bikes of the future A company called Specialized has come out with a line of ‘future bikes’. I don’t know, if I was a kid I don’t think I would be caught dead riding one of the first few… BMW endorsed? Reminds me of Mr. Garrison’s dildo bike on South Park Now this bike, I might sport A bit more pimpin, teal color a little fruity though The Future The Future of Motorcycles – An OpinionThe Past1800’s — First motorcycle 1900-1955 — Creation of Large Motorcycle Companies 1945-1985 — Motorcycle Growth 1978-1987 — Motorcycle Decline
Very Late 1980’s — The Motorcycle Rises Again! Present — Times Are Good. The Future of Harley-Davidson… The Near FutureCar manufacturers to make motorcycles? The Evolution has already begun… Hybrid Gas/Electic Motorcycles? Diesel Motorcycles? Electric Motorcycles? The Distant Future The PastThe future of motorcycling is really anyone’s best guess. Since there are very few opinions on this subject on the internet (believe it or not) I thought I would write this section and I’ll give you my best guess on the future of motorcycling.
I’ve studied motorcycle history, trends, sales, model failures and successes over the years for many different manufacturers and here is what I think… Before we get to the future though, we have to understand the past. 1800’s — First motorcycle Sylvester Howard Roper 1869 Steam Cycle Motorcycles are descended from the “safety” bicycle, bicycles with front and rear wheels of the same size, with a pedal crank mechanism to drive the rear wheel. The first motorbike was built in 1868. It was not powered by a gasoline engine, but by a steam engine.
Its builder was Sylvester Howard Roper. His steam-powered bike was demonstrated at fairs and circuses in the eastern US in 1867 and did not catch on, but it anticipated many modern motorbike features, including the twisting-handgrip throttle control. There is an existing example of a Roper machine, dated 1869. It’s powered by a charcoal-fired two-cylinder engine, whose connecting rods directly drive a crank on the rear wheel. This machine predates the invention of the safety bicycle by many years, so its chassis is also based on the “bone-crusher” bike. Bone-Crusher’s” appeared around 1800, used iron-banded wagon wheels, and were called “bone-crushers,” both for their jarring ride, and their tendency to toss their riders. World’s first gasoline-driven motorcycle, the 1885 Daimler Reitwagen1900-1955 — Creation of Current Large Motorcycle Companies1902 – Triumph 1903 – Harley-Davidson (Harley-Davidson Motor Company) 1946 – Honda (The Honda Motor Company) 1952 – Suzuki (Suzuki Motor Co. , Ltd. ,) 1954 – Kawasaki (Kawasaki Heavy Industries) 955 – Yamaha (Yamaha Motor Corporation)1945-1985 — Motorcycle Growth1945 – 198,000 motorcycles registered in the U. S. 1955* – 450,000 motorcycles registered in the U. S. 1958 – Over 500,000 motorcycles registered in the U. S 1962** – 646,000 motorcycles registered in the U. S. 1965*** – 1. 4 million motorcycles registered in the U. S. 1970**** – 2. 8 million motorcycles registered in the U. S. 1975***** – 5 million motorcycles registered in the U. S. 1985****** – 5. 4 million motorcycles registered in the U. S. 1990******* – 3,650,000 million motorcycles registered in the U.
S. 1998 – 4,809,000 million motorcycles registered in the U. S. * 1953 — Movie The Wild One released ** 1959 — First Japanese motorcycle manufacturer (Yamaha), enters U. S. market ***1962 — “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” campaign launched ****1969 — Stock motorcycles run quarter-mile in less than 13 seconds, 1970 — Movie Easy Rider released ***** 1972 — FMVSS 123 standardizes motorcycle controls, 1973 — MSF created ****** 1978 — Stock motorcycles run quarter-mile in less than 12 seconds, 1980 — First International Motorcycle Safety Conference sponsored by MSF, Stock motorcycles run quarter-mile in less than 11 seconds ******* 1986 — Superbike ban proposed and defeated, Stock motorcycles run quarter-mile in less than 10 seconds1978-1987 — Motorcycle Sales DeclineThe motorcycle market was timed spot on for the baby boomer generation. In 1944-46, servicemen (and women) were returning from World War II and has a thirst for life and living and wanted to do more than settle down. Motorcycles were popular in WWII and people wanted to try them, and they did and they sold in good numbers.
But it was not untill the 1960’s when their kids grew up that motorcycling took off like a rocket. 1962 argueably the most famous and successful motorcycle campaign was launched on earth from Honda and it changed everything. The “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” ads took North America by storm! In just 3 years (1965), the number of registered motorcycle doubled, 5 years later (1970) doubled again, and 5 more years in 1975 doubled again! From 646,000 to 5 million in just over 10 years, thank you Honda! So to fully understand the BUST you need to understand the BOOM.
For argument sake the average motorcycle buyer in 1962 was 16-18 years old, they were happy with the cheap 50-450cc motorcycles of the time. Roads were being expanded on a massive scale across North America as years propressed. They gained riding experience and wanted to go faster and futher than the small bikes would let them. So they moved up to larger motorcycles as they grew older such as the 1969 Honda CB750K (750cc) and thus sales increased again. As the 1970’s were here, even larger and more specialized motorcycles were produced and again they bought. Standard motorcycled ruled the earth.
