Can you be an environmentalist and still be an avid motorcyclist? This is a question I ask myself every time I kick a leg over my bike. I like to think that I am not as bad as a huge gas guzzling commuting Hummer but I do still use oil for my bikes.
There may be a better option coming along. Electric bikes have been on the rise for quite a few years now. I have had the opportunity to try a few different models. Some of the things that concerned me were the lack of gears and would the bike feel like a hondamatic. The recharging of the bike and what do I do if I run out of electricity on the road and the lack of exhaust\engine sound, how will cars or people hear you.
Recently there was a demo day at Mission Motorcycles. I road a few different bikes but right before I left I eyed a Zero S. The Zero S is a new all electric motorcycle built by Zero Motorcycles. Immediately a small group of us took off on a spirited ride through the local hills. The suspension on this bike was top notch. The throttle control took a bit getting used to. Once you’re on the gas, stay on it!!! We whipped through corners, over hills, and past cars as only three hooligans on demo bikes should. All of my concerns went out the door during the ride.
My concerns did come back as soon as we parked. The lack of engine\muffler sound made me wonder how I did not get tagged by a car. We went on a quick trip through the hills but what would have happened if I wanted to keep riding. Would a gas station let me stop and charge my bike? If they did how long would a charge take? The lack of gears was not as bad as what I thought. It does help to stay on the throttle. You can definitely take that turn harder than what you think.
In the end I am not a complete convert of the electric motorcycle. It still has a few hurdles to cross. My environmentalist side will have to be comforted by the fact I really on ride for recreational purposes.