Armstrong EB1 e-motorbike combines big-bike speed with small-bike weight
Nathan Armstrong has played a key role in the design of many cutting-edge vehicles, including the Aptera automobile, the Airlander 10 airship, and the outrageous V8 Foose Coupe. His latest project is an electric motorbike he says is unlike any other.
Armstrong has been working as an engineer, CAD modeler and fabricator since 1995. And while he was based out of California for the early part of his career, he moved to Canada in 2006. There, he has been instrumental in projects such as the Bison electric pickup truck, the Kestrel and Project Arrow electric cars, plus the Daymak Spiritus "crypto-mining" electric three-wheeler.
Now, he's the president of his own company, Armstrong Electric Vehicles. The startup began operations near Calgary, Alberta, last year, and is currently developing an off-road-only electric motorbike known as the Armstrong EB1.
As far as basic specs go, the bike features a handmade 4130 chromoly steel trellis frame, an aluminum swingarm, the buyer's choice of hemp or carbon fiber body panels, and a total weight of just 146 lb (66 kg). Its 6,000-watt brushless DC motor takes it to 60 mph (96 km/h) in about 3.5 seconds, and delivers a top speed of approximately 68 mph (110 km/h).
Power is provided by a house-brand 2.5-KWh/72-V lithium-ion battery pack, which should be good for a range of around 56 miles (90 km) per 1.5-hour charge. It can be removed for recharging, or for swapping with a freshly-charged second battery.
Utilizing an integrated touchscreen display, riders can choose between six drive modes. Among these are Walk mode, for pushing the bike around at a maximum top speed of 3 mph (5 km/h); Snow mode, for super-high torque and low speed; Eco mode, for maximum efficiency; Race mode, for full power; and a Custom mode in which users can save their own settings … or, they can use the settings of a pro rider.
"We're having professional riders ride the bike, tune it to their liking and save their profile," Armstrong told us. "Then when you buy the bike, you can download different profiles."
Another unique feature of the EB1 is its rear brake, in that it doesn't have one … or at least, not a mechanical one. Instead, the rider squeezes a metal 3D-printed electronic brake lever that simulates a hydraulic brake, but controls only a regenerative engine-braking-like system in the motor. Users can tune the system to deliver different types of braking performance – they can simulate ABS, for instance, or they can make it possible to lock up the brakes. And because it's regenerative, each use of the rear "brake" helps top up the battery.
Armstrong Electric Vehicles is currently building an initial batch of five bikes, and is planning to enter full production later this year. Once that happens, the EB1 should sell for approximately CAD15,000 (about US$11,700).
But why not just play it safe, and build a combustion-engine bike like people are used to?
"I've always been building electric cars, so for me it was just natural," said Armstrong. "If you're going to build a motorbike … it's faster than a 250[cc], it's almost as fast as a 450, but it weighs less than a 110."
You can see (and hear) one of the prototypes in action, in the following video.
Company website: Armstrong Electric Vehicles