Have they wussified motorcycles, or bad-assified cars?
June 16, 2010 6:09 PM   Subscribe

As a motorcycle rider, I think
a) damn, that thing is going to be ultra slick through the wind. i bet it's extremely efficient.
b) damn, that thing is going to be ultra hot in a Texas summer if it doesn't have a/c
c) they should move the turn signals on the rear from the tail light cluster out to the back of the struts for the wheels. that would put them farther out and make it easier to see which signal (left or right) is blinking from a distance
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:15 PM on June 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

also, that's a really long wheelbase. i'd love to take it for a spin and see how easy/hard it leans into a turn.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:16 PM on June 16, 2010

Wow, I could have sworn it was an electrified version of an Eco-mobile (it looks absolutely identical), but apparantly they designed and built the shell themselves.. Can anyone read german?
posted by Popular Ethics at 6:23 PM on June 16, 2010

As a rider, I'd call that a scooter rather than a motorcycle. Looks more like a two-wheeled car than a bike.

There have been experiments in the past with fully-enclosed motorcycles, but they never seem to make it. I think it's because they have all the disadvantages of a bike and a car rolled into one. Maybe it's safer to be inside if you get clocked by a car, but I kind of doubt the advantage is significant, while the restriction to your vision will increase the chances of it happening.

That said, I fully support the idea of an electric motorcycle, I hope to be able to kluge one together myself sometime soon.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 6:25 PM on June 16, 2010

Goes okay with Smeck's Tiger Rag I guess.
posted by squalor at 6:27 PM on June 16, 2010

As a person who knows what a motorcycle is, I'd call that a car with a diamond-shaped wheelbase.
posted by DU at 6:27 PM on June 16, 2010

Oh I see, the training wheels pop up and down.

How much are...oh, Yet Another Concept Vehicle. Enough of these already, start building one. ANY one.
posted by DU at 6:29 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

look at the kevlar monocoque on that thing
posted by grobstein at 6:30 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

look at the kevlar monocoque on that thing

That's what she said.
posted by hifiparasol at 6:36 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's a motorcycle (the wheels are too big to be a scooter for a start). Moreover, it's a motorcycle design that's been around for well over 30 years.

Why is it fully enclosed? Surely it doesn't need to be enclosed at the sides. Having a space for climbing in and out, and putting your feet down at traffic lights would make it much more practical. Do you have to put the landing gear down at every stop sign? What a hassle.
posted by GeckoDundee at 6:38 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Aren't motorcycles supposed to be cool?

(I mean, I'm all for electric modes of transportation, but that thing is really silly looking!)
posted by too bad you're not me at 6:46 PM on June 16, 2010

GeckoDundee, I would assume the landing gear goes down at a particular speed.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:48 PM on June 16, 2010

(automatically i mean)
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:53 PM on June 16, 2010

Turns out the future is slightly underwhelming. That said, the back looks good, the front looks arse.
posted by awfurby at 6:57 PM on June 16, 2010

Give this to Dean Kamen to tinker around with it a bit, and maybe we'll finally get a Segway that doesn't make you look like a dorkus when you ride it.
posted by crunchland at 6:58 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm really curious about how it copes with crosswinds; doesn't look at all promising in that respect. And I assume it has reverse (reversing an electric drive is trivial) since you can't put your feet down to kick it backwards.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:03 PM on June 16, 2010

Give this to Dean Kamen to tinker around with it a bit, and maybe we'll finally get a Segway that doesn't make you look like a dorkus when you ride it.

Yes, because if there's one thing Dean Kamen is good at, it's taking dorky things and making them look cool.
posted by The World Famous at 7:05 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

(automatically i mean)

I don't know. Check out 1:39. It looks like he's going slower there than when the wheels are down. But I was meaning that it's a grossly over-engineered "solution" to a problem they don't seem to have any obvious reason to create in the first place. The sides could be open like a Quasar without losing any aerodynamic benefits, I would've thought.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:11 PM on June 16, 2010

Sorry. 1:39.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:12 PM on June 16, 2010

Hmm. That works (i.e. starts at the right spot) if you open it, but not if you use the in-line MeFi viewer thing.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:14 PM on June 16, 2010

Aren't motorcycles supposed to be cool?

Perhaps it's not cool exactly, but pack a Harley rider into one of these and you've at least achieved a net reduction in uncool.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:15 PM on June 16, 2010

Oh I see, the training wheels pop up and down
I've got 'em on my bike, except they're my feet.

I'm amazed, personally. They've managed to make a motor... thing design with less basic understanding of the reasons people drive cars and ride motorbikes than the designers of the C1 did. If it's a car, where do passengers go, where can I put things I'm carrying, and how do I get in if I'm fatter than the average skinny European bloke? If it's a motorbike, where's the button you press for going fast and having fun? Do I have to wear a helmet?

While you're considering these questions, designers, here's a Vespa with a 750cc engine in it to stir your thoughts.

posted by Fiasco da Gama at 7:18 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Time to put on my asshat for a sec...

I am on a very slow, very metered ISP account right now.

Maybe these SLYT posts that also have lower bandwidth alternatives (like the number one Google hit for Zerotracer) should also have the alternative provided?

That being said... This thing looks like death on wheels.

And not in a good way...
posted by Samizdata at 7:32 PM on June 16, 2010

Sorry, Fail.

Not a spec of Lightcycle, , just the barest hint of Akira and, If I remember correctly, the one in the 90's had winglets!

God in Heaven, It's almost recumbent. Get A Job, Hippies! Shell this and get back to me.
posted by djrock3k at 7:32 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

There had better be double redundant systems on the training wheels... 'cuz the first time they don't pop down you're going to feel pretty foolish... But, I have to admit I want to watch when that happens...

