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Car and Motorcycle Companies Now Making Electric Bikes

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Lee Iacocca with his electric bike in 1998. It had a lead-acid battery with a 15-mile range and a top speed of 15 miles an hour.

by Roy Furchgott from https://www.nytimes.com

They see branding opportunities as the pandemic and a desire by cities to curb traffic propel e-bike sales to new heights.

The transportation industry has seen the future, and the future is 1895.

That was the year Ogden Bolton Jr. of Canton, Ohio, was awarded U.S. Patent 552,271 for an “electrical bicycle.” A century and change later, electric bikes have gained new currency as car and motorcycle companies like Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Yamaha have horned into the market with their own designs.

While the pandemic has accelerated bike sales, the overriding attraction is that cities worldwide are beginning to restrict motor traffic. These companies are betting that e-bikes are the urban vehicles of tomorrow — or at least vehicles for good publicity today.

“In the past 12 to 18 months, you have seen a lot of new brands come into the market,” said Andrew Engelmann, an e-bike sales and marketing manager at Yamaha, which has been in the electric bike business since 1993 and claims sales of two million worldwide. “We in the U.S. have not seen this new energy toward cycling since Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France.”

Credit the coronavirus pandemic, which has ignited bike sales of all stripes, but none so much as e-bikes. While retail unit sales of bicycles from January to October last year were up 46 percent from a year earlier, electric bikes were up 140 percent. Measured in dollars, regular bikes were up 67 percent and e-bikes 158 percent — so don’t expect a discount. Those numbers, from the market researchers at NPD, do not include online-only retailers such as Rad Power Bikes, so sales may actually be higher still.

Ogden Bolton aside, there is a historical connection between bicycles and motorcycles. Many early motorcycles came from bicycle makers that simply clapped a motor on a bike, often retaining the pedals in the style of a moped.

The automotive industry’s bicycle connection is more recent, with the likes of Malcolm Bricklin and Lee Iacocca introducing electric bikes in the ’90s. Both flopped. Mr. Iacocca’s design, typical for the time, was hampered by a lead-acid battery with a 15-mile range and a top speed of 15 miles an hour. Many car companies, including Ford, Audi, Maserati and BMW, have gotten into and out of e-bikes since.

“No car company has had any success selling an electric bicycle,” said Don DiCostanzo, chief executive of Pedego Electric Bikes, who in 2014 licensed a bike design to Ford. “It’s fool’s gold. It can never replace the profit on a car.”

Yet car and motorcycle makers are being drawn in. “I think they are seeing a lot of the same opportunity we see,” said Ian Kenny, who leads the e-bike effort at the bicycle company Specialized. “But I think there is a very big difference between demonstrating you can do something and doing something very well at scale.”

However, changes in the way people get about, especially in Europe and Asia, are enticing motor vehicle companies that operate internationally. Overseas, in cities that manage pollution and overcrowded streets by restricting motor traffic, e-bikes often fill a gap.

“In Europe, the e-bike is more of a fundamental transportation tool,” said Dirk Sorenson, an analyst for NPD. London, Madrid, Oslo and Paris are among the growing number of cities restricting downtown traffic.

The pandemic has American cities testing similar restrictions. Boston, Minneapolis and a number of California cities have instituted Slow Streets programs, restricting motor traffic on side streets in favor of cycling and walking. It even has UPS, Amazon and DHL trying out e-cargo bikes in New York.

“There is a huge opportunity for e-bikes in the U.S., which is a huge untapped market,” said Rasheq Zarif, a mobility technology expert for the consulting firm Deloitte.

Some companies are preparing now for the possibility that “micromobility,” as the buzzword has it, will catch on here.

“Let’s imagine Harley-Davison is not a motorcycle company but a mobility company,” said Aaron Frank, brand director for Serial 1, which builds an e-bike in partnership with Harley. “There is a strong argument we can do for urban commuters what Harley-Davison did for motorcycles.”

Other companies see e-bikes as a gateway to sell their primary products. Though best known for its motorcycles, Ducati North America wants e-bikes to “potentially turn people on to Ducati,” its chief executive, Jason Chinnock, said. “And we’ve seen that with people at some events and with the media reaching out.”

E-bikes may be more expensive than bicycles, but are cheaper than cars or motorcycles. And improved motor and battery technology is bringing prices down. Low-priced e-bikes with a motor in the wheel hub — similar to that 1895 design — can be had for about $1,000. Prices for versions with more complex, geared motors at the pedals can reach more than $10,000.

“Spending $1,000 on a bike seems out there,” Mr. Kenny said, “but when you don’t look at it as a toy — when it becomes transportation — it becomes a very different conversation.”

