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The Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600 Are Not Long for This World

Well-Known Machines Will Meet Their End

When most people think Suzuki sportbikes, they automatically think the Hayabusa, but the GSX-R750 isn’t far behind in their mind. That may change in the future. The motorcycle company will have to kill the GSX-R750 and GSX-R600 soon due to stringent emissions standards.

We recently reported the impending doom facing the Hayabusa, and how it will soldier on in the U.S. for a while longer thanks to more relaxed emissions. The Busa will return, though, you can bet your sweet high-speed buns on it. Suzuki has a new one in the works.

The same can’t be said for the GSX-R750 or the GSX-R600. The company seems to have no plans to breathe new life into either model with a redesign.

Two Deaths That Makes Business Sense

The mid-range sportbike market is slowing down fast, according to Cycle World. All motorcycle manufacturers are killing off their 600cc and 750cc sportbikes. A segment of the market that was once one of the most crowded will soon be more or less empty. 

With sales sliding for the GSX-R750 and the GSX-R600 paired with the fact that the bikes don’t meet the new emissions standards in most of the world, it’s no wonder Suzuki will say goodbye.

Suzuki GSX-R750 and GSX-R600
Image from Suzuki

With that noted, buyers in the U.S. will be able to enjoy both these mid-range sportbikes in 2019. Suzuki won’t continue building these bikes forever, but if you were one of the few buyers considering a new 750 or 600 then you have this as an option.

I always liked these two mid-range bikes. They seemed a perfect balance in a sportbike market dominated by high-powered literbikes. It’s a shame to see them go, but I hope this opens up production space for some new, sportbike offerings from Suzuki.


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Gear Reviews GTS 300 Motorcycle News Other Motorcycle Blogs Scooters Sprint 150 Vespa Web Bike World

Vespa Scooters Retain Over 72 Percent of Their Value After 3 Years of Ownership

The Scooters Retain Their Value Better Than Anything Else

Can you think of a vehicle that would retain 72.1 percent of its value over three years of ownership? According to data from J.D. Power and Associates, Vespa scooters do just that.

This year was the first year that J.D. Power tracked resale value and published a study on its findings. The published study was only on cars, but The New York Times reported that data in the study extended to two-wheeled vehicles, too. The brand sitting at the top of the heap was Vespa, which is owned by Piaggio Group.

Vespa’s 72.1 percent retained value wasn’t just a little better than other vehicle manufacturers, it outpaced them considerably. For comparison, the average value retention for four-wheeled vehicles rests at 55.7 percent.

The New York Times noted Vespas hold their value better than any other vehicle you can buy today, whether it has four wheels or two.

What Vespas Retain Their Value the Best?

When it comes to individual scooter models to pay attention to from a value retainment standpoint, look to the Sprint 150 and the GTS 300. Both of those bikes retain 79 percent of their value after a three-year period.

There are a lot of factors that influence value retention. The New York Times points to the fact that the scooter company is one of the only premium players in the scooter market.

Sure, you can buy a lower-priced high-quality scooter from Honda, Yamaha, Genuine Scooter Co., or just about any other major manufacturer. You can also buy lower quality and much cheaper scooters from numerous Chinese manufacturers, but none of those brands have Vespa’s brand cachet.

Vespa is a luxury marque, and its prices reflect that. The scooter company attracts a particular part of the market. The brand has been the first that people think of when they think scooters since the 1950s. Pair that with a stylish, classic design and Piaggio’s reputation for reliability, and it makes sense why the scooters retain their value so well.

The Vespa name is almost as much an Italian luxury iconic fashion brand as Versace, Prada, Gucci, or Fendi. Heck, half of those brands use Vespa scooters in their advertisements. When you take all that into account, it becomes clear why the company’s products retain their value so well.


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BikeExif Custom Motorcycles Other Motorcycle Blogs Ten Best Motorcycles

Editor’s Choice: An Alternative Top 10 for 2018

Editor's Choice: An Alternative Top 10 Customs of 2018
It’s that time of year when we throw the data out the window and pick our personal favorite customs of 2018. Our traditional Bike EXIF Top Ten is based on bikes that melted our servers—but these are the bikes that also melted our hearts.

