As futuristic as the future may one day be, I’ll be the guy hoarding all the loud, leaky, inefficient, fossil-fueled motors that most of the world will consider to be boat anchors and giant paperweights – call it my Redneck 401k. One day they might be considered old-fashioned, but there’s just something extremely gratifying about an internal combustion engine that an electric motor could never replicate. Mostly it’s the sound and feel, obviously, and it used to be about the performance, but electric motorcycles have evolved and come a long way in recent years.

One company that’s leading the charge (get it? …charge?) is Alta Motors with its Redshift line of bikes that includes an Enduro, Motocross and Supermoto variant. All three bikes feature the same water-proof battery that crams 5.8 kWh into 30.8 kilos (67.9 lbs) with a maximum of 350V providing a claimed 40 hp and 120 lb-ft of torque. Range varies with output map selection, but Alta says to expect approximately three hours of continuous use depending on how hard you’re twisting the throttle. Recharging is said to take four hours at 120V and just two and a half at 240V. From there, the weight, suspension, wheels and geometry differ from model to model to tailor the bikes to perform best for their respective purposes.

Alta Motors

The Alta Motors Redshift in Supermoto (SM) trim weighs a claimed 275 lbs (race) and 283 lbs (street), has a 57.3-inch wheelbase, 35.5-inch tall seat, 27-degree rake, 17-inch wheels, four-piston Brembos paired with a 320mm rotor in front and a single pot Brembo + 240mm disc combo out back. Aaand it’s street legal.

With companies like Toyota, BMW and Tesla changing the four-wheel landscape of the personal transportation industry, it comes as no surprise that two-wheel manufacturers are following suit. As a result of increased demand and a growing appetite for electric motorcycles, Alta Motors just announced that the company is expanding its dealer network this year in the U.S. by adding 36 new dealer partnerships in 16 new states, bringing the grand total to 41 dealers in 18 states. Now, this may not seem like a lot, but a company has to learn to crawl before it can walk. With ever-growing environmental consciousness at the forefront of many federal laws and regulations, manufacturers like Alta Motors might be running before they’ve graduated from diapers. But only time will tell…

I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist, but I’m all for the preservation and sustainability of our home planet. And while I find the natural world absolutely stunning, I still prefer to view it from atop a rumbling motorcycle. Electric motorcycles have their obvious advantages that come not only in the form of environmental-friendliness, but also in the sense that there’s much less maintenance. No more air filter or oil changes, or stops at the gas station – all of these aspects will ultimately save you money in the long run, as long as you’re willing to make the initial investment, which whistles to the tune of $14,995 for the Motocrosser and $15,495 for both the Enduro and Supermoto.

 

Alta Motors

The Alta Motors Redshift in Enduro (EX) trim weighs a claimed 275 lbs, has a 58.6-inch wheelbase, 38.2-inch tall seat, 26.2-degree rake, 21- and 18-inch wheels, two-piston Brembos paired with a 260mm rotor in front and a single pot Brembo + 219mm disc out back. Also street legal.

Aside from initial cost of ownership, there are other factors that could limit or influence a potential electric motorcycle customer’s interest, such as: battery range, recharge time, access to recharge points and/or lack of noise. I include lack of noise because let’s face it, often times a fellow motorist is more likely to hear you before they see you, which, no doubt adds to the risks of riding an electric bike on the road, but that’s a can of worms to open another day.

I can see the benefits of an electric motorcycle in two main facets: as a play-bike, (as most dirt bikes are) where you can fly under the radar and not disturb noise-sensitive neighbors, and as a commuter, where you can completely cut out fuel costs from your budget – even better if you can charge it while at work before the return journey home. And then there’s also an e-bike’s ability to deliver 100% instant torque at any speed, which frankly, I can’t argue against. But running out of juice and having to wait several hours, unlike stopping for a few minutes at a gas station, does turn me away.

 

Alta Motors

The Alta Motors Redshift in Motocross (MX) trim weighs a claimed 267 lbs, has a 57.5-inch wheelbase, 37-inch tall seat, 27-degree rake, 21- and 19-inch wheels, two-piston Brembos paired with a 260mm rotor in front and a single pot Brembo + 240mm disc combo out back. These aren’t terrible (read: terribly futuristic) looking motorcycles, you know.

For decades, gasoline motorcycles have been steadily refined, while electric motorcycles occasionally popped up as novelty one-offs. However, this might be changing. But out of curiosity, I ask our fellow MO readers, how do you feel about electric motorcycles? With the options available from Alta and other brands like Zero and Energica, what kind/type would you buy and why, and how would you use it?

Here’s a few electric bike tests and shootouts we’ve done in the past:

Electric vs. Gas Supermoto Shootout
Dual-Sport Shootout: Electric vz. Gasoline!
Victory Isle of Man TT Zero Racer on a Dragstrip + Video
2013 Brammo Empulse R vs. Zero S ZF11.4 Video
2015 Alta Motors RedShift MX and SM Preview + Video
Victory Isle of Man TT Zero Racebike Test
2016 Zero DSR First Ride Review
2016 Victory Empulse TT First Ride Review
The Life Electric: Next-Gen Hot Rodding + Video
2017 KTM Freeride E-XC First Ride Review

Begin Release:


BRISBANE, Calif., Nov. 30, 2017 – Alta Motors, the leader in global lightweight electric vehicles, announced the expansion of its dealership network this year with the addition of 36 new dealer partnerships in 16 new states. Expanding its footprint coast to coast, Alta’s award-winning Redshift platform is now available to riders at 41 dealerships in 18 states. The latest dealer partnerships signal the lightweight vehicle market’s growing appetite for electric bikes. Already, Alta has increased its sales by 18x this year, compared to 2016, and is poised to build upon its leadership in the growing $125B+ global lightweight vehicle market (LWV).

Alta Motors

“We’ve sold more Alta bikes this year than any other single model,” said Scott Bannick, sales manager of Colorado-based Elite Motorsports, a dealership that began carrying Alta’s bikes in November 2016. “The success we’ve seen was unimaginable a year ago, but now not so surprising. The coolest thing to witness after encouraging a customer to try the electric bike, is seeing that customer return at the end of the day with eyes the size of dinner plates. It’s priceless.”

Alta Motors

Since commercializing its Redshift platform, Alta’s bikes have attracted a diverse following of riders, from motocross professionals like Josh Hill to highly experienced lifelong riders to complete newcomers looking for a commuter bike. Alta’s performance maps and software enable Redshift riders of all levels to change the bike’s power delivery and amount of regenerative braking with the flick of a thumb. This turnkey solution provides each rider the ability to tailor his or her experience in real time and over time, without upgrading the bike. By designing and manufacturing the Redshift to compete head to head with gas bikes, and enable riders to go where gas bikes have never gone before, Alta has set a new performance standard. Watch nimble Alta riders stealthily maneuver through unimaginable conditions, moving from the street to soft sand and rocks to water.

Alta Motors

“In 1974, I got my first off-road minibike, and have been riding and racing motocross ever since. This summer, I purchased Alta’s Redshift MX, and have already logged over 65 hours on it. It’s become my favorite bike to ride for a number of reasons. Namely, it’s faster, quieter and easier to maintain. I can ride any time of day around my track in Rochester without disturbing our neighbors,” said Ben Atkinson, Redshift MX rider.

Aligned with the global electrification market movement, Alta’s new dealers, and record sales this year comes as the company solidifies its dominance in the electric lightweight vehicle sector while eying entry into international markets next year. The latest dealerships emerge in diverse geographies ranging from Arlington, Texas to Neptune City, New Jersey, signifying the bourgeoning shift to go electric across the U.S.

“After demonstrating the Redshift’s ability to compete head to head with combustion, we’re excited to scale our dealership base across the U.S., offering more riders the opportunity to hop on for an initial joy ride,” said Alta Motors CEO, Marc Fenigstein. “No doubt, there are still hurdles to educating this market on the thrills and combined benefits of riding an electric bike, but we’re seeing a promising future with a 18x increase in sales this year.”

Alta Motors

About Alta Motors
Alta Motors is a global leader in lightweight electric vehicles with a proprietary mobility platform that offers new levels of power density and economics. It leads the industry with a complete portfolio of battery and drivetrain components, an existing fleet of lightweight vehicles manufactured at its world-class Brisbane facility and a full customer backlog. Please visit us at: www.altamotors.co

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  • MyName

    40hp? Ok, that’s not terrible. More than my 250, I guess. Wait, HOW MUCH TORQUE? Three HUNDRED an sixy percent more than a WR450F???

    • Jason

      Available at 0 RPM too!

      I’ve not had a chance to throw my leg over an electric motorcycle yet but I have an electric car. 400 lb-ft of torque at 0 RPM = FUN! The thing spins the wheels at will and cost less per mile than a Prius.

      • Craig Hoffman

        Wheelies for days I suppose. Sounds fun!

        • Jason

          They would just complain about the dust instead. Horse people like to complain. Like the one I ran into riding on a paved rails to trails multi use path complaining that her horse was scared of bikes so we should get off our bikes and wait for her to pass.

          • TC

            I ride horses. Trail etiquette states that bicycles yield to hikers and equestrian riders, and should dismount and move to the side of the trail when encountering horses. If that is too much of a bother for you, you should confine your bicycle riding to roads.

          • Johnny Blue

            Or you train your horse to NOT get scared and NOT shit on shared trails.

          • Jason

            The rules also say to clean up after your pet.

            My 70 year old mother also rides horses and was (slowly) riding with me. She thought it was crazy to
            1. Even ride a horse on a trail used by hundreds of cyclists
            2. Bring a spooky horse to such a trail.

            Really, what kind a person expects dozens of people a minute to stop what they are doing to accommodate 1 person? This is one of the most popular cycling trails in the area and every weekend the parking lots are filled with hundreds of cars (primarily of cyclists)

          • TC

            If it’s a multi use trail, obey the rules. If it’s a bike path, the horse and rider shouldn’t have been on it. Really no point in discussing Equestrian vs. Bicycles, because bike riders view every trail as a racetrack, to be ridden on as fast a possible. Horses travel 3 mph, the same as a person walking. Just remember, if you speed up to a horse and rider, either from in front, or behind, the horse views you as an attacking predator, like a mountain lion, and will try to escape the perceived threat. I guess you’re ok with potentially causing someone to be injured and killed, as long as your average speed is not compromised.

          • Jason

            When horse owners start cleaning up after their pets I’ll be concerned about their feelings. Horse riders believe the world is their pets toilet. This is why nobody (bikers, hikers, or runners) like horse people.

            Yes, the horse was legally allowed to be there. Something being legal doesn’t make it smart. You can legally ride down main street during rush hour too.

            I was polite. I stopped at waited for her to pass. That doesn’t mean I didn’t think she was being a jerk. A riders safety is directly related to training their horse. Don’t try to push that off on others.

            I’m not much of a cyclist but I’ve been to that trail lots of times as a runner. Never had a bit of problem with cyclists. I stay to the side and realize that they are the primary users of this particular trail. They ring a bell or say “on you left” and give me plenty of room.

          • TC

            As an Equestrian trail rider that has covered thousands of miles, I have seldom had a problem with a hiker. Cyclists, not so much. Nobody can train a horse not to ‘spook’ when a bike is approaching at high speed. As a prey animal, their brain is genetically adapted to tell them to flee at the sight of danger. Some horses tolerate bikes better than others.

          • Jason

            As a hiker and trail runner I can’t think of an issue I’ve had with a cyclist. Just the horse people and their crap. Some get testy when you ask them to move over so you can pass them.

            If your horse gets spooked by bikes, don’t take them to a 12 foot wide, paved trail, frequented by hundreds of bicyclists. Pretty simple.

          • Born to Ride

            I usually just pull in the clutch and coast by horses. Thankfully most horses in my area are used to cars passing by them while they ride down the side of rural 2-lanes, so a bike at idle burbling by doesn’t spook em. I’d hate to cause someone to get Chris Reeved because I didn’t give a shit about their safety.

        • Born to Ride

          This! I have wanted an electric dirt bike for a long time because I think the beauty is that nobody can bitch about you noise polluting and Call code enforcement on your ass. But 15 large is a lot to ask for a toy that’ll keep the neighbors happy.

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    • pres68y

      If anything the electric powered machines can generate far more torque at low speed than there is traction available. Excessive wheelspin can become a problem if one is not very careful applying more throttle at lower speeds.

