What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I don't want a pickle

Some of you know I love motorcycles. And for those of you who don't, well, I love motorcycles. I'm not in to all the extraneous crap (he who dies with the most chrome wins, the "bike bitch" culture, or the "I'm playing with death, here" philosophy), but put me on a bike and you'll see me smile. Unfortunately I don't own one currently (sold mine last year). And I really want one again. This is what my first major writing goal is, to make enough to afford a motorcycle.

And as I'm sure you all know, I'm a green proponent (again, not a fanatic, there are a few things I do that aren't the most helpful, but hopefully the rest balance me out - note to self, re-email neighbor on zoning board to find out what they're doing with regulation of windmills). I also like the resurgence of electric vehicles and always wondered why nobody made an electric motorcycle. After all, everything motorcyclists like can be better provided by an electric engine (other than engine noise, which I never understood the attraction, loud pipes just annoy the neighbors, they don't make you safer, in fact they reduce your safety by drowning out environmental sounds, like that honking horn). More instant torque, more durability, quicker time to full speed, ease of maintenance, all better with electric propulsion.

But hey, after catching a brief glimpse on the TV news last night, I did a new search and they're finally making them!

The Brammo Enertia (which after a quick look sounds the best)

The Zero Motorcycles S

Electric Motor Sports Electric GPR.

A DIY version (which I thought about before I sold my bike)

Another DYIer (cost about $1500 - cool).

Yamaha built an electric racer a few years ago for their team and the motorcycle was banned from the circuit. Why? Because it provided too great of an advantage over the gas powered bikes.

The thing, though, is that these bikes seem very cool, and if I lived closer to work I would think more of them. But their range and speed are somewhat limited. Okay manufacturers, here's what I'd really like.

The bike needs to go up to speeds of 75mph for highway driving (being on a motorcycle, you do not want to be the one holding up traffic, or stuck in the middle of the pack, that's the danger zone). It needs to travel at least 90 miles (we'll get to that in a second). And it should cost less than $8000. Again, at this point, in the specs the Brammo gets closest. It still would mean I would have to arrange charging here at work.

But here's the thing. It doesn't need to be all or nothing. Look at the Volt technology. For a motorcycle a small gas engine for recharging would be a really small gas engine (like a lawn mower or smaller). It would add to weight and maintenance, but it would give you a virtually unlimited range. Some motorcyclists love to ride and range is everything to them. It would also mean a larger (heavier) frame and or batteries with more energy density, but I think those are solvable problems. For such a hybrid I could see the cost rising to $9-10000. It would be worth it.

Given that Honda already owns this technology (except the more energy dense batteries, but they're working on them), I'm surprised they haven't leveraged this into their motorcycle line yet.

Until then I'll still be looking at the Honda Shadow Series or the Yamaha V-Star Classic (or Custom) for my needs. Man, need to finish book to get agent, to get publisher, to get contract, to get published, to get millions, to get motorcycle.


Anonymous said...


Local story about a windmill installed near our home. I think it's insane that there need to be regulations on windmills, but then again, I'm not NIMBY about much.

Anonymous Cassie

Steve Buchheit said...

I know a few people who have them (the Lake Farm Park has a nice installation, and if I had property like they do I would do the same thing).

And the do make smaller and cheaper wind turbines. I looked at setting up a 400watt one for about $1000 (fully installed, about $500 for the turbine itself).