Big motorcycle manufacturers are just now beginning to jump on the electric bandwagon, but that doesn't mean you have to wait a few years if you want to enjoy gasoline-free two-wheeled motoring right now. There are a number of used bikes on the market that are ripe for an electric conversion, and it may not be as expensive as you think to add an electric motor, controller and batteries to an existing machine. Here are two examples.
First up are Donald and Andrew Higginbotham, a father and son team that managed to create their own electric motorcycle from a used Suzuki RF900 plus three months of weekend work. After the bike's engine, transmission and radiator were removed, 72 volts worth of batteries were fitted, which provide power to an electric motor and controller that were purchased from Electric Motorsport. Either an ETEK or a Perm 132 combo should work fine.
Next up is Lennon Rodgers, who says that he was tired of breathing in harmful exhaust fumes while riding his bicycle and decided to do something about it himself. Starting with a Lifan motorcycle chassis from China, Rodgers added a 300 amp permanent magnet motor along with 72 volts worth of lead acid batteries and matching 300 amp controller with regenerative braking capability. A few other bits and pieces, plus plenty of time and effort rounded out the package for under $3,000 using parts sourced solely from the internet. Best of all, Rodgers created a handy DIY guide for those looking to replicate the project.
[Sources: Electricmotion.org, The Ledger via Motorcycle.com]