There’s no denying that electrically powered vehicles are the next big thing.
Whilst cars get all of the attention and the lead with regards to early adoption, motorcycles are set to be the new battleground.
In theory adding a battery pack and motor to a motorcycle frame should be pretty straightforward, but the reality is something a little different. Condensing the required amount of power into a form that traditional motorcyclists will accept has proven tricky; at the moment you can have a decent range, or you can have something resembling a normal bike. But you can’t necessarily have both.
Although it’s getting closer all the time, there are reasons that the major manufacturers have avoided releasing anything close to a realistic assault on the battery-powered market.
Which is a convoluted way of saying that, at the moment, the theatre of war for the hearts and minds of electrically-minded motorcyclists is still up for grabs.
Enter Union Motion from Brighton and their ‘Phaser Type 1’.
Starting life as a 1998 Fazer 600, the rolling chassis was kept but – naturally – the first thing to go was the engine. After what they describe as ‘a little trial and error’, Union Motion settled on a conventional motor location, echoing the final drive output of the original engine.
The 6 kWh battery pack found a home above the motor and controller, snug between the two top frame loops, keeping the centre of gravity of its 50 kg weight nice and low. With the pack sitting on a set of rails that allow it to be easily removed from the rear of the bike. With a range of only 60 miles, this could well be essential as this means a fresh pack can be installed in under five minutes, giving another 60 miles of riding.
So whilst we may not be talking about a touring motorcycle here, a commute to and from work – with a battery swap in between – is more than possible. At this point it’s perhaps worth mentioning that a full charge will take 2 hours and that the charger is located ‘off bike’ – which means that you’ll have to have the kit available at your destination, or carry it with you as you ride.
It’ll charge off of a regular household socket though.
Giving the bike a nice, ‘new wave custom’ vibe, CNC milled sheet aluminium bodywork keeps things clean and minimal whilst allowing for easy access to the controller and airflow over the motor. The tank has been reduced to next to nothing, keeping the profile of the bike low whilst retaining the original ergonomics, in theory allowing strong body grip onto the machine around those blistering, silent corners.
Finishing touches include a programmable instrument panel, an Akira-inspired disc wheel and a super-bright halo running light.
It’s a neat, new take on an electrically-powered motorcycle, and with the custom market looking for newer ideas and those riders a little more agreeable to trying something new, Union Motion just might be onto something.
- Chassis: Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer
- Top speed: 110 mph
- Range: 60 miles
- Curb weight: 160 kg
- MOTOR Type: Axial flux, Brushless, Three phase, Permanent magnet.
- Cooling: Passive air-cooled.
- Continuous power: 32 kW (42 hp)
- Peak power: 48 kW (64 hp)
- Continuous torque(@ motor) : 44 Nm
- Continuous torque (@ wheel): 120 Nm Peak torque (@ motor): 110 Nm
- Peak torque (@ wheel): 300 Nm
- BATTERY PACK Chemistry: Automotive spec lithium ion.
- Type: Modular. Capacity: 6 kWh Nominal voltage: 88.8 v
- CHARGER Type: Off-board
- Power: 3 kw
- Input: 13 A household
- Charge time: 2 hours
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Custom of the Week: BMW R100RS by Bolt Motor Company
MOST CUSTOM BUILDERS are juggling careers, building bikes as a side gig. Adrián Campos falls into that category: he’s the sporting director for Campos Racing, the team founded by his father Adrián Campos Sr, the former Minardi F1 driver.
Adrián Jr. is surrounded by high-tech missiles capable of 208 mph (335 kph), but he’s also nuts about motorcycles. So he started customizing classic bikes, as an antídoto to the ultra-modern race machinery that absorbs his working day.
His first build garnered enough interest to turn his side gig into a fully-fledged second business. Bolt Motor Company is now on its seventeenth build, and employs seven team members.
Bolt shares a workshop in Valencia with Campos Racing. But while the race team preps cars for the Formula 2, Formula 3 and GP3 race series, Adrián is swinging spanners on bikes like this stunning 1982 BMW R100RS.
We’ll admit it’s not the wildest custom boxer we’ve seen. But even though the style is well established, the perfect proportions and level of finish are something else. And the client wasn’t even looking for anything fancy; “He wanted a comfortable cafe racer for two people,” says Adrián, “so that’s what we did.”
The donor arrived in a pretty good condition, but it left in an even better state. There’s fresh paint and powder everywhere, from the motor right through to the forks, frame and tank.
Bolt tweaked the airhead’s stance by lowering the front forks internally just over two inches, then installing a pair of Hagon shocks at the rear. The fuel tank is stock, but the subframe and seat are custom made. The subframe’s a bolt-on affair, and the main frame’s been detabbed and cleaned up.
The taillight’s a particularly nice touch. Bolt built it into the seat rather than the rear loop, along with integrated rear turn signals. The whole setup’s barely visible—until it lights up.
They’ve also added some room for the customer to ‘customize’ his BMW at home. There’s a second tank and seat in a different paint scheme, which can be swapped out via four fasteners for the seat, and one for the tank. The second seat has it’s own plug-and-play taillight too.
Bolt have kept things practical too. The BMW’s airbox is still in play, and it’s also equipped with a BMW oil cooler and crash bars. Plus there’s a discreet inner fender at the rear. The exhaust headers have been shortened and run into a pair of generic cone mufflers, with the side stand relocated to work around them.
The cockpit’s sporting new handlebars, grips, bar-end mirrors and Motogadget bar-end turn signals. There’s a new master brake cylinder too, with some really neat plumbing. Up front is an LED headlight, tucked into a custom-made bucket.
Bolt rewired the bike from top to bottom and tucked away as much as they could. A set of Motone switches have their wires running inside the bars, while a Motogadget speedo has its cable routed through the BMW’s hollow steering stem nut.
This sort of consideration is rife, with every last nook and cranny cleaned up. We’ve spotted stainless steel fasteners throughout the build, nifty choke pulls on the carbs and a OEM-looking Bolt Motor Co. plaque on the side of the motor.
The classic white BMW motorsports livery is on point too. And Bolt have shunned the ubiquitous Firestone Deluxe Champion tires, going for the saw tooth tread of Shinko Classics instead.
We doubt that Bolt #17 could lap a track anywhere near as fast as a Campos race car.
But it’s just the sort of simple, classic ride we’d pick for getting to the track in the first place—via some leisurely Spanish back roads.
This article first appeared on Bike Exif. It’s republished here by permission.
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Video: Watch Sarah Lezito show you how to drift a motorcycle
Yes, drifting on two wheels is possible. Especially if you’re an insanely talented stunt rider from France.
There are a few stunt riders worth following across social media and YouTube but few get the numbers of French stunter Sarah Lezito.
Shot in a cold, wet and snowy location, it’s hardly the easiest of environments for riding a motorcycle – although possibly better for skids! – but the control from Lezito, and her instruction, is captivating.
Why learn how to drift? Well, Lezito says that it might help in learning how to save from slipping, keeping the balance on your bike or just improving your stunting skills.
And her top tips?
- First find a small bike – a 50cc or 125cc machine that’s easy to handle.
- Find a slippery spot, like a wet floor after some light rain.
- Put hard tyres on the rear and more air in the front tyre.
- Protect everything… On you and your bike.
- Prepare to crash. A lot.
We’re hoping she’ll be adding to her channel over the coming months and that this is the start of a series of ‘How To…’ videos from the young stunt rider.