Dakar-style electric bike
‘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.”
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.
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
PIERPAOLO RIGO, TACITA FOUNDER
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 tacita.it for more details.