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Ever since the first commercially produced electric motorcycles started hitting the market, I've heard about how one of their great advantages is 'all the torque, all the time'. Which apparently results in some crazy 0-60 times.

So here's my question: Aren't electric bikes governed by the same laws of friction as ICE bikes? In other words, doesn't applying all that power to the wheel simply cause it to break traction, just like a torqhey v-twin or single will do? What is it about electric bikes and the way they transmit that power to the ground that doesn't have them simply spinning the rear wheel?

What am I not understanding?
 

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Yes and no. An electric bike has an infinite gear, so it applies torque and speed in a linear way. You are not getting any jerk starting or shifting. If yiu have ever driven an electric car, the acceleration is scary.
 

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I have a 125 horsepower bike that won't spin the rear wheel under full throttle in first gear. The front wheel won't stay on the ground either. My Vee would lift the front wheel, but I don't remember ever losing traction unless I ran over something slick. I have had bikes that I would hold the front brake and get the rear wheel spinning and do a John Force burnout. Maybe dropping the clutch while at full throttle would make the rear wheel spin.....or throw me the Hell off if it didn't!
 

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Most bikes reach peak torque when already going at a pretty good clip, even in first gear. The electric bikes are producing peak torque at 0 rpm, which is a great advantage in off the line acceleration (and drag racing).

They also typically have nearly all their HP available at any given speed, meaning that maximum acceleration is only as far away as twisting the throttle (potentiometer?), where on an ICE bike several downshifts from normal cruising RPM would be necessary to get the same.
 

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I did a test ride on a Zero a while ago. What impressed me most was the ability to ride extremely slowly, less than half of typical walking speed, with complete control even in full lock turns. On an ICE bike you'd be juggling throttle, clutch and rear brake to do that.

Acceleration was linear but not as impressive as I'd been led to believe - my DL1000 feels quicker. And the top speed was limited to 130 km/h or so to conserve battery. But the biggest reason I decided not to pursue it any further was that the bike was too small for me - I just couldn't get comfortable. But this was one of the earlier models, so maybe I should try again.
 

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Pretty easy to incorporate 'traction control' in the motor control software on an e-bike. Nearly all limit torque output at low speeds. Judicious adjustments allow the bike to accelerate almost exactly as much as the tire traction can handle. The degree of acceleration is largely related to the area under the torque/power curve. An e-bike starts high at zero speed, stays there. An IC bike starts low, increases as the revs increase. Tough on most IC bikes to get exactly as much torque as the tire can handle. In the real world (as oppose to spec numbers) the difference is even greater. Was reading in a magazine why they do 5-60 (MPH) numbers, rather than 0-60. In the real world, rarely does a driver-rider get the opportunity to do all the prep (launch control, etc.) needed to maximize 0-60 numbers. Usually the car/bike is in a gear too high, or off the power curve, or whatever. So the 5-60 number captures better what the car will do in the real world in a normal driving situation. An e-bike always has the needed torque on hand, immediately. In e-cars with AWD, when you have four contact patches delivering drive, the difference is stunning. Most can do 0-60 in under 3 seconds. Puts quite a strain on the neck.
 

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Ever since the first commercially produced electric motorcycles started hitting the market, I've heard about how one of their great advantages is 'all the torque, all the time'. Which apparently results in some crazy 0-60 times.

So here's my question: Aren't electric bikes governed by the same laws of friction as ICE bikes? In other words, doesn't applying all that power to the wheel simply cause it to break traction, just like a torqhey v-twin or single will do? What is it about electric bikes and the way they transmit that power to the ground that doesn't have them simply spinning the rear wheel?

What am I not understanding?
Basically as others have said you are always in your peak torque zone. You never have to compromise cruising RPM vs. Available power to accelerate.
Useful when riding hard on really twisty roads when normally you would be constantly shifting to stay on the power. Also useful on trails or even more so a two stroke on trails where the clutch is constantly being used to maintain the engine in the powerband and torque range you need for the terrain.

It's the next step from all the adventure bikes that are coming out with clutchless shifting now. At first I thought it wasn't that valuable, then I realized you can be hammering a hillclimb and just shift without having a drop in power if you mess up the clutch.

In some ways it's like ABS, decreases required rider skill, but makes riding more accessible and safer.
 

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There is a magic to a ICE that no electric motor will ever have. I have loved ICE's ever since I was little when I helped my grandad work on them.

I don't care if electric powered vehicles prove to be better, faster, smoother, cheaper they'll never be where my heart is.
 

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Yep, I figure in 25 years, there will be a booming boutique market in IC engine collector vehicles. Owners will buy ethically-sourced synthetic fuel in 1 gallon containers to take their collector bikes and cars around the block. With a special permit from the air police, you will be able to fire up your 2-stroke for limited amounts of time. Thank God I'll be dead, most likely.