Price isn’t the only hurdle. E-bikes confront a crippling hodgepodge of laws. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed “low speed” e-bikes (with a motor equivalent to 1 horsepower or less) a bicycle, states still decide where that bike can be ridden.

“It’s up to 50 states to define the use, and that’s been a big problem in the past,” said Claudia Wasko, general manager of Bosch eBike, a prominent manufacturer of drive systems.

The PeopleForBikes coalition drafted model state legislation to allow most e-bikes in bike lanes and parks. It suggests three classes of e-bike, with a top speed between 20 and 28 m.p.h. Twenty-eight states have adopted some version of the legislation.

Some companies may be less concerned with the future of mobility and more interested in getting some attention now.

“I think it’s a halo thing,” said Mr. DiCostanzo, whose company has produced e-bikes for Tommy Bahama, Ford and others. Halo vehicles represent a brand’s aspirations, like concept cars.

“I think that’s what it is for Ford,” he added. “They wanted it for window dressing, and that’s what they got. I think they sold 500 in the five years it ran.”

Mercedes, which is taking orders for its top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team V11 e-bike at $12,000, said it was a chance to showcase its ability with high-tech materials from carbon fiber to paint.

“High-performance road bikes and e-bikes provide a great way to showcase such technologies into a range of consumer products,” said Damian Cook, a spokesman.

For some in the bicycle industry this all smacks of déjà vu. In the 1970s, a bike boom was thought to presage a new future for transportation in which cycling was central. But it failed. Though there were many contributing factors, roads weren’t made more bicycle-friendly and people didn’t want to arrive at work sweaty.

With the combination of Slow Streets programs, which address the first problem, electric bikes, which address the second, and a pandemic that has given people a chance to adjust to both, experts like Mr. Zarif find hope.

“When you give people a chance to try something, it reduces resistance to change,” he said. “As a society, the reality is we go forward — we don’t go backward.”

Five Million Tires Sold Plus a New Upcoming Fourth Generation

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Pirelli DIABLO ROSSO™ in Numbers: Five Million Tires Sold Plus a New Upcoming Fourth Generation

Since 2008 the DIABLO ROSSO™ Brand has Been Using the Technology Developed by Pirelli in the FIM Superbike World Championship to Offer Uncompromising Riding Performance

ROME, Ga. (January 7, 2021) – The Pirelli DIABLO ROSSO™ tire family enters the new year with record numbers and celebrates the achievement of an important milestone: over 5,000,000 radial tires sold since its introduction on the market in 2008.

The origins of DIABLO™ and DIABLO ROSSO™ brands

DIABLO™ represents Pirelli’s excellence in the world of high-performance tires designed for two-wheeled vehicles. The DIABLO product family, after its introduction into the market in 2002, has rapidly evolved to include in its broad portfolio tires dedicated to other market segments, from professional racing to the supersports road arena. The DIABLO brand brings with it more than 18 years of experience, technology and victories in the most prestigious national and international two-wheeled competitions.

Within the DIABLO™ range, the DIABLO ROSSO™ products are dedicated to road machines of a sport leaning. The name DIABLO ROSSO™ was born with the intention of honoring the distinctive color of the Italian national motorsport team since 1922, which was the color racing red (PANTONE® 185C).

The most prestigious motorcycle manufacturers in the world choose DIABLO ROSSO™ products as original equipment for their top models, while many respected international magazines and websites consider DIABLO ROSSO™ products a benchmark for this sector. Among the leading products of this family there are currently tires such as DIABLO ROSSO™ Corsa II, DIABLO ROSSO™ III and DIABLO ROSSO™ Scooter, still reference tires in their respective segments.

Thanks to the high performance of each of these products, supported by the ability of Pirelli engineers to anticipate the demands of a constantly evolving market, and to use cutting-edge materials and technologies, the DIABLO ROSSO™ product family has been able to reach the important milestone of 5,000,000 radial tires sold worldwide.

Respectable numbers that allow Pirelli to announce with great satisfaction and pride the fourth generation of this tire family, with the arrival of DIABLO ROSSO™ IV, the new supersports product created to continue the history of this successful brand. As the direct successor of DIABLO ROSSO™ III, DIABLO ROSSO™ IV raises the bar of this product range even higher, pushing the qualities of handling and grip to the highest levels, both in dry and wet conditions.

DIABLO ROSSO™ IV is dedicated to motorcyclists who love a more dynamic riding style, owners of supersports, hypernaked or crossover bikes who demand from a tire a high level of grip, on all types of asphalt and weather conditions, as well as precise feedback and great handling to make the most of the high performance of their bikes.