Unfortunately, as the 1970’s grew to a close the motorcycle industry was suffering as sales dropped drasticly. Those 16-18 year olds in 1962 were now wanting to start families, settle down and raise their own kids. Their spirit of adventure was put on the back burner. They stopped buying and Motorcycle manufacturers started to panic. Motorcycle magazines from the time (1979-1983) and manufacturers didn’t know the cause (we do today) and it was spelling DOOM for the motorcycle industry. The manufacturers even tried new designs such as the Cruiser, Tourer and Sport Bike, but few were listening.
New motorcycles sat on the sales floor for years, dealerships didn’t want to order more because they couldn’t sell what they had already (even with very steep discounts). The manufacturers needed to sell what they had too many of and discounted new motorcyles lower than the previous year(s) models. It was bad… That is why it is hard to find a good used 1980-1988 motorcycle. Very Late 1980’s — The Motorcycle Rises Again! It was bad near the end of the 1980’s. Sales were just horrible from 10 years before. Those motorcycle dealerships who survived were in bad shape.
But, there were a light at the end of the tunnel that only a few forsaw. Two things most unexpected happened. The baby boomers came back to motorcycling and so did their kids. Seems they never forgot the fun and good times and with increased incomes could now purchase large and more expensive motorcycles. Their kids also wanted to get into the action and they did. Suddenly, things were looking up… but for how long? The popularity of Cruisers and Sports Bikes took off which isn’t surprising when you look at it closely.
Older riders (baby boomer crowd) like luxury and comfort and don’t need the rush of speed thus Cruisers. The younger croud can take the riding position of the Sport Bike and wanted the new rush of speed… The Standard motorcycle was being left behind the new race of owing a Cruiser or Sport Bike. By the early 1990’s you almost couldn’t find a manufacturer offering one! Present — Times Are Good. Times are indeed good for motorcycle dealerships and manufacturers. We are now approaching the highest registered motorcycle numbers yet again and the motorcyclists are happy.
We are seeing more and more models of Cruisers and Sport Bikes offered every year and what is this? the Standard is back in the line up and it is now the largest increasing sales category. Today those “standards” are now fashionably called “Retro”, “Naked”, “Streetfighters” but with their re-tuned sport bike engines, comfortable riding position and do-it-all attitude, they are a glimpse into what is to come. Update October 24th, 2003We enter the 2004 model year with excitement as even more bikes are available with little to no models dropped. It does seem like a boom time for the motorcycle industry!
Massive cruisers of 2000-2300cc’s, super ultra light weight 180+hp sportbikes and surprise, many more standards/naked bikes introduced. In fact, there has never been this much selection! Since the year 2000 it really does appear that almost every manufacturer is getting the style, choice, comfort, price and performance mix right! This has truely never happened before in this industry. The Future of Harley-Davidson… With all these positives, what can be bad? Indian and Harley-Davidson. World wide sales in the retro type cruiser are again starting to go down. Sales seem only to be strong in the USA.
Indian Motorcycle has closed up shop, yet again, due to slow sales of the cruiser models. Harley-Davidson is still ignoring a huge market (younger crowd) and is still continuing to design models that appeal to fewer each year at prices even fewer can afford. With HD’s 2004 “major” updates really being a “minor” change, has HD missed its mark again? Will Harley-Davidson be the next to go? (Sorry Harley riders)Honda is now selling the Honda Rune, a style that is very impressive to see with your own eyes. This is a bike that looks like Harley-Davidson will make 20 years from now.
Not only is the Honda Rune a big problem for HD, but the Vulcan 2000, Triumph Rocket III and even the Kawasaki/Suzuki Mean Streak are as well in the future design department. It used to be everyone copied HDs style, it was “the” cruiser look. Now you can have a sea of HD bikes, and if one of the above bikes shows up, it just gets noticed more. So, what is Harley gonna do? They made the V-Rod. Beautiful lines, great engine, fuel injected, sporty looking… But… it doesn’t sound like a Harley, doesn’t look like a Harley, infact, it looks like a “Japanese” bike!
The V-Rod as much an”outsider” to the HD community as a Buell, horrible shame that is too… So, does Harley-Davidson keep making retro looking cruisers with very old and outdated technology so they have the look and sound? OR do they gamble on newer designs like the V-Rod? With an average consumer age of 46+, and thus you see the problems facing Harley-Davidson’s future today. The Near FutureA very new (and now in production) is the Alligator A6 (A6 = 6th Generation), built by Dan Gurney, an American driving legend, the Alligator is built around the benefits of its main principle: a low center of gravity.
Before you start to snicker or laugh at the looks, read this: When Cycle World tested an A6, its 0-30-mph time of just 1. 1 second turned out to be quicker than any streetbike the magazine has ever tested! How about the low center of gravity on braking? Just as impressive was the A6’s braking performance, stopping from 60 mph in just 114 feet, nine feet shorter than the radial-mount brakes slow Kawasaki’s new ZX-6R. When Cycle World tested an A6, its 0-30-mph time of just 1. 1 second turned out to be quicker than any streetbike the magazine has ever tested!
Eddie Lawson quotes: “It’s pretty amazing in this day and age that you can build something unique and that hasn’t already been done,” Lawson continues. “I enjoy it because I can get on a motorcycle and it’s different and it’s fun. ” and yes, he purchased an Alligator A6 for himself. So, thank you Dan Gurney for living your dream, and quite possibly revolutionizing the motorcycle industry at the same time. More Photos Here. Full Story Here. With gas and oil prices going through the roof and supplies of the non-renewable resource getting lower everyday motorcycles should continue to grow in demand.
