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When I was sixteen I bought a Norton 99 Dominator. For 75 guilders… Later and more legally I continued to ride cheap motorcycles. First out of poverty. Then out of a kind of endearment. Then out of conviction. Because they were fast enough for me. Because I could maintain (and repair) them myself. And that those oldest and cheapest motorcycles I had are now very expensive classics? That's funny isn't it?
Too fast, too hard, too ugly
My interest, or call it greed, in brands or types stops at the beginning of the nineties. From then on, for my taste, motorcycles became ugly Tupperware power warehouses with an abundance of electronics. More than 120 hp and top speeds above 250 km/h? To me, that's like having a 49-centimeter young man: Very impressive in the sauna. But what else can you do with it?
That ugly goes a long way since Star Trek and Manga series are apparently 'leading edge' among motorcycle designers. On the optical side, the current engine blocks themselves are also best served by hiding them behind plastic.
Everything under control?
And that ever-growing army of electronic control cousins that the engine just allows someone to be at the wheel? That's the proliferation you get when you have techies and marketers sleeping in one cubicle. ABS is smart. But for the rest I rely on the software between my ears, in my right wrist and my butt.
Until recently, my daily driver was a 3 Moto Guzzi Cali 1991. That machine embodied everything I ask of a motorcycle. But after less than three hundred thousand, he was so tired that he was allowed to retire. He has been replaced by a neat 1984'er.
In the meantime, I occasionally ride modern motorcycles 'for work'
Those machines make the old mechanical engineer in me very happy. But they don't hurt me emotionally. So I'll just keep driving old stuff. But sometimes I feel sorry for those dated, well-behaved combustion engines. Like when, after some short winter rides, I see a dripping lump of mayonnaise on my oil dipstick. Mayonnaise belongs on French fries. Not in engine blocks.
And then you are invited to ride an electric motorcycle
The electric motorcycle world is out of its puppyhood and now hangs somewhere between puberty and adolescence. The people who are professionally involved with it are still uninhibited. That approach will also have led to inviting me as a fossil for what would turn out to be a silent conversation about the most beautiful weeping dike route. And we were on our way on about fifty Zeros and Energicas.
In E-motorland Zero (USA) and Energica (It) are apparently the pioneers
They are young companies, not motorcycle manufacturers with a heavy history behind them. The established large motorcycle makers are still somewhat reserved. The novices have nothing to lose and hope to gain everything. The Zeros and Energicas just look like modern motorcycles. They also have a whole bunch of electronic helpers. But with the driving mode on 'street' you are just as operated as on a BMW R75/5. But after that things are different. You put the key on the ignition and give 'gas'. Then you drive. The more 'gas' you give, the faster you go. Completely stepless acceleration. And with maximum torque that is simply unbelievable from the first metre. To lower the threshold, the Zeros can also be rented via Motoshare.
From horsepower to kW
In my MTS time we were in the middle of the transition to the New Units. We had to learn that 1 kW was equal to 1,36 hp. The 82 kW of the Zero SR/S is therefore almost 112 hp. The – in fact constantly present – maximum torque is a massive 190 Nm.
Riding the Zero is motorcycling without frills on the dress
All emo options such as sound and vibration are absent. Electricity brings motorcycling back to its bare essentials. That is different. That takes getting used to. But getting used to it goes quickly. During the ride, I only grabbed the missing clutch lever once. And I enjoyed. Also the silence. To get us used to that idea, the electric motorcycle suppliers first propagate to rent such a machine for a day through Motoshare. That apparently sells better than anything.
In terms of range, the case is still a bit behind for the long ride drivers
Refueling your BMW GS with Touratech tank is faster than plugging in your E-motor. Much faster. But for regional use there are no problems.
I'm going to drive electric
But what convinced me to choose such an electrician as the next daily driver is that you can't mistreat such a bike by not getting it up to temperature. On an electric motorcycle (with 5 years and unlimited mileage warranty) you will never have mayonnaise on your dipstick again.
And whether my future shopping bike will become just as classic as the Norton I bought for 75 guilders? We'll talk more about that in 35 years' time.
The Zero SR/S. Another classic in 25 years
The electric exotics will certainly become classics
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