell.

The Amazing Proliferation of Electric Motorcycles

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

A Zero electric motorcycle

I guess it makes sense that it’s happening first with motorcycles. Sure there are some hybrid cars out there, and you’ve got the (very high-end) Tesla roadster. But when it comes to going electric, motorcycles are way out in front.

Think about it. The biggest stumbling block in the quest to successfully produce and market electric vehicles is the limitation of battery power. And the lighter the vehicle, the greater distance you can coax out of those batteries. Motorcycles are lighter than cars. (Duh!) And sure, you can load more batteries into a car than you can onto a motorcycle, but weight is also a big factor in speed. It just makes sense.

Have you seen what is out there now in the way of electric bikes? I’ve been paying some attention but obviously not enough, as the November 2010 issue of Motorcyclist magazine has shown me. This issue, which I’m still working my way through, has story after story about one electric motorcycle maker after another. It’s incredible.

Probably everyone has heard of Brammo and Zero. They’re two of the best-known producers of electric bikes, and they sell smaller bikes with limited range and speed. But have you heard of the MotoCzysz e1pc? This is a superbike and it’s in its third generation. Have you heard of the Mavizen TTX02? Another superbike. How about the Roehr eSuperBike or the Mission Motors Mission One? This is not a complete list.

OK, so hold it. Why all the superbikes? Two simple answers. First, a sportbike is lighter than a bagger–you start small. Second, technological advances frequently come to the racetrack first. What works on the track eventually makes its way into street bikes. Plus, what better way to demonstrate that these things are for real than by going out and kicking the pants of gas-powered bikes?

Not that that has happened yet. We’re not that far along, although a new class in Moto GP has been created specifically for electrics.

Make no mistake. This is going to happen, and probably a lot sooner than most people think. And here’s something for many traditionalist nay-sayers to think about. Many of these companies are American. That’s American iron being produced. And there are a lot of ways to produce electricity that do not put money in the pockets of people half-way around the globe who hate us and wish us harm. The U.S. produces enough of its own oil that we can continue to drive our gas-powered bikes, so they’re not going away. The sooner we shift a significant portion of our vehicles to electricity the better off we’re going to be. It can’t happen soon enough.

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Biker Quote for Today

At the end of the day, you’ve still got to twist that throttle.