Today most of us ride motorcycles in North America for fun or as a hobby but it is not this way in other parts of the world. Even in first world countries (like the UK) people are riding them due to the savings in gas, oil, insurance over other vechicles and even riding them year round. Will that happen here as well? Yes, and probably sooner rather than later. As I write this, gas is over $2. 10US a gallon in the U. S. A, and here in Canada (I’m Canadian BTW) we are paying up wards of 91 cents a litre! Last year it was 33% less (in both Countries).
So there is a greater need for motorcycles than ever before, but what will they evolve into? Updated: September 24, 2003:Revealed at 2003 Milan Motorcycle Expo: Kawasaki ZZR-X”Probably the most radical machine of the show has yet to turn a wheel under its own power. The ZZR-X is Kawasaki’s forward-looking concept bike that combines advanced technology, super-sport potential and touring capability. “This is the ultimate high-speed tourer,” reads the Kawasaki press material. “The future of supersport touring. “
The ZZR-X features hub-mounted steering that uses a two-pronged aluminum swingarm actuating a shock absorber instead of the ubiquitous telescopic fork. Handlebars sweep through the area that looks like a fuel tank; the actual tank is placed near the center of the bike. Perimeter rim-mounted disc brakes are fitted to both wheels. Touring amenities include a shaft drive hidden inside the aluminum rear swingarm, an adjustable-rake, flip-up windscreen and a large storage area in front of the seat. Kawasaki doesn’t mention any details about the ZZR-X’s engine, but it’s safe to say there will be ample power if the bike is ever built.
The rear seat cowl flips up into a backrest, probably to keep the passenger from flying off at 186 mph. “Updated: October 24, 2003:Revealed at 2003 The Tokyo Motorshow : Suzuki G-StriderSuzuki presented their G-Strider concept motorcycle, a cross between a scooter and a motorcycle. The two wheeler is powered by a 916 cc engine with automatic transmission. Revealed at 2003 The Tokyo Motorshow : KTMThe new 990RC8 is a streetfighter type, with a 75° V2, 999. 8 cc engine. The seat is the fuel tank, giving this 175 kg (385 pounds) motorcycle a low center of gravity.
Top speed: 280 kilometers per hour ( 174 miles per hour) Car manufacturers to make motorcycles? Dodge introduced its Tomahawk V-10, 8. 3-liter (505 cubic inch) concept motorcycle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on January 6, 2003. The superbike features independent four-wheel suspension, and its engine, borrowed from the Viper sports car, can propel the Tomahawk at speeds of nearly 400 mph [sic], according to Dodge. REUTERS/Rebecca CookThe 1,500-pound Tomahawk can reach 60 miles an hour in about 2. 5 seconds, and has a theoretical top speed of 300 mph.
Each pair of wheels is separated by a few inches and each wheel has an independent suspension. [Chrysler Chief Operating Officer Wolfgang] Bernhard said four wheels were necessary to handle the power from the engine. … Chrysler executives said while the chrome-draped Tomahawk was outlandish, they were seriously considering whether to build a few hundred at a price of at least $250,000 each. Official Dodge Tomahawk website The Evolution has already begun… Hybrid Gas/Electic Motorcycles? Learn more about the Hybrid eCycle here eCycle is developing a 180mpg motorcycle.
The motorcycle features a 219cc direct injected diesel engine and a 8kW electric motor drive. The weight is 230lbs, with a top speed of 80mph and acceleration of 0-60 mph in 6 seconds. We all know that a motorcycle is not only fun but cheap to own over other types of vechiles. With cars evolving into Hybrid (Gas/Electric), Hdrogen and fully Electric vechiles it wouldn’t be long before motorcycles would follow. Those types of vechiles are getting great fuel milage and even better than a lot of motorcycles! (e. g. Honda Insight* 70mpg). Honda tested EPA mileage for the Insight at 61 for city and 70 for highway driving (compared to 32 city and 37 highway for the Honda Civic 3 Door). 80mph). Diesel Motorcycles? Not to be outdone in the engine development area, the US Army has a Kawasaki KLR650 that runs on Diesel fuel rather than normal gasoline! With a range of 120 miles per gallon the bike develops 33ftlb of torque and has a top speed of 85 MPH. Read more about the Kawasaki Diesel KLR hereElectric Motorcycles? So, does that mean motorcycles will be going electric? It is quite possible.
This electric motorcycle does a 1/4 mile in 9. 450 seconds @152. 07 mph. Link: http://www. killacycle. com/page1. htmlSo, should you be worried about loosing a gasoline engine and having an electric one instead? That all depends, there are positives and negatives (of course) of anything new over something old. The internal combustion engine has been around for more than 100 years. We have pretty much done everything we can with the basic design. The biggest reason we haven’t “evolved” to another type of engine (electric/hydrogen/ect) is money (or the loss of) from the oil companies.
Oil (as if you didn’t know already) companies make Billions of dollars an hour worldwide, they don’t want to give that up. Electric engines offer advantages that could never be offered by an Internal Combustion engine such as: – There is almost no noise at all. – No vibration at all. – Total Linear power availability. – Zero moving parts. Imageing cruising down the road, all you hear if the sounds around you, the wind on your face and nothing disturbing that. Not even virbration gets in the way (at any speed) of this feeling that is like flying.
