Tag Archives: Electric motorcycles

Living with an electric Harley-Davidson

I attended the international media launch for the LiveWire in Portland, Oregon, in July 2019, and it has taken almost almost two years before I could get one in Brisbane for a local road test.

It’s certainly been worth the wait.

The 100km launch ride was electrifying with the LiveWire living up to its name as a lively motorcycle capable of reaching highway speed in just three seconds. And that wasn’t on a drag strip with a professional racer aboard and a high wind at his back. We were able to do it easily on a quiet stretch of highway.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle electric highways short circuit
MBW riding the LiveWire at its launch in Oregon

This is not an electric toy! It’s a real bike.

The LiveWire also impressed with its build quality, handling, technology, braking and sheer stunning looks.

It took 17 months before the first LiveWire was available to buy in Australia at a whopping $A49,995 (plus $295 if you want the orange one, not the plain black). Only their limited edition CVO models and Tri Glide trike are more expensive.

Here is what I found living with the bike on a two-week road test.

Living with a LiveWireHarley-Davidson LiveWire

After two weeks of riding the LiveWire, I found there is a lot more to like about the experience of living with an electric motorcycle, especially the high-performance, hi-tech LiveWire.

Despite the absence of the traditional Harley sound, I actually enjoyed the mindfulness and alertness of riding around town in near silence.

Harley has given the motor a slight “pulse” to try to satisfy traditional riders who like an engine to have some “feeling” and installed a bevel geared primary drive to provide a whining sound. 

But ironically the ringing in my ears caused by years of riding loud bikes is actually louder than the LiveWire’s Revelation motor.

Out on the highway all you hear is the wind noise. It’s like flying a glider close to the ground.

The experience magnifies your joys of acceleration and moving through the rolling landscapes.

It also means you can hear music, GPS directions or phone calls on your helmet intercom at lower and safer levels.

Steering the bike up my favourite piece of road to Mt Glorious, the near-silent LiveWire is in harmony with the pristine forest and in sync with the twisting tarmac.

It handles and performs as well as most litre-plus naked bikes; better in some respects.

Although it’s on the heavy side at 251kg, it feels quite nimble. One of the benefits of electric motorcycles is the weight distribution is more flexible and Harley has centred the weight down very low.Harley-Davidson LiveWire

It steers with precision and there is little centrifugal mass to overcome when turning. However, the front wheel will follow longitudinal cracks and there is some bump-steer.

Showa suspension provides crisp handling, if a little abrupt over high-frequency bumps.

LiveWire simply loves corners and the sticky purpose-built and Harley-labelled Michelin Scorcher tyres are well up to the task.

The Brembo brakes are excellent and ably assisted by the motor resistance or “engine braking” when you wind off the throttle. This also helps to regenerate power back to the battery.

In fact, I rode all the way up and down the mountain with rare brake application because of the strong regenerative braking effect. That means no brake fade and long brake pad and disc life.

Since engine braking is so significant, the rear stop lights flash when you roll off the throttle to warn those following.

There are no gears and therefore no clutch; just a twist-and-go throttle which results in instant acceleration at any speed and makes it eminently suitable for a complex series of turns.

I didn’t miss changing gears and only reached for the clutch once in my two-week stint with the bike.

It all adds up to an electrifying experience on your favourite stretch of winding tar.

It’s also a hi-tech experience with cruise control, self-cancelling indicators and Bluetooth capability.

You can pair with a “HD Connect” Android and iOS phone app that will remotely check battery and charging status, show the nearest charging stations, provide service reminders and notify you if your bike is being tampered with. If it is stolen, a GPS tracker will follow its location.

Another cool feature is the fact that the water-cooled motor and battery is cool to the touch.

So it doesn’t just look cool and represent a cool trend in motorcycling, it’s literally cool on your legs on a typical Queensland summer commute!

livewire mother earth NAWA
MBW rides the LiveWire in Portland, Oregon

LiveWire quirks 

But there are quirks to living with the electric LiveWire, too.

The LiveWire comes with a 3m charging cable under the seat that costs a whopping $A1100 to replace, so make sure you always lock the seat with the key.

I also found it difficult to fit the charger and cable in the limited space and close the seat without pinching and damaging the expensive cable.

At $1100 you would think Harley could make a more convenient charging module with retractable cables that easily and neatly fits under the seat.Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Since many Australian houses have lock-up garages with mains power, it is convenient to park and charge an electric vehicle. It may be more difficult without a secure garage.

The supplied type 2 charging cable plugs into the AC mains wall socket at one end and at the other end it goes into a socket on the bike where a normal petrol cap would be.

The charge cable is also CCS2 for DC Mennekes quick charging.

Harley says it will not operate on the free Tesla charging network that can be found at many urban shopping centres.

However, the plug and socket look the same as the Universal Mobile Connector (UMC) used by Tesla, so I tried it and on two occasions it worked.

On a third occasion it threw up an error message and failed to charge.

This was when I discovered that the so-called issue of EV “range anxiety” is real.

Harley claims LiveWire’s 15.5kWh Samsung battery is good for 235km of city range or 152km of highway range.

That should make it suitable for a narrow range of activities such as cafe runs, short blasts up your favourite mountain road and commuting. Mind you, $50k is a lot to pay for a commuter bike.

Noting the range limitations, I still experienced range anxiety because of the unique realities of riding an electric motorcycle and the variables that can have a huge impact on your journey.

