Can Eco-Friendly Motorcycles Be Badass?

Alternative-fuel and electric 2-wheelers are proliferating, especially in our big cities Would you ride one of these new greener motorcycles? Donโ€™t say no. One day you will. Maybe not if you belong to my generation of baby boomers. But for sure if you belong to the following X or Y generations because nothing else will be legal and/or available at your dealership. Alternative motorcycles already represent a bigger segment of individual transportation, but looking at their designs I am wondering why almost all of the new bike designs I see still look so high-tech/girlie. It cannot be only because of weight imposing a lighter and more feminine stance. The badass factor is one important element and one of the reasons why many are riding a motorcycle. I have nothing against advanced technology, but donโ€™t you think that the designers of these greener motorcycles should also think about the cool factor? Who, among us, is going to be the 1st to build a very badass eco-friendly motorcycle? If I had the client, I would already have done it. So, who is going to?


14 Responses to “Can Eco-Friendly Motorcycles Be Badass?”

  1. 1 saorijohn May 13th, 2008 at 8:15 am

    If they look like the dogs dinner above they will never be bad ass. And what about the noise? I couldn’t ride a bike that sounds like a washing machine on spin cycle.

    But the brute power will come as the technology develops. I recently milled the body buck for an electric sportscar that does 0-60mph in 4 secs and has the equvilant of 700bhp. And it ain’t no microcar, it’s as big as a Dodge Viper.

    Check it out here:

  2. 2 StarWolve May 13th, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Here’s a couple from maker faire that used existing bike chassis:

    I’m a Gen X’er (I guess, I’m 27, I think I fall in between the two) and love building bikes, but I just haven’t seen an electric prototype that I’ve liked. I can appreciate the power ( that some electric bikes can make, but the lack of sound is a big turn-off, and the designs so far have looked like a bicycle wrapped in plastic. I think that they need some serious design help to sway someone into purchasing an electric bike.

    But then again, with gas prices as they are, I think some might buy to save on gas, rather than to save the environment. I’m personally considering building a little XV250 chop (my wife gets nervous when everytime I pick up a sawzall within 50′ of her Virago 250) just for the gas savings!

    btw: Another neat article I found at A homemade dyno for motorcycles:

  3. 3 Dave B. May 13th, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    I doubt that a so-called Eco Friendly bike can be made to suit the taste of a biker, the whole experience of style, sound, power, and the ability to travel coast to coast is the essence of riding. Making one of these odd looking machines look less odd will not be enough to sway a person who has enjoyed a real full sized motorcycle. Maybe teens, or people simply seeking cheap transportation will ride them, but you’ll probably never see a “biker” anywhere near one. There is just no cool factor in them, only practicality… and practicality is the opposite of custom.
    At least that’s the way I see it.

  4. 4 Dave B. May 13th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    And to add, dressing this type of machine up in custom bike clothing doesn’t make it a custom bike, just kinda like an oversized mini-chopper… another concept I never understood.

  5. 5 Nicker May 14th, 2008 at 12:30 am


    That looks like something from another lame “Star Wars” fantasy.

    “…Maybe not if you belong to my generation of baby boomers. But for sure if you belong to the following X or Y generations because nothing else will be legal and/or available …”

    No “maybe” about it.
    Certainly not for my generation.
    We’re all 2nd amendment supporters.

    Any Green attempt to legislate us out of our scooters would risk a massive response.

    “lock-n-load” MFer………!!


  6. 6 StarWolve May 14th, 2008 at 7:29 am

    Cyril, take a look at the site above. It’s a design company that is designing a “Zero Emission // Zero Impact Speed machine” in standard motorcycle configuration. There’s not much detail on the page, but the concept is interesting nonetheless. The side panels make for a large canvas to “customize”, but I see it as little more than when people apply vinyl decals to an iPod or laptop and call it “customized”. To me, it appears that the “boxy” look is the new thing in design, and it’s showing up in everything from cell phones to cars.

    Now if only that company would give some details on what “Zero Emission // Zero Impact” really means in their design… so far they’ve made an interesting conceptual body, with no detail on the drivetrain that really makes it “Eco-friendly”.