With a twist of the throttle you can go from 0 to 100mph in one gear if you want to with no hesitation, stuttering or loss of power anywhere, a perfect power curve. As with the horse and buggie, we will all be sad to see them go. The Film camera industry is going though the same drastic change with Digital camera’s. I own 9 professional SLR film cameras and don’t want a Digital, I enjoy film and the process of taking a photo on film. To me that is what photography is all about and I don’t want to change to digital at all.
Some of you will be in the same boat when it is time for the internal combustion engine to leave the motorcycle and electric engines are all the rage. For you, you should hang on to those old outdated motorcycles then and enjoy it while you can. Personally I dread the day a roll of film costs $20 and developing is scarce, and you have to drive 20 miles out of the way to find it… But that is life and on a positive note, the world didn’t end when we gave up a real horse for the iron horse (car). The Distant Future…
Unfortunately, I don’t know who made this image in photoshop, but it gives a good idea what a “retro” hover bike might just look like! The Future of Alternative MotorcyclesBart MadsonManaging Editor |Articles |Articles RSS |Blog |Blog RSSBe it bike tests, feature stories or racing reports Madson has been scribbling at Motorcycle USA for almost a half decade. He rides whatever’s in the MCUSA garage – just don’t ask him to wheelie. Tuesday, April 22, 2008 Print Share RSS Font: Email a Friend*Email Addresses (up to 5): One Email Address is Required Valid Email Address is Required Valid Email Address is Required
How will the motorcycle evolve in the future? In 1869, Massachusetts inventor Sylvester Roper built what is credited by most as the world’s first motorcycle. Powered by a twin-cylinder steam engine, the 25 mph machine was stoked to life via a charcoal-fired stove located under the rider’s seat. Flash forward seven score years and we have 150-hp production motorcycles capable of over 180 mph with computer controlled fuel injection and ABS. Quite a bit of technological ground covered since the days of Sylvester Roper. Which begs the question – what does the future hold for motorcycles?
Due to environmental concerns and the fact that $4/gallon gas is now a reality, the desire for alternatives to the internal combustion engine are more in demand than ever before. So, like automobiles, future motorcycles figure to be greener, more efficient machines. Who knows, 50 years from now riders may look back at our gas-engine beauties the same way we look at Roper’s steam-powered relic. Plug-in electrics, hybrids, fuel cells and even compressed air all hold promise in the years to come. And the next big thing in motorcycle design may already be out there. So let’s take a fresh look at the alternative two-wheelers.
ELECTRIC Electric powered motorcycles are the most developed alternative technology available. And electric power seems well suited to a two-wheeled design, as a lighter overall weight means smaller motors and fewer heavy batteries are required than those on an electric car. The electric motor also figures to be a good application for a commuter motorcycle, with immediate torque delivery for quick spurts of power (in theory, as we have yet to sample any electric-only designs yet, although we’re working on it. ) Electric vehicles like the Vectrix ZEV scooter, produce no emissions and operate at a high level of efficiency.
Right now the biggest drawbacks to electric motorcycles are low top speeds and short ranges. Most bikes are limited to 50 mph top speed, or less, with ranges under the 50-mile mark as well – usually under 20 miles. Breakthroughs in battery technology, however, may solve some of these shortcomings, with new Lithium-based batteries promising lighter weight and more potential power. On the plus side, those few miles traveled will be affordable ones for the operator, as some estimates place the electric cost per mile as low as $0. 02 or less. (Compare that to a 25 mpg gas car, which at $4/gallon costs $0. 6 per mile – at $4 gas even a 70 mpg conventional gas scooter is over a nickel per mile. ) Another advantage to electricity as an alternative source of motorcycle power is the delivery infrastructure is already in place, with electric bikes needing only an empty socket to get juiced back up. While charge time takes longer than filling up at the pump, getting to the station is a lot quicker and the monthly payment of one utility bill would replace all those depressing, budget-shrinking fuel stops. The environmental benefits of the electric motorcycle come from zero emissions produced.
The catch being that while fossil fuels are not burned directly during the operation of an electric motorcycle, the majority of electricity in the U. S. is still generated from coal-burning powerplants. Electric designs are not wasteful, however, with claims of up to 90% efficiency and the big green pay-off comes with the future development of renewable energy as a significant contributor to the electric grid – still decades away but a growing sector nonetheless. A fold-away commuter and internet connection, the BOBBY is still a Yamaha prototype, but a quirky example of two-wheeled electric transportation.
In its infancy, the electric motorcycle industry is being developed by intrepid start-ups and large volume manufacturers alike. Here are a few designs that we’ve come across: Yamaha BOBBY The Big Four have dabbled with electric designs in the past, often revealing them as concept bikes at yearly bike shows. Yamaha unveiled a handful of electric designs at last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, with our favorite from the tuning fork engineers being the BOBBY. An all-black electric scooter that resembles a fold up bicycle, the BOBBY was designed as a stow away commuter.
The futuristic design sports some interesting features, including the ability for the owner to turn it on and off with their cell phone. The scooter is also internet capable, endearing it to an online site such as ourselves. The BOBBY remains a prototype. The Vectrix ZEV scooter is currently available for $10,999, with the New York City and Sacramento both utilizing the electric design as a fleet vehicle. Vectrix ZEV www. vectrix. com With a top speed of 62 mph and 35-55 mile range, the Vectrix ZEV (Zero Emissions Vehicle) scooter is one of the few production electric motorcycles currently available.