      • Michael Fitzpatrick

        One of the nice things about electric bikes is that it’s fairly easy to modify the torque curve with the power controller – the author references it above “Range varies with output map selection…”

  • john phyyt

    When the change comes . It will have many effects. Just like a smart phone is just better ; All the old F/Fuel burners will be worthless. A few really prime examples will be worth it .. but 99% of the mass produced stuff will have less than zero net value.
    Think of the current value of USA and world fleet , think $ Trillions down the gurgler.

    • JustaTexan

      Not everything is a smartphone and just because something is new/different doesn’t necessarily make it better.

      • StripleStrom

        Exactly. I don’t think this is technology being driven by increased performance. In fact, it’s a step backward in price, usability, and performance per dollar based on an idea that may or may not actually be true (man-made global climate change). The unfortunate thing is that many are involved that have dishonest intentions to gain power or control and this is just another vehicle (pun intended) to advance their cause. Whenever government is involved I have to question the legitimacy. I say let the free market decide what’s better on a level playing field, based upon proven scientific data, without my tax dollars subsidizing your point of view!

        • JustaTexan

          amen

        • Eric

          Sounds good; let’s start by ending subsidies and preferable tax treatment for oil companies.

          • StripleStrom

            I’m of the opinion that the government should stay out of as much as possible. That sounds fair to me!

  • the rise of electric motorcycles is not bad and it is inevitable. Soon we will see all popular brands releasing the electric versions in an effort to get a piece of that pie. Already giants like BMW and others have started.

  • Johnny Blue

    I would love to have an electric motorcycle, but I can’t live with only 3 hours on a charge and 4 hours to recharge it. Plus, my gas tank doesn’t shrink with use like the capacity of the battery does. And not everyone has a garage to recharge the bike over night. Some of us park outside, on the sidewalk/street.

    • vastickel@gmail.com

      Ummm…. extension cord maybe? Apparently, you didn’t follow the story of Zero lending a bike to Aerostitch for testing through a Duluth winter. Bike was NEVER garaged. Stayed outside constantly.

      • Johnny Blue

        Would you run an extension cord from the fourth storey of a building and across the sidewalk, to a parking lot? I guess not.
        I wasn’t saying the bike can’t withstand the winter. I was saying that not everyone has the option to recharge their bikes overnight. Charging stations on the streets are totally insufficient at the moment.

        • Jason

          Public charging is insufficient at the moment. However, more and more apartment buildings are installing chargers. They have to if they want to attract and keep tenants.

          Some Zero motorcycles have replaceable batteries that can be removed to be charged. That would work for apartment dwellers. Most E-bikes also have removable batteries.

          However those are work arounds. Today EVs work best for people that can charge at home.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Electric bikes will eventually become inevitable and what you will buy if you still want/need 2-wheel motorized fun or transportation. But it will take battery improvements and possibly the developement of ‘smart’ electrical grids to get everyone on board.

    Right now, electric bikes are more challenging to adopt than electric cars, and most people in most places can’t yet justify owning one of those. I looked recently at a big electric scooter from a major brand for errand running duty. It was nearly there in function but even with projected savings in maintenance the extra cost over a gas model was prohibitive. The function would have to be better than ‘nearly there’ for me to bite at the current pricing. And, as someone else mentioned, you’d need a garage to put it in, preferably with a 240 charger. Not everyone has a garage with space available and that all-important ‘fast’ charger.

    • ZeroLover

      “Justification” is an odd criteria to meet. “Cost Effective” is not as genuine as few people are consistently driven to the most cost effective financial decisions. Motorcycles rarely would meet these for a purchase full stop. (I bought a couch that will never pay for itself… but it comfy, and the colors match)

      Right now electric motorcycles are easier to adopt than electric cars as they charge at least at a normal outlet and can get to more “normal outlets” than a car. Plus motorcycles are often a second vehicle, lending themselves to casual integration into lifestyle.

      My advice? Try electric motorcycles. If you find one you love, then buy the best electric motorcycle you can afford.

      10,000 miles later, my main regret was not buying electric sooner (but I couldn’t afford it much sooner).

      Arguing may be fun, but electric motorcycling is funner.

      • JustaTexan

        My advice? Ignore electric motorcycles completely. Leave them to the non-enthusiast people that work and live in densely populated urban areas. Let them remain the impractical oddities they are. Buy something with an internal combustion engine, developed for your pleasure for more than 100 years. Send your money to the OEMs that exist for your fun and the zillions of people in the aftermarket supporting your sport. Ride wherever you want, as fast as you want and as long as you want. Relish in the noise and the smell. Wring it out to the redline and listen to that music or cruise along and enjoy the feeling of all the mechanical stuff going on. Don’t resign yourself to 3 hours of sitting at the outlet for another 75 miles of whirring around like a drone. Motorcycles are about engines and fun and noise and freedom.

        • Don Silvernail

          Amen to that. I feel like we’re being subtly coerced into adopting these things way before they are ready for prime time. Electric bikes are like ethanol. Neither can really stand on their own two feet and win over the marketplace on their own merits. Government interference is required.

        • ZeroLover

          Are you sure you want to adopt a Texan persona for your rant? “Texas”, the state with 21,000 MW of wind farms, is greener than 4 Californias. At #6 for Electric Vehicle ownership Texas is about 1,000 cars per year from being #2. You might be better served (and appear less laughable) by adopting a more fitting state in your moniker.

          Fully charged every morning (when I plug it in) my Zero lets me smell everything else, hear everything else and really enjoy the splendor of this great world with all my senses. Beholden to just the sun and the wind for most of my miles, electrics are real freedom.

          • JustaTexan

            I’m sorry if I insulted you with my rant. It’s just my opinion. I hope you enjoy your Zero. I don’t have anything insulting to say about you liking your bike, I just don’t want one. I’ll admit I didn’t put a whole lot of thought in choosing my moniker. It never occurred to me that my opinion on electric bikes would disrespect Texas or make me laughable. I never thought having an opinion would get so many people’s shorts in a wad. Cheers Zero guy and enjoy the ride.

          • Born to Ride

            You’re good man, I enjoyed your rant. As long as you don’t sleep on lone star blankets I won’t laugh at you.

          • JustaTexan

            Thanks man, I appreciate it. Cheers

          • Born to Ride

            I mean, I don’t necessarily agree with you, but we are all enthusiasts here with our preferences! Cheers.

