Once you throw out the internal combustion engine and all the bulky bits that go with it, the definition of a motorcycle can suddenly become a lot wider. Take the Comoto from Hirsch Design - it's even smaller than the Zero S bike, and begins to blur the boundaries between motorcycle and mountainbike. Using an electric motor mounted in the rear wheel hub to eliminate the need for a chain drive, the Comoto can do more than 40mph (65kmh) and do just over 30 miles (~50km) on a charge under normal riding conditions. Best of all, it weighs just 118 pounds (53kg), making it one of the lightest motorcycles we've seen.
Add this to the list of funky new electrics we'd love to test ride - the Comoto is scheduled for launch in Q1 2010, so we can expect to see them available very soon.
The Comoto seems to have been developed with recreational, light offroad use in mind - hance the lack of lights and numberplates, and the large monoshock and Marzocchi MTB forks that combine to give the bike 6 inches of suspension travel at either end.
The brakes are Gatorbrake six-pots running kevlar hoses and clamping single discs at both ends. Overkill? Perhaps, it's only going 65kmh, and 6-piston calipers mean six pistons' worth of maintenance when it's time to strip and clean. Still, they look chunky enough to be reassuring.
As with most brushless electrics, the throttle goes both ways and you can put small amounts of charge back into the motor through regenerative braking. On top of that, you can program the battery management system to set the strength of the regen braking. You can also set the power curve to find your own delicate balance between output power and battery range. A full charge takes about 2 hours.
Good fun stuff, and a nice looking bike. It'll be interesting to see what all that nice componentry and aluminium pushes the retail price up to. More information at the Comoto website.