The global automobile industry is taking a turn towards electric mobility and the focus currently is on cars, however, some motorcycle manufacturers are taking this transition seriously right from the beginning. The likes of Harley-Davidson and Curtiss Motorcycles have come with their addition to the electric motorcycle market. And one thing common in all these motorcycles is that they all still look like traditional petrol powered ones. Does this mean motorcyclists aren’t yet ready for something new?
To break free from tradition, Mark Atkinson – bike builder and machinist – has created an extreme electric motorcycle that pushes the limits of design. Not exactly a practical commuter, it is one of the wildest motorcycles you’ve ever seen.
Atkinson says that with electric motorcycles, manufacturers can go for spectacular designs that don’t have to stick to tradition. There is no need for a fuel tank or exhaust. “What would I build if I had no preconceived idea of how a motorcycle is supposed to look?” he told Bikeexif.
Marck wanted to make the suspension and steering pivot from the same axis. “I drew an X on a napkin… The pivot point didn’t work in the center, so it got moved as far forward as possible.”
“The steering took some thought. My friend Tom Burkland said that if I used two pivots per attachment point, it would work. I did, and it did.”
The entire wheel assembly sits on a custom-built carrier at each end, and rides on mounted bearings. The chain runs through a cavity in the wheel’s center, with a sprocket that runs on a shaft through the main bearing plate. And there’s a special disc brake setup up front.
It’s a lot of higher grade engineering that we still can’t quite wrap our heads around. But that’s not the end of it; there’s a really cool story behind the motor, too.
He got in touch with The Vintagent’s Kim Lohstroh Young. She was organizing an electric bike show at the Peterson Automotive Museum, loved Mark’s concept, and gave him three months to finish it.
“Kim asked me what the name of the bike was,” he says. “I have never named a bike, so I told her I didn’t know. She said it was called ‘Racer-X.’ Cool.” “My hope in building this,” says Mark, “is that it sparks some new ideas in the electric bike world. We are at the cusp of a new era in motorcycling.”