Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lithium Lighting:Electric Bikes

Lightning Motors' electric motorcycle it's made for the street . It goes 0-60 in around 3 seconds, hits close to 100 mph at top speed, and has about a 100-mile range at cruise. The bike is a Yamaha R1 that has been modified to be powered by lithium-ion batteries. The entire engine is missing. So are the tailpipes, radiator, gas cap, transmission and clutch. In their place: a wall of yellow batteries, an AC regenerative motor, an electric throttle and a three-pronged plug, which pokes out from the frame and connects to a standard outlet.


Unlike the Tesla electric sport car, which is powered by thousands of tiny batteries, the R1 conversion uses just 28. Each of them is 90 amp-hours at 3.2 volts and 6.6 pounds. Together, they weigh less than everything that was taken off the bike to make it electric. While the majority of the batteries are concentrated in a Mondrian-esque block where the engine used to be, they're also tucked under the seat where the exhaust was once located, to mimic the weight distribution of a stock R1.

The Lightning Lithium is, after all, just a prototype — an idealistic vision of what could be. Using a track-beaten 1999 Yamaha R1, the conversion cost about $15,000 total. It was the brainchild of Richard Hatfield, a motorcycle enthusiast and solar panel importer based in Burlingame, and Todd Kollin, who's been making electric bikes out of past-their-prime gas-powered ones for the last six years at his Oakland shop, Electric Motorsport. Right now, the shop does custom conversions of aging internal-combustion bikes, with a turnaround time of about 30 days.

Within a couple years, the two hope to make a comparably priced production version of the bike using a custom chassis, as well as a smaller, less powerful $6,000 to $8,000 model.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Understanding exhaust and your motorcycle

When you get the motorcycle of your dreams, you may think that that's it and you are going to be done with it. That's not always the case. Knowing what you can do for you is just the beginning.

People often times take for granted the role that exhaust plays in their motorcycle parts needs. They may not understand that when your bike has a bad exhaust on it, you will not be able to drive it far. This is not a great thing to have to worry about when you just bought your bike.

There are many places that you can get your exhaust system. These include your local motorcycle parts store as well as other stores in the area. You may be able to get a good discount on your exhaust when you are looking on the Internet or at the places that may sell them for cars......

The other option is to do put it together yourself. You will need to have some kind of experience with motorcycle parts so that you know where it goes of all things. You also want to make sure that you are ready for that kind of work. It really takes a lot of work to put it together and make it work for your bike.

Your bike is going to need a certain kind of pipe to make it work for you and what you are doing. This can mean letting a professional find the motorcycle parts that you are looking for and putting them on your bike in the end. People think that it's easy to do, but it really does take some work to get an exhaust system on your bike. Take the time to figure it out and get it right.

When you decide that you are going to put a new kind of exhaust on your bike, you may not worry about what kind of pipes you want to use and what it will sound like. You really need to pay attention to what you are doing with your bike and how it sounds. A bad job can hurt the way that your bike functions and the way that it sounds too. Take the time to find the right motorcycle part for your bike and your needs so that you are happy with the outcome and the sound of your bike for the life of it.


Types of Motorcycle Frames

Single Cradle: This is the simplest of the motorcycle frames, a design that harks back to some of the earliest motorcycles ever made. It has a single large tube for a spine and smaller tubes that cradle the engine. This is commonly used on off-road bikes. A variation is the split single cradle which is a single cradle that splits into two cradles at the back for the exhaust.....

Double Cradle: An evolution of the single cradle, it uses two cradles on either side to hold the engine. These were commonly used on simple road bikes and some custom bikes, but have mostly been supplanted by perimeter frames.

Backbone: These are specialty frames that are used rarely. It has a solid metal backbone and the engine hangs suspended from this. It's a simple and inexpensive frame with a distinctive look, but other designs are better in terms of strength and rigidity.

Perimeter: These frames originated on racing motorcycles. The steering head and swingarm are joined at a very short distance, reducing flexure and torsion substantially. They were originally made from steel but most are made from aluminum nowadays to save weight. Once the advantages of this frame were seen, they were adopted by most motorcycle manufacturers.

Monocoque: Another specialty frame that is even rarer than the backbone. They are very heavy and rigid, combining seat mounting, tank, and tail into a single sturdy piece of metal. They are used almost exclusively on specialized competition bikes and are not a good choice for street bikes.

Trellis: European manufacturers came up with this design although it is catching on in the US as well. It uses many of the same construction principles as the perimeter frame and matches it in rigidity and weight. Its distinctive look is formed by a "trellis" of short tubes that make up the body of the frame. It requires more effort to manufacture than the perimeter but the result is extremely strong.

One of the earliest decisions to make is which of these motorcycle frames is right for your bike. Many of your other decisions will depend on the type of frame you choose so consider the options and choose wisely.


Bike show/autoshow and what you can learn..

There are many shows that you may want to attend so that you can learn more about motorcycle riding. You may also have many reasons for attending this show, but why go to these things?

Bike shows offer many things that other venues don't. They can offer you a way to visit with other motorcycle riders as well as places that will sell you different kinds of motorcycle gear for your needs. This can make it more fun to ride a motorcycle as well as give you plenty of information on the products that may be coming out.

The products that are offered at these bike shows may include things that you have not heard of and that you may be very interested in. You also may get to try some of these great new types of motorcycle gear products......

Another great reason that you may want to check out these shows are the events that happen in conjunction with the show. These are typically bike shows and talent competitions. You may even get a chance to try your hand at putting together a bike engine that you would have never dreamed of. Even the chance to get money for doing it or a great job at a top company. These shows are a great way to let people know of your experience and your ability.

These shows can give you a chance to show off your motorcycle if it has been completed and is ready for others to see. Great looking motorcycles get a lot of attention and are good for many of the things that you may want in the end. Maybe even a chance to get into the magazines that you may be reading on a daily basis.

When you go to bike shops, you will find that there are many different ways that you can learn something from them. You may also be able to get your own motorcycle gear out there for people to see. If that is something that you create yourself. Because there are many products that you may find at these shows, you may be come overwhelmed and unsure of what you may want to get. Take some time and you will find the one that is right for you and your motorcycle gear needs. That way you will know what you want to buy and will know what you should buy.


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