Italian company Tacita Motors has been making a series of low-powered off-road focused electric motorcycles since around 2014. They look like decent enough little jiggers, notable for the fact that unlike most e-motos they use a 5-speed transmission and clutch. But to be blunt, they're pretty dull to look at, and that's hardly the Italian way. Here, try and get yourself excited over this:
I mean, it's fine. It's just not sexy. Which opened the door for another company, Aero Motocycles, to step in and make it a whole lot spunkier. Meet the Aero Motorcycles E-Racer:
Keeping the Ohlins TTX suspension and the main frame of the Tacita bike, Aero juiced it up with a larger Tacita motor offering twice the power of any of Tacita's production bikes – a 55-kilowatt (74 horsepower), 120 Newton-meter beast of a thing that offers slightly greater peak power, if about 30 percent less torque, than the awesome Zero SR. And let's not forget, it's got four lower gears than the Zero bike and a clutch to play with – acceleration will be utterly ridiculous off the line, and this will be a genuine wheelie monster.
From there, the Aero team gave the bike a comprehensive cosmetic makeover, starting with a gorgeous trellis subframe that extends over the "tank" area and some aggressive-looking side bodywork that wouldn't look out of place on some of KTM's recent streetbike concepts.
A diamond-stitched brown leather seat stretches from the front of the tank right back over the taillight, and the handgrips are color-matched to it.
From there, this thing becomes bling central. The dash is a removable iPhone to start with, running a custom Aero IOS app to manage information from the drivetrain. The speedo is straight-up GPS rather than having any connection to a wheel or motor sensor. The fingerprint sensor "arms" the bike, like a biometric ignition switch.
Above the two stacked headlights (complete with Angel Eyes), there's a built-in GoPro Hero 4 Session mount to record your ride. Brakes are Brembo, the supermoto rims are by CLF, and everything else that can be farkled has been farkled, primarily with tasty bits out of the LighTech catalogue.
It looks a million dollars … And there's the first problem. While Aero gives no price estimates, the lower-powered and unfarkled Tacita bikes are mind-bogglingly expensive. You're looking at between EUR€20,000 and EUR€30,000 – or US$21,357 and US$32,035. God knows what you'd have to shell out to land one of the Aero bikes. Let's put it this way: the white bike pictured here is known as the "tender" line, and it's waterproofed and supplied with hook points so you can easily get it on and off your yacht. Mmmmhmmm.
In all probability it won't be far shy of the awesome, 250-horsepower Lightning LS218's US$38,000 pricetag. As hot as this Aero bike looks, that Lightning bike's just as pornographic, and it goes much faster and much further. I know which one I'd be taking.
There's the second problem: range. With a tiny 5.3 kilowatt hour lithium battery, the good news is you can charge the thing off a wall socket in just 1.5 hours. The bad news is that your range is "up to 1 hour" before a low-power reserve mode kicks in to limp you to a charge point. We estimate the actual range to be around 40 miles if ridden very sensibly. And while that's great for 90 percent of people's daily commuting work, it's not the kind of figure you'd expect from something that will probably cost more than twice the sticker price of a current Yamaha R1.
The Aero E-Racer made its debut at last year's EICMA show, and the bike got such a terrific response that Aero has decided to try taking it to production. We suspect enthusiasm might simmer down when it's got a price tag on it, but you can pre-order yours right now.
It's a beautiful thing, and a quiet indication that Italy is ready to take the lead in electric motorcycle design the same way it's out in front of gas bike design.
The E-Racer will accelerate like Bruce Lee's fist, wheelie like a shot stallion and carve corners like nobody's business. For about 20 minutes. And then you'll be glad it looks so good as you sit by the side of the road staring at it, waiting for your mate to rock up with a truck to get it home in.
Source: Aero Motorcycles