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Author Topic: Should an electric motorcycle look like a gas bike?  (Read 345 times)


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Re: Should an electric motorcycle look like a gas bike?
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2018, 09:00:43 PM »

Ideally, I'd say a balance needs to be found. Here in San Diego, I very rarely get even a second glance on my 2014 SR -- people just assume it's like every other bike (though I will say when I was visiting Santa Cruz, I got questions pretty much every time we stopped). So I'd say enough of a visual difference to make people look twice, and realize there's something unique about this bike, would be a good thing. It would help with the evangelizing process.

But I do think the design shouldn't stray TOO far from the familiar. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like something someone cobbled together in their garage, rather than a production-built, fully competent machine...what IS that thing??

What exactly that balance looks like, I don't really have a clear picture in my head. Someone pointed out that the fake "gas tank" on the Zeros really just serves as a visual point of reference for people...but what would you do instead? I'm not much of a designer, but it does seem like there should be SOMETHING between the front of the seat and the handlebars. Storage, extra battery capacity or fast charging is great functionality to put in that space...but the housings all seem to wind up looking like a gas tank. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Even the old-school Gold Wing, which had the gas tank under the seat, put a housing there to imitate a conventional gas tank.

One thing that still looks like a bike but never fails to turn heads is a full streamliner. And since EVs benefit greatly from aerodynamics, I think if I were designing an electric motorcycle from scratch, I'd design it from the ground up to incorporate a large, full fairing, including a good tail. That should start conversations wherever you go and serve a very useful purpose, as well.

just for reference... the "gas tank" on modern sportbikes is actually the airbox. the fuel is usually lower, behind the motor on the I-4 motor bikes... in the case of my Buell, the fuel is in the frame and the entire "tank" is the airbox. In the case of my CBR, the whole "tank" airbox cover is often the one you see bolted onto the racing zeros. the real fuel tank is only the rear section of it, leading down to under the seat area.

Oddly, in the case of BMW, all of their F650/700/800 models over the past 15 years had fuel tanks under the passenger's seat and had the battery and air box where the fuel tank used to be, which I always thought was a good location for a number of reasons.  However, the new 2018 F750/850GS models have put the fuel tank back to where it belongs ( ::) ) and they are marketing that new placement as a desirable feature.   ???  One that I don't get.  But then, that is BMW for you.   ::)
Richard's motorcycle collection:  2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.
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