For example, I rode 20km to meet a mate for coffee, but the stylish tablet-style instruments showed I had ridden almost 30km and used almost 15% battery because I was riding mainly on the highway.

On another occasion I rode 23km through the suburbs for a coffee, but the battery charge indicator showed I had used only 18km of range and 10% of the battery.

These quirks mean you are constantly making calculations in your mind to determine whether you will reach your next destination and get home again.

It all gets even more complicated factoring in your rider behaviour, carrying a pillion and the engine mode you select which not only varies the ABS and traction levels, but also throttle response and engine braking.

There are seven rider modes to choose from: eco, sport, rain, highway and the three customisable modes.

On a recent open-roads ride with some mates, I had to leave early when I became anxious about being able to get home, even though I had been riding in “eco mode”. Harley-Davidson LiveWire

As it turned out I made it home with just 14km of range and 7% battery remaining, so it was wise to prematurely cut from the pack.

On a traditional internal-combustion-engined motorcycle, it wouldn’t really matter if I ran out of fuel. I could walk to the nearest petrol station and get a 5-litre jerry of fuel, or a mate could do it, or I could phone the RACQ breakdown service as many thousands of members do when they run out of fuel.

On the electric LiveWire, I would have to find the nearest level-one 240V mains charging points with the HD proprietary app or any of the many other available apps such as PlugShare, ChargePoint, NextCharge, Chargemap, etc. 

Sinroja Motorcycles BMW R80 (Photos: Tom Horna @driveclassics)

There is a surprisingly large number of these points available in urban areas, but not in the bush.

Once I found the charging point, it would take about 90 minutes to replace enough charge for about 20km worth of charge.

That’s not so bad, as you can grab a coffee or a meal while you wait and answer the many questions about the bike from interested bystanders. 

A full charge on 240V mains power takes about 11 hours, but if you can get to a level-three quick-charge point, you can charge the battery to 80% in 40 minutes and 100% in 60 minutes. The RACQ also has some rescue vehicles with quick chargers.

However, it should be noted that while the “Rechargeable Energy Storage System” does not limit the number of times a Level 3 DC fast charger (480V) can be used, Harley warns that more frequent DC fast charging will “stress the battery more than Level 1 charging”. 

They recommend you avoid using DC fast charge, exclusively. 

The suggested best practice is to alternate charging between Level 1 and Level 3 DC Fast Charge in a 4:1 ratio (4 Level 1 charges to every 1 Level 3 fast charge). Harley-Davidson LiveWire

The big high-voltage Lithium-ion recyclable battery made up of Samsung battery modules has a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty.

Harley says it should last 10 years without significant loss of capacity unless it is frequently quick-charged, not treated well or used extensively in extreme cold conditions.

The company could not tell me how much a replacement main battery will cost, probably because you won’t need to pay for one if you need a replacement in the next five years as they are covered by warranty. They may also not be able to predict the retail cost of a battery five years from now, as it would be a lot cheaper!

While 235km sounds like good range, that’s purely for riding around the city where there is a lot of regenerative braking.

If you want to go for a ride with your mates, don’t count on riding 152km with them as you may already have ridden 20km or more just to meet up for the ride.

Conclusion 

If you love the sound of a Harley and the flexibility of long-range touring, the LiveWire is not for you.

In fact, it is so far removed from the type of bike so beloved by traditional Harley diehards that the company is creating a separate LiveWire brand for their urban electric motorcycles.

Harley doesn’t really state a financial case for the LiveWire, either. That’s because the colossal initial purchase cost far outweighs the economic advantages of low running and servicing costs.

The cat of fully charging the bike is less than $4 at Queensland’s rate of 25c/kWh. That’s about a quarter of the cost of an equivalent-range, high-performance ICE bike.

Harley says an 8000km service will cost about $400 plus any consumables such as tyres, brake pads and a drive belt.

As for the environmental benefits, it depends on how you derive your electricity, but at least it adds no tailpipe emissions to polluted urban areas.

Harley is simply targeting cashed-up early adopters who will appreciate the thrill of a unique riding experience.

LiveWire may have limited urban uses, but it performs those tasks in an exhilarating manner. Yes, it’s electrifying.Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Key facts

Price: $49,995 ride-away (+ $295 for orange).

Warranty: 5 years/unlimited km on main battery, 2 years on bike.

Service: 1600km/ 800km
Motor: Water-cooled internal permanent magnet synchronous.

Power: 78kW @ 15,000rpm.
Torque: 116Nm from 0-15,000rpm
Gearbox: N/A

Weight: 251kg.
Suspension front/rear: 43mm upside-down Big Piston Showa forks/fully adjustable rear Showa shock.
Brakes front/rear: 4-piston caliper, 300mm dual discs/4-piston caliper, 260mm disc, ABS.

Dimensions: 2135mm (L); 830mm (W); 1080mm (H); 1490mm (WB); 780mm (S) 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson launches LiveWire as an electric brand

The brand name “Harley-Davidson” currently adorns the electric LiveWire motorcycle, but future electric bikes from the iconic American manufacturer may not feature its venerable name.

Instead, they will be branded “LiveWire” and will initially target urban riders.

Harley has announced the new all-electric brand will kick off with a new model to be launched on July 8, 2021.

The new LiveWire model will premiere at the International Motorcycle Show in Chicago on July 9, 2021.

It makes sense that Harley would look to dissociate its name from electric motorcycles given the resistance from some traditional Harley diehards.