There are a few ground rules: we only include bikes that we’ve written full features on (sorry, Bikes of the Week alumni). And we don’t feature more than one from a particular builder. We also exclude machines that have already popped up on our data-driven Top Ten; if we didn’t, Daniel Peter’s Yamaha SR500, Jackson Burrows’ Harley-Davidson Super 10 and K-Speed’s Honda Cub would easily have made the cut.

So here—in alphabetical order of builder—is this year’s Editor’s Choice.

New from Analog Motorcycles: a Ducati 250 single engine in a Moto3 chassis
Ducati 250 by Analog Motorcycles This petite racer features the most exotic pairing we’ve ever seen: a vintage Ducati 250 motor, in a prototype Moto 3 chassis. The rest of the bike’s a harmonious mix of parts bin and handcrafted bits. And as you can see, the results are absolutely glorious.

New from Analog Motorcycles: a Ducati 250 single engine in a Moto3 chassis
There’s one heck of a story behind the project too—from how it was conceived, to a tragedy that set it back by almost a year. (It’s worth clicking on ‘More’ to get the full story.) Analog’s Tony Prust has our utmost respect for forging ahead, and for building one of our favorite cafe racers of 2018. [More]

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
Ducati Scrambler by deBolex Engineering We’ve seen our share of shoddy craftsmanship masked by great photography. But when deBolex Engineering’s Calum Pryce-Tidd wheeled this stunning Ducati Scrambler onto the Bike EXIF stand at the Wildays festival, my jaw hit the floor. DeBolex well and truly are the real deal.

Red Hot: A custom Ducati Scrambler from deBolex Engineering
They masterfully transformed the Ducati Scrambler into a pure café racer, with a full complement of aluminum bodywork. Every last detail is on point; from the removable side panels, to the picture perfect paint and tasteful parts selection. It’s the cafe racer we wish Ducati had built. [More]

Turbo Maximus: A turbocharged Yamaha XJ750 Maxim restomod
Yamaha XJ750 by Derek Kimes Meet ‘Turbo Maximus’—the bike that kicked us in the teeth with its 80s throwback styling and turbocharger. It’s the work of Derek Kimes, and at the time of publishing, it was the first and only bike he’d ever owned. Derek started working in Bryan Fuller’s shop part time while studying engineering, and this brutal superbike was the result.

Turbo Maximus: A turbocharged Yamaha XJ750 Maxim restomod
It’s arguably the most nuts-o bike we’ve featured this year. Among the mods are a XJ900 engine swap, a conversion to fuel injection and a very trick turbo setup. The chassis is well sorted too (keen eyes will spot a mono-shock out back), and that livery is just dreamy. [More]

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled by Earle Motors Automotive designer Alex Earle is someone worth keeping a close eye on. His Ducati Monster street tracker broke new ground three years ago, and this year he knocked it out the park again. This is ‘The Alaskan’—a Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled designed to excel off-road.

Ducati dirt bike: The Earle Motors Alaskan Desert Sled
The focus here was on practicality—taller suspension, a lengthened swing arm, and a 21” front wheel with aggressive rubber. Alex also built new fuel tanks, and added luggage carrying capacity, a Kevlar skid plate and a blinding headlight. Then he took it across Alaska for two weeks… [More]

Scrambler kit for the BMW R nineT by Hookie Co.
BMW R nineT by Hookie Co. Hookie Co.’s success lies in something that can’t be taught: they have a knack for building bikes that just look right. This sharp R nineT custom epitomizes that quality—it’s cohesive, perfectly proportioned and well constructed.

