Motorcycles

Banatti's Green Falcon brings bamboo bodywork to an electric motorcycle

Banatti's Green Falcon brings ...
The Banatti Green Falcon is an electric motorcycle project to test and expand on the applications of bamboo
The Banatti Green Falcon is an electric motorcycle project to test and expand on the applications of bamboo
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Banatti's bigger dream: a bamboo Jeepney
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Banatti's bigger dream: a bamboo Jeepney
Next on the menu: coloring the bamboo to create the Midnight Falcon
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Next on the menu: coloring the bamboo to create the Midnight Falcon
Banatti Green Falcon: headlights peek out from under the bamboo shell
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Banatti Green Falcon: headlights peek out from under the bamboo shell
Banatti Green Falcon: small electric motor and battery within
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Banatti Green Falcon: small electric motor and battery within
Banatti Green Falcon: quite a unique look
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Banatti Green Falcon: quite a unique look
Banatti Green Falcon: bamboo is bent into shape and marine lacquered for durability and water resistance
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Banatti Green Falcon: bamboo is bent into shape and marine lacquered for durability and water resistance
Banatti Green Falcon: horse-style saddle
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Banatti Green Falcon: horse-style saddle
Banatti Green Falcon is geared for just 60 km/h, the speed limit in town
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Banatti Green Falcon is geared for just 60 km/h, the speed limit in town
The Banatti Green Falcon is an electric motorcycle project to test and expand on the applications of bamboo
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The Banatti Green Falcon is an electric motorcycle project to test and expand on the applications of bamboo
View gallery - 9 images

A group of green motoring enthusiasts in the Phillipines has built a neat little electric motorcycle to demonstrate what can be done with bamboo. The Green Falcon won't break any speed records, but its marine-lacquered bamboo bodywork is highly sustainable and very cool.

As we've been saying for years, electric motorcycles can look as much – or as little – like a regular motorcycle as the designer likes. And while the Green Falcon doesn't approach Johammer levels of WTF, it's certainly a super unique look.

The work of designer Christopher Paris Lacson and a small team, the bike uses a fairly utilitarian base frame to fit a 3.3-kW (4.4-hp) electric motor and a small 48-volt lithium battery. While the motor is capable of around 70 mph (110 km/h), the Banatti team geared it much lower with a hefty rear sprocket to top out around 37 mph (60 km/h) – the speed limit in Manila – and it'll be a bunch zippier as a result. The team reckons it'll wheelie off from a standstill thanks to its hefty 150 Nm (110 lb-ft) peak torque.

Banatti Green Falcon: quite a unique look
Banatti Green Falcon: quite a unique look

On top of the chassis lies the swoopy one-piece woven bamboo body that gives the Green Falcon its signature look. The Filipino Department of Environment and Natural Resources is planting a ton of bamboo between now and 2020 – as much as 15,000 hectares – for CO2 control and soil erosion prevention. That and other programs, says Lacson, will bring new bamboo plantations up around the million hectare mark nationally. Seeing a glut of bamboo wood coming down the chute, Lacson decided now was the time to develop products and manufacturing techniques to work with it.

Thus, the bodywork, bent and molded on a wooden frame, then coated with marine-grade waterproof epoxy to harden it. Lacson says it's light, strong and gives a very organic feeling to ride, like you're hugging it. We think it looks terrific.

Banatti Green Falcon: bamboo is bent into shape and marine lacquered for durability and water resistance
Banatti Green Falcon: bamboo is bent into shape and marine lacquered for durability and water resistance

And to take advantage of this bike's quiet electric operation, the team has built in a small JBL sound system, so you can rock out on the road. The saddle is leather and built in a simple horseriding style, and the dash is inlaid into the tank.

The Green Falcon is planned as just the first step. Banatti hopes to hand-build 111 of them for sale once they're approved for street use, at an estimated US$21,000 special-edition price point that will put it out of the reach of many local Filipinos and into collector territory. Thus, it'll go on sale internationally if it becomes a product.

But Lacson considers the bike merely a business card, a way of drawing attention to what he plans to do next: building bamboo versions of the jeepney, the colorful minibus-style public transport of the Phillipines. The Green Falcon can really be looked at as a neat little technology test-bed, paving the way for a larger social project that could positively impact the lives of all Filipinos.

Banatti's bigger dream: a bamboo Jeepney
Banatti's bigger dream: a bamboo Jeepney

We wish Lacson and his team all the best in their efforts.

Source: Banatti

View gallery - 9 images
4 comments
VincentWolf
Finally some style in an electric bike. Zero should pay attention.
minivini
Change the gearing to make it a little more internationally friendly (and less dangerous to drive outside a city), and I’d get in line. I mean, I can’t afford a $21k motorcycle, but I’d still get in line!!
Mzungu_Mkubwa
@VincentWolf: 100% agree! There's a huge dearth of style varieties for electric bikes in the U.S. All you can get is those MX-derived hi-seat, long susp. travel items like what Zero offers! Where are the bobbers, choppers, cafe's or good ol' standards? For this design, I think its okay, but two limitations immediately come to mind: how do I raise the handlebars so that I'm not constantly in back-wrenching crotch-rocket-crouch? Also, how might one add wind protection? Not deal-killers, either quibble, but something to think about here...
ljaques
At $2,100, he'd sell two (Vince and mini), but I doubt anyone else would get near one at that $21k price...except a rich collector of oddities. IMHO, that's one truly fugly scoot. I wish Lacson much, much better luck with the Jeepney.