independent

Thursday 17 October 2019

Leading the charge for motor bikes

An Enniscorthy company is leading the charge with their fully electric motor bike, while the Amber Springs Hotel in Gorey and Only Natural in Wexford are bringing in initiatives to cut down the use of single use plastic

Colin Darby on one of Volt motorcycles stateof-the-art scooters.
Colin Darby on one of Volt motorcycles stateof-the-art scooters.

Brendan Keane

In an ideal world motorbike enthusiasts would get to enjoy the inimitable buzz of twisting the throttle and feeling an instant response while at the same time not be worried about carbon monoxide emissions.

Whether it's leisurely weekend spins, commuting to-and-from work or going for a blast with friends at the weekend there really is nothing like taking to the road on two wheels rather than four.

A company based in Enniscorthy has set about bringing a new breed of motorcycle to the national and international market.

What sets Volt motorcycles apart from its contemporaries is that its motorcycles are 100 per cent electric meaning they are virtually maintenance free.

Significantly, and this is a big factor for bikers, the company has worked hard at developing a product that is economically efficient without sacrificing speed or performance.

For many seasoned bikers changing their mindset to go from the reassuring roar of a V-four or straight-four traditional petrol engine to the soft, almost inaudible whir of an electric motorcycle could prove difficult.

However, reservations would soon be dispelled with the realisation that direct electric power has many advantages - not least of which is lack of throttle lag meaning when you twist the throttle the response in power is immediate.

Colin Darby is one of the main people behind Volt motorcycles and when this newspaper visited him at the company headquarters in Enniscorthy he outlined the many benefits of 'going electric'.

'Well for a start off the actual cost of travelling anywhere becomes a lot less as there are no fuel costs involved,' he said.

'There are fewer moving parts compared to a traditional internal combustion engine and fewer moving parts means servicing is not required as often either so that is another cost-saving aspect,' he added.

However, one of the big benefits of electric motorcycles is that they emit zero emissions.

'In terms of being environmentally friendly these are as good as you get,' said Colin.

'We also want to give people a choice and that is why we have developed a range of bikes,' he added.

The company has a number of scooter styled models available and while they are all extremely efficient in terms of being ultra-modern they also hint to the classic era of scooters from the 1950s and 60s.

'All our bikes are fitted with LED lighting as it just makes sense,' said Colin.

'They are more efficient, are far more friendly to the environment, and offer great lighting too,' he added.

While many motor car manufacturers have embraced the hybrid and all-electric sectors the people behind Volt saw an opening in the two-wheeled market that wasn't being filled.

'Some manufacturers have dabbled a bit with it but we saw an opening there for a 100 per cent electric motorcycle,' said Colin.

A significant aspect of the design of their bikes is centred around the v-box frame which really comes into its own on its sports bikes.

'The frame itself is interchangeable between [some] models while the panels are different.'

For seasoned bikers the good news is that the feel from the bikes is no different to traditional, petrol-driven models and the fact that some components are reassuringly familiar such as forks, brakes, and discs means the Volt motorcycles still 'look' like bike s should look.

Colin pointed out that from a design perspective work is ongoing all the time to improve aesthetics and because there isn't 'an engine' as such to show off intricate detail has gone into the panel designs to cover areas of the motorcycles that on traditional bikes would be exposed to reveal engine parts and other components and with regard to the power source he said: 'The technology behind the batteries is getting better all the time.'

One of the slickest looking bikes is the Volt 220 which is powered by a 96V/60AH battery pack which has a range of around 120km.

'We have USB charging points as well,' said Colin.

He also feels that within a few years people will not have a choice in terms of how their preferred mode of transport is powered: 'You will not have a choice because it's all going electric.'

'Another aspect of these bikes is that very little can go wrong as it's really a case of just discs, brakes and tyres,' said Colin.

While the Volt 220 is a wonderful looking bike as well as being extremely friendly to the environment Colin said the new Volt 240, which is under development, will be 'even better'.

'We want to have different vehicles for different people,' said Colin.

Many veteran bikers might find it hard to get their head around having a bike that has no internal gears, valves, radiators, filters or other systems that are part of routine maintenance but the fact is these are cool looking bikes offering comfortable, economic and environmentally friendly motoring - what's not to like.

Four wheels move the body but two wheels move the soul and with Volt the experience of carefree motorcycling has taken a major step forward.

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