Weighing in at 510lbs, the Vectrix can accelerate from 0-50 in 6. 8 seconds powered by a brushless DC motor connected to Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries. Resembling a large-displacement maxi-scooter the Vectrix takes 3-5 hours to recharge. The Vectrix became available in the States as a 2007 model and is catching on. Following the lead of New York City, Sacramento is currently experimenting with the Vectrix scooter as a fleet machine for parking enforcement and police department duties. The Vectrix scooter also has that extra cachet of celebrity endorsement, with Jay Leno and Leonardo DiCaprio both new owners.
Available for $10,999, California residents are eligible for $1500 rebate from CARB (California Air Resources Board) for the Vectrix due to its zero emissions status. Brammo Enertia www. enertiabike. com Looking more like a conventional motorcycle, the Brammo Enertia delivers 18 horsepower to the rear wheel via a DC motor wired to lithium-ion-phosphate batteries. Located about 15 miles from MotorcycleUSA HQ, the Ashland, Oregon-based Brammo Motorsport produces a more conventional motorcycle with its Enertia bike.
A chain-driven design, the Enertia features a lightweight carbon fiber monocoque chassis surrounding a carriage of Valence Lithium Ion Phosphate batteries. Wired up to a DC motor, the Enertia claims peak performance numbers of 18 horsepower and 28 lb-ft of torque. Weighing in at 280 lbs, the power figures equate to a top speed of 50+ mph with a 35-45 mile range. Recharging the Enertia takes less than three hours and the company promises that, even if the electricity comes from a coal-fired plant, there is a 92% reduction of CO2 emissions compared to those from a standard car.
Founded in 2002 by entrepreneur Craig Bramscher with the Enertia’s designer Brian Wismann, Brammo Motorsports is accepting reservations for the $11,995 Enertia, with plans for delivery to customers in the second half of 2008. The firm also has a serialized limited production model available for $14,995. Stay tuned for more info about the Enertia motorcycle on MCUSA. Zero X www. zeromotorcycles. com The electric Zero X is powered by lithium-ion batteries lasting 40 miles and rechargeable within two hours. A potential solution to one of the biggest nemies of off-road riding, sound regulation, the Zero X live up to its name with zero sound and zero emissions. The unique electric off-road design is the brainchild of Neal Saiki, a mountain bike designer and the founder of Zero Motorcycles. Powered by a brushed permanent magnet motor and Lithium-Ion batteries, the Zero X claims an impressive 23 horsepower peak. A 40-mile range equates to more than a couple of motos at the local MX track and the Zero X can be recharged in just two hours. With suspension and braking similar to a standard gas MXer, the Zero X tips the scales at a freakishly light 140 lbs with an 18-lb aluminum frame.
We haven’t had a chance to sample Zero Motorcycles’ wares, yet, but a recent test ride by Jeff Emig left the former MX star impressed. And the Zero X is a commercial success too, with the company having trouble keeping up with demand for its $7450 design (a version with 10% more powerful motor is available for $8350). Reports have also surfaced that the Santa Cruz, California, company may release an on-road street-legal version of its promising design. electrobike Pi www. electrobike. com Electrobike founder Marcus Hays makes a call celebrating his all-electric design’s new Land Speed record oft 64. 48 mph at the 2007 Bonneville Speed Trials. We met Marcus Hays and his San Francisco-based electrobike crew at the Bonneville Salt Flats, where the Bay Area resident got his all-electric 139-lb design up to an impressive 64. 848 mph. Described on the firm’s website as “the gateway from an automobile dependent world to a brighter, cleaner, less polluted world with lower CO2 and a lot more smiles” the electrobike is available in a number of forms, as the electrobike can be kitted as an all-electric, human/hybrid or gas/hybrid with prices ranging from $7,500 to $17,500.
With short-distance urban commuting in mind, the Pi features a 30-mile range at 20 mph – the all-electric Pi E unit incorporating a brushless 48V motor with NiMH battery power. The last time we spoke with Hays, he was working on a portable Lithium battery system that would work similar to the removable electric battery packs for electric power tools – allowing a commuter to ride to work and pop out the battery to plug into a portable charger. Oh, and to make the electrobike as green as possible, Hays recently unveiled a portable solar charger.
We hope to test the electrobike in the near future. Killacycle www. killacycle. com Did we say the electric motorcycle has low top speeds? Well, the Killacycle is the obvious exception to the rule, with the electric-powered drag racer having logged a dizzying 7. 824 quarter-mile run with a top speed of 168 mph. The wild design of owner Bill Dube, many people may recognize the Killacycle name from the Youtube video, which showed its operator attempt a burnout only to slam out of control into a parked minivan – almost living up to the bike’s moniker.
The Piaggio HyS hybrid system is slated to be fixed on the three-wheeled MP3, with an electric motor assisting the traditional gas-powered engine. So where does the Killacycle’s dangerous electric potency come from? Described on the bike’s website as basically a “a giant cordless drill with wheels” the Killacycle sources the power of “374 volts of electricity stored in 1210 small, but powerful, ‘nano-phospate cells (batteries) provided by A123 Systems. ” Routed through a motor controller from Cafe Electric, a pair of motors transfer a mind-blowing 500 horsepower to the rear wheel via chain drive.
But perhaps the most amazing thing about the Killacycle is the fact that each run down the drag strip burns up less than $0. 07 worth of energy! Piaggio HyS Hybrid Alongside the development of all-electric motorcycles have been gas/electric hybrid designs like the Piaggio HyS, which we have already featured in our Piaggio HyS Hybrid Scooter – First Look. Planned to be utilized on the Vespa LX and three-wheeled Piaggio MP3, the HyS hybrid system incorporates a regular gas-powered scooter engine, mated to an electric motor attached to the rear wheel hub on the swingarm.
