Brooklyn Motorized’s Electric “Cafe Racer”
April 1, 2011
I know I’m supposed to support stuff like this, and it’s probably as well-intentioned as the FIDO, which I like (more on that from Brooke soon), and café racers are all the rage (OMG POCPhil’s podcast is amazing, more on that later, too) but this Brooklyn Motorized electric café racer thingy just looks like a Portlandia punchline. It’s like vegetarian “bacon,” I don’t have anything against alternative proteins at all, but why disguise them as bacon? it doesn’t look like bacon, it doesn’t taste like bacon, nobody’s going to be fooled, and it just makes you look like you’re desperate for validation from the mainstream carnivores. Make an attractive alternative to meat and sell it on its own strengths, and I’m there, shoving it in my bulgur hole.
I’m probably being too harsh, the performance (60mph) is compelling, and there are some neat engineering decisions going on (the briefcase powerpacks are nice). And other cafe-racer fans like Scooterism like it, so maybe I’m wrong. If the price was right it could be a winner, but I’m betting on premium hipster pricing.
I’m really interested to hear what you guys think about this, and I can’t wait until it comes up on Cleveland Moto.
Update: Brooklyn Motorized’s Wes Cox sent a worthy response:
I was searching “Brooklyn Motorized” to see what people thought, since today’s NYT wheels post was the first bit of press that we’ve released. I stumbled onto your post.
I completely get what you’re saying, it has been a weird trip designing this thing. Your write-up sounded like our team playing devil’s advocate with each other- You say vegan bacon, but for two years now I’ve been thinking of it as: “sugar free ice cream.” My first machine was a P200E, and last year, after a year on the electric motorcycle project, I had to buy a ’74 RD350. I take deep sniffs of the two stroke smoke, as do most of the team here- most all they guys are either into 2 stroke mopeds, and some of the guys are into bigger 4 strokes, SV’s and stuff like that. Well, we are entering an amazing era: The performance and range of electric motorcycles is going to increase at a pace many people are not expecting.
We thought our bike should draw on old street bike looks, but it definitely should not be too retro or too cafe- this was the first prototype, built a year ago.
I think once we get to production we’ll find the sweet spot. And we’ll all have to decide what the hell these machines should look like. We just dont want ours to look like an electronic transportation appliance.
It comes down to the ride too- the torque on these things is plain fun- the future is full of fun small electric bikes, and 2 stroke smoke will be a precious and rare smell.
Oh, and the price for our machine will be $5999, $5399 after the tax rebate. We priced it to land in Vespa price range, and it has been tough to keep the price down like that. It looks like we’ll be able to deliver at that price point.