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Electric bikes on the rise

Electric bikes on the rise

Electric motorbikes and motorbikes are increasingly looking like they are ready to transition from mere curiosities to mainstream modes of transportation.

At least that is one conclusion from recent entries in the electric motorbike category. One example comes from Fortune Hanebrink Inc. The company was formed in 2009 by NASA engineer and champion cyclist Dan Hanebrink with entrepreneurs Kane & Greg Fortune.

The Hanebrink Electric All-Terrain Bicycle is said to excel on sand, snow, and ice. The company says its bicycle features the widest tires in the industry with a mid-mounted bracket-supported motor and 14-speed gearing tuned for a variety of surfaces, grades and utility applications. It carries a 36-V, 10 A-hr lithium-ion battery from AllCell Technology.

A 600-W brushless motor lets the bikes hit 30 miles per hour without pedaling or 40 miles per hour with pedaling. Hanebrink says the bike uses the widest tires in the industry. The 20x8-in tires add traction on rough terrain and float on sand and snow. The brushless motor mounts in such a way as to keep the vehicle’s center of gravity beneath the rider to facilitate tight turns, rapid weight shifting, and stability.

The bike also sports a low gear that lets it carry up to 300 lb of cargo up steep terrain. To handle excursions longer than what the single Lithium-ion battery will accommodate, the rear rack can be fitted with up to five lithium-ion batteries to get a run time of over 5 hours and more than 100 miles of riding.

On another front, Zero Motorcycles has developed true electric motorcycles having 100 miles of range and able to hit top speeds of up to 88 mph. The company says when it begins making deliveries of its 2012 line in February, it will mark the first time in transportation history that a mass production electric motorcycle capable of exceeding 100 miles range will be available for consumers.

Batteries on the electric cycles are rated to 3,000 complete charge cycles before hitting 80% capacity. This means that one of the electric cycles could travel as much as 308,000 miles on its original power pack.

The company's Zero S, a street bike, and Zero DS, a dual sport, are both available in a 6 or 9 kWh configuration. As measured by the EPA UDDS, the Zero S is capable of respectively hitting 76 or 114 miles of range. The Zero DS is said to hit an 80 mph top speed and the Zero S tops out at 88 mph. All the street models, including the Zero XU get power from a brushless motor and regenerative braking.

More info:

Zero Motorcycles, http://www.zeromotorcycles.com

Fortune Hanebrink Inc., http://www.fortunehanebrink.com

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