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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I buy another bike it will be electric. The light weight and blistering performance is gonna just be too good. And best of all: very little maintenance. The rapid charging infrastructure is going to be widespread soon too so happy days. Still waiting for the bike to appear that really grabs me though but it can’t be long given the pace this tsunami is coming.
 

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I have thought about EVs for a while, both cars and bikes.
I'm pretty sure my next vehicle (car/suv/truck) will be an ev. It will be a while still (plenty of life in my current 4 wheelers) but ev cars are getting to be worth it. They're still quite costly though (this will be a trend in this post... cost.... there is a cost-to-worth it balance)

Motorcycle wise, I have test ridden a few of the Zero offerings (Zero SR and Zero FX) both were very cool, but the range (highway range) was not great. No electric bike has the range I'm looking for, the charging infrastructure is just not there (for what I'm looking to do) and worst of all, is the price. A nicely optioned up Zero SR/F with the power tank to give you better range (but you give up the fast charging, or vise versa, you can have the optional faster charger but less range due to no power tank) is $38,200 canadian after taxes and all fees.....

A Harley Davidson Live Wire, after taxes and fees is $43,700 canadian.....

Yeah, were into Goldwing and Beyond prices.... noooope... not worth it... not even close.....
(For that kind of money, I'd rather have a Ducati, KTM, GoldWing, BMW etc)

This is my opinion and how I ride. I do mainly day rides. My fav loop is almost 400km tour around the southwestern part of my province (the Valk is perfect for it). There is a Tesla supercharger along that route, and a few other non fast ev chargers. But honestly, I stay off the highways, 99% all back roads, no charging infrastructure out there, plus I don't want to sit around and charge for 1hr+....
If I wanted to do a cross-canada ride, riding the Trans-Canada highway, the only way an ev bike can do it, is on the back of a trailer pulled by my car.....
If I want a bar hopper (which I think the ev bike is only good for) there are FAR cheaper and more interesting ice models out there.

Tazmool
 

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Just a quick update, just looked it up (since its been a few years since I've ridden an electric motorcycle and looked at their performance) it looks across the makes and models (HD, Zero, LiveWireOne). Highway speeds, having a bit of fun, you're looking 60-100 miles range..... Thats terrible.......

Here is a pretty good review of a Zero SR/F
Zero SR/F Range test, typical ride
Spoiler, typical ride, mixed riding, rode it till its practically dead.... 89 miles (then load up into the truck to get it home) Bleh.... not for me.

Tazmool
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yes, they’re not there yet…but it’s coming fast. When I say “my next bike” I’m talking a couple/few years. I’m not for one minute suggesting “now” as they don’t yet do what I want to do either. I think we’re all going to be surprised at how quick (and huge) this wave is though. And yes, prices are currently high but of course that’s going to rapidly come down too. I can’t wait - a great new era is upon us.
 

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The e-vehicle era is upon us only if one or more of the following happens ...
1. Charging is quicker. No one wants to have to wait several hours to finish (or take) a ride.
2. Range increases drastically, eliminating the need for frequent charging. You currently have to plan your trip based on where there are charging stations, not where your interest is.
3. Prices drop far enough to mitigate charging and range issues. 50K should get you a touring bike, not a moped.
4. Infrastructure spreads to become ubiquitous and plentiful. My city has 5 chargers total for a population of 75,000. What happens when 6 EVs want to charge?
5. EVs are mandated before they are mature (California, anyone?). Thank you, moron bureaucrats in government.

The current infrastructure in my region is lame. There are several hundred miles between charging station in this area.
Battery types are slow to charge, regardless of the charger. There are new experimental batteries that take minutes to charge, but they are still in the lab.

I have seen Teslas pulling a trailer with a Honda generator running and charging the car. Kinda defeats the purpose of an EV.
 

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Ok, Long post incoming..... ;)
But this is a topic I'm quite passionate about....

I think improving electric motorcycles (to something similar that we have now, performance & range wise) will come at a much slower pace than cars, the main reason being that with current technologies, its the weight that is the engineering limiting factor.
Add to this the costs of development, and the motorcycle market shifting and shrinking for the last few decades. (look at the 20 japanese models disappearing and not being replaced with anything due to emissions standards, and cost of development/updating the models)
There are other factors which I will get to later.

