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Old 12-21-2010, 03:50 PM   #1
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Default Dual-Sport Shootout: Electric vs. Gasoline!


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Dual-Sport Shootout: Electric vs. Gasoline!

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Old 12-21-2010, 04:26 PM   #2
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Well this was a tough test, to read as well as write I suppose.

Electric motorcycles will be relegated to golf-cart status unless some BIG new battery technology comes along, or dare I say it, a hybrid config like the Chevy Volt, Pirus, etc. that would put it in the same mileage range category as the Yamaha.

And I must point out once again that technology (for Yamaha at least) has taken a GIANT STEP BACKWARDS when they released a 290 lb. 250 single cylinder four stroke. I mean for cripes sakes, my '72 DT2 250 weighed 275 lbs. soaking wet, full of gas and oil, ready to ride. How or why Yamaha would foist a 300 lb. 250 on the riding public is anybodys guess.

Maybe someone can duct tape one of those Harbor Freight 1000 watt generators on the luggage rack of the E Bike and have something that works, instead of something that almost works.

Good luck all you e bike builders, you'll need it.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:26 PM   #3
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One oddity about the Zero. The headlight looks like it is from 1965. I would expect some super bright and tiny LED emiiter thing that uses no juice would be the call. Perhaps that tech is not quite ready yet, but LED lights in general are getting mainstream now.

I think in the near term, electric tech is going to make a bigger splash in cars - the Chevy Volt is a pretty amazing vehicle. The smaller "package" that is a motorcycle presents unique challenges to this technology. Electric cars have big money behind them too. Money makes things happen.

Electric motor tech is certainly there, the difficult problem that needs solving is of course energy storage. I use that term because who knows if "energy storage" will even take the form of "batteries" as we know them now.

One thing about us clever humans, if we can conceive it, we can, given enough time and effort, make it reality. I really believe that. Perhaps someday tech will exist that allows 2 gallons worth of gas equivalent electrical energy to be stored in a small device of some kind. Call me a Star Trek optimist!

Regarding the Yamaha - build a 450cc version of this bike. Set the suspension up for a 45 year old guy who can still ride at a good clip off road. Sell lots of them like Suzuki has with their now very long in the tooth DRZ400 (many apologies to my DRZ!). Don't let Husky and KTM have all the fun!

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Old 12-21-2010, 09:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duken4evr View Post
One oddity about the Zero. The headlight looks like it is from 1965. I would expect some super bright and tiny LED emiiter thing that uses no juice would be the call. Perhaps that tech is not quite ready yet, but LED lights in general are getting mainstream now.

I think in the near term, electric tech is going to make a bigger splash in cars - the Chevy Volt is a pretty amazing vehicle. The smaller "package" that is a motorcycle presents unique challenges to this technology. Electric cars have big money behind them too. Money makes things happen.

Electric motor tech is certainly there, the difficult problem that needs solving is of course energy storage. I use that term because who knows if "energy storage" will even take the form of "batteries" as we know them now.

One thing about us clever humans, if we can conceive it, we can, given enough time and effort, make it reality. I really believe that. Perhaps someday tech will exist that allows 2 gallons worth of gas equivalent electrical energy to be stored in a small device of some kind. Call me a Star Trek optimist!

Regarding the Yamaha - build a 450cc version of this bike. Set the suspension up for a 45 year old guy who can still ride at a good clip off road. Sell lots of them like Suzuki has with their now very long in the tooth DRZ400 (many apologies to my DRZ!). Don't let Husky and KTM have all the fun!

The 2009 Zero S had projector lights, but to homologate for multi-markets, they used standard H4 halogens (I think they’re H4s). Besides that, Zero says the lights, turn signals, instruments, horn, etc. take a pittance of the energy budget. While Zero may sooner or later use LED signals and tail lights (it certainly would make sense), their people say the real solution is finding more juice for the real energy hog, the motor.

FYI, better batteries may already exist for military apps, but cost and availability are other issues. I've been told secret lightweight batteries exist that are portable by combat soldiers, not available for any consumer apps. Besides alleged military-spec sources, there are a few other battery companies making excellent li-ion chemistries that may be more potent. Zero makes its own battery. It is non toxic though, so not sure if that is a design parameter the designers are insistent upon for future development, and whether it limits it.

In a month or so, Zero may announce more juice for the 2011. Not earth-shattering-more if rumors are correct. Just a bit more like 10-12% maybe?

I agree that if this was a financed priority, electric motorcycle manufacturers could do more.

