French ar­ti­sans get artis­tic with e-Raw bike

The Witness - Wheels - - BIKING - LOZ BLAIN

THE elec­tric bike seg­ment must be such an ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­nity for bud­ding mo­tor­cy­cle de­sign­ers.

In­stead of mak­ing win­dow dress­ing for an in­creas­ingly com­plex com­bus­tion en­gine, you’re deal­ing with an in­cred­i­bly sim­ple, com­pact mo­tor and a flex­i­bly shaped bat­tery pack­age.

Plus, no­body has de­cided what an elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle should look like yet, so you’re free to experiment with all sorts of funky ideas that would sim­ply never fly in the petrol-pow­ered bike world.

Case in point: the e-Raw from France’s Ex­pe­mo­tion, which fea­tures a float­ing seat made from 80-odd lay­ers of wood lam­i­nate, and uses an iPhone as a dash.

The e-raw is clearly not de­signed for pro­duc­tion; the process of cre­at­ing that ex­tra­or­di­nary lam­i­nate seat unit looks painstak­ing and time-con­sum­ing, and the bike’s clean de­sign ben­e­fits from the fact that cre­ator Martin Hulin hasn’t both­ered to stick brake lights or in­di­ca­tors on it.

But it’s an ex­am­ple of what can be achieved when the hard­ware and plumb­ing as­so­ci­ated with a com­bus­tion en­gine is ditched in favour of an elec­tric unit.

With the fuel tank gone, Hulin has been able to keep mass low and cen­tral while stick­ing on that eye-pop­ping seat unit.

It’s a retro-fu­tur­is­tic de­sign and Hulin seems clearly to be a lover of petrol bikes as well, de­scrib­ing in poetic French his ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the “charm­ing sounds and per­fumes” of the petrol mo­tor, but say­ing they must give way to the “os­motic si­lence and tran­scen­den­tal flow” of the elec­tric.

Per­son­ally, I can see that wooden seat rudely in­ter­rupt­ing my “tran­scen­den­tal flow”, but then com­fort is fre­quently the first ca­su­alty on a cus­tom bike.

Drive is by belt, the frame is a sim­ple me­tal tube de­sign, and the sus­pen­sion is tra­di­tional USD forks with a laid-over shock — although other CAD im­ages from the Ex­pe­mo­tion web­site show that Hulin has been ex­per­i­ment­ing with the idea of a girder front end. For the sake of sim­plic­ity, the reg­u­lar fork is a win­ner in this case.

There’s no de­tail avail­able on bat­tery ca­pac­ity, mo­tor out­put, charge times, range or pric­ing, be­cause it’s not a pro­duc­tion ma­chine.

But as a de­sign study and a pro­to­type it’s an in­ter­est­ing ma­chine nonethe­less, and we hope it’s not the last we see from Hulin. — Giz­mag.


Martin Hulin’s e-Raw elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle shows what a new gen­er­a­tion of elec­tric bike de­sign­ers can do with the space not taken up by an in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine.


The price of beauty: A sad­dle that needs a bit more fil­ing and the awk­ward han­dle­bars.


The dash cra­dles a smart phone, al­tough a wa­ter­proof Sony Ex­pe­ria would be a bet­ter choice than this iPhone.

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