A similar controversy in the Porsche community right now, with turbo-4's and PDK auto transmissions replacing 6's and manuals. Faster, easier, but less inyeresting and engaging. Sometimes it is about experience and involvement, not performance.
 

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The first advantage of instant torque that pops to mind is for passing. 95% of the time my 650 is fine on power, but sometimes I would really like more fast power to get around a slow vehicle than it can provide. Of course, the first disadvantage that pops into my head is more fast power would probably lead me into more poor decisions (one reason I gave up my liter bike: too much power).
 

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The first advantage of instant torque that pops to mind is for passing. 95% of the time my 650 is fine on power, but sometimes I would really like more fast power to get around a slow vehicle than it can provide. Of course, the first disadvantage that pops into my head is more fast power would probably lead me into more poor decisions (one reason I gave up my liter bike: too much power).
One reason I like driving semis. Roll off the clutch at 750 rpm idle from a dead stop to get your 80,000lb rig moving. Peak torque curve is roughly 1100-1400 rpm, most shifting done at 1300-1500rpm. From there to the 1850 rpm governed redline is just noise. Dual overhead cams, four valves per cylinder ~38lbs of boost, and floor it every shift. You need about 2 miles open road to the closest oncoming traffic to safely overtake another semi going 3-5mph slower on a two lane.
 

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Okay it isn't a bike and for the sake of full disclosure I sell Porsche's for a living.

Porsche has recently come out with their first Electric car called the Taycan. We got it over a week ago but I was off sick and got my first chance to drive it recently.

I did a short drive in the "Turbo" version which is roughly a 3 second 0 to 60 car, maybe a bit quicker so it is in the same ballpark as a DL1000. When you take off the acceleration is amazing! It just PULLs. If you are cruising along at 50 mph and you stomp it it accelerates at what feels like the same rate. Same thing at 75 mph. It messes with your brain. It really is incredible to experience it as the sensations are just hard to understand!

If electric bikes do the same I suspect it will feel frightening, at least at the beginning.

(Btw the car I drive has a sound package which I thought would be a bit gimmicky but when you hear the motor sounds amplified inside the car it's pretty amazing!)

..Tom
 

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Ever since the first commercially produced electric motorcycles started hitting the market, I've heard about how one of their great advantages is 'all the torque, all the time'. Which apparently results in some crazy 0-60 times.

So here's my question: Aren't electric bikes governed by the same laws of friction as ICE bikes? In other words, doesn't applying all that power to the wheel simply cause it to break traction, just like a torqhey v-twin or single will do? What is it about electric bikes and the way they transmit that power to the ground that doesn't have them simply spinning the rear wheel?

What am I not understanding?
The potential I can see is that the power controller can recreate the uneven firing effect of a big v-twin, or crossplane motor like Yamaha's R1, which you all know are designed to give the rear tire a tiny break in the action, which allows for greater traction and grip while on the throttle, much easier than one can with a conventional ICE motor. Bikes of today are already rely very heavily on electronics to manage power output, braking, etc...., adding in another electric component like an electric motor just seems like a natural progression to all the electronics we currently take for granted....

I know formula 1 cars dabble with electric motor assist, but don't know if they use these electric motors to assist in power delivery, tire grip, etc....

It's a brave new world a'comin
 

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Okay it isn't a bike and for the sake of full disclosure I sell Porsche's for a living.

Porsche has recently come out with their first Electric car called the Taycan. We got it over a week ago but I was off sick and got my first chance to drive it recently.

I did a short drive in the "Turbo" version which is roughly a 3 second 0 to 60 car, maybe a bit quicker so it is in the same ballpark as a DL1000. When you take off the acceleration is amazing! It just PULLs. If you are cruising along at 50 mph and you stomp it it accelerates at what feels like the same rate. Same thing at 75 mph. It messes with your brain. It really is incredible to experience it as the sensations are just hard to understand!

If electric bikes do the same I suspect it will feel frightening, at least at the beginning.

(Btw the car I drive has a sound package which I thought would be a bit gimmicky but when you hear the motor sounds amplified inside the car it's pretty amazing!)

..Tom
I agree - my first ride in a Tesla (on insane mode) was indeed mind blowing. It's like being launched off the deck of an aircraft carrier -yet eerily quiet - it's such an unusual and marvelous sensation. I predict once battery tech improves (by A LOT), people will flock to these silent performance monsters.....but for now, they're commuter/errand running toys.
 

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There is a magic to a ICE that no electric motor will ever have. I have loved ICE's ever since I was little when I helped my grandad work on them.

I don't care if electric powered vehicles prove to be better, faster, smoother, cheaper they'll never be where my heart is.
Every time I look at my grandfather's intricate antique perpetual clock under glass, I can't help but think this is how we'll all view ICE motors in the future - a quaint mechanical curiosity of a bygone age....
 
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