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Travellers' questions that don't fit anywhere else This is an opportunity to ask any question, and post any notice you wish that doesn't fit into one of the other sections.
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  #1  
Old 9 Apr 2009
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The future of Motorcycling

Hi,

I was just thinking about what is the future of Motorcycling when we face the prospect of running out of oil pretty soon?

I mean it seems that in only a few decade there will be no oil left
It does not seems to be an issue when I looked at for example Aprilia willing to develop a V4 engine developped from their racing engine or Harley focusing their all brand on the famous V Twin?

Is there going to have any enjoyment riding an eletric bike?

What do you guys think

Gwel
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  #2  
Old 9 Apr 2009
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There are a lot of factors to consider. Technologically Mains-Battery-Electric (from atomic power, wind, tidal, hydro etc.), fuel cell-electric (hydrogen) or alternative combustion technology is all possible. If everything else is equal people will go for the one that is nearest to a petrol engine. Given how many IC engines exist and need to be supported in the interim, I'd put my money in some sort of manufactured diesel substitute. Based on algae, grass crops or stewed coal? Who knows.

A 50 hp Diesel bike would suit me.

It's not just the technology though. If someone starts a huge war over the dregs of the oil, we could all (or those of us who are left) be using wheel barrows.

It'll take a major event to sort the technology out. As late as the 1930's if you put out a requirement for a delivery truck you'd still get the steam, mains-electric and battery-electric people turning up. Someone bought the equivalent of Betamax vehicles and it was only the Great Depression and Second World War that brought internal combustion fully on top. I'd expect the same for the next 50 years unless there is something very good (fusion?) or very bad (WW3) out there.

Andy
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  #3  
Old 9 Apr 2009
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There are some around.
electric motorcycle - Google Search
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  #4  
Old 9 Apr 2009
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I suspect diesel bikes will be next, like this:

Thunder Star 1200 Diesel by Star Twin

Or, even better, like this:

Military’s Diesel KLR 650 will be produced for civillian use

Bio-fuels are already available for diesel engines and these bikes can be fun. But I wouldn't worry too much. For the rest of our lifetimes, regular gasoline will be the norm. After that, either a gas substitute will enter production, or the technology used in electric vehicles will make serious advances... maybe they'll even be really fun! (But you'd have to put a baseball card in the spokes to get the sound.)
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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Oil will not run out .
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that oil is produced by bacteria and not from rotting dinosours and primaeval forests as is conventionally believed .
Bacteria have been found that produce hydrocarbons in areas that have the right combination of heat and raw materials .
Furthermore ,methane producing bacteria have been found in coal bed methane wells ,which proves that the methane within the well is not a finite resource . Modern science will ,no doubt, enhance these naturally occuring bacteria and use them to provide oil and natural gas .

Also vegetable oils and fuels are already being used in environmentally sensitive applications and their use will increase .
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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I have every confidence in the oil companies being able to sell me something to put in my bike until the end of time. The fact that everyone talks about electric and fuel cell vehicles when you can run an internal combustion engine on liquified Hydrogen directly seems odd. Maybe it's not that simple but if you could just replace the fuel tank with one full of liquified hydrogen and ride away why are we pissing around with electric vehicles?
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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Get used to the idea of no oil for private consumers, i say! As the huge rise in private-vehicle ownership in China/India (the £1400 Tata Nano, anyone...) results in massive demand for oil then the dwindling supplies will be reserved for Governmental use for the Military/Emergency-Services. According to a recent radio program, 1981 was the year when demand first outstripped supply (but who listens to scaremongering?). Anyway, i reckon that if you want to enjoy gadding around the planet in your own vehicle do it soon. Dave the Doom-monger.

Mwwaa ha ha ha ha!!!
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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I'm pretty sure we won't run out of petrol. When new technology comes along, the old stuff doesn't disapear. I have a PC but can still get paper, I use a battery driver but also have a screwdriver. You can still buy leaded petrol and if I want to run my steam engine, I can still get coal and water.