They may view the LiveWire with suspicion, given its lack of “potato-potato” V-twin noise … or any noise except a slight whirring.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire
LiveWire certainly turns heads

However, Harley is not totally divorcing itself from the LiveWire brand with the brand being physically housed in their facilities and the electric technology finding its way int future Harley models.

In a press statement, Harley says LiveWire “draws on its DNA as an agile disruptor from the lineage of Harley-Davidson, capitalising on a decade of learnings in the EV sector and the heritage of the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world”.

“LiveWire will be headquartered virtually, with initial hubs in Silicon Valley, CA (LiveWire Labs) and Milwaukee, WI,” the statement says.

And it appears they are looking for staff.

The brand will initially focus on the urban market, but will also “pioneer the electric motorcycle space, and beyond”.

Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO of Harley-Davidson, says the LiveWire brand strategy fits int his six pillars of The Hardwire Strategy.

Sinroja Motorcycles BMW R80 (Photos: Tom Horna @driveclassics)

“By launching LiveWire as an all-electric brand, we are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV,” he says.

“With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond.

“LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future.”

LiveWire will be sold through current Harley-Davidson dealers as an independent brand with some dedicated EV showrooms as well as online purchasing.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

The Best Motorcycles to Come out of America

Over the years, American motorcycle manufacturers have produced some of the most exciting and iconic models in the industry. Few motorcycles have managed to capture the imaginations of riders, both beginner and experienced, than the classic American architecture of a rumbling V-twin engine, a low-slung frame, and a relaxed pair of handlebars.

Today, there may only be a handful of American manufacturers still producing internationally renowned motorcycles, but they are some of the best in the world. To celebrate these beautiful and innovative machines, we’ve put together a list of some of the best motorcycles to come out of America, with examples taken from the past, and a few from the present day too.

Buell XB12R

Buell XB12R Firebolt Side View
Photo Credit

Kicking off our list we have one of the most recognizable motorcycles from a brand that’s had its fair share of ups and downs over the years. We’re talking about Buell, of course. Back in 1983, former Harley-Davidson employee Erik Buell was a man with a vision, a vision to build performance-focused V-twin motorcycles using HD technology.

It was a dream that has spanned decades, with different shareholders, and a story that has everything from closures, rebranding, liquidation, reboots, and the full works. Buell Motorcycles, Erik Buell Racing, and now in 2021 we’re back to Buell Motorcycles with the promise of a limited run of new machines. It’s exhausting stuff, but the Buell story is anything but dull.

We’re not here to talk about the company. Or companies. We’re here to talk about the XB12R Firebolt: a sports bike of sorts that’s built using the same powertrain as the Harley Sportster. It’s classic Harley technology—a 1,203 cc V-twin engine—but in street fighter clothing. Boasting an aluminum frame, top-shelf components, and pure racing DNA, the XB12R is a true American great.

Harley-Davidson Sportster

1957 Harley-Davidson Sportster Side View
Photo Credit

There are a number of Harley-Davidson motorcycles that could go on a list about American-made two-wheelers. The company is the backbone of the American industry and arguably the most recognizable motorcycle manufacturers on the planet. Founded in 1903, Harley-Davidson is one of the oldest motorcycle brands in the world, and the oldest continuously operating American motorcycle manufacturer.

Despite the brand’s long and illustrious history, we’ve decided to select only a single model to represent the legendary Bar and Shield brand. There’s no shortage of lists on Harleys, and while HD is a steadfast pillar of the industry, there are other manufacturers to highlight too. So, without further ado: let’s talk about the Harley-Davidson Sportster.

The Sportster has been with us since 1957, and it’s not going anywhere either. It’s an American icon in its own right. Today, the Sportster is available in two engine sizes: the classic 883 cc V-twin or the newer 1,199 cc V-twin. Both deliver an instantly recognizable ride experience, accompanied by a sound that other manufacturers have tried to imitate, but never succeeded in replicating.

The Sportster is one of the best American motorcycles to come out of the 50s, one of the best to come out of the 20th century, and possibly even one of the best ever made.

Indian Chief

1935 Indian Chief Side View
Photo Credit

Today, Indian often plays second-fiddle to Harley-Davidson when we talk about big American heritage brands, but technically Indian has a longer history. Unfortunately, since the marque folded and the brand was inactive for a long time, it’s often overlooked since Harley can boast being in continuous production for its entire lifespan. Still, there was a time when Indian, and nor Harley, was the biggest American motorcycle manufacturer.

Beginning life as the Hendee Manufacturing Company in 1901, before changing its name to Indian Motorcycle in 1923. Shortly before the name change, the company pulled the covers off of a new motorcycle that would capture the attention of the American riding public: the Indian Chief. When it rolled onto the scene in 1922, this big twin, the biggest in the catalog, caused a sensation.

In its original form, the Chief drew power from a huger 1,000 cc V-twin, but over time that evolved into a 1,210 cc unit, and then on to a massive 1,300 cc engine. When Indian closed down production in 1953, the legendary Chief seemingly died with it. However, thanks to the Polaris-backed reboot of the brand, the Chief is now back with us, though with little in common with its ancestor. The modern Chief uses a 1,811 cc Thunderstroke 111 engine, but the overall spirit of the motorcycle harkens back to the glorious Indian machines of yesteryear.