    And just so Nicker knows, I’m a 2nd ammendment supporter too, and currently toting a rifle for uncle sam in the sandbox as I write this. Most of my gen-X “peers” fit the stereotypes, but there are still a few of us that consider ourselves well educated and well armed bikers!

  7. 7 Troy May 14th, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Perhaps a lot of us would build one if we had the client. I haven’t met anyone yet who wants an electric chopper. What do we do, add a surround sound amp to play recorded pipes? That would be a huge drain on the power supply. Most people I’ve met get an adreneline surge from the sound of finely tuned pipes and a fat cam and who among us doesn’t appreciate a good adreneline surge? What is “eco-friendly” when it comes to motorcycles? We’ve already converted engines to burn on alcohol for choppers that are ridden in places like Brazil, where you can’t get gas. There’s a lot of places they need to look before they can think about taking our tuned pipes and fat cams from us.

  8. 8 madpuppy May 14th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Nicker : You crack me up lol!

  9. 9 Dave B. May 14th, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Here are some GREEN things to consider…
    1. Most electricity in the U.S. comes from coal, in my home state, 93% of electricity is coal generated, and before you scream that is exceptional, just check with your local power company about how much of your electricity is from coal. The last time I checked, coal is a fossil fuel, so total electric vehicles are essentially coal powered vehicles.
    2. Batteries, even home use but especially auto batteries, are now considered HAZARDOUS WASTE and it is becoming more common for municipalities to stop accepting them for disposal, so battery vehiles or even hybrids, have a larger than usual anti-green footprint.
    3. Less than 12% of plastic is ever recycled, and believe it or not, the lids on many plastic bottles are not the type of plastic recyclers can use… so plastic is not eco-friendly for vehicles either.

    You know what gets recycled a lot? Steel, aluminum, zinc, magnesium, copper, the stuff you find in common vehicles… and adversely, the stuff that is rarely recycled is common in so called “eco-friendly” vehicles. I watched a program on PBS 2 years ago that explained the energy required to recycle a 70s vintage automobile, and create a new hybrid car, exceeded the potential energy savings of leaving that old car on the road!

    My point to all this is that “green” or “eco-friendly” vehicles are mostly horseshit ideas, commonly used by well meaning, but horseshit laden people. Therefore, I shall continue to consume fossil fuels with the full knowledge fossil fuel vehicles make a MUCH smaller impact on our environment than thier “green” counterparts. And they’re damn sure a lot cooler!

  10. 10 Nicker May 15th, 2008 at 1:34 am

    “…but there are still a few of us that consider ourselves well educated and well armed bikers!…”

    Glad to hear it.
    And keep your head down. We need ya back here in one piece to carry on the good fight.
    Because the rest of the sniveling lame bastards appear to be clueless and useless……….. ๐Ÿ™

    I’ve about had the ass with this “Green” crap.
    Because of the local environmentalist i have had to put all projects on hold for two years in order to totally rebuild my Deck & Dock. All because of pending legislation that will require us to change our dock flotation from Urethane foam to hard plastic.

    Apparently some limp wrist-ed clown has decided that the migratory ducks get indigestion from eating the foam while their munching on the marine growth around my dock……….. ๐Ÿ™

    Not only am i out two years of build time, but these bastards have precipitated a significant impact on my build budget (and i still have to build the railings).
    At this stage i’m not a happy camper.


  11. 11 psychodrew May 19th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    if that is where bikes are going we need to stop

  12. 12 Ausibiker Jul 18th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Looks like no other responses for a while, well boy’s, there are other alternatives that are green and you don’t have to give up on the pure sound and power of the real deal. How about hydrogen. Technology is there, why not to develop it further using same combustion engines. You can handle this as well as natural gas and it is clean burning. I think it is easy to make for the average person with a bit of training, there for energy companies don’t want to make it available, they will run out of business if any one will make it’s own fuel.

  13. 13 oluwaseyi oni Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    i really have interest in the machine.can i buy one.i want to market it.i mean as a can i achieve that.kindly contact my email above.hope to hear from you.

  14. 14 Visa Blackcard Feb 7th, 2010 at 9:42 am

    There’s a lot to learn from this.

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