Scrambler kit for the BMW R nineT by Hookie Co.
Hookie built the bike by designing a bolt-on kit, which they now sell. Highlights include a full-length bolt-on subframe, a fuel cell with an interchangeable carbon fiber cover, and a shortened seat, with a neat luggage strap out back. Best of all, anyone with a set of spanners (and enough headroom on their credit card) can replicate Hookie’s magic over a couple of beers on a weekend. [More]

Colonel Butterscotch: A custom Suzuki Bandit 1200 from ICON 1000
Suzuki Bandit by Icon 1000 The Portland crew are long-time supporters of Bike EXIF—but that’s not why they’re on the list. It’s because this gear company also regularly builds off-the-wall customs. This retro-fabulous Suzuki Bandit presses all our buttons, and it finished just outside the top ten on our stats-driven list.

Colonel Butterscotch: A custom Suzuki Bandit 1200 from ICON 1000
Dubbed ‘Colonel Butterscotch,’ Icon’s Bandit is sporting suspension and brake upgrades, a Kawasaki ZRX1200 aluminum-alloy swing arm and a sweet asymmetrical exhaust system. The bodywork hints at both 70s endurance racers and 80s superbikes, and is actually a second version— it all had to be rebuilt when the bike was binned during a shakedown test. Lucky for us, those Icon guys are stubborn. [More]

Getting Personal: The KTM 950 SM that Max Hazan built for himself
KTM LC8 by Max Hazan We only featured one bike from master builder Maxwell Hazan this year—and it was a far cry from his usual esoteric vibe. This one isn’t a museum-worthy masterpiece: it’s Max’s personal bike, a KTM 950 SM. It’s also sharp, looks like a ton of fun, and is hiding more craftsmanship than you’d think.

Getting Personal: The KTM 950 SM that Max Hazan built for himself
There’s hand-formed alloy bodywork throughout, including a new load-bearing fuel tank that also holds the electronics. Max also modified and fitted Marchesini wheels from a CBR1000, and relocated the rear shock mount to tweak the ride height. There’s even a lighting kit that can be fitted, making this the perfect track and street weapon. [More]

New from NYC Norton: A Seeley Matchless G50 racing motorcycle
Seeley G50 by NYC Norton The allure of classic machinery is hard to beat, and this Seeley G50 is right up there with the best. It’s the work of NYC Norton, who built it specifically for the Custom Revolution exhibition at the Petersen Museum in LA.

New from NYC Norton: A Seeley Matchless G50 racing motorcycle
NYC Norton pieced it together using a short-stroke replica Matchless Grand Prix motor from Minnovation Racing, and a Seeley MK2 chassis from Roger Titchmarsh. Look beyond the lively blue paint, and you’ll spot a long list of well-crafted details. And while this G50 is currently in race trim, it’ll be converted for road use in the future. [More]

A stripped-down Harley-Davidson Street 750 flat tracker from Suicide Machine Company
Harley-Davidson Street 750 by Suicide Machine Co. Aaron and Shaun Guardado are two of the most down-to-earth, hard-working dudes you’ll ever meet. They’re racers too, so every bike they build has a strong performance bend. This time around, they took Harley-Davidson’s rather vanilla Street 750, and turned it into a ripping street tracker.

A stripped-down Harley-Davidson Street 750 flat tracker from Suicide Machine Company
The brothers threw everything at this project. It’s sporting a one-off frame and bodywork, a carbon fiber swing arm, carbon fiber wheels from BST and Öhlins suspension. And it’s one of the sharpest Harley Street customs we’ve ever laid eyes on. [More]

SBK #1: Walt Siegl builds the ultimate Ducati superbike
Ducati Superbike by Walt Siegl Mr. Siegl and his ridiculously talented team never fail to impress, but this year they outdid themselves. First, they built a Leggero that very nearly made it onto this list. But then they topped it with a superbike that looks like it was built by a factory race team.

SBK #1: Walt Siegl builds the ultimate Ducati superbike
There’s so much here to love: from the custom frame that uses World SBK geometry, to the Bruce Meyers Performance-tuned hybrid motor. (Hop on over to the original article—the engine mods alone will make your head spin). This is no café racer; it’s a purebred race machine that blends classic design with modern tech. More, please.