Victory Octane

Victory Octane Side View
Photo Credit

The Victory Octane was without doubt one of the best power cruisers ever made. Now, the Victory nameplate may no longer be with us, but the spirit of the Octane lives on in the Indian Scout. Still, we’re awarding this space to Victory because when it came to innovation, Victory really pushed the envelope. Or rather, it pushed the envelope within the cruiser segment. There were many people who dismissed Victory as just another cruiser manufacturer, and while they did certainly make cruisers, they offered serious performance too.

The Octane was designed alongside the brand’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb racer, the Project 156. It featured similar DNA, but rather than being channeled into a performance bike, it was injected into a new breed of cruiser. The Octane featured a powerful 1,179 cc V-twin engine that produced 88.6 hp and 66.9 lb-ft of torque, with a nimble nature and modern aesthetic. Unfortunately, we’ll never get to see how good it could’ve been, as Victory shut its doors in 2017.

Still, the technology lives on in the form of the Indian Scout. Which is still a great motorcycle. However, it would’ve been great to see what a brand with a vision like Victory’s could have done with it. Even so, it still deserves to go down in history as one of the great American motorcycles.

Arch KRGT-1

ARCH KRGT-1 Side View
Credit: Arch Motorcycles

Keanu Reeves might be Canadian, but his bike brand, Arch Motorcycle, is all-American. Founded in 2011 by actor Keanu Reeves and motorcycle designer Gard Hollinger, Arch Motorcycle produces made-to-order performance cruisers that are quite unlike anything else on the market. The brand’s flagship model, the KRGT-1 began life as a private commission, when Reeves set Hollinger the task of building him a performance cruiser with American values.

Fusing comfort and aggression together in equal measure, the KRGT-1 can be ridden furiously on the track, or for laid-back cross-country cruises. The bike is built around a burly 2,032 cc S&S T124 V-twin that produces a massive 121 lb-ft of peak torque, held in place by a lightweight tubular steel and aluminum chassis.

Naturally, it features premium parts, including Öhlins suspension, BST carbon wheels, ISR brakes, and more. But as each model is somewhat made to measure, no two KRGT-1s are the same.

The only negative part of the KRGT-1 is the price tag. With ticket prices of around $85,000 a go, they’re not cheap. But you’re not just buying a motorcycle. Instead, you’re investing in the future of the American motorcycling dream. Or an actor’s impressive vanity project. Since very few of us are ever going to own one, the price doesn’t really matter anyway.

Motus MST

Motus MST Side View
Credit: Motus Motorcycles

Gone but not forgotten: the Motus Motorcycles brand name only enjoyed a short life but it left a lasting impression. Motus was founded in around 2008 by Lee Conn and Brian Case, but it took a few years before the first prototype broke cover. It was called the MST and going against American convention, it wasn’t a cruiser with a V-twin engine. Instead, it was a sport touring motorcycle, with a V4 powerplant instead.

The brand got a bit of bad press for using pushrod engine design, considered outdated at the time and the wrong direction for a performance bike, but the MST (and its more powerful sibling, the MST-R) boasted impressive performance.

The MV4 1650 V4 engine produced an impressive 165 horses (MST) or 180 horsepower (MST-R) depending on what model you chose. Still, it wasn’t enough to make buyers look past the price tag. These things weren’t cheap, and that’s what ultimately led the brand to close its doors.

With the company shutting down in 2018, the MST and MSTR models could be considered something as a failure rather than some of the “best motorcycles to come out of America,” and that’s true to a degree. However, Conn and Case tried something wild and it kind of worked. Sales might not have gone through the roof, but the guys at Motus certainly did break the monotony of seeing another American V-twin manufacturer. They dared to be different.

Zero SR

Zero SR Side View
Credit: Zero Motorcycles

Daring to be different is the heart of Zero Motorcycles’ business model. While the American motorcycling legend might be built on top of brawny V-twin engines with massive displacements and huge power, the industry’s future looks quite different. Swapping internal combustion engines for electric motors, Zero has been leading the charge for electric motorcycles in the USA.

Founded in 2006 by former NASA engineer Neal Saiki, Zero designs and builds electric motorcycles with real-life usability and capability. The first production model was the brand’s Zero S model, but if we had to choose one that really defines the brand and the state of the electric motorcycle movement in the USA, then it would have to be the Zero SR.

Introduced in 2014, the Zero SR (Street Racing) features a futuristic powertrain with real performance. In stock form, the motor and battery can provide a usable range of up to 179 miles, and produce a top speed of 95 mph, complemented with 70 horsepower and 116 lb-ft of torque. If you’re looking for an American-made electric motorcycle with a versatile nature, the Zero SR should be the bike for you.

Curtiss Motorcycles “The One”

2021 Curtiss The One Side View
Credit: Curtiss Motorcycles

Now, if you’re interested in electric mobility but also demand exclusivity, then Curtiss Motorcycles have something for you. If you’re not familiar with Curtiss, you’ll be familiar with the brand’s former name “Confederate Motors.” Confederate built a reputation for building some of the most exotic, exclusive, and expensive motorcycles in North America, and now that they’ve changed their name and business model, they’ve added an extra “E” into the mix: electric.

The brand ditched its name and direction a few years ago, but since Curtiss rose from Confederate’s ashes, we hadn’t heard much. We knew that the brand would only build electric motorcycles in the future, and we knew that it would work in partnership with Zero. But it has only been recently that we’ve seen what the future of Curtiss will look like. This is it. This is “The One” – an electric machine with eye-watering performance and a unique aesthetic.