Going back to the weight,
Sure, batteries have come a long way, but they're still heavy.
Starting with the Hummer EV, its battery weighs 2923lbs! Yes, thats a big vehicle, that totals in at over 9000lbs, but its battery is 210kwh (largest capacity in the market afaik) and its weight is pretty efficient at 13.9lbs/kwh
The chevrolet bolt battery weighs in at 963lbs, with a capacity of 60kwh. Its an older design, developed sometime around 2014-2016 released in 2017, and gets about 16lbs/kwh.

The Zero SR/F that was tested in the video (earlier post) presumably has its standard battery which is 14.4kwh and got 89miles real world range (thats ridden to total battery exhaustion) 86 miles in the actual test with 3 miles range left (ie limp it to a charge station, or in reality, load into the back of a pickup. If you watch the video you'll see that the bike significantly reduces its performance when the battery is below 20% soc too, which makes it far less than fun/ideal)

The Valkyrie range is around what, 240 miles or so, maybe more maybe less depending on how its ridden (240 miles is around what I get and tend to fill up at).
To reach the same range, the Zero would need a battery thats 2.8x more capacity (or about 40kwh) and thats assuming it has nothing but a few miles left when its discharged.
Zero does not share the battery weight, but taking the car industry numbers (and I'll get to why I'm using those later) the new Zero ~240mile range battery would weigh 560lbs.

560lbs for the battery alone. Not too bad actually, but thats more than the weight of the whole Zero SR/F and assuming we're using the latest industry tech (which may not scale the same way when applied to such a relatively small battery)
Now we have to add in the rest of the bike.
The car industry standard also uses liquid cooled and heated batteries. (no leading automotive maker uses air cooled batteries, for many reasons)
Motorcycle batteries are all air cooled, which is FAR from ideal
(the original Nissan Leaf used an air cooled battery, which severely limited its range, reliability, charging and discharge rate and damaged the battery long term, the nissan leaf is a black spot in EV history when it comes to battery tech)
So, if we are to use liquid cooling/heating we have to add in the weight of those components
(the Chevrolet Bolt, which I'm familiar with as there is one in the family) uses 3 cooling loops, one for the battery, one for the motor, one for the electrical system.
Zero is air cooled for all 3 (again, not good)

Another reason for liquid cooling:
High power applications.
I do remember riding the SR, WOT for a little bit, getting it up to its top speed and within a few minutes, an orange warning light came on the dash, electric motor overheating, had to back off to let it cool. That was just after a few minutes of pushing the air cooled system......

Getting a heavy vehicle up to speed (which EV cars are good at) generates lots of heat in the battery and motor) to do the same in a bike, just like cars, you'll need liquid cooling.
(A fun fact, the F150 Lightning uses a second AC system to cool its electric motors if you get the optional towing package, the Tesla Model S uses its AC to cool the motors when engaging Ludicrous/Plad mode)
Also, un-surprisingly, to charge the battery quickly (ie like Tesla, and other brands that can do it quickly, ie 15-20 minutes) you need liquid cooling.
The Zero takes up to an hour to "fast charge" the 14.4kwh battery, assuming no liquid cooling, a 40kwh battery would approach 3+hrs to "fast" charge.
The Zero has an optional fast charger, which is an extra $3000, adds weight, and takes the place of its additional, optional battery (which costs around $3600)

More weight....
EVs carry their AC charger onboard. Its a fact. This is extra weight. So unless you're going DC fast charging only (where the charger is external) you're adding weight. Faster AC charging means extra weight (Teslas with their optional fast level 2 charging use dual onboard chargers)

So, assuming we're building a reliable, nice performing, quick charging EV bike with a range of 240 miles (and I'm just speculating here) we are looking at what, 1000lbs maybe 1200lbs?
Maybe more?!?
Thats doable, but, thats a big bike (larger/heavier than almost any production bike)
Which, ironically, will likely need a larger battery than the 40kwh we're theoretically using, adding more weight (a vicious cycle, pun intended)
My Valkyrie, ready to ride, weighs in at 782lbs, already a big bike, so we're adding ~200-400+lbs more weight to that.... Ouch...
The previous owner of my bike sold it because at his age, it was getting too heavy.....