          • JustaTexan

            I understand and I appreciate it. Nobody has to agree, I was just saying what I think, and I believe everything I said. I ruffled a lot of feathers unintentionally and realize now I don’t belong here. I honestly never even thought I might insult or enrage. I’m guilty of reacting to what I felt like was a troll. I thought like you, we are all enthusiast here with our preferences but that didn’t turn out to be the case. I expected some entertaining banter but not insults. Not all opinions are valued so I’m best somewhere else. Cheers and enjoy MO.

      • therr850

        My motorcycle interests are not Supermoto, Enduro or MX. I don’t think there is a standard with hard bags or a sport tourer available yet. Can you imagine the cost for one of those? And I can manage only so many five course meals during a 2 1/2 hour recharge per day while on an extended tour of our great country. E-bikes may be the greatest thing since peanut butter and sliced bread but their popularity are highly dependent on the riders, and passengers, interests.

        • ZeroLover

          Tacita’s electric cruiser is going to be $25k for their biggest battery and charge in as little as 40 minutes (depending on the charger) so you’ll have to each one course per stop as you cross our great country in 150 mile lunges.

          E-motorcycles are somewhat dependent on the factors you indicate but they “fit” in more rider’s purview than anecdotes indicate. MOST motorcycles hardly ridden at all! They average only about 2,000 miles per year. That is very sad to write. Most dream of the big trip, that that is just dreams that few really get to regularly do.

          • therr850

            More promising but too expensive and as I said, standard with hard bags or sport touring. We currently ride a Bandit 1250S with Givi bags, $9000 new. We have spent many miles motorcycle touring, towing a Bunkhouse popup camping trailer, from Canada to New Mexico and from the Atlantic to Idaho and Utah. Thanks for the help though. The info is much appreciated.

  • Greyadventures

    Electric bikes are coming. Price is the biggest factor that I see. You can buy a used Leaf to commute for less than $10k slightly used and get to work and back, drop the kids off, carpool… Significantly more inherent value than a bike. Also you can buy many great economical motorcycles for $5k. Makes spending $15-20k hard without significant fuel cost savings and with limited range. Lithium is revolutionizing yard equipment, the RC hobby, cars and Motorcycles. I look forward to a quick charger on every corner and at work. Until then hard to get past the range.

    • Matt Forero

      If you’re in SoCal, used Fiat 500e’s and Leafs can reach as low as $4-6k. I’ve also seen used Zero’s on Craigslist around $5k. As an e-Golf driver, I totally agree about the charger availability. When I need to go further, I ride my Duke.

      • therr850

        I think the problem with buying used might be the cost of a replacement battery, maybe? From what I have been told they cost more than the price of the used vehicle. If true, that makes a pretty big buy in.

        • Matt Forero

          In theory, yes, but most of these cars are off lease and have 10-20k miles on them. Battery warranties are usually 7-8 years/100k or somewhere around there.

          • therr850

            As I replied to Jason, we tend to keep a vehicle too long. I do like the size of the Volt and the engine for charging while on the move. Most of our family live one to three hours away.

          • Jason

            So do we. (Kept our 03 Jetta TDI for 10 years and the 05 Prius we bought when it was 2 years old and then kept it for 10 years) We currently have an 04 Chevy van and 09 Prius.

            The battery warranty is just that, the warranty. It isn’t the expected lifespan of the battery.

            That said, frequent 1 to 3 hours trips don’t match up well with an EV unless you have another car for the trips. Today’s EVs make sense at commuters not roadtrippers.

          • therr850

            Or an IC motorcycle:}

          • Jason

            Very true. Depends on how much stuff you need to carry to grandma’s house and how creative you are. 🙂

          • therr850

            Have had lots of practice. Got most everything figured out thank you. Happy and safe holidays to you and yours.

        • Jason

          What Matt said. Most used EVs are at most 1/2 way through their battery warranty so they should still have plenty of miles of trouble free use. They make about a perfect commuter car.

          If you do need to replace a battery the Nissan Leaf battery is $5500. (with another 8 year / 100K mile warranty) I don’t know about other EVs and that is why I would stay away from compliance cars like the Fiat 500e. Most of these were built in quantities less than 6,000 total. I would expect no aftermarket support and difficulty getting parts from OEM. Used, a Leaf is the only way to go.

          I’m leasing a 2016 Spark EV. It is a fantastically fun car. 400 lb-ft of torque at 0 RPM, traction limited 0-60 of 7 seconds, drives like go-cart, and still get the equivalent of 120 mpg. All-in it is costing me $160 per month. (Lease, insurance, maintenance, fuel)

          • therr850

            Thanks. Unfortunately we tend to keep our vehicles 8 to 10 years. I think we would be in trouble.

  • JustaTexan

    It’s only inevitable if you buy them. Don’t give up on internal combustion so easily. Just because politicians and some “experts” say we are running out of petroleum or causing climate change, doesn’t mean it’s true. Plenty of credible experts disagree with the whole idea of man made climate change, and running out of oil. Making batteries is terrible for the environment, and tons of power plants will be needed for increased demand. The government and the media lie to shape the future into their utopian self driving sheeple model. Don’t believe the environmentalist fear mongering and internal combustion is a big part of what makes our sport great. Vote with your wallet, don’t buy this electric crap and don’t buy magazines that tell you it’s the future. Money rules and government knows they have to brainwash you to give up engines. Don’t let them win.

    • Greyadventures

      Not an environmental issue (even though I am stuck in unhealthy air pollution for at least the next week or two) it is a matter of electric being better. Faster, yes; smoother delivery, yes; range potential for 90% of commuting, yes… Problem is long range capability, no; expensive for what you get, yes; limited charging stations, getting better but not nearly good enough; … Potential is there but neither option is an environmental nirvana (smog vs giant mining operations).

      • JustaTexan

        I just don’t agree they are better or desirable. They may be able to cover 90% of commuting from where you live, but certainly not for every commuter across this country. Also, motorbikes didn’t cause the air where you are to be unhealthy and electric bikes wouldn’t fix it. You are kidding yourself and for many, it is a fake environmental issue. My post was about the sport/bikes in general, your reply was all about you. Not everyone agrees with you, sorry.

        • Greyadventures

          If you commute or ride more than 150 miles a day then yeah not for you. I said that electric motorcycles are not an environmental issue. Did I say they would fix the air? But they are smoother, have the capability to accelerate faster, and have a lot of potential. I also said they are not there yet for my needs. Did you read my post? Been riding gas powered motorcycles of many forms for 4 decades glad you like them too.

