All I can say is this- if you’re in the market for the ultimate electric bicycle, you might want to wait until March.
Browsing the "Hollywood Electrics" Tag
A month ago, I took delivery of a 2013 Zero FX. My first impressions are here. It’s been a wonderful month, even as I’ve had to work hard to keep The Smug from blinding everyone around me. Well, putting in an 80-mile day on Sunday was a great way to temper The Smug. If you aren’t familiar with The Smug, please take a moment and familiarize yourself here in South Park. Granted, that episode aired way back in 2006 when lowly hybrid drivers could think they were cool. Not so anymore, now that pure EV’s are becoming almost as ubiquitous, and Tesla is profitable.
As you know from my review, I loved the Brammo Empulse, but that 31.5″ seat height was not fun with my 34″ inseam. Sure, I could’ve bought it and built the seat up a few inches. But Harlan at Hollywood Electrics kept hinting that Zero had some really awesome bikes in the works for 2013. I decided to wait and see, knowing that rash decisions have usually not served me well. I wanted to try out Zero’s 2013 S. At the bike show in December, I was still most interested in the S, especially now that it had twice as much power as the previous years model. And of course because Hollywood Electrics had done so many awesome mods to the one they dubbed “Big Blue”.
If you’re going to race, you may as well race with the best. Electric motorcycle company Amarok is entering Pikes Peak, the uber-challenging hill climb, for the first time. To help them get the best possible run up the hill, they’ve enlisted 6 time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Champion Greg Tracy. The Canadian builder is running Agni motors, a controversial choice. This video discusses the development of the project.
As you read about here, I was invited to participate in the 6th annual M1GP 8 hour endurance race, as a member of Team Hollywood Electrics. As the first (and only) female on the team, my race entry fee was waived, so I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to race a brand-new electric bike for free! Sustainable Solutions Partners supplied us with a solar generator, as well as a gas generator. We had about eight batteries at our disposal, and the solar panels were enough to charge two at a time, albeit a bit more slowly than the gas generator. The 8 Hour Endurance Race was a fun opportunity to show the entry level Zero XU in a competitive environment under continuous use. Although we were disappointed that a technical issue prevented us from completing the entire 8 hours, the roadblock was not the batteries or charging capacity.
Come watch Gas2 author Susanna Schick (that’s me) and the rest of the Hollywood Electrics team take full advantage of the Zero XU’s swappable batteries as we take on the gas bikes in the 6th Annual M1GP 8 Hour Endurance race at Grangé Motor Circuit. Hollywood Electrics will be entering a 5 rider team fielding a Zero Motorcycle with an all-electric drive train. Team riders will include Nathan Barker, Jeff Clark, TTXGP racer Jeremiah Johnson, landspeed record holder Brandon Miller, and Susanna Schick. Brandon Miller is currently seventh in the overall points for M1GP, so this promises to be a strong team.
While electric cars haven’t found as many buyers as automakers had hoped, electric motorcycle sales are doing just swell. In fact, electric motorcycle racing has become a hot topic in the two-wheeled world, and a collection of amateurs and semi-pros are clamoring for more events t compete in. Hollywood Electrics and the M1-Grand Prix are teaming up to offer a class for electric racers in the M1-GP series.
Well, the Skyrich is in that special battery home in the sky now, ready to become fertilizer (for real) thanks to the lack of any battery management system (BMS). I ran this battery on my 2009 Yamaha R1 since May 2011, (first reported here) putting about 12,500 miles of mostly city riding on it. So while Skyrich advertises that the battery lasts 2,000 cycles, as opposed to the 3-500 lead acid batteries can take, I only found it to last about 2.5 times as long as the lead acid my bike came with. I didn’t count the cycles, I counted the years. The stock battery lasted 1 year. The Skyrich was starting to get weak this winter, but I didn’t do the research until after it died. It turns out that with liIon batteries, when it’s cold you actually heat it up by turning the key and letting it power the lights for a minute. I did find that although it wouldn’t crank on the first try in the cold, it would eventually crank. Unlike lead acid, lithium batteries get stronger as you use them, they “warm up”.
In this video, Zero motorcycle owner Terry Hershner walks me through the modifications he’s done to his 2012 Zero S to not only make it around town, to 4th place in a TTXGP race, but also over 3,000 miles in 5 days. He worked closely with Hollywood Electrics’ Harlan Flagg to upgrade the controller, among other changes.
We don’t really need all that power, but this is America, and we’re nothing if not obsessed with power. James told me the most exciting ride of his life was following me through LA traffic on the Brammo Empulses we rode today. Today was just another day of freedom to me, only more free because I didn’t have to buy gas. To survive LA traffic, motorcyclists have to be fast and sure. “He who hesitates in war is lost.” are words to live by here. But how fast is fast enough? Would the street version of the bike that won the TTXGP World Championship be fast enough to survive LA traffic?
Electric cars may not have taken off the way automakers wanted, but electric scooters and motorcycles are seeing sales surge. Thanks to a more-affordable price and excellent campaigning from companies like Brammo and Zero Motorcycles, the word is out about gasless two-wheelers. Hollywood Electrics has been a big part of that success, and the Los Angeles-based electric bike retailer is expanding its operations to include an all-electric motorcross park off of the Las Vegas strip.
Last night Josh at Hollywood Electrics made the mistake of handing me the key to a 2012 Zero S ZF9, the most powerful electric motorcycle currently on dealer floors. He was on the phone, so neglected to tell me it wasn’t their demo model, but one he actually wanted to sell. 20 miles later….
Look what just landed in our inbox! This email came with the cheeky subject: “Still waiting for vaporware? We’ll give you $1000 cash back on your Zero Motorcycle!” Hollywood Electrics has thrown down the gauntlet because, as owner Harlan Flagg explained to me, he’s tired of companies over-promising and under-delivering.
Real-world stars from Revenge of the Electric Car and even some from Who Killed the Electric Car? were on hand to celebrate not only the opening of a film, but the beginning of real independence from oil.
On a typically gorgeous day in Los Angeles, I awoke at “racin’ time” (6am) to meet Harlan Flagg and some of his customers for a Sunday ride. We had a blast tearing through Beverly Hills then past the Tesla dealership and the incoming Fisker dealership en route to Plug In America’s parade in Santa Monica. Once there, I met with EV industry luminaries such as Chelsea Sexton and Ed Begley Jr.
CicLAvia seemed more crowded than the previous two, yet it also covered a much larger area. Harlan Flagg from Hollywood Electrics had this to say about riding the electric bike at CicLAvia: “It’s like riding an R1 on a road full of mopeds”