Reader Question: Electric Motorcycles?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Fred asks: Do you think they could happen? Would they offer users any advantages over IC bikes? Are they possibly the wave of the future? I can see young tech guys falling for them. City commuters in China or wherever might buy these in droves. So what’s your take Eric? Are they coming? I’m thinking there might be an electric niche where there is actually a market place, societal possibility.

My reply: As it happens, I had a rant in the works on this very topic; it just went live (see here). So, to answer your question – it is already happening. The interesting question is – why is it happening?

I see no significant organic/market demand for these things. As is the case with electric cars, they are very expensive relative to IC-powered bikes and they have the same range/recharge issues. Which is why there is little to no market demand for these things.

However, the government is demanding them.

Harley – like every other company making IC-powered vehicles – can see the writing on the wall. The government is de jure and de facto requiring EVs to be made via “zero emissions” vehicle mandates, fuel economy fatwas and – latest thing – carbon dioxide “emissions” regs. It is very likely that the government will also impose IC vehicle No Go Zones here as they already have in Europe.

That is what is driving this bizarre rush – this push – toward electric vehicles.

And the reason for that, I have become convinced, is to corral people. To reduce individual mobility by making it more cumbersome and dependent on a centrally controlled infrastructure and (secondarily) to extract more money from people – to get them to buy more debt.

There is no other rational reason for any of this. A 250 cc dual sport is superior in every functional and economic way to any electric bike on the market. Costs half as much, refuels in minutes – can travel 200-plus miles on a tank.

The only thing the EV has over it is (supposedly) “zero emissions.” But even that is a lie.

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. Yup.What Im expecting to see is apparently a reality in Europe.The electric commuter is taking the market by storm.And price isnt an issue either,they are willingly paying it.Its that new(er) generational dynamic thats coming into play,big time. has several stories on electrics….
    From the article…..
    For most of us, electric bikes are a curiosity, a thing of the future.But for one two-wheel market segment, electric is already a life-or-death affair.
    That segment is mopeds and scooters. In Europe, it’s being turned upside down by the advent of electric bikes. The bottom has dropped out of the market for rides with motors that displace fewer than 500 cc. Sales have plunged by 31% between the first six months of 2017 and the first six months of 2018.

    And this is in the middle of a 7% rise in the overall motorcycle market in Europe.What’s going on? Electric scooters and mopeds, that’s what. Their sales have soared 49% in the same time period……The Electricca certainly has a marquee price. Europeans can get one for €6,390, which is a touch more than $7,300. That’s twice as expensive as an IC scooter. Buyers are apparently undeterred.

  2. The big change in the equation Im seeing is the lack of mechanical skills possessed by the upcoming generations.A bike they put a key into,turn it and it runs.No muss,no fuss. As for a 100 mile range,how many people REALLY run their bikes over 100 miles in a shot in todays world.Arent they mostly commuter bikes?
    How many students need more range than that?Arent they a big market?Most peeps I see on the 250 cc category are all young fellas.And they strike me as the smartphone crowd,not the grease-monkey set.

    I met an older fella on an electric bike,I forget what he quoted as range but it was enough to do all the local commuting one could hope for where I live.Everything you usually use transport for here,except haul lumber or drive in snow.
    I suspect a bike is a far more practical vehicle for electric than the automobile abominations that dont come anywhere near the functionality of an IC vehicle.

    Do you know if electric bikes are really making an impact so far in any sales market?

    • I think you’re right on the mark regarding who would ride one of these things. It takes the perennially distracted / entertained and everything’s-disposable mindset to want an electric bike. Every biker I’ve ever known, and that’s been a sh** ton, wants to feel the engine, run out the gears, play the brakes for that perfect turn… in short: ride! One simply cannot do that on the equivalent of a battery DeWalt power tool.

      But then, what do I know? I’m increasingly realizing I’m a T. Rex. My time is past.

      • Yup.Millennials and Gen Xer’s arent us.Its what do they want that will be the telling point.Hey,I say go for it,they can take the reins now.Ive had my fill of it all.
        But I think you are being too tough on them.They started at a point far from us,and live in a world that has little connection to ours.Doesnt make them bad people.Just far different.

        Im just going to sit back and watch and do my thing as long as I can.You know,like drink a bloody mary vrs burning a joint,different times.

        • Fair point about where they started and who they are now. My dad and I used to talk about how he (and I largely) grew up in ways our Great-great-grandparents would understand. Not so with young ‘uns today. Not only the tech but also the general world view is so different I can barely relate to my own nephews. Just the way it is, I suppose.

          But your comment is well taken.

      • I’ve lived across the analog digital divide and the digital has been perverted by control freaks. Today windows 8 once again decided to rearrange all my desktop icons at work. Why? Because whatever control freak programed it doesn’t like the way I do it. (I’ve tried every suggestion to stop it, all that happens is it does it less often). I can’t turn the monitors off because then it rearranges everything I have open to its own liking. And don’t get me started on my ‘smart’ phone.

        There was nothing wrong with the digital world 20+ years ago. Most everything was still do it yourself. The only software that fought me was Microsoft Word (I had to do my thesis according to standards written for typewriters) and MacOS. Now every piece of software fights me. It’s way or the highway and I am increasingly choosing the highway.

        An electric motorcycle could be just fine but in this control freak society it just won’t be.

        • BrentP,

          “every piece of software fights me”

          Sort of like lane control? Or whatever it is that makes you signal before you can swerve so you don’t hit Bambi?

          Could be worse.

          Could be raining like in Young Frankenstein.

          Or it could be full nose down trim when you’re going in a Boeing.

          Who could of guessed all this electronic stuff would turn out to be a teenage daughter?

        • Hi Brent!

          Funny you mention the desktop re-arrangement thing… my new Mac desktop does this also. The old one did not. Drives me to chew the carpet. It’s like waking up in the middle of the night to take a leak and discovering the toilet moved itself to the other side of the bathroom for reasons of its own…

          • That’s exactly like it is. I think I figured out why it did this last time. The office had a planned power outage so I had shut my machine down. When I returned I failed to turn one of the monitors on before booting the machine. It’s so green… needing to keep the monitors on all the time to keep the machine from redoing everything. My old computers I shut the monitors off and nothing is different when I turn them back on.

        • Brent, I had a Galaxy 4 I never upgraded so Google installed a nasty warning on the home screen that stayed there for years since I couldn’t remove it. One it had a fit and quit.

          I still believe Google did it as a malicious act for “non-compliance”.

          By that time the new Galaxy Thunderbolt or whatever it was was the latest greatest.

          I’m cheap, they’re basically a glorified phone to me so I found an ancient Galaxy 5. I put my simple card in it and it took off….possessed like. I couldn’t stop it till it had rearranged everything from the previous user to the way it wanted it to be.

          I only bought a Samsung cause the other contenders didn’t have replaceable batteries.

          I can’t imagine what you do when a restart doesn’t help and removing the battery is the only option that works. I guess you deal with a wanky or inoperable device.


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