Electrically speaking...

Posted: 24 Jul 2013

Even if you are a dyed in the wool traditional motorcyclist that believes to have fun on two wheels you must have an internal combustion engine producing the feeling of power through vibration and noise, you cannot ignore the fact that electric motorcycles are now here to stay.  Whilst battery life and size has in the past been a limiting factor, each new press release from manufacturers brings news of improved range and lighter weights, not to mention increases in speed. 

In many cases outright prejudice will stop most existing motorcyclists from even giving an electrically powered two wheeler (PTW) a test ride, even if they have seen them in action at the Isle of Man TT and read about 150 mph plus speeds! But, given current environmental concerns, these machines are going to be the future for our children, not only as daily transport, but also for motorcycle sport as the almost silent nature of them is less likely to attract complaints from neighbours to race tracks.

It is therefore no surprise to learn of the launch of a brand new type of dealer called somewhat appropriately Bike Volt Ltd, the UK's first specialist Electric Motorcycle outlet. Based at the very popular Wheeldon Off-Road Centre in South Devon, The Bike Volt offers a range of training courses and 'try before you buy' sessions on its demonstrator fleet of children’s electric motorcycles, along with protective clothing and full training.

The Bike Vault are currently stocking both the Kuberg and Mecatecno range of trials and motocross bikes, so has something to offer children of all ages from 2.5 years upwards. (For children who are yet to learn the art of balance and steering there is a ‘Pre-Electric’ area on the website featuring a range of the iconic Kiddimoto balance bikes.) The range of bikes is complemented by protective clothing and helmets from leading off-road clothing manufacturer ONE Industries.

Both manufacturers machines have a speed reducing function, allowing parents to 'restrict' the bikes output speed to match their child's riding ability, so there are no worries once away from the safe environment of Wheeldon. As the child gets more confident and proficient at riding, more speed can be introduced as the parents see fit.

In terms of style and type, both manufacturers offer Trials and Motocross style models. The Trials models encourage children to learn the art of slow speed control and the ability master obstacles, whilst the ‘Cross’ versions are great for track based riding.

Overall though both models gives parents greater scope to allow children to use them on private land, in back gardens and in areas that petrol engined off-road bikes are restricted from thanks to their silent nature.

The Bike Volt is the brainchild of committed motorcyclists Mark and Tracie Shippey, who have been involved with the running of the superb off- road facilities at the Wheeldon Off –Road centre. The centre is unique in that not only does it have plenty of outdoor terrain to train on, it also has an all-weather indoor moto-cross circuit, as well as having family accommodation on site.

It has been providing full ACU training courses for a number of years including to children and as a result they have often been approached by manufacturers to test bikes he smaller machines in the indoor environment.

As a result the parents of active children themselves, identified a niche in the market. "There didn't seem to be anyone just focused on specialising on electric bikes," commented Mark Shippey, "Electric bikes are definitely part of our future and certainly our children's future. They offer an affordable alternative to petrol engined bikes with the added benefits of being virtually silent, emission free, easy and fun to ride."
"It's great to offer a product that encourages a new wave of competent motorcycle riders before they even start celebrating double figure birthdays." added Tracie. “As the business grows and electric bike technology progresses, we will look to supply adult size electric bikes for our customers. We are based in the perfect location to offer training and guidance and I’m sure that before we know it we will have adult bikes here as demonstrators too.”

More information can be found about electric bikes on the company's website www.thebikevolt.co.uk that also acts as an on-line shop allowing customers to purchase bikes and clothing and to book training sessions.

Bikes and clothing can be despatched direct to your front door, whilst training courses are all currently conducted at the Wheeldon Off-Road Centre in South Devon.