Ask anyone who lives near a MotoX park for one word to describe it, and that word is most likely going to be "noisy." There is one track in the U.S. which is very neighbor-friendly in that respect, however. On the face of it, the Dark Green Motorsports track in Penrose, North Carolina might seem like any other, with all the thrills of hops, table tops, camel backs and doubles, but there's no volumous clattering from a two-stroke engine to be heard at this 1,400 meter (0.869 of a mile) dirt bike park – all of the Zero MX bikes available for rental at Dark Green are 100 percent electric.
Company founder Stephen Salzman told us that the location for the first all-electric Motocross track in the U.S. was chosen simply for its pristine beauty, sitting within a few miles of the Pisgah National Forest and the DuPont State Forest, and coming with breathtaking mountain views. The track opened in late October 2011 and was designed with the help of experienced MotoX riders to try and make sure that beginners and experienced riders alike would get something special from a visit.
While another facility in the area has fallen foul of local noise ordinances aimed at keeping things nice and quiet in Transylvania County, Salzman says that visitors are often shocked by just how little sound the 2010 and 2011 Zero MX dirt bikes available for hire at the Dark Green facility actually make.
"These bikes are so quiet, which many people don't expect," he said. "Spectators can keep up a conversation without raising their voices, and our neighbors love us!"
Riders can take along their own bikes – so long as they're electric – and use the track all day for just US$10, or they can rent the Zero MX models for US$35 per hour. First timers can book lessons, and gear can be inexpensively hired at the track. The Dark Green facility is open every day of the week, all year round and can handle eight riders on the course at any one time, although a lot depends on the weather.
Salzman told Gizmag that on the odd days when rain spoils play – there are parts of Transylvania County classed as rainforest, after all – visitors are welcome to enjoy the "full entertainment room with Xbox, Wii, Foosball and for the over 21 crowd, BYOB beer pong."
The bikes themselves are claimed to be as easy to ride as a conventional bicycle, except there's no pedaling and they're just a tiny bit faster. The MX models available for hire have a top speed of around 55 mph (88.5 km/h) and are said to run for an hour before needing to spend a little more than that connected to a charger. They're clutch-free, there's no transmission or gears to worry about, and no foot brake.
"In the future we plan on making our property in North Carolina a fully self sustained adventure park complete not only with the current dirt bike track, but a free riding course for stunt mountain bikes, a downhill course for mountain bikes, an archery range, and hiking trails," the company's Terrell Hammel revealed to us." We will also be pushing to make the property fully self sustained with renewable food and energy sources."
Source: Dark Green MotorsportsView gallery - 15 images