Permit me a moment of heresy. I certainly can appreciate the visceral sensation derived from the sound and power generated by downshifting a Ducati or Harley. The reality we all need to face is that hybrids are pervasive and the line of concept bikes from ecycle might re-define the hog. Designed by Machineart of Frenchtown, NJ, these bikes will put some green into your machine.
This third-generation of hybrid cycles is scheduled to be out later this year. Designed on a monocoque frame (reportedly stronger than the traditional welded tube), the hybrid drive gets up to 150 MPG from gasoline, propane, or diesel. The cornerstone of the bike is their trademark SolidSlot brushless, low-voltage motor/generator. Much like today’s hybrid cars, the battery-powered motor accelerates while the fuel motor cruises and charges the batteries.
Both Honda and Yamaha are scheduled to launch a fuel cell motorcycle soon (press gained momentum in 2004). The problem noted by these two conglomerates was that the bikes are nearly silent – a potential road hazard to pedestrians and riders alike. Their solution: a noise generator that would simulate a sport bike’s growl. What? That alone might keep the hard-core away. As for ecycle, it may be too quiet for those of us born to be wild, but the design is quite catchy.