BMW cafe racer: the CW Zon concept R18
Honorable mention: BMW R18 by Custom Works Zon Since we highlighted this bike as part of our Yokohama Hot Rod Custom Show coverage, it doesn’t technically qualify for this list. But any bike that takes top honors at Mooneyes is worth consideration.

BMW cafe racer: the CW Zon concept R18
Plus, just look at it. Then consider that all the CW Zon team had to work with was a prototype drivetrain from BMW. The rest they built from scratch, resulting in the sleek—yet brutal—land speed racer you see before you. [More]

The best of the rest Narrowing our favorites down to just ten bikes is a painful (and almost impossible) task. Those that narrowly missed the cut include: Rno’s crazy Honda CBX 1000; Justin Webster’s de-scrambled Triumph Scrambler; Raccia’s classy Kawasaki ‘W1R’; Revival Cycles’ nod to the legendary Majestic; a Ducati flat tracker from Lloyd Brothers, and Smoked Garage’s off-the-wall Royal Enfield Himalayan (below).

A custom Royal Enfield Himalayan from Smoked Garage
Thanks to these builders for wowing us, and for giving us great content to share with our readers. Go ahead and dive into the comments to tell us if your favorites made it onto the list—or what you would have picked instead.

Arcimoto electric trike EV Fun Utility Vehicle FUV Gear Reviews Motorcycle News Other Motorcycle Blogs trike Web Bike World

Arcimoto Snags $4.5 Million Investment for Electric Trike Production

You May See Some of These Ugly Trikes on the Road Soon

Arcimoto has an electric trike it thinks will be the future of transportation. The company just received $4.5 million to make its vision a reality. Arcimoto calls its fully electric trike a Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV), and it will start ramping up production in 2019.

The FUV is like a mashup of a car and trike. In the eyes of the law, it falls in with motorcycles. With that said, when Arcimoto first started out, the company wanted to build a three-wheeled car with a steering wheel. The final design has handlebars and motorcycle-like controls.

Arcimoto’s FUV has been a long time coming. It’s something that has popped up again and again in automotive and motorcycle news. Because it blends the lines between car and motorcycle, people don’t always seem to know how to take it.

That hasn’t stopped people from ordering these ugly things, though. According to RideApart, the company has 3,250 preorders. The new round of funding the company received from FOD Capital, LLC, will help it fulfill those orders and kick its production into high gear.

What Can It Do?

Arcimoto FUV Trike
Image from Arcimoto

The Arcimoto is no electric trike pipe dream. It was founded in 2007. The vehicle seems to have been well-developed. It has a top speed of 80 mph and a range of 70 to 130 miles depending on the battery pack you choose. It has a charge time of 3.5 to 8 hours depending on the battery and charging station.

For power, the trike uses two 25 kW electric motors that make 67 hp. Those electric motors are good enough for a 0-60 mph time of 7.5 seconds. It comes with regenerative braking, two seats, forward and reverse gearing, and some nice amenities like heated handgrips and a full HVAC system should you choose to equip it.

The open-air design of the Arcimoto FUV is unique. The company sells soft and hard doors to close you off from the elements should you want that.

Arcimoto FUV trike
Image from Arcimoto

As interesting as the vehicle is, I don’t see this taking off like Arcimoto hopes. The vehicle’s starting price is $11,900. With options, that price would only go up. According to the company, it expects the average price with add-ons to be around $15,000. That’s a lot of money.

Arcimoto seems to see this as an alternative to a car or motorcycle. You can buy a really nice motorcycle for less than $11,900 and an awesome one for around $15,000.

You can also buy a decent car for that price. Heck, a brand spanking new Nissan Versa only costs a little over $12,000. If you have $15,000 to spend, your options increase significantly. I think the Arcimoto FUV is a novel idea and likely well-executed from a design and engineering standpoint, but for the money, I’d rather buy something else.

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Blast from the past: A Suzuki Vallelunga roars again

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
There’s something magical about big racing two-strokes. And somewhere near the top of that smokin’ hot tree is the Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga.

The story of the Italian-built Suzuki is a curious tale, and it’s rare to see one of these attractive racers pop up on the internet radar. But the Piedmontese workshop Soiatti Moto Classiche has just found and restored one, and pushed the big zook back into the limelight.

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
Soiatti Moto Classiche opened its doors in 1978, when SWM factory motocross racer Daniele Soiatti retired from official duties. Today Daniele and his son Alberto (below) restore motorcycles from the 1970s, which often arrive in their Novara workshop in very bad condition.

The Soiattis usually work on Japanese superbikes, but they occasionally open their arms to encompass lesser-known European marques—such as Hercules, Zündapp and SWM.

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
It’s quality work too, and often showcased at top European concours events—such as the Concorso d’Eleganza at the Villa d’Este.

Not every bike is worthy of the lavish care that the Soiattis habitually deliver, but the Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga is a very special machine. It’s one of around a hundred built by the Turin-based Suzuki dealer SAIAD in the mid 70s, and sold to privateer racers.

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
Compared to a stock GT750 two-stroke, light engine work freed up an extra ten horses. The weight drop was much more drastic: down from 245 kilos (540 pounds) to 190 (418 pounds).

The exhaust specialist Figaroli created a lightweight, more efficient exhaust system, and Angelo Menani supplied the featherweight fiberglass bodywork, rear sets and clip-ons. (The 1.9-liter oil tank is actually hidden in the bulky tail unit.)

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
Top speed was reportedly 225 kph (140 mph) and Suzuki was so impressed by the Vallelunga, it adopted the bike as an ‘official’ model. The Vallelunga appeared in Italian advertising material, presumably to create a halo effect for the stock GT750.

The machine restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche dates from 1974, is #35 in the production run, and was a mess when Daniele and Alberto first got their hands on it. They’ve seen much worse, such as bikes recovered from the sea, but the Suzuki had been sitting in a garage for twenty years.

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
The first thing Daniele noticed was that the wrong type of water-cooled triple was sitting in the frame; it had been taken from a later version of the GT750. But luckily the owner also had the original Vallelunga engine to hand, so the Soiattis stripped that one down and started the rebuild.

The crankshaft was rebalanced, and all the seals and bearings replaced. The engine cases were then sandblasted, and then coated with a petrol- and heat-resistant clear coat.

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
The Figaroli mufflers were in very bad shape, with multiple scars and crushed in places. So they’ve been dismantled, pushed back into shape, welded, polished and repainted.

Fortunately the frame was in reasonable condition, aside from surface rust. So it was sanded back to bare metal and repainted in black.

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
The fiberglass bodywork was extremely tired, as you’d expect on a bike almost half a century old. But rather than ditch and recreate Menani’s work, the Soiattis have meticulously restored it, and given it a fresh coat of authentic Suzuki blue race paint. They’ve also recreated the decals to exactly replicate the peeling originals.

The saddle was beyond repair though, so there’s a new seat pad upholstered in black leather in the same style as the original.

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
The rest of the machine has simply been fettled, refinished and returned to factory tolerances and specs. It’s all showroom fresh, from the Koni shocks to the aluminum Borrani wheels to the sandblasted, repainted brake calipers.

“The Vallelunga is restored exactly back to the original,” Alberto tells us. “We didn’t think about making changes.”

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche
“Some motorcycles must remain faithful to their origins.”

Amen to that.

Soiatti Moto Classiche Facebook | Daniele Soiatti Instagram | Alberto Soiatti Instagram | Images by Valen Zhou

A Suzuki-SAIAD GT750 S Vallelunga restored by Soiatti Moto Classiche

Electric Scooter Etergo Gear Reviews Motorcycle News Other Motorcycle Blogs scooter Web Bike World

Etergo Gets €10M Investment for Battery-Swapping Scooters

A Simple Solution to Range Anxiety

Etergo is a Dutch scooter company. It just landed a huge investment to the tune of €10M (roughly $11.4M) to build a modular scooter that can swap out batteries on the fly.

