Talking with Alff this past weekend, I commented that one of the reasons I got into motorcycles is simply that as a scrawny teen, I could pick up all the parts of a bike by myself. Not only are bikes built on a more workable scale compared to cars, you can get to all the parts, and they’re basically bolted together (welding, leading and hammering bodywork is a black art I never understood, never mind mastered). If you decide to craft your own electric vehicle, starting with a motorcycle makes even more sense. They’re cheap, are sized right for readily-available electric components and they don’t have many engine-powered accessories: no power steering or power brakes, for example.
Seth Masia [pictured] converted his old Yamaha TA125 roadracer (of all the unlikely candidates) into an electric streetbike back in 2008. Despite not having much room for battery mass, his on-the-cheap commuter worked quite well.
Hit the jump for a couple more views of Seth’s bike, and a gallery of other home-brew electric bike conversions, some cool, some scary. They may give you a hankering to build your own.
Seth actually raced this TA125 back in the day, but by the time he cured it of its addiction to dinosaur juice, it had seen better days.
A motorcyle with a burned-up engine might be an inexpensive starting point, but if you’ve priced electric vehicle motors and electronic controllers, you know that those parts ain’t cheap!
The biggest problem with electric motorcycles is trying to package a bunch of big, square, blocky batteries within a shape that is normally narrow and lithe. Starting with the curvaceous lines of a CBX sport-tourer only highlights how un-aerodynamic and graceless your battery pack can look.It’s often better to just do away with the bodywork and go with a skeletonized frame and a steampunk vibe. Of course, this guy took the “skeleton” theme a little father than most. This GPz750-based conversion is my favorite. The diamond-plate bodywork doesn’t try to look production, or imitate an ICE-powered vehicle, yet it manages to be both minimalist and attractive, with an obvious built-in-my-shed factor.
And finally, this eco-hipsterrific YouTube video from Gomi Style shows how straightforward electric conversions can be, even though the configuration is kind of kludgy, and end result only modestly successful.
TA125 pictures: solartoday.wordpress.com
The other photos are from my hard drive web archive, so I have no idea where they came from, even after giving TinEye a crack at them. If one of them is yours, and you don’t want it posted here, just let us know on the tips line and we’ll remove it.