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Which Bike? Comments and Questions on what is the best bike for YOU, for YOUR trip. Note that we believe that ANY bike will do, so please remember that it's all down to PERSONAL OPINION. Technical Questions for all brands go in their own forum.
Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #1  
Old 9 Aug 2014
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Electric Motorbikes: Could they be the future for bikes

It seems that electric motorbikes are getting better in terms of range, torque, running costs....could electric really be the future for motorbikes?

ZERO MOTORCYCLES – The Electric Motorcycle Company - Official Site
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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Not for me chef...i'm full
I much prefer the vibes of an engine and the noise coming from the exhaust, recharging would be a PITA
Cant see charging points being found in the middle of Kaz, Mongolia or deepest darkest Peru
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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I could see a time when I'd spend money on an electric bike. I'm not so wedded to the internal combustion engine that it's a deal breaker but we're a mile away yet. At a guess I think electric bikes are now where petrol ones were before ww1; the technology is primitive, the infrastructure needed to support them en route is not there and the alternative (a horse back then) is widespread, cheaper and understood.

If you're an early adopter there might be a first electric bike round the world record book entry to be made (unless someone's already done it) but one lap of the TT course or 20 mins on an MX track doesn't help much if you're heading off to Cape Town. Even if recharging points or some other way of pushing electrons back into the battery were available how's the motor in a ten year old bike going to hold up after a week of snow and salt on the autobahn, 200 miles of Sahara sand or being covered in a foot thick layer of Congo mud?

I'm sure someone somewhere is sketching out a design for an electric bike right now that isn't just a wheely bin with knobblies (or slicks) but actually looks attractive and has some chance of gaining a salesman his commission, but at the moment they're all just bland boxes that appeal about as much as a Sinclair C5. In fact, stick the TT bike motor and battery in a C5 and I'll take that.
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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You certainly cant take an electric bike to places like the Sahara or Africa for sure as you wont be able to charge it, but I think if they come up with a hybrid one ie dual fuel....that then would have an appeal.
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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Maybe an uber hybrid is the way to go - electric motor and battery to kick things off, then a petrol engine to charge the battery when that runs out and as a last resort, a donkey, Borat style, to keep you moving.

Probably, with next generation technology, anywhere sunny might be ok - as long as you weren't Nick Sandering across the globe it could be viable alternative to a pedal bike - some solar panels, a wind charger or two and a cable for whenever you did find mains power and 100+ miles a day might be possible. Just be prepared for some long lunch breaks.

It's the dark side that might cause problems but maybe a moped engine in a pannier charging the battery as you go / stop would work. At least you wouldn't have to power a heater like the cars need.

I suspect overlanders will be the last purchasers of electric bikes for the practical reasons mentioned. Starbucks cruisers, short distance commuters, art school projects etc will all get there a long time ahead of us.
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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To be fair to the OP. Overland adventure wasn't specifically mentioned..

For a general get to work/school vehicle. Yeah.. I could see electric bikes making a decent dent in the marketplace.

Using electric propulsion on a bike may even be more advantageous than doing so with a car. Points in favor include a drastic reduction in maintenance, elimination of the transmission ( cost/weight savings + ease of use )

Disadvantages are of course expense ( batteries ) and range..

However I don't see a hybrid style bike coming to the market any time soon. In addition to the normal motorcycle power-plant & transmission, it would require batteries, 2 electric motors and control mechanisms.. A lot of extra expense & complication.

Solar charging for an electric bike? Sure.. at home. On the road? Hope you bring a tent..

The basic bike the OP was talking about has a 8,500 watt/hr battery pack ( good for 60-70 miles ). And those fold up solar panels for charging your tablet.. they pump out about 30 watts/hr. So. if you count on that.. you are going to be sitting beside the road for a while.. Bring a book. Might I suggest War & Peace?
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arizona_Elwood View Post
To be fair to the OP. Overland adventure wasn't specifically mentioned..
Interesting topic though (and I've read War and Peace!).

We have looked at electric car technology for my wife's commute to work. It's maybe 10 miles e/w and as she co-owns the building plugging it in during the day wouldn't be a problem. I've looked at all the mainstream stuff on the market in some depth but we concluded that a. it's far from being a mature technology, b. the economics are totally unknown and c. they're all ugly eco boxes that only seem to come in green

It might be cheap to plug it in overnight at home (cheaper than fuel anyway) but it's only a matter of time before that advantage diminishes. Already, previously free charging stations on the motorways are charging hefty amounts (I seem to remember ÂŁ7.50 for enough charge for about 50 miles being mentioned - on that basis even UK petrol is cheaper). A 3 or 4 yr old car that needs a new battery pack will have many other things as well as emissions that are close to zero - range for one and residuals for another - dealers won't touch them unless there's some factory scheme to subsidise them.

It's all guilt behind it though. Every time I go out on my old Kawasaki triple smoker I have this Catholic need to do penance for the damage I've done. The old triple plus an electric bike that wafts by smelling of lavender could be the perfect answer. Neither of them will do more than about 50 miles without grinding to a halt
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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The idea of saving money on petrol and saving the environment are all good, but I think the electric bike would sound s**t. A bike must make a roar or a note that comes out of an exhaust.
Petrol bikes are all about engine & exhaust sounds, service, oil, etc...and you will not get that clunk sound as there are no gear changing..
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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If it weren't for the short range and the lacking infrastructure, I might have bought one for travelling with. That's probably something that will come in the next 10-30 years... If I'd buy a motorbike just for practical use (i.e. errands, commuting,...) I would probably have bought one already now.

Does anyone know, by the way, if the electric bikes available now can use this charger of which Tesla released their patent recently (and which can charge an electric car's battery in half an hour)?
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Old 9 Aug 2014
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seems to me to be the obvious evolution. When I started biking you had a kickstart only.

Then they added Electric start..

then they added expensive electronics to run the engine.

so why not just fit a bigger battery and starter motor and forget about the engine and gearbox altogether ?
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