When it comes to electric motorcycles, you can certainly throw around phrases like “forward-thinking,” “earth-friendly,” and “blazingly fast.” But it will take you a while to work around to “cool.” Well, maybe in a science-fair sort of way, but not the sort of cool that makes you put down your beer in slack-jawed appreciation. But that just changed.
Bruno Forcella, a former electrical engineer from Switzerland, has created an electric chopper called the SineCycle. Built on a hardtail frame called “The Heist” by US-based Cleveland Cyclewerks, the bike is a customiser’s dream project, with low-slung handlebars, a 21-inch front wheel and an 18-inch rear, a handmade saddle, modified fenders and a beautiful — if completely unnecessary — faux fuel tank, painted Mercedes silver.
The SineCycle’s sleek appearance comes from the simplicity of its power plant. Much of the frame modification involved taking parts off — removing mounts that would have been used for the accessories of internal combustion. It’s driven by a 2.8kWh permanent magnet motor from Zero Motorcycles, the California-based high-performance e-cycle maker, with power delivered via direct belt drive. Where one might expect to find the heads of a V-twin engine, there is instead a custom-built battery housing and heat sink — industrially simple, black and mysterious.
The SineCycle is a one-off for the moment, and not yet street-legal, so there’s precious little information on performance and handling, which isn’t something that riders of petrol-powered choppers are overly concerned with, anyway. Forcella lists the top speed as 75mph, but a range of only 35 miles makes for a very short joyride.
Electric motorcycles, from their e-scooter beginnings through to today’s high-performance models, lean toward utilitarian futurism in their design. Even the LiveWire, Harley Davidson’s much heralded (and now commercially delayed) entry into the market, is all matte black and cast aluminum, with an upright, feet-back stance more suited for a morning commute than a weekend poker run. Forcella has embraced the ethos of garage customisers the world over, building SineCycle mostly from off-the-shelf parts. He’s proven that it is, in fact, easy being green.
It’s also very, very cool.
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