Range anxiety is the number one reason I would hesitate to buy an electric motorcycle or scooter. With charging stations still relatively scarce, the fear of running out of battery juice is real. However, Etergo has a simple solution: swap out the discharged battery for a fully charged one.

I’ve often wondered why this wasn’t a bigger thing. It would be like filling up your gas tank. You could pull into a service station, swap out the battery in a few minutes, and be on your way. The service station could then recharge the battery and use it on a different customer.

Anyway, Etergo’s scooter, called the AppScooter, can travel a respectable 240 km (roughly 150 miles) per charge with all battery modules installed and fully charged. It has a top speed of only 45 km/h (roughly 26 mph), which means it’s only suitable for the city.

With that said, the Etergo AppScooter would work for a lot of commuters worldwide. The company is still in the process of finding a manufacturing partner to start churning these two-wheeled electric-powered commuter machines out.

Etergo Isn’t the Only One

Etergo Appscooter
Image from Etergo

According to RideApart, Etergo isn’t the only scooter company out there with this approach. The publication points to Gogoro, which already has a scooter in production and has 750 battery swap stations spread out over Taiwan. Gogoro has also made it into the delivery service as well, further bolstering its business.

Etergo will likely find plenty of room in this market. Worldwide, scooter sales outpace cars according to Etergo, and that means there’s a huge market for an electric alternative, especially with emissions regulations becoming stricter in much of the world.

I would love to see someone put this kind of technology on a legit motorcycle. With swappable batteries comes the opportunity to essentially refuel and keep on riding. While I know there is a lot of work to do as far as building the infrastructure, it seems to make more sense than putting charging stations everywhere.

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Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme FIM Gear Reviews Motorcycle Helmets Motorcycle News Other Motorcycle Blogs Web Bike World

Motorcycle Helmet FIM Safety Standard Will Eventually Make it Off the Racetrack

Add Another Helmet Safety Standard to Your List

There are several helmet safety standards that motorcycle helmets are evaluated by. Their thoroughness and effectiveness vary. However, a new motorcycle standard that seeks to help better protect MotoGP racers will likely impact the consumer market eventually. That standard? Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).

All Grand Prix participants will need to wear FIM homologated helmets in 2019. It’s more important than any other internationally recognized safety standards like ECE, JIS, and Snell. Cycle World had a chance to sit down with FIM Marketing Director Fabio Muner to shed some light on the new safety requirements.

During their chat, Muner said the helmets with FIM approval are safer than helmets with other ratings. He credits the testing process.

“The homologation is per size, and 10 samples are requested per size,” said Muner. “Each helmet undergoes not just one but several impact tests (high- and low-speed linear impact, oblique impact, penetration). Paint and comfort padding of the homologated helmets are recorded, but they can be modified by the manufacturer and the homologation will remain valid.”

Muner also said FIM will take into account spoilers and other helmet add-ons during testing that some brands attach to their helmets for race purposes. He said the inclusion of these design elements ensures the testing is accurate.

Will Average Joes Need FIM Helmets Soon?

Near the end of the interview, Muner discussed to possibility of manufacturers making FIM helmets for the general public. He said the organization’s main goal is the paddock and the racers. He made it clear that the organization’s mission is not to impact the consumer market. 

With that said, Muner did say he believes it would be smart for manufacturers to sell FIM homologated helmets to consumers. Fim homologated helmets will come with a special hologram label. Muner said to expect to start seeing the label on helmets at dealerships.  

I’m all for higher levels of safety for helmets. Any rider should wear a helmet, and if you’re going to wear one, it might as well have the highest safety rating possible. If you’re in the market for a new helmet once 2019 rolls around, keep an eye out for a FIM homologated one.

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Cake Cake Kalk electric motorcycle Gear Reviews Motorcycle News Other Motorcycle Blogs Stefan Ytterborn Web Bike World

Cake Hopes to Sell 70,000 of its Electric Motorcycle Annually

An Off-Road Electric Motorcycle and a Commuter?