For more information about the complete line of Pirelli motorcycle tires, please visit Pirelli.com

RFR rides into the New Year

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Got my first 65 miles of 2021 in, I always try to ride on New Years Day start my year off right, while it said 35 degrees at my 6:40 am departure, that was not the temperature on the backroads I took this morning. Not as cold as the 29/30 degrees of 2018, but still got mild frostbite in my fingers & that’s was with the last Christmas HD gloves and Gator Skin inserts. The Roadglide blocked those 2018 temps, time for some heated gloves I guess? And another Roadglide, keeping the Dyna, we bonded laying there in the mud a couple days ago.

Happy New Year!

RFR

Pirelli Releases Recommended Tire Setup for Upcoming Thor Mini O’s Amateur Motocross National

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Trackside Support and Technical Assistance Will be Available to SCORPION™ MX Riders Throughout the Week

ROME, Ga. (November 17, 2020) – Pirelli has announced its plans to return for the 49th annual Thor Mini O’s amateur motocross national at Gatorback Cycle Park on November 22-28, 2020. With the event featuring both motocross and supercross-style tracks as well as the potential for a variety of weather conditions throughout the week, it’s critical to match tire setup with track and soil conditions. Pirelli will be working with its trackside vendor Mid-State Motorsports to have its SCORPION™ MX range readily available and provide technical support and assistance to all racers competing on Pirelli products.

“Mini O’s is a special event that Pirelli looks forward to each year,” said Nick Walton, off-road race manager, Pirelli. “The event produces great camaraderie with families coming together for the Thanksgiving holiday and produces a unique opportunity for amateur riders to showcase their skills on both motocross and supercross tracks. Pirelli places great emphasis on the grassroots level of the sport, and together with our trackside vendor Mid-State Motorsports, we look forward to providing the technical assistance and products needed for SCORPION™ MX riders to get a step ahead of the competition.”

For riders who are set to compete at Gatorback Cycle Park for the upcoming Thor Mini O’s, Pirelli is recommending the SCORPION™ MX32 Mid Soft front and rear tires as a starting point. In the event of rain or softer than normal soil conditions, the SCORPION™ MX Soft rear scoop tire is an alternate option. Recommended air pressure is 14 PSI for all tires.

Pirelli continues to give consumers and riders of all skill levels access to the very same tires used by its factory racing teams and world champions such as Tim Gajser, Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings. The SCORPION™ MX range consists of the SCORPRION™ MX32™ Mid Soft, SCORPION™ MX32™ Mid Hard, and SCORPION™ MX Soft, providing a tire suitable for all conditions. Pirelli recently introduced new minibike sizes for its highly sought-after MX Soft in 12-inch and 16-inch sizing.

The event information for the Thor Mini O’s can be found HERE.

Thieves hit the gas as motorcycle thefts accelerate across NYC

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by Melissa Klein from https://nypost.com

The city may have been on lockdown, but motorcycle thefts revved up in New York City.

The number of motorcycles and mopeds stolen this year hit 1,348 through Sept. 20, up from 916 in the same period in 2019, according to statistics from the NYPD.

The 47% surge is part of an overall increase in vehicle thefts in 2020. A total of 6,107 cars, motorcycles and mopeds were swiped citywide through Sept. 20, up a stunning 63% from the same period last year, NYPD data shows.

The NYPD has blamed the increase on the state’s bail reform laws which prohibit pretrial detention for many alleged crimes.

The East New York and Cypress Hills neighborhoods in Brooklyn are the city’s grand theft auto hot spots followed by Queens Village, Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens.

Motorcycle thefts had previously been on the decline in the Big Apple, dropping 9% from 2018 to 2019, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Gavriel Cohen, 27, a bartender who started an Instagram page to help motorcycle owners track down their stolen rides after his own bike was taken in 2018, called the thefts “rampant.”

“It’s all bundled up with the lack of law and order going on in the city right now,” Cohen said.

So far, the Instagram page led to one motorcycle being reunited with its owner.

In June, cops nabbed an ex-con for allegedly taking a stolen Suzuki motorcycle on a 1 train on the Upper West Side. When he was caught on June 16, it was the sixth arrest for Frank Pagan that month alone.

Ramiro Vigil, 34, a biomedical engineer from Park Slope, said thieves swiped his 2019 BMW bike in early August near his home. He said video footage showed three or four men lifting it into a van and taking off. Two friends also had their rides taken around the same time.

Vigil, a native of Mexico who has lived in China, Brazil and Europe, said he did not experience this type of crime in other countries.

“I think it could be related to the COVID and people probably looking for easy money,” he said. “But it’s really sad.”

