Urban motorcycles aren’t necessarily a new category to the two-wheeled industry, but given the changing nature of work and commuting, they are beginning to return to the forefront of the transportation conversation. In many parts of the world, small-displacement engine bikes are the standard for urban mobility. As those developing regions seek bigger, the developed world has turned, if slightly, away from huge power. Even in the US, where power is king, we’re starting to see more engines in the 100 to 200-cc segment. And just in time for that development, battery technology is rapidly improving electric motorcycles’ capacity to deliver big fun in compact packages.
Ed Motorcycles is an Australia-based manufacturer that is preparing to release its first electric motorcycle offering they have coyly titled the “Model Z.” We can’t speak with credibility as to what “Z” stands for in this context. Still, we like to think it’s “zeewwww,” which is the near-silent whisper most electric-powered bikes make. With street tracker styling, a trellis frame, and a modernized finish, this bike looks like it’s a blast to ride. A deeper dive into the specifications should reveal a bit more about the beast to be. Let’s kick the tires.
Street tracker-style motorcycles take their inspiration from one of the wildest forms of bike racing, flat track. Flat track racing is an art form inspired by the motorsports hay-day that is the period between the mid-seventies and early nineties. This dogfight of a mad dash around a quarter-mile track is equal parts adrenaline and absolute madness. The bikes are highly modified street machines designed to sit low and long and ride as loose and fast as can be.
This aesthetic weaved its way into the stylings of cafe racers, street fighters, and many other types of bikes as the custom building community adopted the crazed vibe of 100 mph street bikes ripping around a dirt oval.
Ed Motorcycles has adopted the street tracker style and imported it into their vision of motorcycling’s future. The low, long trellis frame looks to put the rider in a fairly aggressive riding position, perfect for zipping around town. Directly below what would typically be a gas tank is the power unit, managed by a Seven Gen 4 controller. The controller is the Achilles heel of the electric motorcycle; Ed clearly recognized that and utilized an industry-standard throttle controller.
The motor itself is brushless (pretty standard now) and claims an output of 52kw, a pretty punchy power unit if geared correctly, and the throttle ramps in a manageable way. Though Ed does not claim a total run time or distance, at that kilowatt rating coupled with a 99v high-performance lithium-ion battery, you could probably expect to get a good 100 miles per charge, but more detail and full road tests have yet to happen with the Concept Z.
There’s a lot to love about this lightning bolt in a bottle. Certainly, I wouldn’t make it many days before being carted off to jail for attempting to back this thing into every slick corner in town, but I’d look good doing it. At the time of writing, there is no published price for this high-voltage flat tracker from down under, and Ed Motorcycles’ designer Tony Roberts is still tinkering with the design. I can’t wait to see the price tag. Until then, I’ll just have to make the “zeewwww” sound inside my helmet over the sound of my antiquated combustion engine street tracker.