Let the cuddly-bunny-tree-huggers come up with alternative fuels; it'll take the pressure off the oil supplies. They even believe that some of this technology is going to save the planet. It won't, (switch to Scottish accent) "we're all doomed"

....
...
.
But not for a while
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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Quote:
and if I want to run my steam engine, I can still get coal and water.
- But a steam traction engine isn't really a practicable form of personal transport. Alternative fuels are the most realistic fallback we can use with our current vehicles, but to grow biofuels to cover our current needs would apparently need all currently available arable areas - so Hydrogen it is, then (good job Honda now have a prototype - Hurrah!).
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Yellow Tractor View Post

Let the cuddly-bunny-tree-huggers come up with alternative fuels; it'll take the pressure off the oil supplies. They even believe that some of this technology is going to save the planet.
I dont know if it's helpful to dismiss ecologists as "cuddly" etc. Many scientists are ecologists. You probably share their ideals even if you dont agree with all of it. You dont want to sound like the Daily Mail or J.Clarkson and we don't like him, do we?
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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That depends what he's saying, does it not? Mr C is capable of great lucidity (allegedly, ho ho), in amongst the bombastic rubbish he often spouts. No comment on the Daily Mail
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Old 9 Apr 2009
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Steam can be highly efficient - things have progressed a bit since Stephenson's Rocket .

You can also burn cuddly bunny manure .

Myself ,I would prefer to distill alcohol and use some of it for fuel !
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Old 10 Apr 2009
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Quote:
You can also burn cuddly bunny manure
And you can tow the Manure Processing Plant in a little trailer you can tow behind the bike, or in a sidecar - wow, i can see it now... fantastic! Problem solved
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Old 10 Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
Oil will not run out .
I'm not convinced.

Do you realise the biomass you would need to produce oil on the scale you are suggesting? Plus these bacteria, if they do indeed produce oil of the right grade and composition, do not do so out of thin air: they need their own metabolites to process, and where will they come from? Even if its possible, I do not think this is a viable or sensible solution: we need to move away from oil. Think of oil as the "tasty but very bad for you health" saturated fats of today's global economy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
Also vegetable oils and fuels are already being used in environmentally sensitive applications and their use will increase .
Again, biofuels are not carbon neutral, and they use up a lot of arable soil that we are going to need if we are to feed everyone on this planet. I don't think we can afford to give up the 30% of arable land expected to be needed to replace oil to any comparable level; not at the rate humans are spawning left, right and centre.

And, frankly, even if oil needs could be met continually, do we really want to keep using such dirty fuels if there are cleaner and cheaper alternatives waiting to be developped? If in doubt take a few breaths from an exhaust pipe and see how good one feels...

Personally, I expect that there will be a period of clutching at straws and trying to hold on to the IC concept, but I think electric will follow. And why not? after a few years of demand for better products I expect battery technology will come on in leaps and bounds. Imagine a bike where you can map the power delivery,at home, not by tweeking fuel maps or carbs, but simply drawing a graph on your laptop and uploading!! Two stroke power bands without the smoke and rebuilds!! Brilliant!
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Old 10 Apr 2009
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Originally Posted by Warthog View Post
Personally, I expect that there will be a period of clutching at straws and trying to hold on to the IC concept, but I think electric will follow. And why not? after a few years of demand for better products I expect battery technology will come on in leaps and bounds. Imagine a bike where you can map the power delivery,at home, not by tweeking fuel maps or carbs, but simply drawing a graph on your laptop and uploading!! Two stroke power bands without the smoke and rebuilds!! Brilliant!
I agree. There have been some recent tests of electric off-road bikes, in TBM I think, that have shown the potential. Problem is, we need to look at how we generate the electricity. Can you feel great about driving/riding your electic vehicle if the you get your charge from a coal fired powerstation?
I like the idea of an electric bike for some stealth green laning. Who would know you were out there ?

Your comparison with food "tastes great but bad for you" is what I was getting at. As alternative fuels/power become mainstream, the reserves of petroleum products won't be depleated meaning you could still rag about on your 2-stroke bike or drive your V8 pickup. (assuming you could afford it)
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