Electric motorcycles provide zero emissions, instant torque, and plenty of opportunities from a design standpoint. Cake’s electric motorcycle is one of the more interesting out there. The bike targets off-road riders, but the CEO of Cake also sees it as the future of commuting.

Stefan Ytterborn, Cake’s CEO sat down with Cycle World to discuss his company and where he’d like it to go. During this conversation, he said he’d like to see his company sell 70,000 models annually. That number is based on a 10-year plan that Ytterborn worked on with his two sons.

“To pursue everything we have planned, we will need to finance the business by about $25 million until 2022,” he told Cycle World. “So far, we’ve raised $7 million.”

Electric Power for the Future

Cake’s electric motorcycle is a unique, dirtbike-looking thing. The company built the bike for light off-road use. It looks to me like a cross between a mountain bike and a real dirtbike. While the business is focused on the off-road portion of the market right now, Ytterborn talked a lot about the bike being used as a commuter vehicle in the future.

“The electric drivetrain suits a light, snappy vehicle,” he said. “The lion’s share of our business is going to be off-road inspired, but every model that we introduce will become a commuter bike as well.”

Going after off-road enthusiasts first is an interesting idea. It’s so vastly different from most other electric motorcycle manufacturers who focus on making a commuter bike first. It’s an interesting approach and one that I hope works for the company.

Cake Kalk electric bike charging
Image from Cake

If they can build up a customer base of people riding these off-road. it makes sense that they’d be able to make the transition to the street.

The Cake Kalk, the production version of the bike, is made in Taiwan and the drivetrain of the motorcycle is made in Europe. The Cake team designed it from the ground up. It has a top speed of about 45 mph and a range of up to about 50 miles. The motor is a range 7-15 kW mid motor and the battery is a 2.6kWh lithium ion. There are three ride modes and adjustable motor braking.

That sounds like it could be a fun toy or a useful commuting machine, depending on how far or fast you need to go. However, I see Cake’s machine needing a little more juice to truly entice most riders.

Cake Kalk electric motorcycle getting some air
Image from Cake
Cake Kalk doing a wheelie
Image from Cake
Cake Kalk electric motorcycle rear view
Image from Cake

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Double Trouble: Hot Chop’s twin-engined Harley drag bike

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
Squeezing two Harley engines into one chassis is a special form of lunacy, most commonly found in the drag racing scene in the USA.

In the glory days of the mid-70s, Bonnie Truett linked a pair of Sportster motors and nitro-injected them. A decade later, Elmer Trett built an even faster twin-engined bike: the ‘Freight Train,’ which ran the quarter mile in under seven seconds.

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
Despite the wealth of tuning talent in Japan, no double-engined Harley has been built there—until now. Kentaro Nakano is the man who has broken the drought, by creating the engineering masterpiece we’re looking at here.

Nakano-san operates as Hot Chop Speed Shop in Kyoto, and is held in high regard in local Harley circles.

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
At the Mooneyes show a few weeks ago, his monstrous drag racer scooped awards from two of Japan’s biggest moto magazines—Hot Bike and Vibes. So we asked Mr. Nakano to organize a shoot for us, and he kindly obliged.

“I started the project in December 2017,” he tells us. “It’s a tribute to the drag racers of the 1970s, using Sportster XLCH engines.”

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
The front engine is a 1969 vintage ironhead, and the engine behind it is a couple of years older. Both mills were thoroughly rebuilt, with help from Nakano’s friend Kazuhiro Takahashi of Sakai Boring.

Fuel is metered through S&S Super B carbs (which first hit the market in 1975) fitted with one-off intake funnels.

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
Nakano has also changed the timing of the engines, to create gaps between the exhaust pulses. At idle, ‘Double Trouble’ sounds unmistakably like a Harley, we’re informed—but at high rpm, more like a Japanese multi-cylinder engine.

Connecting plates link the V-twins together, and the output shafts are hooked up to two primary drives: one from a current model Sportster, and another from a modern Big Twin tourer.

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan

The transmission is the weak point on a 1960s Sportster, and with two engines in tandem, sticking with the stock gears would result in tears. So Nakano has installed the four-speed ‘box from a 1980s Big Twin.