So now we're left with a behemoth of a bike, that can barely reach the performance (range) of an older cruiser.... that few can ride....
And what will this machine cost to buy? Not the $10k you can currently get the Valk for.

I'm not trying to be negative here.
If anything, I'm hoping for the best...... But I'm being realistic.
Just throwing some much needed cold water onto the massive "hype" and "hopeful future tech hype" of the EV market.
Yes they're the future, maybe not in current form and current tech, (maybe hydrogen fuel cells?) but they will happen.... eventually...... and it will take a loooooong time before its affordable..... it will take decades for the market to absorb the R&D costs.....
Look at the costs of the current top of the line, bleeding tech EVs right now.
Hummer EV, $110,000usd
Tesla Model S $130,000usd
And we're betting on / hoping for tech here beyond what those can offer, in many ways......
Sure.... Maybe.... Eventually....

One last thing relating to cost.... In the future, you'll own nothing, and be happy for it..... uh-huh.... I can see a nice high tech EV bike fitting into that...

Tazmool
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Couple of things:

a) it’s not going to be too long before you won’t be even ABLE to buy an internal combustion engine car so whether or not the electric revolution is here is probably a moot point

b) the generation coming through isn’t very interested in motorcycling other than (perhaps) city commuting so whether or not ebikes can do what WE want them to do (long-haul riding) is also probably a moot point

c) Your last point (ownership may well be a thing of the past)… can definitely see that coming - a user pays system - especially with the rise of AUTONOMOUS electric cars (autonomous bikes not so much 😅)
 

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Taz, there are absolutely advantages and disadvantages to EV bikes.

However you are forgetting that if you swap something like an electric Goldwing, step one is you dump the engine and transmission that weigh what? 250-300lbs? Plus probably the driveline and final drive. The electric motor itself isnt that big, so when you go from ICE to EV do keep in mind you do add a massive battery, but shed a massive drivetrain.

Also, one of the big advantages of EV bikes is packaging. Batteries are not like engine weight, you can stack them all over wherever you want, optimize weight and CoG, instead of dealing with a big engine and transmission package that has to be located a specific place.

Another big packaging advantage is less stress on frames means you can often shave weight all sorts of places, because your torque is generated much closer to the drive wheel. Think about how our bikes need that huge single swingarm, and the way they have to be able to hold the torque the whole length of the bike as it is trying to twist the engine out of the frame and then transfer that torque 90 degrees into the rear wheel for forward motion.

Now instead imagine an electric motor mounted on or near the rear wheel and all of a sudden you can have a stiff bike that needs a LOT less support for torsional rigidity.

Also keep in mind that heavier weight for big touring bikes does add stability can comfort. I am 100% sure even with existing gas engines Honda could make Goldwings have all the same functions and weigh less if they really wanted to, but they are trying to stay in a weight range that makes them super stable and cushy to ride. If you add the need for a big heavy battery I have no doubt Honda could find other things to skinny down to try to bring a Goldwing like EV down to the same ~800lbs.

My best friend is a battery design consultant, he actually used to work for Zero as their battery design guy, and the advancements in battery tech are constant. Since it looks like new production on gas engine motorcycles is going to be allowed until 2030-2035, we still have quite a while before we are restricted to having EV bikes as our only choice, even for new purchases, and chances are good the used market will be available for quite a while after that.

Between now and 2030-2035 ALL of the jobs in the auto and motorcycle industry that are currently making ICE vehicles better will migrate over to finding solutions for EV vehicles instead of the TINY portion of them who work on EVs now. So it is quite likely the technology is going to make some quick advancements in the next few years as EVs mature and become mainstream.

My wife and I bought our first real bikes about a year ago, Mine is a 2014 Valk, hers is a 2021 Rebel 1100 DCT. My expectation when we bought them was that unless we wreck them, or really decide we want something else, we should get about 10 years or so out of them, at which point I think it is quite likely that EV motorcycles will be much more viable.
 
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