The One is a low-volume production bike from Curtiss that uses a fully customizable frame, CNC-machined components, a radial battery case, and a powertrain that produces 217 horsepower, 272 lb-ft of torque. And what does it cost? £115,000. But that’s a small price to pay for such a unique, innovative and outrageously American motorcycle. Maybe?

Lightning LS-218

Lightning LS-218 Side View
Photo Credit

Yes, we’ve got another electric motorcycle here. The whole electrification of motorcycles can be an opinion divider, but whether you agree with it or not, it’s happening—and America is very much at the forefront of development. In terms of performance, the USA’s Lightning Motorcycle Corp is hard to beat. Why? Because the brand’s flagship motorcycle, the LS-218, is the fastest production bike in the world, either gas or electric. And if that’s not something to celebrate, then what is?

Lightning was founded in 2006 by Richard Hatfield. Hatfield formed the company to focus on electric mobility, and after designing a number of interesting vehicles, the LS-218 was born. It’s an all-electric sports bike with a 12 kWh battery pack that can deliver an impressive range, and even more impressive performance. It has competed at Pikes Peak and numerous other competitions, but its crowning moment was setting its top speed record at the Bonneville Speedway: proving that it was capable of hitting 218 mph.

That kind of performance is pricey, but when compared to other high-end electric motorcycles, the LS-218 isn’t actually that expensive, with a price tag of $38,888 US. It’s electric, it’s fast, and it’s a titleholder—which is why it’s one of the best American motorcycles ever made.

Rokon Trail-Breaker

Rokon Trail-Breaker Side View
Credit: Rokon

Disagree all you like, but the Rokon Trail-Breaker is a true American icon. It’s a tough-talking, utilitarian machine with a pioneering spirit, with plenty of American grit and attitude. It might not be as well-known as a Harley-Davidson or as fast as the Lightning LS-218, but when the apocalypse comes, it’s the bike you want on your side.

The first Trail-Breaker prototype was built in 1958. It was an all-wheel-drive, all-terrain utility vehicle designed for conquering the great outdoors. And it delivered! So much so that the Trail-Breaker went into full production in 1960…and it’s still very much in production today. But what makes it special?

Equipped with a lightweight 7 horsepower motor, the Trail-Breaker doesn’t sound like much. However, it has AWD, it has hollow drum wheels that can float in water or store liquids, shod with huge tractor-like tires, and what’s more, it can tow up to 2,000 lbs.

It can climb rocks, cross rivers, carry huge loads, and accelerate to a modest top speed of 35 mph. It might be lacking in the performance department but it truly is a do-all workhorse that won’t let you down. Plus, you can buy a Trail-Breaker for around $7,775—which is a small price for such a versatile, and 100% American motorcycle.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Triumph unveils electric motorcycle

Triumph Motorcycles has revealed a sketch of what their electric motorcycle will look like – and it looks very sporty indeed.

The British company has been working for a couple of years with the British F1 team Williams after receiving millions in government funding to produce electric motorcycles.

Triumph has been surveying its customers since 2012 to see if they want them to produce electric bikes and in 2019 the company issued a trademark filing for the name “Trident” to be used for “all possible classes” including motorcycling gear, accessories, clothing and “electric machines”.

However, for the moment, the bike is called the TE-1 project and there are only a few vague technical details available.

They say it will have “class-leading power, efficiency, charging time and range” thanks to an innovative, lightweight battery.

“The all-new battery has peak power of 170kW and continuous power of 90kW, with a capacity of 15kWh,” their press release says. 

“This enables the motorbike to deliver 130kW of peak power and 80kW of continuous power.

“Class-leading system cooling combined with the optimum balance of power and energy means TE-1 can give the rider more electric power for longer and deliver outstanding performance regardless of battery charge. 

“The 360-volt system also enables a fast-charging time of under 20mins (0-80%), which is combined with a market-leading target range.”

That last statement is a bit vague, but could mean more than the 360km range offered by Zero Motorcycles with their extended battery pack.

After two years, the project has completed phase two of what they say is a four-phase program, so it could be another couple of years yet before we even see a prototype.

Tokyo Motor Show Yamaha Display

Add another couple of years before a production model is ready.

Triumph CEO Nick Bloor says the project will “provide one of the foundations for our future electric motorcycle strategy, which is ultimately focused on delivering what riders want from their Triumph; the perfect balance of performance, handling and real world usability, with genuine Triumph character”.

Williams spokesman Dyrr Ardash says the “next-generation battery technology” will provide “more power, for longer”. 

The company was the original supplier of batteries to the entire grid of FIA Formula E World Championship cars in 2014, a relationship that has been revived for 2022-23 season with Williams Advanced Engineering being awarded the exclusive contract to supply the Gen3 battery system. 

WAE also supplies battery systems to ETCR and Extreme-E.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Australia way behind in electric vehicle sales

Australia is miles behind the UK when it comes to interest in electric motorcycles and scooters.

A new survey shows half of UK bikers want to own an electric motorbike or have bought one, and 43.8% say sales of new petrol bikes should eventually be banned entirely.

In Australia, there are few electric models available:

Of course, the biggest obstacle in Australia is the combination of limited range of electric vehicles and the tyranny of distance in our big country, especially when compared wth the UK.

But it’s not just sales of electric motorcycles and scooters that are stagnant. Electric Vehicle Council figures show that last ear only 6,900 electric cars were sold in Australia, up just 2.7% on 2019. That’s just 0.7 per cent of total Australian car sales.

