Electric Bikes. If Not Now, When?

When will electric power overtake ICE in the race for tomorrow’s motive power? Energy storage is the most difficult hurdle electricity needs to clear overcome to win the race. Current battery technology delivers units that are too heavy, too costly, and have too little storage capacity to compete across the market. But everyone from the magicians at MIT to the state-employed folks at Beijing U. is working to “commercialize a promising new battery technology”.

Right now, if gasoline prices remain in the $4.00 range, a $12,000 electric bike could be a cost-effective tool for a rider with a 40 to 80-mile daily commute. That’s especially true in California, with its clogged freeways and motorcycles free to split/share traffic lanes. Electric power could save time and money. Consider, too that motorcycles are disproportionately heavy contributors to air pollution, and that will sway some potential buyers. For me though, a back country rider whose typical outing is a 150-200-mile scoot in the mountains, electricity works only for lights and sparks. Today.

But that will change. Battery development may not be on the same fast track as computer chips with their doubling of capacity every 18 months, but things are improving. People like Elon Musk are driving the technology curve upward, and it seems that electric motorcycles should be quick to benefit. I think that by 2020 there could be an electrically powered moto that would be an attractive alternative to the sweet song of my Honda V4. Maybe.

Meanwhile, Team Mugen Electrifies the Isle of Man

Mugen-Shinden-Yon 2015

Japan’s Team Mugen, mounted on “Shinden Yon(above photo) electric specials, dominated the one-lap (37.7 miles) TT Zero race. The machine, was newly developed to improve on last year’s ‘Shinden San’ model. ‘Shinden Yon‘, translates to “God of Electricity, number 4”.

Team Mugen, represented in the SES TT Zero Race by twenty-one time TT Race winner John McGuinness and outright lap record holder, New Zealand’s Bruce Anstey, who set the fastest ever lap around the Mountain Course, 132.298 mph (00:17:06.682), in last year’s Superbike Race. The electric machines are creeping closer to Anstey’s mark, posting times of 119.279 (McGuinness), and 118.857 (Anstey). The winner of the inital TT Zero Race in 2009 was Rob Barber at 87.4.

2015 SES TT Zero Challenge Results1 John McGuinness (Team Mugen) 18:58.743 119.279 mph2 Bruce Anstey (Team Mugen) 19:02.785 118.857 mph3 Lee Johnston (Victory/Parker Racing) 20:16.881 111.620 mph4 Guy Martin (Victory/Parker Racing) 20:37.987 109.717 mph5 Robert Wilson (Team Sarolea Racing) 21:15.256 106.510 mph6 Michael Sweeney (University of Nottingham) 30:56.695 73.156 mph

More on the race, including video, here...

Honda’s New RS213V – 235 bhp, 348 lbs, ($184,000 Street)

184k Honda Streeter

Honda has released info on its latest V4-powered moto, the RS213V, which comes in three flavors, factory racer, detuned street bike (V-S), and kitted, retuned street bike (not available in the USA).

The Japanese factory will turn out 350 of these handmade machines in its first year. The detuned, street-legal version available in the USA will pump out 159 bhp and weigh in at 375 pounds dry. A kit will be offered in other countries that moves the dyno needle up to 215 and drops the dry weight to 352.

Full specs and details here…


Too Old To Ride? Too Young? New To Moto? Add A Wheel!

Yamaha has just released details of two new design concepts based on its canyon carving, three-wheeled Tricity architecture: the road-going 03GEN-f and dual-purpose on-off-road “cross” 03GEN-x. The Tricity was first shown at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, and has since been released globally to great acclaim for its roadholding and stability. The new concepts indicate Yamaha will further develop the three-wheeled motorcycle for new markets.
It all began when Yamaha first showed the quad Tesseract at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, where it’s four-wheeled motorcycle architecture created a sensation. more…

American Bikes Bring Record Prices at Las Vegas Moto Auction

The E.J. Cole Collection auctioned last weekend and the ramifications are as profound as had been expected. The top two motorcycle prices ever fetched at auction were achieved, 28 bikes sold for more than US$100,000, 12 forced their way into the top 100, 32 forced their way into the top 250 motorcycles ever sold at auction, and American-made bikes are now statistically more valuable than British bikes.
World Records galore at E.J. Cole Collection Motorcycle Auction
Steve McQueen’s 111 mph, 1915 Cyclone boardtrack racer topped the charts at $775,000.
The shadow of Steve McQueen on the world continues to loom large. The number of bikes McQueen has owned which appear in the top 100 auction prices is again more than 10, and as new bikes force themselves into the top 100 over the last 12 months, the number has varied.  more…


Gizmag Rides LS-218, World’s Fastest EV Motorcycle!

With three times the horsepower and some 70 percent more torque than the Zero SR, which is in itself an extraordinary motorcycle, the LS-218 is the king of a new breed of electric motorcycles – one designed to take on the world’s best petrol bikes and beat them on performance, not just emissions figures. Riding it was one of the most extreme experiences of my young life. more…