Electric bike review: Meijs style & Electric Motion trials
Story: Harry Fisher
The world is changing and, whether you like it or not, the future of transport is either hybrid or electric – words that strike fear into the heart of any true petrolhead; how can electricity possibly replicate what petrol can give you? But urban transport has to be re-thought and electric is the way forward, especially when it comes to emissions and noise pollution.
There have been plenty of attempts at electric bikes. Zero is the best known and possibly most successful so far. Even Harley-Davidson is getting in on the act. But what about the Lightning, the Victory Empulse TT, the Energica Eco, the Brutus V9 or the Lito Sora? What do you mean you haven’t heard of any of them?
And then, of course, there is the TT Zero at the Isle of Man and now MotoGP is proposing an all-electric supporting race – MotoE – on European race weekends from 2019. It’s inevitable; electricity as a motive force is here to stay!
However, electric bikes aren’t perfect; the one big problem that still remains is practicality. Range is always the big sticking point although this will continue to improve as battery technology progresses. But, whilst the manufacturers haven’t got the whole range thing licked with electric bikes just yet, what they have got right is the style.
Allow me to introduce the Meijs Motorman from the Netherlands and, while it might lack the performance aspect that characterise the bikes listed earlier, it certainly has the style. Is it a scooter or is it a bicycle without pedals? Does it matter? It is possibly the most stylish two-wheeled transport you can buy right now. It will do about 50km/h and has a range of 60km. And just remember that in Europe, if the bike is limited to 25km/h, which this bike can be, you don’t even need a helmet.
Use it to zip to the shops of the neighbour’s house or even the office is you aren’t travelling on busy roads and it really comes into its own.
Of course, the one great advantage of electric bikes is what is not there; noise. They are virtually silent and this brings advantages as well as disadvantages, depending on where you are standing. They are perfect for an urban environment or an estate environment or even alongside wildlife; we all know that horsey people get particularly irate when a motorcycle comes blasting alongside but with electricity as your driving force, you can sneak up on any four-legged animal without a care!
However, we all love the sound bikes make, from the scream of a four-cylinder to the rumble of a v-twin; it’s part of what makes a bike so enjoyable; it’s a signature, it’s part of its personality. But not everyone is like us and, like it or not, they will put a stop to noise if they can, so why not make less in the first place and not give them the satisfaction? Would it really be so bad to lose the noise if you could carry on riding? Not to mention being able to ride in a city; that will stop soon too and not because of noise, but because of exhaust emissions.
It’s not only on road bikes that the electrical revolution is gathering momentum. One obvious area where electric-mobility can be enjoyed without the penalty of range being an issue is off-road and, more specifically, in trials riding.
This brings us neatly to the Electric Motion eScape trials bike and it is here that electric power really starts to make sense. Outright top speed on such a bike isn’t an issue but controllability is. Of course, electric power gives all its torque at zero revs up and this isn’t necessarily what you want when the front wheel is pawing the air as you crest a rise. But the software on this bike has been tweaked to give a progressive throttle so you get all the positives of petrol with none of the negatives.
Elsewhere, this is a typical trials bike; small, light (not something you associate with electric bikes and the attendant battery packs), ultra-manoeuvrable, with top-spec suspension and tight turning circle. There is even an electric clutch, although, in my short time on the bike, I didn’t get to appreciate how useful it could be. OK, so my trials riding skills might leave something to be desired and therefore I am not necessarily the best person to be talking about how good it is but I have it on very good authority that this is every bit as good as a petrol-engined trials bike, in terms of usability.
The beauty of a trials bike is that kilometre range isn’t an issue, which makes them perfect for electricity. You tend not to go far trials riding; it’s all done in a relatively small area so you’re never too far from home or your transport. Electric Motion gives a ride time of about 90 minutes for the eScape. In fact, an hour and a half riding time is a very conservative estimate and, as I keep banging on about, the lack of noise enables you to practice your skills anywhere you like – such as right next to your house – without annoying anyone or polluting the atmosphere. It’s a win-win situation.
So, there you have it, electricity as a motive force is here to stay and is only going to get better and, more importantly, less expensive, as time goes on. We can try to deny that the revolution is coming but bikes such as the Meijs and the Electric Motion prove that it’s going to be good when it does.
For more information on both the Meijs Motorman and the range of Electric Motion bikes, go to www.electronpowersports.co.za
Gallery – Click to enlarge: