This 2nd year group project brief was to design an electric motorbike, to capitalise upon trends in the wider motor industry. In groups we were given specific segments of motorbike to electrify, in our case this was a cruiser. This was a collaboration between Gregory Newstead, Emma Jackson, John de Caestecker, Horatio (He Chanxiao) and myself.
Research included interviews with riders and a lot of education of electric drive systems. It became clear that an electric cruiser to some is paradoxical given how integral the behaviour and sound of an engine is. Our direction to counter this was to focus on some of the more foundational elements of a cruiser, namely the range, comfort and storage that allows for longer journeys than on any other type of bike. This lead to the decision to take elements from Cadillac, due to their image of premium ride experience.
This project had a very directed work and review process. After initial research was a period of independent work before bringing ideas back, pitching them to our colleges and making sense of what remained into a final design. Greg’s exposed design with its bold direct drive shaft became the foundation of the design. As a group we brought it closer to a luxury vehicle with our targeted range and storage capacity.
The final design was a fusion of exposed skeletal elements inspired by traditional cruiser bikes with more aggressive boxed components and luxury features from our Cadillac branding. The offset exposed driveshaft became the focus of the rear of the bike, with it and the supporting arched suspension influencing the frame assembly. This also gave a nod to traditional cruisers that use the engine as a major structural element, something were unable to do with the electric motor due to it being comparatively fragile, and the weather sealing required by the gear train. The fiberglass bodywork was majorly inspired by the Cadillac all-terrain vehicles, which conveniently gave allowance for wide spaces to place the long range battery pack.