Jessica Brown, 38, who purchased her $6,000 customized Honda bike just three months ago, had it disappear on Sept. 18 while parked in front of her Richmond Hill home.

Security footage showed two men walking the bike off the street at 1 a.m., Brown said.

Brown immediately put the word out in the motorcycle community, where she is known as Jes Blaze.

“You can’t depend on the cops, unfortunately. They take a report and then they go on with their merry way,” she said. “I’m basically relying on the streets right now.”

Brown said the distinctive bike, which is covered in a red camouflage pattern, has been seen on Long Island, in Ridgewood and on the Bruckner Expressway. But she doesn’t have high hopes of getting it back.

“The chances of a motorcycle being found or returned is literally like finding a needle in the haystack,” she said.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau said its statistics showed that just 255 motorcycles, mopeds, scooters or motorbikes have been recovered in New York City this year out of 1,389 it has recorded stolen.

ALYI Expects To See Orders For ReVolt Electric Motorcycles Double Next Month

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from https://www.prnewswire.com

DALLAS, Aug. 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Alternet Systems, Inc. (USOTC: ALYI) today announced that it expects a new fleet order for its ReVolt Electric Motorcycle to double the company’s current production outlook. Earlier this month the company announced entering into discussions regarding additional fleet orders. Management now expects to sign an order resulting from those discussions by the end of September.

ALYI currently has already entered into an initial $20 million electric motorcycle order and an additional letter of intent for a $30 million contract. Both agreements cover six-year durations resulting in an overall $300 million revenue opportunity for ALYI. The new order expected to be signed next month would edge ALYI toward a $500 million revenue opportunity.

Over two years ago, ALYI piloted an electric motorcycle that in its first rendition was a BMW R71 clone retrofitted with an electric motor. The BMW R71 is a breathtaking iconic image popularized through decades of frequent Hollywood screen appearances in addition to the real engineering breakthroughs that maintain the bike’s relevance.

Still drawing on the BMW R71 original design and look, after several design iterations, the ReVolt Electric Motorcycle today is an innovation feat. When ALYI unveils the production version of the ReVolt Electric Motorcycle, it will be an industry changing event. The ReVolt Electric Motorcycle is a connected, state of the art electric motorcycle, ergonomically optimized for its target market while still maintaining an iconic look.

ALYI expects to be in production later this year.

Sam’s Picks for the Week, August 11, 2020

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Hot Bikes, Hot Babes and News from Sturgis

The adventure of riding and building custom bikes has never been better. That wasn’t always the case. Hell, before cars it was tough to get 30 miles at less than 4 miles an hour. Hell, if outlaws or Indians attacked, who could you call. That’s right, you couldn’t call. Then cars and motorcycles came along and they weren’t that reliable. You better know your machine or don’t leave town.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS PHOTO FEATURE ON BIKERNET

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Red Scorpion Is What Happens When Custom Frame Meets Harley-Davidson Hardware

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

There’s nothing better in the world of custom bike-making than coming up with your own frame. Sure, you could choose the easy way and start modifying existing motorcycles, but that doesn’t say that much about your skills as a custom builder.

We know of a huge number of shops in the U.S. making their own custom frames, that in turn end up becoming the base for incredible two-wheelers. But there are garages outside the States that do the same thing.

One of them – and a very lucrative one – is Germany-based Thunderbike. We talked about their work extensively over the past few months as part of our various special coverages, but given the large number of builds they make, there seems to be no end in sight.

Until recently, we covered at length Thunderbike’s skills when it comes to modified Harleys, but from this week on we decided to have a closer look at their custom frames, and we’ve already said a word or two about some other of their creations for this segment. And now it’s time for another.

In the gallery above sits a motorcycle the garage completed all the way back in 2007. It is called the Red Scorpion, and it is one of the finest examples of how you can pair your own custom frame with custom parts and available Harley-Davidson hardware.

The bike is part of the garage’s Freestyle collection of bikes, and it is built around one of the 15 or so frames available in its inventory.

Riding low thanks to the use of an air suspension, and with an appearance of having a broken back, the Red Scorpion is animated by a Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle 103ci engine. The powerplant draws its fuel through a Mikuni HSR 42 injection system, and is controlled through a Harley 5-speed transmission.

The motorcycle rides on equally-sized 18-inch wheels front and back, chromed of course, and offset by the red paint spread on the rest of the body by Thunderbike’s favorite partner in this area, Kruse Design.

We are not being told how much the bike cost to be put together, but to give you an idea, just the Thunderbike frames now available are somewhere in the 11,000 euros (around $12,500) ballpark.