Motorcycles

Introducing America's first all-electric MotoX track

Introducing America's first al...
Cornering and kicking up dust on a Zero MX electric bike at the Dark Green track in Penrose, North Carolina
Cornering and kicking up dust on a Zero MX electric bike at the Dark Green track in Penrose, North Carolina
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Cleaned-up Zero MX rental bikes wait in the shop for hire
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Cleaned-up Zero MX rental bikes wait in the shop for hire
The Dark Green facility offers riders 1,400 meters (0.869 of a mile) of dirt track, hops, table tops, camel backs and doubles
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The Dark Green facility offers riders 1,400 meters (0.869 of a mile) of dirt track, hops, table tops, camel backs and doubles
There's still an awful lot of dust, but no tailpipe emissions, from the Zero MX electric bikes used at Dark Green
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There's still an awful lot of dust, but no tailpipe emissions, from the Zero MX electric bikes used at Dark Green
The track can accommodate up to eight riders at any one time
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The track can accommodate up to eight riders at any one time
Cornering and kicking up dust on a Zero MX electric bike at the Dark Green track in Penrose, North Carolina
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Cornering and kicking up dust on a Zero MX electric bike at the Dark Green track in Penrose, North Carolina
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
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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
The location for the first all-electric Motocross track in the U.S. is said to have been chosen simply for its pristine beauty, sitting within a few miles of the Pisgah National Forest and the DuPont State Forest and coming with stunning mountain views
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The location for the first all-electric Motocross track in the U.S. is said to have been chosen simply for its pristine beauty, sitting within a few miles of the Pisgah National Forest and the DuPont State Forest and coming with stunning mountain views
Riders can take along their own bikes - so long as they're electric - or hire Zero bikes from the shop on site
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Riders can take along their own bikes - so long as they're electric - or hire Zero bikes from the shop on site
All the fun of MotoX without the annoying clatter from a two-stroke engine
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All the fun of MotoX without the annoying clatter from a two-stroke engine
Novice riders can take lessons at the track but the bikes are said to be easy to ride as a conventional bicycle, except there's no pedaling and they're just a tiny bit faster
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Novice riders can take lessons at the track but the bikes are said to be easy to ride as a conventional bicycle, except there's no pedaling and they're just a tiny bit faster
The 2011 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports (Photo: Zero Motorcycles)
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The 2011 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports (Photo: Zero Motorcycles)
The 2011 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports (Photo: Zero Motorcycles)
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The 2011 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports (Photo: Zero Motorcycles)
The 2010 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports (Photo: Zero Motorcycles)
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The 2010 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports (Photo: Zero Motorcycles)
The 2010 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports (Photo: Zero Motorcycles)
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The 2010 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports (Photo: Zero Motorcycles)
The 2010 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports
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The 2010 Zero MX as used by Dark Green Motorsports
View gallery - 15 images

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.

All the fun of MotoX without the annoying clatter from a two-stroke engine
All the fun of MotoX without the annoying clatter from a two-stroke engine

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 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
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

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."

2011 Zero MX Electric Motorcycle

Source: Dark Green Motorsports

View gallery - 15 images
11 comments
Michael Mantion
This company will never make a profit.
The Hoff
I notice they're not power sliding around the corners, they have the wheel locked up to slide so they don't have the HP to do it. But it looks like a lot of fun anyway.
Derek Howe
they should easily have enough power, since with electric motors you can get instant 100% torque...unlike a gas engine.
electric bikes and cars are the future...and eventually planes.
Trance183
@The Hoff - You forget its 2012 and battery technology is advanced enough to provide all the torque and HP you will ever need. Except not for long periods of time. Electric will always surpass gas engines. Don't forget it.
The Hoff
I'm just calling it as I see it. If you ride bikes you know the difference between a power slide and a lock up. They did their best to make it look like a power slide but the wheel should be spinning hard. You forget Trance183, if the motor or battery is too small it will never provide all the torque and HP you will ever need.
Mr Stiffy
I am just glad that they are making the move from the "Ringa-Ding-Ding" two strokes and the "Barrrrp Barrrrrp Barrrrrp" of the four strokes....
I had some friends who lived a distance away from a dirt bike track and it spoiled the whole "countryside retreat" completely.
Jonathan Collier
For a more representitive 'test' have a look at this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuT6CkmK85Q&feature=player_embedded#!
H Robinson
This is cool. About time. Hopefully Electric racing will catch on. Also Trials bikes would be cool. The noise is why I hate Harleys and the poeple whom put strait pipes on them. Apparently they are like women and need something to attract attention to themselves.
Michael Shewell
Ladies and Gentlemen... the quietest track in North America!
warren52nz
So they have an article about how quiet the electric bikes are and then the video is full of raunchy music. Then the comparison video of gas powered bikes without music so you can hear the bikes. Why would they do that when the whole idea is to show us how quiet they are???