By comparison, electric vehicles in the EU increased their market share from 3.8% in 2019 to 10.2% in 2020. In California, market share went from 7.6% to 8.1%. Norway EV sales rose from 56% in 2019 to 75% in 2020.

In the the UK, it was 3.1% in 2019 against 10.7% in 2020, but that should improve markedly if the survey from motorbike insurer Bikesure is any indication.

Electric Vehicle Council chief executive Behyad Jafari blames politicians for “yanking the handbrake” on EV sales in Australia.

Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide Revival Icons Collection

“We have no targets, no significant incentives, no fuel efficiency standards – and in Victoria we even have a new tax on non-emitting vehicles,” he says.

In fact, NSW, South Australia and Victoria have all announced a road user charge for low and zero emission vehicles, which includes electric motorcycles and scooters.

“Our governments are apparently doing everything possible to ensure Australia is stalled with its hazards on while the rest of the world zooms into the horizon,” Beyhad says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Honda, Yamaha, KTM, Piaggo Sign Letter of Intent for Swappable Battery Consortium

Honda, Yamaha, KTM, and Piaggio have all signed a letter of intent to stage a swappable electric battery consortium for EV motorcycles and lighter EV’s. 

Together, they will collaborate on batteries that can be swapped amongst each of their EV lineups. This will make it possible to use a universal battery across all models. This initiative will take some time before coming to the streets however the letter of intent is a huge step in the right direction. 

Yamaha EC-05 Concept

From the press release: ‘The aim of the Consortium will, therefore, be to define the standardized technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category; mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles. By working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardization bodies, the founding members of the Consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards.’

Honda Managing Officer of Motorcycle Operations Noriake Abe said:

Motorcycle paramedics

“The worldwide electrification effort to reduce CO2 on a global scale is accelerating, especially in Europe. For the widespread adoption of electric motorcycles, problems such as travel distance and charging times need to be addressed, and swappable batteries are a promising solution. Considering customer convenience, standardization of swappable batteries and wide adoption of battery systems is vital, which is why the four-member manufacturers agreed to form the Consortium.
Honda views improving the customers’ usage environment as an area to explore cooperation with other manufacturers while bringing better products and services to customers through competition. Honda will work hard on both fronts to be the ‘chosen’ manufacturer for customer mobility.”

Activity on the new consortium will begin in May 2021, while invitations have been extended to other manufactures to join in on the initiative. Once this initiative is live and available to the consumer, it will mean huge benefits for all EV owners. It will mean less time charging and more time traveling – since you will be able to simply swap your battery and go. This concept isn’t anything new but with major players in manufacturing stepping up means it will be a matter of time before it becomes reality. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Three Brands Shaking Up the Powersports Industry

The motorcycle industry is constantly evolving. However, the next five years may see some rapid changes. With electrification becoming a more mainstream feature in the wider automotive industry and the necessary infrastructure developing with it, it’s clear that the motorcycle industry will have to rise to a number of new challenges.

Electrification is just one of the many facets of modern motorcycling. With the advent of smart technologies, motorcyclists can be more aware of their surroundings than ever before. New construction materials and methods are being applied to the latest generation of bikes and riding gear. And technologies that were once fun gimmicks are now becoming standard.

We don’t know what the next few years will bring, but we can focus on some brands that are likely to make an impact on the industry in general. You may disagree with our choices—and that’s fine. Whether you agree or not, and whether we end up being right or wrong, it’ll be interesting to see how these brands evolve, develop, or fade away, in the not-so-distant future.

So, let’s get started!

Damon Motorcycles

Damon Hypersport Models
Credit: WebBikeWorld

One of the most exciting brands out there is Canada’s Damon Motorcycles. Like many upcoming electric brands, Damon has made some impressive claims and what’s more, their claims seem to be more fact than fiction. If you’re not familiar with Damon Motorcycles, here’s a quick recap:

Damon Motorcycles is a Canadian EV start-up that was founded in 2017. Over the years, the firm has been able to secure serious funding and recruit some top-tier talent. Not only that, but Damon Motorcycles also acquired the IP of the now-defunct Mission Motor, making it a serious electric motorcycle brand that you need to pay attention to.

In 2019, they pulled the covers off of their Hypersport model. It promised a top speed of 200 mph, 200 horsepower, a maximum range of 200 miles, fast charging times, and a base price of only $24,995 USD.

In terms of base specification, it’s already hard to find any downsides. The charging times are more acceptable, with 45 minutes to reach 80% with a Combined Charging System, 2.5 hours to hit 90% at Level 2, and 15 hours to 90% with Level 1 charging. It’s not even heavy, which is often a problem with EVs, weighing in at around 440 lbs. It even has top-shelf components, such as Öhlins suspension and Brembo brakes on the premium “Premier” model.

But all of those features aren’t even the main selling point of Damon’s premium motorcycles.

It’s the on-board tech.

Damon Motorcycles Specifications
Credit: Damon Motorcycles

Damon’s advanced CoPilot system is an amalgamation of sophisticated riding aids and modern electronics. We’re not talking ABS and traction control either—we’re talking about futuristic safety elements. CoPilot relies on sensors, radars, cameras, and modern technology to track moving objects and give riders a 360-degree view of everything that’s going on around them. If it senses danger, it will alert the rider.

