We obviously have a fondness for combustion engines. We love the smell, the noise and even the odd pipe burn. But we don’t have to look into a crystal ball to see that electric motorcycles will play a big role in the future of the motorcycle industry. A few years ago, Tarform Motorcycles saw the huge potential for e-motorbikes and decided to build ‘the motorcycle of the future’. Tarform are an automotive start-up company based both in Brooklyn, New York and Stockholm, Sweden. After building a number of combustion engine motorcycles in the past, they have just launched their first electric motorcycle prototype, unveiled at the NewLab Innovation Center in Brooklyn.
What have Pikes Peak racers and WWII fighter planes got in common? Well believe it or not, they both face the same challenges when it comes to making engines work at higher altitudes. As with the old fighters, the internal combustion engine on a racing bike might be fine at sea level, but will rapidly lose power as the air gets thinner…
When I was a kid growing up on Sydney’s southern beaches, there were two certainties you could count on during the long, hot Christmas holidays in January. The first was cricket on AM radio, and the second was afternoon storms. Now the two may not seem to be related in any way, but stick with me for a moment. You see, while I was standing there in my swimmers and towel, dripping chlorinated water on my mother’s linoleum floor and sucking down a Berts soft drink, I’d often hear little bursts of static interrupting the monotone drone of the commentary coming over the airwaves. They’d be faint and infrequent at first, but slowly and surely they’d build in volume and frequency until they were joined in a chorus of distant thunder and white strobes of light on the horizon. Our little valve radio had discovered it’s second job; as a lightning detector for the approaching electrical storms.
Our most recent poll asked a simple question; electric bikes – yes or no? Surprisingly (well, to me at least) most of you were in favour of them or at least were willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But how many of you have actually ridden one? I’m guessing not many, and I too would have been on that list had we not been contacted by Phil Wilkinson of Zero Motorcycles Australia. He was kind enough to offer us a lend of one of his electrical wonders for a few days to get a first-hand feel on just what the future of motorcycling may be like. Or at least Zero’s version of it. I’m also pleased to note that this is the first ever proper bike review Pipeburn has done, and by the looks of the emails in my inbox it won’t be the last. Now if you’ll follow me…
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It’s interesting to see the way electric bikes are creeping their way into all aspect of modern motorcycling. Whether your thang is crotch rockets, customs or choppers it seems that electric bikes are here to stay. So too the electric revolution is making it’s mark on today’s concept bike designs. As recently as a few years ago you could put money on the fact that a concept bike would have either a Harley or Ducati Vee stuffed in it as a matter of course. You could even argue the case that the designers weren’t really bothered what made the bike of their dreams go, just as long as it made a heap of noise and didn’t jar visually with the rest of the bike.
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Industrial designer Alp Germaner from South Africa is well known for his Peugeot Capsule. A one person, off-road, electric vehicle inspired by the KLR 650 motorcycle. Although it’s his latest concept that is really turning heads. In true cafe racer style it is a stripped down motorbike geared towards speed and style. The rear suspension looks cool but we would have loved to see a more classic cafe racer shape (especially the seat). Overall it’s a bold design but not sure whether it would be welcomed at the Ace Cafe or Ton Up Club. For more pictures of this bike visit Industrial Design Served.
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