Electric Motion ePure Race
Progress in sales of electric powered trials motorcycles in the adult sector has been progressive, with the introduction and exposure of the FIM TrialE World Championship in 2017. Gas Gas has paved the way in this world championship with three consecutive wins despite the threat from Yamaha with their radical and innovative prototype model. In the shadows and with no ‘Bells and Whistles’ the French Company Electric Motion has been gaining ground as the market leader with the introduction of its new ePure 2020 model range. When we asked Electric Motion for their thoughts on this new model the reply was: “Let’s get serious”. We invited John Sunter to put the new ePure Race model through its paces in early October.
The new Race model arrives from the development of the prototype ridden by the French rider Christophe Bruand and expands on the Sport model with the inclusion of a fully functional hydraulic diaphragm clutch as found on its two-stroke petrol-fuelled counterparts. Both have a lightweight tubular frame, fabricated using 15CDV6 steel, which is only 1mm Ǿ and weighs less than 5kg. An aluminium engine guard acts as a stressed member, and the swinging-arm is also made of the light alloy.
Both models share M4 air front forks with CNC machined triple clamps and an R16V Olle rear shock, making it a very competitive package. Engine power is controlled by the three options of different electrical maps: blue is for everybody offering good usable all-round power, green is the easiest to use and is for riders who are starting in the sport of trials; and the red setting is the one to make you stand up and take note, with plentiful power on hand at the slightest twist of the throttle.
Quick Spin – John Sunter
Our ‘Quick Spin’ test pilot is John Sunter, who is better known for his ‘speed’ exploits on the fourstroke Montesa machines at the famous Scott Time and Observation Trial. As an instructor at the Inch Perfect Trials centre, John has a good knowledge of all the available machines on the trials market.
John Sunter: “Electric trials bikes or motorcycles have been a very successful tool in our sport to encourage more riders at all levels of abilities to be introduced to the joys of trials riding. If I am honest, on the adult scene, we have seen very little serious commitment from a manufacturer to bring these models to the showroom floor — that was until Electric Motion made the bold move with its new and exciting four-model range for 2020.
“With a new official UK importer and with models in stock, it’s an exciting time for the French manufacturer that offers these four machines to a wide target audience of off-road riders. Before I start to ride the machine, I will explain about the all-important battery. Location is by way of three secure points which make it easy to change. Its physical size is much smaller than before, but in return, it offers more power. The manufacturers claim that it can cover six miles on a full charge and so should be able to do a majority of the twelve-section four-lap trials that we find in the UK, whatever power setting you choose.”
Dropping the clutch
“With no gearbox to worry about, it’s the power setting that you have to choose for the change in the machine’s performance output and, as we have explained, this is by way of three coloured lights found on the handlebars. Once on the move, it’s a case of getting used to the lack of engine noise and gear changing, it is that simple.
“Coordination from the rider between the throttle and rear brake takes a little getting used to as you can ‘load’ the engine power up just like on a petrol engine before ‘dropping’ the clutch; yes, it is strange at first, but once you have adapted to the required technique it all works very well. When you release the clutch lever, the drive selection is very smooth, due to the new motor mounting and superior quality of the frame and the transmission products. Our main hazard would not have been out of place in a Yorkshire centre event, up a very steep rock-filled river gully. The secret here is to ride the EM just like a four-stroke, using the clutch and the electric torque to your benefit, slow your riding down and pick the line up the hazard. Pretty soon, you will be rewarded with your new-found skills.”
The very neutral feel of the machine’s balance is achieved as the dimensions, and mass location is very close to that of a fuel aspirated model. Excellent brakes and suspension come as standard, they are that good. The suspension package encourages you to ‘roll’ the throttle off and feel for the traction. On the steep downhill hazards where we tested, the coordination of the clutch and brake is the same as your petrol models.
“The power and torque at the bottom end of the power range can catch you out with the setting on the highest output, but then this is where the super-efficient hydraulic diaphragm clutch comes into play. A four-stroke engine on full power spits out rocks, whereas the inertia from an electric motor is more linear, allowing you to feel through the clutch for the traction. The low seat height allows for perfect body positioning, and as the machine feels very light, it’s easy to ‘flick’ and ‘pivot’ turn. By the way, the weight is bang on the FIM limit at 70kg.”
“Priced at £7,995, an electric machine does have its advantages. Just consider the engine maintenance — there is none! No more changing cylinder barrels and pistons and cleaning out air filters and carburettors. The transmissions have proved very reliable, as have the batteries.
“I enjoyed my ‘Electric Experience’, and I am sure you will too; try and ‘blag’ a ride on one when you get chance or maybe organise a test ride with the distributor Inch Perfect Trials. Before I close, I just wonder how long it will be before someone enters the Scottish Six Days Trial or Scott on one — watch this space.”