Each motorcycle also features an innovative Shift system. This is an electronic ergonomics package that allows riders to electronically control their riding position. Handlebars, pegs, seat height, and screen height can all be adjusted electronically, allowing for a custom ride experience.

It’s the safety element that Damon’s bosses are really interested in. According to an interview with the company’s boss Jay Giraud, a heavy focus on safety was necessary to secure investors, and it’s a strategy that has paid off. Not only has he secured funding, but he’s also attracted the right target market.

“Half the people ordering are under the age of 40,” explained Giraud. “It really speaks to product-market fit.”

At the moment, it’s too early to tell how well Damon Motorcycles will perform on the market. However, the brand has highlighted exactly how much electric motorcycle you can get for a reasonable price. The competition will have to work hard to innovate and keep up with Damon in the years to come. Will Damon be able to dominate the electric motorcycle market? Again, it’s too early to tell—but whatever happens, they’ll have given their competitors something to think about.

Harley-Davidson

Jochen Zeitz - Harley's new CEO posing with a Livewire
Credit: Motorbikewriter

And now we leap from one exciting and forward-thinking company to another that prides itself on heritage and nostalgia. It’s Harley-Davidson, of course. You’re probably wondering how a brand like Harley-Davidson could shake up the industry, and under normal circumstances, we’d also be scratching our heads. But something has happened to HDs high-command that gives us reason to believe that big things are in the works.

In March 2020, Jochen Zeitz took over the role of CEO at HD. He’s been on the board since 2007 and headed Harley’s Sustainability Committee since 2011. If you’re not familiar with Jochen Zeitz, he’s a very successful businessman with plenty of career highlights. In 1993, at age 30, he became the CEO of PUMA. At this time, the brand was in decline and faced serious financial difficulties. Thanks to a bold restructuring plan with a long-term vision, Zeitz was able to save the brand and increase its share price by 4000%.

With Zeitz at the helm, it’s clear that Harley-Davidson may be expecting something of a revolution. Currently, the brand has surprised critics by releasing or previewing a number of exciting new models: the LiveWire, the Pan America, and the Bronx.

Harley-Davidson Pan America Side View
Credit: Harley-Davidson

The first is an innovative electric motorcycle, the second is an impressive adventure-touring motorcycle, and the third is an aggressive streetfighter. While opinions have been split, there’s no doubt that Harley-Davidson is actively testing the waters and feeling out other areas of the market. With an aging ridership and without younger riders replacing the outgoing generation of Harley-riders, the brand has found itself at something of a crossroads.

Even so, it seems that Zeitz’s business plan won’t be resting its hopes on new models. According to the man himself, his bold “Rewire” strategy will focus on smoothing out the company’s operations and making everything “lean and efficient” using “broad cost and cash savings measures.”

By streamlining operations it’s hoped that Harley will be able to continue developing desirable motorcycles and remain classed as a premium brand. It’s a bold strategy, especially as many brands have diversified to include smaller, budget-conscious models. For Harley, it seems like staying in the premium bracket is a high-priority.,

“We’ve always said that market share right now doesn’t really matter simply because we have to focus not on volume but on desirability,” Zeitz explained.

Whatever happens, it’s clear that Harley-Davidson is going to make some pretty big waves over the next few years.

Forcite MK1 Smart Helmet

Forcite Helmet Worn By Rider
Credit: WebBikeWorld

Not all industry brands that are shaking up the industry are motorcycle manufacturers. Motorcycle gear is just as important to a rider as their motorcycle, and in recent years motorcycle helmet technology has really advanced. The promise of the Skully AR-1 may have dissolved into nothing, but there’s more to the modern helmet scene than one brand. In Ireland, there’s a firm called Koroyd with a fantastic invention that could replace traditional MIPS liners. But we’re not here to talk about that.

Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide Revival Icons Collection

Instead, we’re excited to look at what Forcite is bringing to the table.

Forcite is an Australian helmet manufacturer with big plans. Their pioneering helmet, the MK1, has already sold out—and it hasn’t gone into full production yet. It claims to be the world’s first real smart helmet, one that would blow the Skully AR-1 out of the water, using modern construction materials and serious technology.

In short, the MK1 is a carbon fiber helmet with an innovative bamboo-fabric liner, a UV400 rated sun visor, with anti-fog coating, and plenty of ventilation. Currently, it has European ECE certification and Australian certification for road and track use, with US certification on the way. As an analog helmet, it’s already impressive. But it’s the level of built-in technology that truly elevates it above the competition.

The lid features an integrated 166-degree wide-angle camera that records 1080p/60 FPS, which can store up to 5 hours of riding footage, with regular autosave intervals. It also boasts built-in WiFi for easy file uploads, and for practical communication reasons.

Bluetooth is also included, with removable speakers and a pair of noise-canceling microphones for seamless audio capture, and for bike-to-bike communication, courtesy of the helmet’s built-in communication system. The communication system works using the internet though, and not Bluetooth.

If that wasn’t enough, the Forcite MK1 also includes built-in GPS and a number of other sensors that delivers information to navigation and geo-tagging system. There’s no heads-up display, but it alerts the rider and gives information via the audio system and LED lighting within the helmet.

Forcite Helmet Anatomy
Credit: WebBikeWorld

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the likes of SENA and Jarvish have got a serious competitor. And as the industry leans towards smarter helmets, with built-in communication devices and Bluetooth-to-smartphone communication equipped as standard, every helmet manufacturer will have to start innovating and deploying their own solutions. So far, SENA has managed to dominate the communications market, and helmet manufacturers have been happy to provide device-sized recesses in their lids to accommodate third-party gear. But those days may be coming to an end.