The idea for the HyS is to incorporate the advantages of both electric and internal-combustion power, with the torquey electric motor acting as a supplemental power source. Piaggio claims the surge of juice from the electric motor supplies “about 85% extra performance” when coupled with the gas engine. The wasted energy of a traditional gas engine is also saved on the HyS with the electric power charging at regular cruising speeds, as well as during braking, making the Piaggio design extremely efficient. The electric juice on the HyS is transmitted directly to the rear wheel when quick acceleration is needed.
The bottom line, according to Piaggio, is a 140 mpg fuel economy. The HyS system can also be switched between three modes, one of which is all-electric, and with a 12-mile electric-only range, the HyS can effectively run as a plug-in electric for short-distance commuters. FUEL CELL Fuel cells are yet another alternative energy power source for motorcycles. Producing electric current from a constant fuel source, fuel cells can be created from a number of materials, but the most common system is a proton exchange membrane (PEM) utilizing hydrogen as a fuel.
The short and simple explanation for the PEM fuel cell process is it takes in hydrogen and oxygen, producing the electric current used as power source, with the byproduct being that most common of molecular compounds – H2O. While water is the lone “pollutant” coming out of the tailpipe, instead of CO2, the environmental catch is energy must be consumed to produce the hydrogen fuel. The widespread use of Hydrogen as a transportation fuel source would also necessitate a new infrastructure to store and deliver it. Still, fuel cell-powered vehicles are being developed in both the four- and two-wheeled variety.
Many Japanese manufacturers have displayed fuel-cell prototype motorcycles, but Suzuki may have the fuel-cell bike closest to production. With its single-sided front and rear suspension and exposed unconventional frame the Suzuki Crosscage created a stir at its Tokyo Motor Show debut. The real story, however, was the Hydrogen PEM fuel cells located underneath the wild styling. Suzuki Crosscage Making its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, the aptly-named Suzuki Crosscage prototype drew the most attention for its unconventional exposed frame and futuristic styling lines.
But the big news was inside, with the Crosscage running off hydrogen-fed PEM fuel cells, which produced electric current routed to a motor attached to the rear wheel inside the swingarm. The Crosscage’s fuel cells are produced by the British firm Intelligent Energy, which announced last month that it has further strengthened its collaboration with Suzuki. In a press release Intelligent Energy stated its “high performance fuel cell power systems coupled with Suzuki’s commitment to low-emissions transport mean the reality of hydrogen powered motorcycles is closer than ever. “
IE has already created its own fuel-cell motorcycle dubbed the ENV and is also an innovator in small-scale hydrogen production systems, which create hydrogen from various liquid fuels or natural gas. Now with the backing of a large-volume manufacturer, the likelihood of a commercially viable production fuel cell motorcycle is looking much brighter. AIR Intelligent Energy is collaborating with Suzuki for the Crosscage, but IE has created their own fuel cell bike too – the ENV. Compressed air powering a motorcycle? The idea behind an air-powered motorcycle may sound strange, but the technology is straightforward and been around for a while now.
Compressed air stores energy in high-pressure tanks, which is then shot into an air engine producing mechanical energy. The application is being applied now to four-wheeled designs and for a very informative video about the nuts and bolts of an air engine check out this video about the air car. The compressed air is produced by, surprise, a compressor, which is most often powered by electricity. So, like its electric and fuel cell alternative cousins, an air-powered motorcycle produces no direct emissions, but does contribute secondary C02 from fossil-fuel derived electricity.
Disadvantages, especially for a motorcycle application, include the safety and storage of compressed air tanks. On the plus side, however, compressed air shows great potential, as storage in metal tanks would be less costly and more eco-friendly than the production and disposal of electric batteries. (The concept of using compressed air as an energy storage system is being put into effect on a large scale at the Iowa Stored Energy Park, which stores the extra energy generated by a wind farm during off-peak use for release during times high-demand. Top speeds of 18 mph and 7 mile range may not be headline grabbers, but British inventor Jem Stansfield’s air-powered moped is a clever, green two-wheeled design. As far as air-powered motorcycles go, there aren’t a whole lot out there but we did stumble across one inventor. Described on various websites as a “former sheepherder and current rocket scientist/inventor” Jem Stansfield made a rudimentary air-powered bicycle, basically a single-piston air cannon launching a stationary bike. One of the British hosts of the Planet Mechanics television show, Stansfield has since upgraded his original design to a more sophisticated ride.
The latest Stansfield special is powered by compressed air stored in carbon fiber scuba tanks. Air is then routed through rotary air engines, which get the modified Puch moped up to it 18 mph top speed. The pneumatic design gets only about seven miles before needing a recharge. You may not see Stansfield’s bike in dealer showroom anytime soon, but it’s a bit of garage eco-gearhead ingenuity deserving of recognition! So, while riders won’t be trading in their ’08 superbikes for air-powered mopeds, the era of alternative motorcycles is creeping into the mainstream.
Stay tuned to MotorcycleUSA. com for updates about the motorbikes we will be riding into the future. Aerial Rescue Chopper by Leong Huang Zi While envisioning a scenario after 100 years or so, Malaysian designer Leong Huang Zi comes up with amazing concept dubbed the ARC (Aerial Rescue Chopper). The ARC is designed for a distant future where there will be a federation of nations to help keep the order. The chopper with retro feel yet futuristic design will fly in that world being the part of Universal Military Service Corp (UMSC).
