The world of electric motorcycling is evolving at a blistering pace. Now we have TT Zero at the Isle of Man each year, with teams such as MotoCzysz and Mugen, and the instant torque of the electric motor is finding traction (quite literally) in the off-road world, with Alta Motors Redshift MX and KTM Freeride E-XC. An array of production electric bikes from Zero and others seem to offer better range and power output each year.
Enter the team at Jambon-beurre Motorcycle of France, who decided to build one of the first electric custom bikes. They chose a 1993 Suzuki DR800 for the base platform, as the beefy dual-sport frame could handle the size and torque of the 107-hp, 80kw brushless motor — inspired by Tesla motor technology. The team went for a street-legal flat tracker design. Believe it or not, this electric tracker is going to be raced by famous French rider Julien Dupont (@julzworld) this fall!
Below, we get the full story on this groundbreaking build.
Electric Street Tracker: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
Jambon-beurre Motorcycle is a custom garage. We used to work on gas bikes since 2/3 years. This year, we decided to turn electric! We had the idea after we tested a BMW electric scooter. And we realized that the power/torque potential was marvelous, but the design … well it’s a scooter!!! So we wondered “why not to put this great technology into a cool bike as we use to make?” And we made it! We made a partnership with some friends that have created a company specialized in electric power engineering: PYMCO Technology. Then we met Jean-Louis (explained below), he loved the idea and told us “OK, I love the idea, make one for me!”
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
It’s a Suzuki 800DR Big Bore 1993.
• Why was this bike built?
We had the idea to make an electric bike since several years, but it came real thanks to Jean-Louis, which is a French media that helps young independents creators. He provided us the budget we needed to make it real. This bike is the one Jean-Louis is riding in his comics.
This bike will race in the French Dirt Track in October. The rider will be Julien Dupont, a famous French freerider who rides trial bikes and electric bikes (works with KTM electrics and Alta Motors). Next step will be to create a cool electric motorcycle to be produced in serial for European market, especially for urban areas.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The idea was to build a Dirt Track machine powered by a fat electric powertrain. The influence for the design was classic dirt track machines. The colors are taken from 90’s BMX (white, yellow and strange light blue). The powering technology is inspired by Tesla cars: Big 80 kw brushless motor (model designed for little aircrafts), big liquid-cooled power controller and custom-made (with our partner PYMCO technologies) battery pack composed of 580 lithium-ion cells and a special air forced cooling system to provide 800A at 110V DC.
We wanted to reach a 100km range in normal riding conditions, so the pack has 6.2 kwh of energy.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
We took a DR800 because we wanted a big trail frame with a large motor space (to put a big battery) and a strong structure able to support the 400 Nm of torque!
We dropped down the fork of 180mm and re-designed the rear to implant the motor directly on the swing arm, where was the mono suspension.
Then we worked with PYMCO technologies to design a special battery pack able to fit the frame and deliver the power.
All the rear of the bike is custom made, to support the motor directly on the swing arm, with chain transmission and BMW’s mono suspension on the left.
• How would you classify this bike?
It’s a dirt tracker. But road legal. Got lights, turn signals, horn etc…
Equipped with 19” rims and Maxxis dirt track tyres.
Here the key figures about the powering setup:
– Brushless 80kw (107HP motor).
– 270 Nm torque from 0 to 8000 rpm
– Max speed limited to 150 km/h because of dirt track configuration
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
We designed and machined all the adaption parts to fit the aircraft motor into a bike chain transmission configuration. And of course we are really proud to be (maybe) the first custom garage to build a real electric bike.
Photographers: @laurentnivalle (interior garage photos) and @antoninguidicci (exterior photos)
80kw Electric Dirt Track Motorcycle by Jambon-Beurre Motorcycle from Jambon on Vimeo.
Follow the Team
Jambon Beurre Motorcycle:
- Website: www.jambon-beurre-motorcycle.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jambonbeurremotorcycle
- Instagram: @jambonbeurremotorcycle
- Jean-Louis: @monsieurjeanlouis
- PYMCO technologies: @pymcotech
- Julien Dupont: @julzworld
I fear that the electric motor placement or more to the point, the coutershaft/drive sprocket, in its current position, will result in a huge loss of traction, or “Hook-up” at the rear wheel. One of the most critical elements of set-up for a dirt tracker is the relationship between the c/s center and swingarm pivot. Unfortunately, this bike, as cool as it is is off by about 10″ in an area where a few mm make a big difference.
My prediction? Ungodly amounts of going nowhere wheel spin. The good news? “Rev A” could be designed with huge improvements in this area. Electric bikes have a pretty explosive hit by nature, decreasing the traction with this design could make it damn near unridable. Good luck!
Hi! Sorry in advance for my bad english, it’s not my mother tongue 😉
Actually, the motor is mounted directly on the swing arm, so the chain angle and traction effect make no problem, as the chain tension is constant and has no relation with the suspenssion geometry. The battery pack and power controller position are implanted in a way to put the gravity center verry low, wich is great to control the sliding. The only bad point of this setup could be the unsprung weight, but the motor is light enough and close enough to the rotation point of the swing arm to reduce this effect to close to nothing.
You’re right, electric bikes have a pretty explosive hit by nature!! But the good point is you have it only if you want it! The power distribution is acuratly controlled in live by the power controller. And every parameter can be adjusted and changed in a couple of seconds, just with an iphone and a bluethooth connection. Throttle response, motor brake effect (automatic and manual), power curves, torque curves, traction control and so on.
Their are still a lot of parameters tuning to do to get the perfect parameters setup for each situaton, but we are working hard on it and hope the result will be good as espected!!
Motor mounted on swingarm, bravo, eliminates chain tension issues. How does that affect sprung/unsprung weight? Seems close to the pivot, so should be of minimal consequence unlike a hub motor, no?
Love the idea, have been following electric bikes avidly, but would you be limited to fair weather riding? Is it waterproof?
Hi! this one is a home made prototype and it’s rain proof. But not totally water proof. You can’t wash it directly with a big high pressure jet.
To be fair, almost no motorbike should be subjected to pressure washing. Anything can go wrong even for a waterproof bike. Hand washing only, please. Pressure washing a bike is a relic of ICE riding when we have to deal with grease/oil messes. Those go away on an E bike!