          • JustaTexan

            If you try to separate the electric vehicle from the environmentalist. you are fooling yourself. You did not say they would fix the air, but you mentioned it in your post as an aside, therefore implying they were a contributing factor. I do like them too and I caution people to not give up ICs so easily. I read your post, I just didn’t agree with what you had to say. Electric cars and motorcycles are not the answer to anything except government regulation.

      • JustaTexan

        Just remember how much better you thought they were 20 years from now when there’s no motorcycle industry to speak of, no motorcycle racing, no private ownership or control of private vehicles. Remember how easily you were swayed into giving up your beloved motorcycle for a seat on an electric bus. Do you think the government thinks they can outlaw our biking (and cars for that matter) freedom all at once? Of course not, they have to chip away at it one bite at a time by convincing useful …… people to do their bidding for them. Save the IC folks, reject electrics. They are the end of this sport.

        • Donald Hill

          The end of the sport is lack of participation. Look at the numbers. Perhaps more will enter with this option.

        • Greyadventures

          Oh lord, what Kool Aid are you drinking. This has nothing to do with an alternative form of motorcycles.

          • JustaTexan

            You can insult me if you want. It’s just my opinion and you don’t have to agree. I think it has everything to do with an alternate form of motorcycles.

    • “Experts” are only experts if they validate your existing notions, right?

      • JustaTexan

        I’m not sure how that bit of wisdom applies, considering there are experts on both sides of this argument. Marginalizing a conflicting opinion with condescending comments is a standard tactic for the “enlightened”. You have to research both sides of a complex issue like this as well as the motivation behind an opinion. I have done a fair share of research and I have decided which side of this argument makes the most sense to me. BTW, the “experts” are identified by their experience and education, not their opinion.

        • Marginalizing by using quote marks to indicate you don’t think experts who disagree with you are experts?

          • JustaTexan

            Sorry, I apologize for the quotation marks. That was not my intention, to discredit opposing thought. I do, however think many of the experts that support the assertion that IC is hurting the climate are indeed politically motivated AND ignoring data that proves otherwise.

          • Is it possible that many of the experts that work to discredit the assertion that IC is hurting the climate are indeed politically motivated AND ignoring data that proves otherwise?

          • JustaTexan

            Well anything is possible, but I just don’t see it that way because I do not believe in man made climate change or that electric bikes are the future. I do know that on every enthusiast comment space there is a person like you. I don’t know what motivates you or why you have a need to pick apart someone’s opinion, but I do think there may be a better use for your time. All of my comments are only my opinion and people like you take all the fun out of this format.

          • So fun is spreading your uninformed, anti-scientific, anti-intellectual opinion and then calling people “sheeple” if they disagree? I’m sorry to kill your fun.

          • JustaTexan

            What a revelation today has been. Thanks to the genius Gabe Ets-Hoken my whole life has changed. I now want an electric bike more than anything, and I feel so dumb for disagreeing with such informed, scientific intellectual. I am blessed I tell you, BLESSED to have such a brilliant person teach me the way of the future and the truth about life. Thank you kind sir, or madam or whatever. Motorcycle educator indeed.

          • Wasn’t that fun?

          • JustaTexan

            It wasn’t fun, trolls like you suck the fun out of everything with your all knowing blather. It really gets to you pretentious lefty self-appointed experts when someone disagrees with you, doesn’t it? Now, back to your mom’s basement and get started on the next asinine reply.

          • Jason

            Gabe works for motorcyclist.com. He isn’t the troll in this case

          • JustaTexan

            Jason, thanks for weighing in, but sadly Gabe is a genuine troll (and a real jerk). I just had an opinion that he disagrees with. Because he disagrees I am uninformed, anti-scientific, anti-intellectual. He hasn’t challenged, only insulted, and trolled. The fact that he works for motorcyclist.com makes no difference to me, but I would expect him to know how to act on their website. If you are insinuating that I have trolled him, then you either don’t understand the term or you haven’t read through the thread.

          • Jason

            Your first post on an article about electric motorcycles was that they are part of a government conspiracy. Yes, you’re trolling. That post was intended to get the exact response it got.

          • JustaTexan

            I realize I got on a bit of a roll and it was a big mistake. I apologize for my comments and to anyone I may have insulted or agitated. I was having a good time never realizing I might insult anyone with my posts. I’m sorry if you think it was intentional, or trolling, it wasn’t. I never expected it to turn out like this. I’m sorry for getting involved at all and I won’t be back. I realize I’m in the wrong place and I was wrong to comment at all. I’ve truly learned my lesson here and will not make this mistake again. Seriously, I just exercised poor judgement and I made a mistake and I’m honestly sorry.

          • Dude, you’re hilarious! Please stick around.

          • Jason

            No need to apologize. You believe what you believe. That said, retreating to sites filled only with people that agree with you is the not the solution. That mentality is the reason our country is in the situation it is in today. Interacting with people that disagree with you is a very important part of life.
            You mention shooting below. I also shoot. I participate on shooting forums and website. However, I’m the gun owner that has no problems at all with mandatory background checks. That is a minority position on gun forums as you well know. That doesn’t mean I stay silently of leave the forums.

          • JustaTexan

            Thanks for your post, I know I said I wouldn’t comment on MO again, but I make this one exception. I’m not sure how you concluded that me saying I was sorry for offense and all, meant I was “retreating to sites filled only with people that agree with you” or that I shared that mentality. My opinions didn’t fit the demographic of electric bike commenters. I was just in the wrong place and that’s my fault. You don’t have any idea who I am Jason and your post is SO condescending. You don’t know where I live, what I do, or who I interact with or anything (except my rant! LOL) and yet you give me this fatherly advice. Commenting on sites isn’t really a very important part of my life. I was just having fun, and expecting some entertaining conversation about an issue I have strong opinions about. I’m not retreating anywhere, I’m just not interested in commenting on MO again, especially on an article about electric bikes. I wasn’t a fun experience.

          • Jason

            My comment was meant to be friendly and encourage to you stick around and continue commenting.

            You said you were not going to comment on MO anymore. One of the definitions of retreat: an act of changing one’s decisions, plans, or attitude, especially as a result of criticism from others.

