If you’ve been following me on social media at all in 2020 (I’m @motrizzle, in case you’re wondering), you’ve probably noticed my feed is littered with pics of a certain orange motorcycle. It’s not that common for a single bike to dominate my feed considering the different number of bikes I get to ride (pre-pandemic, anyway). But this one is different. Both literally and figuratively. The Lightfighter electric superbike plays such a dominant role in my feed because I have a personal stake in it. I helped develop it. And now, for version 2.0, a physical object built around my feedback would be the proof in the pudding to determine whether I have any idea what I’m talking about.
Damon Motors is making a big splash in the electric motorcycle world today with the announcement of two new models – the HyperSport HX and HyperSport SE, now available for pre-order – both centered around the company’s proprietary HyperDrive battery/motor/controller unit which comprises the central component of the motorcycle’s frame. However, while that in itself is newsworthy, Damon is further making waves with its cloud-based 360-degree CoPilot safety system and the subscription service it’s providing with the backing of FreedomRoad Financial, meaning you don’t have to worry about owning a piece of equipment that’s obsolete by the time you get home.
Well, the old Shorai LFX battery lasted nine years in my carbureted 2000 Yamaha R1, so if this one does that well, I’ll be happy. When we got the Shorai in 2010, lightweight lithium batteries were a new and exciting technology to fear and loathe, and Shorai was one of the only players. Today, there are many more lithiums on the field, so I did what most people do: I looked for the cheapest lithium battery that didn’t have terrible reviews.
Trying to figure out the range of an electric motorcycle is like competing in an eating contest: You think you know the limits, but you’re never quite sure until you’ve gone too far. Nonetheless, we at Motorcycle.com are fortunate enough to have ridden many of the electric motorcycle offerings out there, and at the very least, this gives us a starting point when discussing the range you can expect from an electric.
News flash: most motorcycles have very little cargo-carrying capacity. That’s why tank bags were invented. You can easily carry the little essentials you may need on your ride in a form factor that’s easily removed from your motorcycle. Still, in all my years riding, I’ve never had a tank bag stolen or looted when sitting unattended on my bike. For riders who have hard bags on their bikes, I’ve seen folks use a nylon bag with organizer pockets to carry many of the items on this list, making it possible to compartmentalize the gear like in a tank bag.
Are we in the future, or what? We can buy groceries from Beijing while we video chat with family in Baltimore, carry supercomputers around in our pockets, and doctors can make new human body parts in a Petri dish. We don’t have jet packs or hoverbikes, but we may have the next best thing: practical electric motorcycles, motorcycles that ranges of 100 miles or more.
If you’re meticulous about your motorcycle maintenance, your battery could last you upwards of a decade. However, battery manufacturers estimate most batteries have a useful life of anywhere between 2 – 5 years on average depending on type (lithium vs lead acid), care, and riding conditions, among many other factors.
Here we are again, nosing around the garage area and the vicinity of the start/finish line, anticipating a full new season of MotoGP. Everyone is optimistic. Everyone is putting their best foot forward. The power brokers, the likes of Yamaha’s Lin Jarvis and Honda’s Livio Suppo, are maintaining low profiles, keeping their powder dry in case – this probably of more concern to Suppo than Jarvis – their 2016 project turns out to be a dumpster fire.
With our heads in the moto-sand, we were unaware lithium jump starters existed until Weego’s motorcycle-specific press release arrived. Now on our radar, the Weego piqued both our interest and disbelief. A smartphone-sized device that can turn over, not only a dead motorcycle, but also automotive engines up to 4.6L! Nah … really?
MO readers know that electronics are changing motorcycling at a blinding pace – and I’m not even referring to the technology that the OEMs are building into the current generation of motorcycles. Today, your typical rider has a smartphone that can act as a GPS. Sooner or later, many riders will want to be able to hear those turn-by-turn directions while they ride. Then it’s a pleasantly slippery slope from earbuds to Bluetooth communicators to action cameras to who knows what’s next. The problem is that most of these gadgets run on batteries. And batteries need to be charged. That’s where the Goal Zero Venture 30 Solar Recharging Kit shines.
The Shorai LFX lithium-iron battery in my trusty R1 (trusty mostly because of the battery) first took up residence there in early 2010, when I toiled at a competing publication. At the time, Shorai was a new player in the battery business, had some teething problems, and walked back its claim that its batteries could last ten years (mostly because they were so new, there was no way to back that up).
Only a few years ago, about the only thing that required electricity on your motorcycle was an electric vest. Now, with the proliferation of GPS, smartphones, and other power-hungry devices, you might find yourself needing to plug in while you’re out on a ride. Or perhaps you don’t get to ride your bike as much as you’d like to and need a way to connect to your smart charger. Accessory wiring company Powerlet has created wiring sockets that can be used to power just about anything you could want to mount on your bike. Powerlet’s systems range from simple bar mounts to bodywork mounts to custom brackets for a wide range of motorcycle models. Once you mount Powerlet’s socket on your motorcycle, simply plug in the appropriate adapter for your device.
Modern technology has radically changed our lives, and not surprisingly, motorcycling reflects that change in many areas. While maybe not directly related to the act of riding a motorcycle, our portable technology permeates much of our daily life. Look at my recent review of the Scala Rider Q3 Multiset for a place I’d never really considered to be essential to my daily motorcycle use until I experienced it. However, there is one thing that most of these modern conveniences need to do their job: power – in the form of electricity.