And, I agree, the disadvantages are huge, the advantage...staying dry? Can't see that it's worth it.
posted by HuronBob at 7:33 PM on June 16, 2010

But..but...it doesn't leave a deadly lightwall behind it. What's the point?
posted by sourwookie at 7:42 PM on June 16, 2010

I'd rather go with a three wheel leaner like Fly the Road.
posted by eviltwin at 7:46 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

God in Heaven, It's almost recumbent.

Speaking of which, there are some pretty awesome enclosed recumbent trikes out there.
posted by parudox at 7:48 PM on June 16, 2010

Those sure didn't look like 90 degree turns to me.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:56 PM on June 16, 2010

I have to agree with the severe question mark over sidewinds. I wonder if you can put the stabilisers down at speed to help with that? And if you can actually drive with them down; if they had some sort of preloaded spring/shock absorber assembly initially equal to the static weight of the bike (+ rider +5% for luggage or something) then you could lean on them enough to make that work with them still working as training wheels.

If you can't do that, then I think the first time you go past a truck in a decent wind, you'll be on your side and scraping some paint.

In addition, was it the video or did it look really choppy while cornering to anyone else? Either the (two that I saw) riders were poop and cant hold a constant cornering radius or you have to correct a lot for the balance point with the thing, which is not at all a good sign for realistic usability. The front wheel seemed to be constantly moving and the angle of lean always changing.
posted by Brockles at 8:03 PM on June 16, 2010

I didn't like the training wheels.

Putting an electric motor into a 3 wheeled Messerschmitt microcar would be cool.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:29 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hmmm. I'm having trouble finding the specifications. Or maybe suffering from search fail but in ten minutes of searching the only thing I found was this: "The Zerotracer is a tandem seat, fully-enclosed, all-electric motorcycle that is capable of driving 450km (280 mi) on a single charge, has a top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph), and zero-to-100km (60mi) acceleration in 4.5 seconds." quoted but not sourced here.

The MotoCzysz E1pc (posted recently here on metafilter) handily won the Isle of Man TT Zero Challenge (Electric Motorcycles) and under close scrutiny the
Sulby Speed trap saw three machines clocking over 100mph with MotoCzysz the fastest at 135mph. Manx team ManTTx were the second fastest with 107.200 and Agni’s Z1 from Agni Racing third with 104.200.
I'm surprised that The MotoCzysz E1pc, which looks like a motorcycle and is built for speed rather than economy would suffer as much as it does from not being enclosed and wondering why the Zerotracer video, if it can indeed go 155 mph, shows it going not much faster than 40 mph. Are there any reliable links to the Zerotracer specifications?
posted by vapidave at 9:12 PM on June 16, 2010

(answering the title) - Wussified motorcycles.
posted by Bonzai at 9:36 PM on June 16, 2010

favorited because I like the soundtrack
posted by humannaire at 9:55 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Having thought about it the wussified bike remindsd me precisely of perhaps the most bad-arse of cars ever filmed. Both of them.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:15 PM on June 16, 2010

i was sold when the second bike(?) showed up, and suddenly the video looked just like when you try to pass the wild goose from f-zero. in switzerland!
posted by morizky at 10:27 PM on June 16, 2010

You know what? Even with helmet laws, there's nothing quite like a ride late at night on an empty road in the summer with your visor open, or with an open-face helmet, and (relatively) lightweight clothes. This seems purpose-built to take the fun out of it.
posted by davejay at 11:34 PM on June 16, 2010

Do Not Want.

I'd love to have an electric motorcycle. Not this one.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:46 PM on June 16, 2010

I'll give you my torque curve when you take it from my cold dead hands.
posted by Duke999R at 12:35 AM on June 17, 2010

Why can't they just fucking start selling these already??
posted by cthuljew at 1:20 AM on June 17, 2010

Sort of looks like Tron meets a Braun coffee maker. Horrible, horrible.
posted by ouke at 3:07 AM on June 17, 2010

1) AKIRA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2) Training wheels will never be cool.

And here's Jermy Clarkson going for a ride in a similar (although gas powered) device.
posted by delmoi at 4:35 AM on June 17, 2010

Why not put a dustbin fairing on a MotoCzysz and have something awesome instead of something that only reminds me of a Smart FourTwo mating with a banana.

Also: torque curve? Long gone shall be the days. We now have the torque LINE. As much as i love my old parallel twin, I'll be on a high revving electric bike the minute hey get them to go more than 150 miles, for less than 5 grand.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 7:30 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Tyrannosaurus Rex can sleep soundly in its grave knowing that the ridiculous image of its tiny forelegs has been eclipsed by the sight of this nerdmobile with training wheels deployed.
posted by digsrus at 7:58 AM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I thought this was going to be a new offering from Zero motorcycles. For all of you who were interested, they make all-electric motorcycles, that you can, y'know, actually buy.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 12:47 PM on June 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm innately doubtful about the whole full enclosed motorcycle business, but whether not safety is honestly the single biggest impediment to wide scale motorcycle adoption. I'd imagine that flexible plastic sides hanging from a solid top plus feet holes could make for cheaper "most" weather operation, but training wheels buy you heating in wintertime, which seems essential for moving beyond entertainment usage. You could therefore very well witness hordes of enclosed electric motorcycles out cool and replace europe's fleet of ugly minis and smart cars.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:46 PM on June 17, 2010

A guy I know converted an old bike to electric. This article is a bit out of date, and his newest version has more high density batteries, giving him a longer range.

Still, it's an impressive build, Street legal, and cost him a little less than $2k.

The problem is the thing is quiet. Like dangerously so. We've joked about him adding a speaker to make engine noises just so that other vehicles and pedestrians know he's there.
posted by quin at 3:01 PM on June 17, 2010

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