Electric-Powered Cafe Racer Harkens Back to the History of Speed
When American World War II vets came back from the horror they endured, they snapped up the all the Army standard issue Harley Davidson motorcycles they could get their hands on – often at bargain basement prices.
They were very large bikes and the servicemen riders set to work making them faster to provide the necessary shot of adrenaline they were looking for on the open road, far from the madding crowds eager to ask them about “The War.” The bikers hacked away the the parts not deemed useful, and the resulting machines were dubbed “bobbers.”
In Europe, riders were looking for the same thrill of speed, but narrow, winding roads and high fuel prices demanded a different sort of rocket for riders looking to push the edge of the envelope. Those unique requirements led to the creation of what was named the “cafe racer.” These were stripped-down – often British and Italian – bikes which were, due to their light weight and finely-tuned mills, capable of outrageous bursts of speed and silky handling.
Times have changed, and the requirements of motorcyclists seeking the proper urban and suburban road machines are changing with them. Once again, high fuel prices, a reaction against bikes with less-than-optimal handling and the need for speed and style have created a sub-genre of motorcycles at the bleeding edge of technology and desire. A husband and wife team based in South Carolina have answered the call with an electric motorcycle that features the appeal of the classic cafe racer.
Ed and Tammy Fargo started out riding, drag racing and building on a shoestring when they spent $250 for a 1978 Honda CB750 basket case and began their quest for electric cafe racer perfection. After ripping out the engine and exhaust, the Fargo’s bolted in Headway batteries, an Altrax 450 AMP controller, a Motenergy.com ME1003 Motor and some Airtech period-correct fiberglass parts, and the machine’s 90 volt power plant can now push their cafe racer to 102.5 MPH, and that’s as serious as a heart attack when it comes to electric-motorcycle speed.
It looks fine like Spring Wine, and if you don’t like the sound? Better get used to it, that electric buzz is the future of motorcycling, and it’s coming on like a freight train…
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