Dakar-style elec­tric bike

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Jor­dan Gib­bons SE­NIOR RE­PORTER

‘I got tired of al­ways rid­ing noisy bikes and the lo­cals used to com­plain’

In the foothills of the Alps, not too far from Turin, a man is tear­ing up the trails but he’s do­ing it in near si­lence. That man is Pier­paolo Rigo, a for­mer Dakar racer, and he’s rid­ing a Tacita – an elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle of his own cre­ation.

“I be­came tired of al­ways rid­ing very noisy bikes and all the lo­cals used to com­plain about it,” says Rigo. “I started to look at other op­tions and ap­proached another Euro­pean man­u­fac­turer about pro­duc­ing an elec­tric bike. But they weren’t in­ter­ested in chang­ing, so I de­cided to make my own bike.”

Shock hor­ror

The Rally uses a wa­ter-cooled elec­tric mo­tor that puts out roughly 30bhp and 55ftlb of torque al­though it’s worth not­ing that elec­tric mo­tor con­ver­sions to me­chan­i­cal horse­power don’t tell a proper tale (if you dou­ble the bhp fig­ure, you’re closer to how it feels to ride). The rest of the range use a sim­i­lar mo­tor but the power and torque vary.

Un­like many other elec­tric bikes, the Tac­i­tas are fit­ted with a clutch and a five-speed gear­box. Around town Rigo says you can ride ev­ery­where in third or fourth gear but off-road you need the con­trol of a gear­box, to con­trol rear wheel spin.

To make it user-friendly and more fun, the Rally is fit­ted with var­i­ous modes that can be al­tered with the press of a but­ton on the left-hand switchgear. One switch swaps the bike be­tween Sport and Eco mode while another changes the en­gine brak­ing. Click it in and the bike slows down on a closed throt­tle like a four stroke, re­gen­er­at­ing bat­tery power at the same time, but clicked out the bike rolls on like a two-stroke.

Charg­ing ahead

The range changes from model to model but the Rally is good for around 75 miles of off-road rid­ing be­fore it hits re­serve (20% re­main­ing). The down­side of this is the big bat­tery packs, which push the weight up to 195kg, but Rigo says some changes are in the works.

“The cur­rent bat­ter­ies can do 4000 charge cy­cles be­fore they be­gin to lose ca­pac­ity, which would equate to ap­prox­i­mately 250,000 miles. Many peo­ple will never do that, so we have


some new tech­nol­ogy com­ing next year that will al­low us to halve the size of the bat­tery, at the ex­pense of over­all life.”

We spent a lit­tle time rid­ing the T-rally in Morocco, as Tacita are the tech­nol­ogy part­ner of the Mer­zouga Rally, and we’re go­ing to spend some more time rid­ing it back here in Blighty, so look out for a first ride soon.

Th­ese bikes are also leg­i­ble for the £1500 Govern­ment re­bate, which is a good job – see prices be­low. See for more de­tails.


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