With the powertrain sorted, Nakano turned his attention to the frame. It’s an entirely custom-built affair, using steel piping, with forks from an early 70s Ducati 750 Imola up front—slightly shaved for a custom look.

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
The discreet paint is by GRIMB Krazy Painting, which despite the odd name is the go-to shop for many of the top Japanese custom auto and moto builders.

Nakano has selected aluminum wheels, 18 inches front and back, and both with classic H-type rims. They’re shod with drag slicks from M&H, the company that ‘wrote the book on traction.’

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
He’s installed a front brake from the Minnesota specialist Airheart—a company familiar with the requirements of drag racing—while the back brake is from the Californian firm Wilwood.

The cockpit is simple: one-off drag bars are clamped into a custom top yoke, with a 1970s Harley tachometer just ahead. The levers are one-offs too, but the grips are off-the-shelf Japanese items.

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
The aluminum bodywork is minimalist in the extreme: a simple cylindrical fuel tank sitting on the frame top tube, and a cowl behind the seat that doubles up as an oil tank.

Atelier Cherry delivered the hand-sewn leather seat pad, which looks as though it’s been in service since the 70s.

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
‘Double Trouble’ looks fast even standing still. Nakano is going to take it to the Japanese drag strips in the coming months, and with the help of engine builder Takahashi-san, he’ll be recreating the spirit (and hopefully the quarter mile times) of the famous 70s American bikes.

If the results are good, the next step is to find a sponsor and take the bike to the Bonneville Salt Flats for some extreme speed runs.

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hot Chop Speed Shop of Japan
But first, there’s one more small job Nakano needs to complete before he starts racing: the addition of a supercharger.

“I already have it in stock,” he says …

Hot Chop Speed Shop | Facebook | Instagram | Images by Satoru Ise of Vibes Magazine

Twin-engined Harley drag bike by Hotchop Speed Shop of Japan

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Bugatti’s 3D Printed Brake Caliper and Its Implications

The Future of Automotive and Motorcycle Manufacturing?

I grew up around tool and die makers, machinists, and other people working in the trades. When I think of building or manufacturing things, I think of taking a piece of raw material, reducing it down, bending, and crafting it into the desired item.

Additive manufacturing, which is exactly what 3D printing is, isn’t my first thought when it comes to manufacturing. Instead of removing material to make a piece you add material slowly to create something. This type of manufacturing is likely the future, and Bugatti has 3D printed a brake caliper.

The eight-piston monobloc brake caliper itself is interesting. It’s made of a special kind of titanium that was difficult to work with previously because of the inability to mill the material. With 3D printing, you can now more easily use it to make intricate parts.

Bugatti’s process consists of using 400-watt lasers to build the brake caliper. There are over 2,200 layers of titanium material that make up the part. It takes about 45 hours to print the caliper and then another 11 hours to finish it.

The Future of Motorcycle Manufacturing?

While Bugatti’s 3D printed brake caliper is interesting and a legitimate achievement, it has me wondering how this will change motorcycle manufacturing in the future.

We’ve see some 3D printed motorcycles already. The German business BigRep recently unveiled its fully-3D printed, fully electric motorcycle prototype through its NOWLAB consultancy. That bike used thermoplastic material, and the only parts that weren’t 3D printed were the electrical components, including the electric motor.

Could the future of motorcycle manufacturing look like a mashup of NOWLAB’s motorcycle and Bugatti’s 3D titanium printing process?

A part of me hopes so, and another part of me wonders how these manufacturing processes would impact the design and performance of the bikes. If it makes bikes safer, faster, and cheaper, I’m all for it. If it’s going to add unneeded complexity and cost to the finished products, I’m not.

It will be interesting to see if VW, which owns Bugatti, tries this manufacturing process on any of its other companies, like Ducati. A Ducati superbike with some titanium 3D-printed Bugatti brake calipers sounds pretty cool to me. That said, I bet it’d be one expensive motorcycle.


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