            No offense intended. Just encouraging someone with a different opinion to stick around and keep talking.

          • toomanycrayons

            I think he agrees with you but, in a way that makes him right, and your wrong. So “brietbart.” He appears to have become a “Guest” to many here, speaking of not retreating but #ADVANCING in the other direction. He brought back so many memories, and, yes…you are right about what’s wrong with America being expressed by his eagerness to engage only echoes.

            I’ve copied his post and open file address. I may revisit him and my other “friends” at brietbart. I know they miss me, even though calling brietbart a “butt-sniff orgy dog park” might have been a little too close to their bones:

            http://disq.us/p/1oeo85z

            For future reference, in case of deletion:

            “Thanks for your post, I know I said I wouldn’t comment on MO again, but I make this one exception. I’m not sure how you concluded that me saying I was sorry for offense and all, meant I was “retreating to sites filled only with people that agree with you” or that I shared that mentality. My opinions didn’t fit the demographic of electric bike commenters. I was just in the wrong place and that’s my fault. You don’t have any idea who I am Jason and your post is SO condescending. You don’t know where I live, what I do, or who I interact with or anything (except my rant! LOL) and yet you give me this fatherly advice. Commenting on sites isn’t really a very important part of my life. I was just having fun, and expecting some entertaining conversation about an issue I have strong opinions about. I’m not retreating anywhere, I’m just not interested in commenting on MO again, especially on an article about electric bikes. I wasn’t a fun experience.”-JustaTexan

            http://www.breitbart.com/sports/2017/12/07/lindsey-vonn-representing-people-united-states-not-president-winter-olympics/#comment-3651492658

          • Born to Ride

            Gabe is freelance no? I’ve seen his writing in so many different magazines I just assumed he’s not on the payroll anywhere.

          • A Gabe on payroll anywhere is a threat to civilized discourse everywhere…or something like that.

          • Born to Ride

            Get outa here ya damn troll!!!

          • Jason

            He used to be senior editor. Don’t now his exact relationship now. He has about a dozen articles on MO.com in the past month.

          • GreggJ

            “All knowing blather” “pretentious” “self-appointed experts” “back to your mom’s basement.” Seriously? From someone with multiple posts telling us what the government is really up to, how real scientists aren’t actually scientists, how the ‘lefties” are trying to take your rights , how gun ownership is under threat (in country where convicted felons who threaten their spouses can buy a gun and CC without a permit), how electric motorcycles are some kind of strange plot to take your rights, how people who buy them are “lemmings. ” Calling a person that is highly respected in the motorcycling community (and on this site), “a real jerk” because he disagrees with you?
            Wow! Just wow!

          • JustaTexan

            I realize I made a mistake commenting on this topic. I realize I am in the wrong place and I have stepped over the line several times. I realize I should have kept my opinions to myself. I honestly apologize to everyone I may have insulted in my posts and I will not comment again on motorcyclist.com. Please accept my apologies and please just forget I was here. I really did not mean to agitate and I had no idea I would upset so many people. I am very sorry. I promise, no more comments.

          • Born to Ride

            Dude, this is MO, where the readership and editors regularly give each other shit. Gabe clearly has a problem with climate change deniers but that doesn’t make him a troll. Instead of apologizing and making this all personal, you should have told him to go ride his 180hp little man syndrome outlet and leave you alone. That’s how it works here.

          • I hope you do come back! Please don’t take offense. If we met on the street we’d have plenty in common and happily share a ride or a beer or a greasy bad-for-you meal of charred animal flesh. I don’t mean to be offputting…just funny. Cheers!

          • Born to Ride

            Aww there’s the lovable little hairy man we know and love.

          • toomanycrayons

            “…Please accept my apologies and please just forget I was here. I really did not mean to agitate and I had no idea I would upset so many people. I am very sorry. I promise, no more comments.”-JustaTexan

            All that tail wagging, please, please passive-aggressive stuff following on the patented mother’s basement/troll shaming reminded me of brietbart, and…say, whaddayaknow:

            https://disqus.com/home/discussion/breitbartproduction/lindsey_vonn_representing_8216people_of_the_united_states_not_the_president8217_at_winter_olympics/#comment-3651492658

            Full disclosure: I’ve been “banned” from brietbart, the third time for describing it as “a butt-sniff orgy dog park.” I could be wrong, but… I’m not. They are just-for-funnier than they think they are. sad

          • JustaTexan

            I will tell you what is fun. Fun is having your own opinion and being allowed to voice it without being trolled by some d-bag like you.

          • Didn’t you mean to say “fun is having your own opinion, no matter how absurd or uninformed it is and being allowed to voice it without anybody challenging it or disagreeing in any way?”

          • Born to Ride

            Maaaan you are testy today. Did the Buell already break down?

    • Donald Hill

      LOL!!!

    • therr850

      Either brainwash you or pass laws keeping internal combustion out of cities or states (California?) or countries (China?). At least horse to horseless was an elective. Oh, and the government intervened then too, “a horseless carriage will be preceeded by a man on foot waving a red flag to warn of the approaching horseless carriage.”

  • pres68y

    We have been racing a Zero on short track (dirt) since 2013 with moderate success.
    Motorcycle.com did a brief and nice video about it a few years ago.
    http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/zero/life-electric-preston-petty.html

  • Donald Hill

    “I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist, but I’m all for the preservation and sustainability of our home planet” … Just what do you think an “environmentalist” is then?

    • toomanycrayons

      Someone who actually thinks there’s hope? “Home planet” is the tell.

      This just in: https://www.space.com/13767-mars-human-colonization-worms-spaceflight.html

      How long will it take until space worms re-invent the electric motorcycle, and then [de]evolve into enlightened MO readers/writers?

      What was the question…?

      • StripleStrom

        you have to remember that a worm, with very few exceptions, is not a human being.

        • toomanycrayons

          “you have to remember that a worm, with very few exceptions, is not a human being.”-StripleStrom

          Hey, I didn’t make the rules. Sponge…Worm…Human…[a miracle happens?]…Electric bike. Deniers with their jelly comb-over complexes. Sheesh…

          “New research has resolved evolutionary biology’s most-heated debate, revealing it is the morphologically simple sponges, rather than the anatomically complex comb jellies, which represent the oldest lineage of living animals.”

          https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171130122904.htm

          • StripleStrom

            “you have to remember that a worm, with very few exceptions, is not a human being.”-Frederick Frankenstein

          • toomanycrayons

            Not even the exceptions can count on reanimation, electrically speaking.