As for Yamaha - I have heard of WR450Fs being converted to street legality. Don't know the details at this moment.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:36 AM   #5
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Kudos to Motorcycle.com and Jeff for publishing the first electric vs. gas shootout (at least the 1st I've seen, and I take most of the magazines). There will be more comparos, and they will become more and more interesting as the electrics develop. This one is very well done.

Kudos to Zero for telling it like it is, and not letting the marketing hype get the best if them. It's impressive they'd even allow a gas/electric comparo with their product at this point. A fledgling industry like electric motorbikes can be seriously set back by the wrong BS early in the game. I have a sense Zero isn't going down that road. Even though I wasn't knocked out by their bikes at Daytona last year, they were there, and they were letting their product speak for itself.

And - Thank You - Mr. Cobb, for pointing out perhaps the most important "E-Factor" of all: An electric motorcycle can get you laid.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:07 AM   #6
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It seems that electric and gasoline motorcycles each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Morbo the Destroyer View Post
Kudos to Motorcycle.com and Jeff for publishing the first electric vs. gas shootout (at least the 1st I've seen, and I take most of the magazines). There will be more comparos, and they will become more and more interesting as the electrics develop. This one is very well done.

Kudos to Zero for telling it like it is, and not letting the marketing hype get the best if them. It's impressive they'd even allow a gas/electric comparo with their product at this point. A fledgling industry like electric motorbikes can be seriously set back by the wrong BS early in the game. I have a sense Zero isn't going down that road. Even though I wasn't knocked out by their bikes at Daytona last year, they were there, and they were letting their product speak for itself.

And - Thank You - Mr. Cobb, for pointing out perhaps the most important "E-Factor" of all: An electric motorcycle can get you laid.

Thanks Morbo! Glad you liked the review. Zero now has some experienced motorcycle industry people in key places working for it. They are building a new facility and say they are financed to keep moving with better bikes. We'll look forward to seeing those, and what other comparos and reviews we can dream up.
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:13 PM   #8
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Good review. I have to admit: the Zero actually presented itself better than I thought it would, primarily in the "performance" category. So far as "refuel/recharge" it is what it is. Although battery and charging technology is stepping-up almost daily; I believe we're still looking at decades before it reaches current internal-combustion standards. Unless fuel-cells get a heluva lot smaller and more-efficient in a hurry.

Neat note on the "ignition" key: but it's not really all that new - my IVECO 110Z (truck) has one essentially identical to that design, and it's an '83.

Altogether, it appears to me that Zero is doing quite well.

One quick question: you mention that the DS motor doesn't quite put-out the Oompah-Loompahs that one would expect from its claimed rating, and explained the reasons why. If a sudden major-breakthrough in battery energy-density were to happen say, next year; would the firmware of the controller be flash-upgradable to take advantage of a "bigger" battery, and give you all the marbles?
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_AirHawk View Post
Good review. I have to admit: the Zero actually presented itself better than I thought it would, primarily in the "performance" category. So far as "refuel/recharge" it is what it is. Although battery and charging technology is stepping-up almost daily; I believe we're still looking at decades before it reaches current internal-combustion standards. Unless fuel-cells get a heluva lot smaller and more-efficient in a hurry.

Neat note on the "ignition" key: but it's not really all that new - my IVECO 110Z (truck) has one essentially identical to that design, and it's an '83.

Altogether, it appears to me that Zero is doing quite well.

One quick question: you mention that the DS motor doesn't quite put-out the Oompah-Loompahs that one would expect from its claimed rating, and explained the reasons why. If a sudden major-breakthrough in battery energy-density were to happen say, next year; would the firmware of the controller be flash-upgradable to take advantage of a "bigger" battery, and give you all the marbles?
We don't know if the existing controller could do it. I'm sure a controller could be found that would, if not. That's not the most expensive part of that proposition.

If you are talking about existing Zero owners potentially upgrading, they'd have to find a buyer for their used $3k battery, then buy and install the new miracle battery. (Or just sell the whole bike and get the new one, likely as not).

We had more tech questions for these issues for Zero's people, but they were already on holiday, or something, I'm told.

It's true though: electric bikes at this moment have the opposite problem gas bikes did in 1904. The motors already exist to run with a GSX-R1000, if only the "fuel" were available. In the early days of gas bikes, they had fuel, just not engine technology. Funny, huh?

We're all waiting and seeing what comes next. (And that key is funky. It folds down almost flat). Glad you liked the review. Thanks!
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:22 PM   #10
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For fast electric bikes, check out the "KillaCyle. It runs a sub 8 second quarter mile.

YouTube - KillaCycle New Record 7.86 @ 169 MPH Bandimere Speedway NEDRA event

Crazy to see something go so fast with so little noise.
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