WHERE INVENTIVE MINDS COLLIDE
Yes. It was over a century ago, as in way back in 1914, when a group of Italian two-wheeled enthusiasts decided to create an expo to promote the coming age of both the latest in bicycle and motorcycle technology. The
EICMA show (also known as the Esposizione Internazionale del Cclo, Motociclo, Accessori in the mother tongue) has for decades played a key role in helping define the future of both the pedal and throttle-twisting industries.
And for the last three years specifically, the show promoters have put a focused spotlight on the coming of age for both the e-bike and e-moto markets. The 2018 show was no different, as a growing percentage of floorspace within the five massive pavilions was taken up by electric bikes.
If there’s one thing that makes the EICMA show unique, it’s not only that they have an open-door policy for the public to attend, but, as evidenced by the rampant crowds who flood through the gates, it’s the fervent passion of the Italian enthusiasts that is most evident.
Electric Bike Action was once again fortunate to receive an invitation to attend the show in Milan, Italy, and after three days of plying the aisles, the bikes found on the following pages are those that caught our eye.
It’s been over a year since the world-famous Husqvarna motorcycle brand announced their intention of entering the e-bike market, but so far we have yet to see any production bikes rolling on the trails. Hopefully soon. www.husqvarna-bicycles.com
Although Ducati has been showing off a range of e-bikes for the last few years, it wasn’t until the 2018 show that they got serious by hiring former pro downhill racer Stefano Migliorini, who is also the man behind the Thok e-bike (EBA, December 2018).
Back-in-the-day motocross fans will recognize the Pursang name as the most famous dirt bike model that ever came out of the Bultaco factory. The Spanish marque was world famous in trials and motocross competition throughout the ’70s. The newly acquired brand has been bought by a pair of Spanish entrepreneurs with a dream to build Spain’s first viable e-moto bike.
Pursang had two prototype models on view—the Big Bore and the E-Street—with 11-kilowatt and 6-kilowatt powerplants respectively. To help move the project along, Pursang has partnered with their fellow Spaniards at Torrot, who have been producing a line of electric mini bikes. Both models run off an easily removable Torrot dual-battery setup and are powered by a 48-volt Ashwood brushless motor. www.pursangmotorcycles.com
The Big Bore uses an aluminum frame, while the more entry-level E-Street bike has a chromoly frame. Both bikes roll on 18-inch wheels and rely on Nissin hydraulic disc brakes for stopping power. Both bikes have a claimed 20-mile range. www.pursangmotorcycles.com
One of the bigger presentations at the EICMA show was at the Kymco booth where the Taiwanese brand, famous for their own branded UTVs (as well as the (vertical) motors for BMW), was showing off an impressive new sport bike dubbed the SuperNex. One very unique feature of the Kymco is that it has a six-speed drivetrain with a slipper clutch. www.kymco.com
In addition to the six-speed transmission, Kymco has sought to further replicate the experience of riding a standard motorcycle with the addition of what they call an Active Acoustic Motor, which will provide a type of tunable engine noise.
When the history books are written, the Italian Energica brand will likely be cited as the pioneer in creating the high-powered electric Superbike. Energica’s years-long pursuit of the segment has been rewarded with their being named the manufacturer of choice for the 2019 FIM MotoGP spec class for e-bikes. www.energicamotorusa.com
From the economical, pedal-assist city bikes to the hyper-expensive Superbikes, it is interesting to see the contrast in direction that the e-bike industry is taking.
In addition to the race bike, Energica also offers a variety of models which are all based in the same hyper-performance platform.
Already world famous for their line of gas-powered motorcycles, the Italian brand Beta is now also breaking into the electric trials bike market with a family of MiniTrial E youth-oriented models.The MiniTrial E has a programmable digital control with three power curves. www.betamotor.com
Yamaha first rolled out their TY-E trials bike last year and actually used the bike in trials competition, where it won an FIM World Cup in its debut performance. The bike starts off with a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque frame with plenty of carbon fiber protective plates and has a unique hydraulic clutch to better serve trials riders’ reliance on one with standard versions.
Yamaha’s TY-E is powered by a high-rotation-type electric motor that relies on a high-output battery pack that is mounted under the seat. The bike has a beautiful blue hue, which reflects Yamaha’s corporate color. As of now, Yamaha has no plans for a production version. global.yamaha-motor.com
A TRIO OF ODD BIRDS
Throughout the five pavilions in Milan, the growth of the e-bike market was obvious, with large expo areas set aside to showcase a wide variety of styles and brands.
The Italian Volt’s Lacama is claimed to have a top speed of 112 mph and is built around an aluminum perimeter frame that houses a cluster of li-ion battery cells for a total capacity of 15 kWh. The electric motor transfers 70 kilowatt of power to the rear wheel via a belt drive. Each bike can be personalized in appearance and comes with an estimated price of $35,000. www.ivelectrics.it
In addition to a variety of commuter bikes, the Italian brand Lombardo had this svelte carbon fiber hardtail on display.
We first saw this crazy-looking e-bike at least year’s EICMA show, and it has since appeared at numerous shows with different livery. Whether it will ever actually go into production remains a mystery, but it took an impressive stretch of the imagination to design.
Already famous throughout Italy for their huge catalog of high-performance parts for scooter racing, Polini continues to make strides in their design of e-bike powerplants, with a dual-battery package being their latest achievement.
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