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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maarten Timmer VertiGO

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Delft design graduate Maarten Timmer sees one problem with electric motorcycles: since they look just like their petrol-driven counterparts, potential customers compare the performance of electric with gas and come up nonplussed. It's a valid criticism, while bikes like the Zero S and Brammo Enertia are a lot of fun, it's hard to make a case for them in comparison to cheaper, faster internal combustion rivals. Maarten's solution is to take advantage of the electric drivetrain to create a dynamic look that'd be impossible otherwise.


While we see clear design influences from the Tucson BT550 Superlegerra in the front fairing and the Confederate Renovatio concept in the seat unit, the negative space in the middle of the "tank" and underneath the seat provide a significant differentiation to typical sportsbike design.



We'd have liked to see Maarten go one step further and rethink the relationship between bike and rider. While the faux tank looks great and should function well -- providing a grip for the rider's knees -- it's an unnecessary design anachronism for an electric bike. Small battery packs and motors that can be placed very low in the chassis offer the possibility of a Gurney Alligator-style feet-forward riding position that could provide an even more radical differentiation from gas bikes while offering significant performance advantages. It's that possibility of fundamentally altering the archetypal motorcycle shape that has us so excited about electrics.

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