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gavinfdavies

Joined:

Aug 09

Posts: 56

gavinfdavies says:

Electric Motorcycle

I currently commute 70 miles each way to work on my er6n, costing me £145 a month on finance (due to putting a schuberth lid on the bill), around £350 a month on fuel, and roughly £100 on servicing (£300 per 8000ish miles). That gives me around £550 a month to play with (based on half price servicing).

Now, basing the electricity cost as 10 kWh each way (fast a roads) per day, that's £2 a day, £10 a week, so say £50 a month.

Performance wise I'd like similar (or better) power to my er6n (say 60kW peak, and 20-30kW continuous), and I don't mind motor & battery kits - I have a zxr400 rolling chasis ripe for an electric conversion.
Range wise, a fast 70 miles would be ok (like the 10kWh Mavizen ttx02) and a re-charge at work, but a steady 150 miles plus would be preferable (so say 15-18 kWh), and I'm not adverse to sticking more cells in a tall tank, back box, panniers, to accomplish this!

So, what are my options with £500 a month to play with? Say £20k ish on finance.

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  • Posted 3 years ago (23 October 2011 20:58)

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Andy949494

Joined:

Feb 08

Posts: 817

Andy949494 says:

None...

I've tried to square this circle a few times but alas I cannot. I have a mere 60 miles each way commute which I have done for the last five years...
There are no electric bikes available with a genuine 140 mile range. Even 70 miles at a decent speed is rare. For example look up tests of the Hesketh Scooter (Formerly the Vectrix) or the TTx02. The real life range was frequently half that quoted. The range is usually calculated at 35mph even if they have top speeds higher (and when it goes flat miles from anywhere you are stuck)...
Carrying spare batteries is probably impossible. They are just to heavy to put anywhere except low down between the wheels (where the existing batteries are) (and will also be very expensive - most of the cost of electric bikes is the R&D of the controller and the batteries).
Judging from other bikes at 10KW (13BHP) you would struggle to go much faster than 60mph and acceleration would be glacial compared to your ER6N
Other ways you might save money:
1. Cut down your servicing costs - Kawasaki's are serviced every 4000 miles which is every 2 months or so. Yamahas and BMWs are serviced every 6000 (every 3 months) whilst some Hondas are serviced 8000 (e.g. CBR250, CBR600F, VFR1200) although some are 4000. Stay clear of BMWs R series unless you are going to do most of the servicing (tappets take a lot of time so they cost double the F800 - very cheap (which is why I run one). Honda have a special deal on the VFR1200 - 2 years servicing for £500! (bargain but they are expensive).
2. Cut down your tyre costs. This isn't so easy but I did spend less on my tyres on my 250 - Lighter bikes are better. My deau was looking bald on the front after less than 8000 (ouch).
3. Buy a bike that is better on fuel. There isn't a lot of saving here and there is a lot of performance to lose. My ER6 used to give 60+ mpg whilst on teh same journey my Kawasaki 250R that I replaced it with used to give 72. On the same journey my Deauville used to do 56 (ouch) but it was very warm and comfy in the winter.  I get over 70 with the F800 in normal use (according to fuelly) and I am using it just the same as all the others. If I wimp around and ride at the speed limit in 30, 40, 50 and 5mph below the speed limit on 60 & 70 I get 80mpg+ average (but its frustrating)... The other bike that looks good for fuel is the CBR250...
4. Save on chains. A new chain and sprockets is needed about once a year on a ER6 (or ER250)  (even with a scotoiler). Buying a shaft drive bike you save about £300 per year. The F800 belt drives seem to last at least twice as long and don't use oil to lubricate or need adjusting (and costs £211). If you buy a sports bike (e.g. CBR600F) your chain life might be much longer than this since they are usually much bigger...
5. Save on insurance. Thoroughly research the costs of your bike insurance before changing. I know a VFR1200 would cost me about £400 more per year than the F800 but bizarrely the 250R costs £100 more than my F800... 
6. Don't change bikes. Yeah I know I haven't listened to this bit of advice but the market hates bikes that are used and you can lose half your bikes value in a year...

This is how I ended up with a F800. I would have loved a F800ST but couldn't quite stretch that far so bough a second hand F800S. I reckon the Honda CBR250 should be really cheap to run since it has higher service intervals, nice economic single and is light for low tyre wear too but having had one 250 before I don't want to compromise that much. 125s are even more compromised. Very low service intervals (1800 miles for the CBR125, 3750 for the YZR125) and weak electrics...
Andy.

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Andy949494

Joined:

Feb 08

Posts: 817

Andy949494 says:

Diesels.

