I just spent last weekend riding Ol’ Faithful, my 2008 Honda CRF450R, up in Mammoth, California, on trails very similar to those I rode in Nevada City on the Alta Redshift EXR. Riding up in the Sierra Nevadas is an absolute must for any off-road or dual-sport rider, but it got me thinking… We were riding at a base altitude of about 7,880 feet before climbing up even higher into some of the area’s mountains and lookouts. As a result, Ol’ Faithful was starving for air and running out of steam on her top end.
The Erzberg Rodeo is the toughest enduro in the world, and Alta took two riders to Austria last month to compete. Ty Tremaine qualified 43rd in his first ever attempt at Erzberg, and Lyndon Poskitt might’ve done much better than 113th if his race bikes and gear hadn’t been stolen out of his van at a rest stop dammit! As it was, Poskitt qualified on Ty’s back-up bike and then sat out the race. All you have to do is cover 22 miles in four hours to finish Erzberg; the Alta team came up just a bit short, but with what they learned this year, Husqvarna, KTM, Gas Gas and Beta could be in for a shock in 2019.
We’ve been force-feeding you an awful lot of electric-motorcycle content lately, but here’s something that’s been tugging at my mind for years. We know E-motos are good at racing, commuting and supermoto fundays, but their range – hovering around the 100-mile mark – is what’s limiting them from being truly all-around products.
Once upon a time, electric motorcycles had such short range and high MSRPs that only the most devoted of early adopters had a reason to consider owning one. Well, in the past couple years, improvements in range have resulted in electrics now being a viable option for riders who are looking for a greener alternative to internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles, which are relatively dirty compared to four-wheeled road users. So, we’ve taken the 2018 BMW C Evolution scooter and the 2018 Zero DSR as representatives of two different approaches to urban electric motorcycles to see how they stack up for everyday use. Note: This is not our typical comparison where we try to determine the best motorcycle out of a pairing. Rather, we are looking at two different electric bikes to determine their viability as urban transport.
Over in the car world, the Formula E series has gained massive interest from manufacturers. The all-electric racing series is the pinnacle of electric sport on four wheels, and while the early days of the sport were laughable – the cars were slow and there was a mandatory car switch at mid race for range purposes (the next generation Formula E cars are reported to be able to last a whole 50-minute race) – there’s no avoiding the fact that almost every major car maker is embracing electric propulsion as part of their model range, whether its standalone electric cars, or as part of a hybrid system. And just as it’s been true about internal combustion engines, there’s no better way to improve the electric breed than by going racing.
This has been an eventful fortnight. It started with the catastrophic death of my old car and ended with me purchasing a new car, having second thoughts, and then third thoughts, and then saying what the hell and keeping it. And then hitting snags with my clutch-slave replacement project on my EBR, which has made me question my whole relationship with possessions. More ups and downs than a pogo-stick tournament. Anyway, I bought a new car, which is always fun for me.
There was some discussion as to whether Motorcycle.com should even cover eBikes, an indecision that got thrown out the window when we realized we were talking about not just any bicycle builder, but Yamaha – and also that we had the opportunity to have the inimitable Mark Cernicky sample the four new Yamaha eBikes on MO’s behalf. Long before he became the guy who starred in all the Cycle World hero shots and videos up until a few years ago, Sir Nicky was a pro skateboarder and BMX guy.
The 2018 MotoGP season had just began this weekend at the Losail International Circuit in Qatar, but series organizers are already looking ahead to 2019, as the first 11 teams for the inaugural FIM Enel MotoE MotoE World Cup electric racing championship were announced.
The dormant Italian brand Cagiva is coming back with electric off-road bikes, with the first prototypes expected to come this fall at EICMA. The news was announced by Giovanni Castiglioni, chief executive officer of the Cagiva brand’s rights holder, MV Agusta, during the press launch for the 2018 Brutale 800RR (look for that review shortly).
(Update: We’ve received some clarification from Harley-Davidson: the product of Project LiveWire is on track for 2019, but the arrangement with Alta Motors is for new electric models beyond the LiveWire. This story has been updated to reflect this information.)
Harley-Davidson has filed a trademark application to use the name “H-D Revelation” for its upcoming electric motorcycle technology. The trademark was filed with the U.S. Patent Trademark Office for use on batteries and chargers as well as powertrains, specifically motors, transmissions and electric drives, but not for as a model name for a whole motorcycle.
Energica made e-bike waves in 2013 when it let us ride the prototype of its Ego electric superbike that reached production in 2014, the year we tested a production version of the Ego. Boasting 136 hp and 144 lb-ft. of torque with a claimed 150-mph top speed, the Italian-designed Ego was fast and thrilling, to be sure. But its claimed 584-lb weight made it really heavy for a superbike, and its $34,000 MSRP destined it only for spots in the well-stocked garages of well-heeled enthusiasts. It fitted into a niche within a niche.