Designed as a multipurpose chopper for rescue operations in UMSC, Aerial Rescue Chopper features unique duo fan propeller, distinctive air turbo system with the capability to navigate rough terrains. This chopper is meant for surveillance and scouting in land and sea divisions. …Click here to read more . Taranis Robot Stealth Bomber Named after the Celtic god of thunder, British defense firm BAE Systems officially revealed its high-tech unmanned stealth jet, Taranis. Equivalent in size to that of a Hawk jet, Taranis is equipped with stealth equipment and an ‘autonomous’ artificial intelligence system.
With the ability to carry heavy payloads (bombs and missiles) and to penetrate deep into the enemy territory, the unmanned jet is a silent killer capable of precisely striking targets at long range, even in another continent. …Click here to read more . Flying Humvees – AVX Design Releases Mockups Of A Flying Car For DARPA In response to DARPA’s broad agency announcement asking for a flying car – a vertical takeoff and landing-capable vehicle that can deal with off road conditions as well as take to the skies, AVX Aircraft has come up with a proposal while releasing some mockups of a duel rotor and ducted fan driven aircraft.
This four seater flying car concept, as per AVX Aircraft, will be capable to carry 1,040-lb at 80mph over the ground and 140mph on land. …Click here to read more . Futuristic Cars Inspired by Syd Mead’s Blade Runner designs (27 Pictures) The next generation of concept artists is paying tribute to the master, Syd Mead, who reinvented cars and city living in his work on Blade Runner, Tron and other films. Here are our favorite entries from CGSociety’s Syd Mead contest. …Click here to read more . AirPenguin – Autonomous Flying Robot
Penguins are beautiful creatures, they’d have been great in the air, but have lost their ability to fly in the course of their genetic development as marine birds. However, with the AirPenguins, the engineers from Festo have given them wings yet again. Well, don’t get surprised as it’s not the real but they’ve created the artificial penguins and have taught them “autonomous flight in the sea of air”. AirPenguin is an agile and maneuverable autonomous flying object that comprises a helium filled balloon and has a pyramid-shaped flexible structure of four carbon fiber rods at each end.
Flying Humvees – AVX Design Releases Mockups Of A Flying Car For DARPA In response to DARPA’s broad agency announcement asking for a flying car – a vertical takeoff and landing-capable vehicle that can deal with off road conditions as well as take to the skies, AVX Aircraft has come up with a proposal while releasing some mockups of a duel rotor and ducted fan driven aircraft. This four seater flying car concept, as per AVX Aircraft, will be capable to carry 1,040-lb at 80mph over the ground and 140mph on land. …Click here to read more Futuristic Cars Inspired by Syd Mead’s Blade Runner designs (27 Pictures) The next generation of concept artists is paying tribute to the master, Syd Mead, who reinvented cars and city living in his work on Blade Runner, Tron and other films. Here are our favorite entries from CGSociety’s Syd Mead contest. …Click here to read more . Gravity Vehicle By Niek de Kort When it comes to transportation or moving around in the cities, it is difficult and it drains the life out of you, the vehicle and not to forget the environment, owing to the fuel that is used.
However, with the concept Gravity Vehicle by Niek de Kort, it might all change for the good. With its minimalistic design, it is a perfect city transport that charges up while it is parked by tapping the sun. When parked, the solar cells are in an optimal angle with the sun. When you steer, the flaps pop out, which prevents the one wheeled vehicle from turning over. Feeding on sun, it powers your transport, which means it makes no carbonic contribution to the environment and at the same time by not taking much space it eases your cramped city life. …Click here to read more Avro Canada VZ-9V Avrocar The Avro Canada VZ-9V Avrocar was a flying saucer in the true sense of the word. It used three turbojets to turn a central impeller which kept it airborne by providing downward thrust, it used a vane and shutter system to manouver the aircraft by venting thrust in any direction desired. …Click here to read more . YEE Flying Car Concept Of The Next Generation Transportation System The modes of transport are going to switch from land to air in times to come, because the congestion in the city will make it almost impossible for one to commute through lanes.
Keeping this thing in mind, three students (Pan Jiazhi, Zhu Wenxi and Lai Zexin) from the South China University of Technology has envisioned a concept car that could be turned into a plane once the operation is switched to the flying mode through transformation. This is made possible by upturning two front wheels sideways and two back wheels outside allowing people to fly over the overcrowded roads to reach their destination on time. Also, the integration of the propeller into the back wheels endues the vehicle with two distinct mobile modes.
YEE is super cool and a stunning racer while on the ground but when it spreads out its back wheels and starts its propeller, it can fly along a special air route. Inflatable Water Propeller by Chao-yang Chou and Sian-Zong Chen Chao-yang Chou and Sian-Zong Chen have come with Inflatable Water Propeller with the peculiar feature to propel you through the water. Not only is this, but the Inflatable Water Propeller can sit still in the water allowing you to chill as long as you want.
The first propeller features inflatable air cushion that attaches to it which not only relaxes you but also provides you unlimited time to tan your body amid the water or you can use this device you to ferry you though the waves fast…really fast. Additionally, the most peculiar feature of the device is it comes with two differ ways of propelling: the contraption can be used while the raft is inflated and if you deflate the raft you can use the propeller underwater. Inflatable Water Propeller is an ultimate fun on and through the waves and is maddeningly mazing hard rock machine. …Click here to read more . Catamaran Alcyon MC 50? Combining speed and pleasure in a single vessel, Alcyon-Yachts has come up with a luxury catamaran named the Alcyon MC 50? that provides great stability at high speed, thanks to wide and asymmetrical monohull. Featuring a spacious cockpit covered by a completely glazed roof supplying a 360° vista, the new Alcyon yacht includes a large sunbathing surface on the deck at the back of the square.