MCN doesn't allow you to post large texts so here is the second half....

I have investigated diesel bike but they don't entirely work at the moment - There are three but you will need to do most of the servicing yourself as there is little direct backup from franchised dealers and as tehy are all "prototypes" its quite a scary thing to do:
1. A Diesel enfield from henry price. Do very good mpg. he has done quite a few. Very low performance but 170+ mpg and a range nearly 400 miles.  (Every time I think of this I cool myself off by telling myself that performance is basically that of a C90)
2. A guy who is offering to convert triumph tigers for quite a good price. He took his across Africa so they work. Use the smart car engine (50HP) and give reasonable performance. (Search for diesel triumph tiger)
3. The Dutch diesel bike that looks like a GS and also uses the smart car engine but has an auto gearbox (dieselbikes.net). Reviewers weren't entirely sold on the auto gearbox. Not sure its available to UK buyers at the moment...

Best Wishes (and sorry if this reads as a lecture:-) )

Andy

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gavinfdavies

Joined:

Aug 09

Posts: 56

gavinfdavies says:

leccy bike... will it run off a shilling?!

I did spoeak to mavizen about 6 months ago. The motor/battery/controller kit used in the ttx02 costs about £14k with vat, and the 10kWh pack is good for 100m at 60, dropping to maybe 70-80m on the twisties (not scratching though!).

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Andy949494

Joined:

Feb 08

Posts: 817

Andy949494 says:

Its a bit close isn't it...

From the speed existing small motorbikes do, you can estimate roughly how much BHP is needed to achieve and hold a certain speed (the power is providing a force against the force provided by rolling resistance and air friction which increase with speed). 50mph is about 8BHP (Honda C90) (6KW - 1BHP=750W) whilst to do do 60mph it will need about 10-12BHP (a weak 125) (about 9KW) just to keep it at that speed so my estimate would be about 67 minutes use (or 67 miles) at 60mph from a 10KW/h battery. If you slowed down to 50mph I would estimate a maximum of 100 minutes or 83 miles.
Clearly their estimate is slightly more optimistic (to be fair their bike is slightly more aerodynamic (gorgeous even) than the bikes I was comparing too) but this does not include hills, re-accelerating inefficiency (yes I guess has regenerating brakes) and you are going to have to be very careful not to use more power than 10KW or so when accelerating...
Then there is the issue of charging it at work (I guess the battery packs are too heavy to carry a spare - the website cunningly avoids the subject). Does your work have a recharge spot and how long will it take?
Let us know how your deliberations go...
Andy

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gavinfdavies

Joined:

Aug 09

Posts: 56

gavinfdavies says:

Diesels tried and tested

Well, in the end I bought one of Henry Price's diesels, the 456cc one with a '13hp' engine, and 18litre tank, and a rack. On the 150 miles journey home the rear tyre blew out on the motorway due to sharp metal edges on the rim at the hole for the valve that hadn't been de-burred. 2.5 hours for recovery, and 2 hours labour to fix, and £15ish for new michellin tube and rim tape.

On the two journey I made to work it struggled to do 50mph, and could only manage 30mph up hills.

At 500 miles the crank snapped whilst at 40mpg in town. 3.5 hour wait for recovery, then a 2.5 hour journey home. Henry picked up the bike and returned it a week later, fixed.

New engine a little better and could manage said hills at about 38mph in top, whilst top speed when pushed was 55ish, but cruised at 50 to be safe.

At 1450 mile the rotor shear the bolts holding it onto the flywheel and began spinning loose on the crank. 4 hour wait for recovery (due to phone breaking, pay phone not working, pub not having a phone, and locals not letting me use house phone. Engine fired up and a very scary and noisey journey made to next village a mile down road. Found wonderful pub who let me use phone, and had home made pie and chip & 2 drinks while I waited. For just £9!) then 2 hour journey home. Bike taken off road, and returned to Henry for refund under sale of goods act, which took 2 months, but eventually went through amicably.

With respect to Henry, he did apologise and issue me a fair refund, just a shame about the crap chinese engine. The 40 year old bike itself was about the only thing that worked funnily.

Not back on ER6N, which has now done 33,000 miles in 14 months, less a few weeks on the enfield. Serviced roughly every 10k for about £300 and new tyres, chain and pads roughly every 8-9k at about £350 all in. Problems with bike: rear wheel bearing went at 20k. Cost: £17.50 fitted to loose wheel. Bike still looks as good as new and is on MCN for sale at £2600. Am aiming to get a Ducati 999. Don't ask...

Verdict: Kawasaki 1, Enfield Nil.

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