    • PolysmonoTechnologist

      A lot of environmentalists are just marxists disguised as environmentalists.

  • James D. Becker

    For me, the expense overwhelms any advantages. Also, when one can buy an electric bike and “refill” it as easy as a gas bike, then it would be viable. For now, an electric bike is still a toy for the folks who can afford it.

    • Cecil-T

      When gas bikes can refill themselves in my garage without having to go out of my way to “go get gas” every other day then they’ll be viable. Until then they’re just a toy.

      Honestly having lived with an electric bike for almost 30,000 miles now, my other 5 gas bikes are really annoying. Loud, vibrating so I can’t feel the road, fatiguing to ride for a long period, half of them drip oil or gas or coolant onto my garage floor, etc. I look forward to selling another two or three of them in the spring to replace them with another electric.

  • StripleStrom

    Unless they find a quick-charge solution, electric vehicles are going to drastically change the way we live and commute, and will potentially kill off another piece of our freedom. The automobile was the means of giving people mobility to go where they want at will. Call me paranoid, but I do see how this fits into the social engineering model that is being propagated worldwide. With the wrong lawmakers, it’s another means of control.
    My background is in electronics, and I understand a lot about the issues that come with electric vehicles. Unlike a liquid fuel delivery system, there is only so much current that can efficiently be transferred into charge storage without the side-effect of massive temperature rise, which is inefficient and harmful to the devices. Unless the battery technology is radically changed, and superconductors become common at room temperature, I believe we will always face the charge-time issue and it will drastically alter the way we have to use our transportation.
    I would be on board with an electric bike, but I prefer internal combustion. Whatever comes about, I hope there is a two-wheeled option. I think that is more of a difference than the type of propulsion.

    • Cecil-T

      From a freedom of mobility standpoint, electricity is available in more places (orders of magnitude more) than fuel. And can be generated in isolation without, and unlike fuel.

      On the heat issue, heat isn’t per-se the limiting factor of charging speed. Internal resistance of batteries is dropping. Different lithium chemistries have different abilities. It’s progressing quickly.

      • StripleStrom

        You’re absolutely right… that’s a good point about generation. That’s a huge plus.
        The real killer is still charge time. Nobody wants to wait around for a couple hours for a charge. Many of the places I ride there are few gas stations around, and I’ve never seen a charging station.
        Of course, heat is the product of internal resistance and current (current^2 x resistance). It will be interesting to see what they will come up with as far as low-resistance batteries are concerned. That’s a win-win, because they will also be able to supply insane peak current when needed. I know it will get there, but I think they have some serious obstacles to overcome.

        • Jason

          My EV charges while I’m sleeping or working. I’ve never had to wait for it to charge.

          Today EVs work great for commuting and driving around urban areas. My car has an official range of 80 miles. That hasn’t kept me from driving it 10,000 miles per year. I wouldn’t drive it on a road trip but I didn’t buy it for that.

          It is the best car I have owned and I don’t see replacing it with another ICE ever. The way EVs make power is fantastic. Push the peddle and it goes. No downshifting to pass, no waiting for bike to get into the powerband, no exiting the corner in the wrong gear. Push the pedddle and it goes. That frees the mind to focus on corner entry and hitting the apex. The performance is great. Even better is you can have that performance and fuel economy double that of a Prius in the same car.

          The only downside was price and range. However prices are dropping fast and now that EVs have 200+ miles range that issue is fixed as well.

          I never though and EV would work for me, then I drove one and can’t see going back.

          • StripleStrom

            Thanks for sharing your experience. I have to admit that I’m curious about them. I couldn’t justify the price right now, but maybe someday.

          • Jason

            My 2016 Spark EV was leased for $99 per month no money down. All-in: lease, insurance, maintenance, electricity I’m at $167 per month. For comparison, the 05 Prius I bought used, kept for 10 years, did my own maintenance averaged out to $272 per month.

            The Spark is the cheapest car I have owned on a per mile or per month basis.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    They need to incorporate a clutch for those non bros that like to take it out to the trails.

  • JustaTexan

    In addition to motorcycles, I am a fan of the shooting sports. Motorcycling is only just a slight tick more acceptable to non-fans and the government than shooting/collecting firearms. There are a lot of similarities between the two and we as motorcyclist can learn from the problems and issues with the shooting sports. For you newbies, research the ban that almost happened by a well intentioned by misinformed senator John Danforth. Bad things can happen if you aren’t paying attention. You have to see the big picture and not be distracted by the media. They have an agenda, they are very effective at manipulating the citizens and there will always be someone more than happy to jump on board promoting some change for the good of the people. There is a comment I read years ago in an interview with former shooting sports enthusiast in the UK I’ll never forget. The man said, (I paraphrase) never think it won’t happen. We all thought it could never happen and didn’t take the warning signs seriously. Every time a right was lost no one complained because it didn’t directly affect them or it was just a small thing to give up. Now, there’s no shooting sports in the UK. You have to remember the VAST majority of voters do not ride or care about motorcycles and to many, cars are just an appliance. Motorcycle enthusiast are a very small percentage of the public and if you think you control your destiny, you’re sadly mistaken. Right now you have a choice to follow the electric vehicle lemmings down the rat hole or you can say no thanks, I’ll keep my motorbike just the way it is. Buy internal combustion or lose it forever. Vroom.

    • c w

      Who/what is “the media” and what is their agenda?

      The firearms industry doesn’t have an agenda or propaganda (marketing) that is effective at manipulation?

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  • Michael Shields

    I’ve been plugging my Stealth Bomber in since ’13; awesome downhill MTB or motard, as you choose, excellent choice for urban transport (50 mph/50 mile range). Bring on the energy density improvements!

  • Patriot159

    I’d consider an E bike when they cost the same as gas power, have a 150+ mile REALISTIC range and 5 min. recharge rate so you can ‘refuel’ and keep riding. Maybe a decade away for that still?

  • Blassphamous

    In ten years it will be much easier to find a “charging station” than a gas station! Batteries and electric vehicles are still in their beginning stage of development while petroleum powered engines/vehicles are in their final stages. I love riding anything with two wheels but I don’t have enough experience with electric to compare.