Comprising the owner’s suite, with lounge spaces and working desk, accompanied by a kitchen, double cabin with bathroom, an additional single cabin and numerous storage spaces, the Alcyon MC 50? accommodates guests in utmost comfort, be it a one day trip or a longer cruise. …Click here to read more . EMILY – Patrolling Robot Saves Lives Six Times Faster Than A Lifeguard Remember to always swim and surf near an open lifeguard station will no longer be a norm. You can test the ocean waters, swim farther without fear or hesitation for EMILY the robotic lifeguard would be there to bring you safely ashore.
Four foot long remote control operated buoy uses a sonar device to scan underwater movements associated with swimmers in distress. Driving at speeds of 28 mph through even the roughest of the seas, EMILY even gets floatation device to the victims in distress. …Click here to read more . Jet VI Sailboat by Fabio Federici Among the world’s finest sail boats, there’s probably one more name that’s waiting to sail through the oceans before it’s counted among the best. Designed by the Millennium Yacht Design Awards winner Fabio Federici, the Jet VI is a hydrofoils moved by the force of the wind.
The elegant and sinuous style is inspired by the shapes typical of the Biodesign, but given Fabio’s desire for innovation, this structure has to hold more distinctive features than visible. So, ensuring good speed even in low wind situations, the Jet VI uses the hull in Kevlar and carbon fiber for extreme lightness despite its massive size. The structure of the sail in appearance and design similar to a windsurf kind, has the main advantage of being stiffer than a onventional sail, making it easier to control. Equipped with hydrojets coupled with an electric motor, the Jet VI features better navigation and mooring in the harbor. While the project is still on the papers, there’s no info on pricing, but we hope to see it sailing soon! …Click here to read more . Catamaran – MY WAY by Filippo Taiani In the fascinating world of luxury yachts, exclusivity in design is playing an important role in the transition of yacht design from art to science with artistic disciplines.
However, automotive design has a special place in every boat lover’s heart, and this is the reason why designer Filippo Taiani has put his experience as a car designer to good use in creating the “My Way” concept yacht. While the superyachts have long ago incorporated the automotive design, this relatively fast superyacht concept at 32 knots is sure to delight the upcoming generation of sailors who prefer a swift accelerating boat. Designed to accommodate up to 11 guests and four crew, this 30-meter catamaran will feature aluminum construction to keep it light and fast.
Symbiosis Vehicle Runs On Solar Piezoelectric Energy Designer David Seesing from the Royal College has designed an environmentally friendly car called the Symbiosis. The innovative design allows for an interesting car frame made from aluminum and consolidated with carbon nano-tubes to increase the heat and electrical conductivity of the material. The frames are printed with piezoelectric crystals which generate electricity from the air flow. The car’s internal capsule contains a transparent shell which is embedded with photovoltaic cells to collect solar energy.
The Symbiosis draws power from four electric motors. Interestingly the concept has built-in wheels thus, saving space and air can freely flow through the frame. …Click here to read more . Futuristic Cars Inspired by Syd Mead’s Blade Runner designs (27 Pictures) The next generation of concept artists is paying tribute to the master, Syd Mead, who reinvented cars and city living in his work on Blade Runner, Tron and other films. Here are our favorite entries from CGSociety’s Syd Mead contest. …Click here to read more RX00047 – Racing Car by Islyamov Pavel The racing car enthusiasts will surely have a long sigh of relief to see this car. Islyamov Pavel’s stunner is dubbed the RX00047 and is a single-seater sports car designed only for driving pleasure of the world where the utility function of the car is assigned to other types of transport. Inspired by racing cars of the 1930s and ZZ Top “Eliminator” album, it is equipped with a highly powerful powerplant using hydrogen fuel cell which in turn determines the presence of a huge engine compartment.
Use of hydrogen fuel cell also makes this car an ideal choice for the environmentalists who are crazy about speed but couldn’t find a vehicle that fits well in both. Nevertheless, this vehicle is all about freedom and pleasure of driving and speed, sans restrictions. …Click here to read more . Volkswagen Terrafine By Niklas Palm Conceived by Swedish designer Niklas Palm, the “Terrafine” is an off-road vehicle that you take a weekend leisure ride without damaging the actual environment it is driving in.
Ideal for both highway rides and off-road excursions, the sustainable vehicle features a flexible body that the rider can raise or lower like a skateboard according to the terrain. Developed for Volkswagen, the concept car generates power from an electric engine to allow a green and clean ride. Though we are short on other technical specifications, still the leisure vehicle rouses interest of onlookers with its refreshing design that resembles a boat. …Click here to read more . Toyota Minivan 2015 by Andrey Gusev
Minivans are not always that fascinating, but to rid the minivans of that stereotype boring boxy image, here comes the Toyota Minivan concept designed for 2015. Part of an internship project held at Toyota design studio, this Hybrid Toyota Minivan is based on the current 7 seater Toyota Estima. Inspired by the Japanese bullet train and futuristic looking Tokyo River boat, concept’s futuristic and eye catching exterior brings the emotion impact that have considerable influence on customer’s mind while selecting a vehicle. |