Getting The Feeling of an Internal Combustion Engine
Electric bikes offer a different experience than an internal combustion engine motorcycle does. 2electron, which came to be from the automotive technology company Zener, just put out the Emula Concept motorcycle. The goal is the make an electric feel like a gas-powered motorcycle.
The technology is called McFly. It’s designed to mimic the experiences of riding an ICE motorcycle. The McFly system uses a virtual gearbox, faux gear shifter, and clutch levers. You can adjust power deliver and speakers on the chassis will give you noises as an ICE bike does.
You can also choose different powerplant profiles. There’s a late-80s two-stroke single, a late-90s 600cc inline four-cylinder, and an early-2000s 800cc four-stroke twin, according to Ultimate Motorcycling. When the Emula gets to production 2electron will have many other profiles you can choose.
The bike will offer a large touchscreen to adjust settings. This is more than just sticking some extra levers on the bike and putting on some speakers. The company has really worked well to engineer the levers to feel like they work as they would on an ICE bike.
That means if you pop the clutch, the motorcycle will react like you did that. The clutch lever, gear shifter, and throttle are all tied into the computer system that controls power delivery. Downshift too early coming into a corner, and you’ll get the expected sensation. It’s pretty clever.
The company has engineered four different modes into this no matter the bike profile. There’s Real Emulation, Easy Emulation, Arcade Emulation, and Beginner Emulation. Real will react like an ICE bike in almost every way. The others offer unique features to make the bike easier to handle or more like an electric bike.
2electron also made the bike vibrate as it would on a regular bike. This paired with the speakers should give you much of the same feel as an ICE motorcycle would provide.
What’s the Point?
While all of this technology is cool, I know a really simple way of getting all of the same sensations: buy a bike with an internal combustion engine.
If you are so worried about losing that experience, why would you buy an electric bike? Personally, I want an electric bike to feel like an electric bike and an ICE bike to feel like it has an engine. They’re two different experiences, and I don’t need a bunch of electronic fakeries to make me think an electric bike isn’t an electric bike.
This is the same issue I have with automakers adding a speaker to the interior of the car to play engine noises for you while you drive. It’s just plain silly. I don’t want fake engine noises. Let things be what they are.
2electron has some cool technology and some interesting capabilities, but instead of emulating an internal combustion engine on an electric motorcycle, I’d like to see the company just work to make electric bikes better.
Now, I say all this having not ridden the Emula. Maybe I’ll ride it and be totally taken away with it. But I have a feeling the best response that 2electron is going to get is, “Wow! It’s just like a regular motorcycle.” If that’s the case, I hesitate to see the point.
The only thing that stands out is that with this system that lets you chose different bike profiles. That means you could have essentially an endless “garage of bikes” in one machine. You could have a single bike that could give you the sensation of riding a different machine based on the engine profile you choose. That is pretty cool, but I’d still much rather own the actual bike.
I’d be interested in hearing readers’ thoughts. The technology is impressive, and having different profiles on one bike does open up some interesting possibilities, but do you want this kind of technology? What are your thoughts?