    • Jason

      I really doubt that. Vehicles that will go on sale in 2020-2023 are being designed today. They will be manufactured for 6-10 years after that. Most of those vehicles will be ICE or mild hybrids. EVs on hitting the market mid 20’s could work as ICE replacements for a huge percentage of the population and cost the same or less than an ICE (life cycle costs not purchase price) EV’s will take off from there.

      However gas isn’t going anywhere soon. There are millions of ICE vehicles on the road with many years of life yet. People aren’t just going to throw away useful vehicles and spend tens of thousands to buy different one. I don’t see ICE vehicles phasing out until 2030 – 2040 and then only in developed countries.

      On the other hand “charging stations” are very easy to find today. My Spark came with a 110V charge in the hatch so every electrical outlet is a “charging station”. I’ve had the Spark for 18 months and haven’t installed a 220V Level 2 charger in my garage.

      • Blassphamous

        Timelines are hard to predict but most people will be happy to stop going to gas stations when they can charge at home or work for 90+% of their driving. Charging stations will only really be necessary for long distance travel obviously. With no more oil changes, fluid changes, emissions testing, longer lasting brakes.. average drivers will be very happy to let go of ICE vehicles and when they start sitting on dealer lots unsold manufacturers will suddenly race to convert their entire lines to electric. This will be around the same time gas stations begin to go the way of the phone booth. Could be by 2027 but not later than 2035 so my original comment was short side. Of course there will still be gas stations for decades to come but far fewer than today.

        • Jason

          Even first generation EVs with a 80 to 100 mile range cover 90% of the average person’s driving. Per the NHTSA the average person drives about 40 miles per day. However EV sales are about 1% of total cars when at least 30-40% of cars sold could be EVs. (How many married couples both drive over 100 miles per day?)

          So why don’t people buy EVs today?
          1. Upfront cost is more. Most people do not calculate life cycle costs, they only look at the initial price
          2. They think about the 5 – 10% of the time the EV will not work instead of the 90 – 95% of the time that it will.
          3. They haven’t driven an EV see experience how much better they car just as a car.

          • Blassphamous

            Yes, those are all true and good points, but I believe the one you forgot to include is that there are no “normal looking” non-hybrid EV’s available other than from Tesla. All of the other EV’s are “weird” looking hatchbacks -especially the Leaf, and Nissan still managed to sell a few hundred thousand Gen 1 Leafs. As soon as their are “normal looking” pure EV’s available at a reasonable price the tables will turn.

          • Jason

            The Ford Focus EV, VW Golf EV, Fiat 500e, and Kia Soul EV look identical to their gas counterparts. The Ford sells about 100 a month and the Golf about 200 a month.

            Maybe an EV sedan would sell better. EV CUVs are where the future development is going as CUVs are the fastest growing segment in the USA.

            I don’t see pure EVs over 15 to 20% market share in 2030 but by that time ICE only vehicles will only be highly specialized cars. The 48V mild hybrid will be the the standard powertrain by the mid 2020’s if for no other reason that the rapid expansion of safety systems need more power.

            Time will tell.

          • Blassphamous

            Another good point. If any car company offered a $25k small to midsize CUEV with 200+ mile range they could sell a few hundred thousand each year. Hopefully that happens by 2020.

          • Jason

            $25K? Unlikely.

            You should have multiple options in the $30K to $40K range by 2022. Nissan, Chevy, VW, and Mercedes have said they will have EV CUVs by then.

          • Blassphamous

            Yea, that price range is more likely. I’m being optimistic that battery tech could advance rapidly with scale and brings cost down. On another note, it’s only two or three bitcoins!

          • Blassphamous

            One other thought about the EV versions of existing cars that you mentioned. I went to a VW dealer with my gf who is looking but planning to buy the new leaf. They did not have an eGolf on the lot and tried to sell us on the regular Golf. The Fiat is only available in two states and not here and the Kia is weird enough looking already – her opinion and she’s buying. Focus is alright but still a hatchback. I can’t see any reason why a hatchback is more suitable to EV conversion??

          • Jason

            I cant think of any technical reason to convert a hatch instead of a sedan. However, hatchbacks are the more popular format globally so if an OEM is going to convert one model a hatch makes the most sense. They are also targeting city dwellers and a hatchbacks have a better interior volume to length ratio which makes them easier to parallel park.

          • Blassphamous

            Yea that makes sense. I have never owned one but my relatives in Germany all drive hatchbacks. On another note, I am planning to test ride an electric motorcycle this year. I still plan to keep the old gas burners but I want to see if I like the lower volume riding.

  • Cecil-T

    If you want an electric bike to make noise, use the horn. The quietness of an electric is no doubt safer. I want to hear traffic so I can take control of my own safety, not ride in a bubble and hope that someone else hears me.

  • Lewis

    Electric bikes? No thanks, demo’ed a Zero a while back. Not a chance I would buy that and that is before considering the price tag. Now I like the little Razor electric dirt bike I just bought for my son, perfect for him, but that was only a bit over $200 bucks!

    • Jason

      Zero stepped up their game and switched from bicycle to motorcycle components a few years ago. Might want to give them another look.

  • PolysmonoTechnologist

    The thing with electric bikes is that most will be a second or third bike and if your not putting a lot of miles on electric bikes then a lot of the savings will never be realized.

  • Elektromargu

    I wonder why Alta didn’t go for a battery mount where the battery is easily interchangeable.. Like a GoPro battery – you’ve got one on your bike and the other one charging (or if you’re like me – two extras charging.
    Anywho.. can’t wait to get those fun things over here in Europe!

  • Joshua Michael Davis

    We need affordable electric dirt bikes RIGHT NOW. I own a few acres, and would LOVE to go for a rip every day after work. Unfortunately, my loud RM125 (OEM exhaust BTW) would probably make the old lady next door a little peeved if I rode it every day. I know at least 3 other families in the neighborhood who have bikes and feel the same way.
    A silent bike would let me recreate on my own property with no worries that I would wake the neighbors or disturb the area.

  • Jeff Cobb

    “I include lack of noise because let’s face it, often times a fellow motorist is more likely to hear you before they see you, which, no doubt adds to the risks of riding an electric bike on the road, but that’s a can of worms to open another day.” ‘often times’? Proof? Evidence? There is no evidence from any study of motorcycle accidents that noise plays a factor in preventing them.