As riders demand more technology in their helmets, the market may shift toward all-inclusive smart helmets like the Forcite MK1, rather than helmets built to accommodate third-party gadgets.

The motorcycle industry is continually evolving, and now with the advent of autonomous driving, AI technologies, the abundance of IoT (internet of things) technology, super light, and super strong construction materials, and more, the industry’s next evolutionary leap is expected to be quite a big one. Whether these brands will be riding the crest of that evolutionary wave remains to be seen—but they’re worth keeping an eye on, just in case.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Soriano Motori Now Accepts Cryptocurrency

It’s no secret that cryptocurrency has been on the up and up for the past few years. Well, you can now use it to purchase yourself a Soriano Motori motorcycle. Soriano Motori, an Italian motorcycle manufacturer is the first global manufacturer to accept cryptocurrency as payment. 

Soriano Motori will accept a range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), LiteCash, BTC Cash, or LiteCoin (LTC), all of which can be used to purchase any of the brand’s latest motorcycles.

Soriano Motori EV

The founder of the unique brand, Marco Soriano, happens to be an experienced investor in cryptocurrencies. Per Visordown.com, when M. Soriano spoke about the news he said:

“All our clients will be able to benefit from the great advantages that cryptocurrencies offer. Thanks to digital currencies such as Bitcoin, we can carry out international transactions without commissions or without attending to exchange rate fluctuations, among others,”.

RONI RMV

Soriano Motori is not the first to accept cryptocurrencies for vehicles, the company will be joining automotive giants like Tesla and BMW. Following such established companies can reassure this is a step in the right direction. Soriano Motori’s website and eCommerce store have the Coinbase trading platform integrated in addition to an advanced blockchain system to ensure the security of purchases. 

Soriano Motor’s three electric motorcycle models’ prices range from about $30,000 to $40,000 each. This means, for a little over 1 Bitcoin (in today’s exchange rate), you can purchase yourself a brand new EV motorcycle. Not a bad deal if you were able to pick up a few Bitcoin 2 years ago for around $4000 each.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Your chance to go WYLD on an electric chopper

Brisbane riders have the chance to go wild on a locally designed WYLD mini electric chopper at the “Launch, Show & Ride EV Expo” at University of Southern Queensland’s Springfield Campus next week.

The WYLD is produced by Brisbane-based electric light vehicle company EMoS, formerly known as e-Motion Concepts.

The e-Moped will cost from $A2999 to $A5599 depending on battery size.

EMoS will launch the bike at the event in the USQ’s Springfield campus car park of Block B at University Drive, on 12 December 2020, 9am to noon. 

And you can get a chance to have a test ride.

In fact, because it is governed at 50m/h top speed it’s classed as a moped, so you don’t even need a motorcycle licence. (Mopeds can be ridden on a car licence in  Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.)

Extending the special moped licence to all states is one of the key points of a Two Wheel Action Group petition to state and federal ministers. Click here to read more and sign the petition.

Electric futureElectric Chopper

While you’re at the Expo, you can see and ride the future of electric vehicles with a display of EMoS light electric vehicles (LEVs) to transport people and goods.

Ride Sports will also display their range of e-bikes and the Australian Electric Vehicle Association (AEVA) will have information about electric vehicles and some electric cars on show.

As part of the Australian launch of the EMoS WYLD, the company will give away one of their iLARK three-wheeled personal e-scooters to one lucky attendant.

Aprilia scooter
EMOS WYLD Electric Chopper
iLARK three-wheeled personal e-scooter

EMoS co-founder Harry Proskefalas visitors will be able to learn more about the coming electric vehicle revolution.

“The venue at USQ Springfield campus is very fitting, with USQ’s own commitment to sustainability, such as the 2 megawatt solar project and green transport initiatives,” he says. 

The WYLD features a removable battery and you buy a backup 20Ah battery with 80km of range for $600 or a 30Ah battery with 90km range for $850.

It has fat 12-inch tyres, a solo saddle, mini ape-hanger bars, digital instruments and Harley-esque styling in red or blue.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

CAKE and Northvolt Batteries Partner for Future E-Bikes

EV and Squeaky Clean

CAKE has a very minimalist approach when it comes to electric bikes and EV transportation. Their products are stripped down, and more-or-less composed of a seat, wheels, battery, handlebars, and fork. It’s about as minimal as you can get, and the aesthetic is both refreshing and welcomed.

Just because your vehicle runs on electric batteries, doesn’t mean it’s the cleanest option available. Battery production is its own can of worms with its own drawbacks and flaws. Northvolt seeks to manufacture the greenest battery cells possible with their factories relying and running on fully renewable energy sources. Lithium plants are ugly and can cause a black eye on the industry depending on what angle you’re looking from, so Northvolt ensures their batteries materials are sourced from areas free of conflict, child labor among other human rights issues.

CAKE aims to team up with Northvolt to take their moral approach to EV tech to get them closer to their overall goal of being a completely zero-emission manufacturing process.

Stefan Ytterborn, CEO of CAKE said, “What Northvolt is doing here truly supports our mission toward zero-emissions…” “The Northvolt concept of fossil-fuel-free manufacturing of battery cells and their commitment to recycling means that we will take a giant leap forward in our mission…”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com