The electric bike segment must be such an exciting opportunity for budding motorcycle designers. Instead of making window dressing for an increasingly complex combustion engine, you're dealing with an incredibly simple, compact motor and a flexibly shaped battery package. Plus, nobody has decided what an electric motorcycle should look like yet, so you're free to experiment with all sorts of funky ideas that would simply never fly in the gasoline-powered bike world. Case in point: the e-raw from France's Expemotion, which features a floating seat made from 80-odd layers of wood laminate, and uses an iPhone as a dash.
The e-raw is clearly not designed for production; the process of creating that extraordinary laminate seat unit looks painstaking and time-consuming, and the bike's clean design benefits from the fact that creator Martin Hulin hasn't bothered to stick brake lights or indicators on it. But it's an example of what can be achieved when the hardware and plumbing associated with a combustion engine is ditched in favour of an electric unit. With the fuel tank gone, Hulin has been able to keep mass low and central while sticking on that eye-popping seat unit.
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It's a retro-futuristic design and Hulin seems clearly to be a lover of gas bikes as well, describing in poetic French his appreciation of the "charming sounds and perfumes" of the petrol motor, but saying they must give way to the "osmotic silence and transcendental flow" of the electric. Personally, I can see that wooden seat rudely interrupting my "transcendental flow," but then comfort is frequently the first casualty on a custom bike.
Drive is by belt, the frame is a simple metal tube design, and the suspension is traditional USD forks with a laid-over shock – although other CAD images from the Expemotion website show that Hulin has been experimenting with the idea of a girder front end. For the sake of simplicity, the regular fork is a winner in this case.
There's no detail available on battery capacity, motor output, charge times, range or pricing, because it's not a production machine. But as a design study and a prototype it's an interesting machine nonetheless, and we hope it's not the last we see from Hulin. Enjoy the large photo gallery on this one.View gallery - 16 images