‘Motorcycling is a very sensual thing’: will bikers accept losing their vroom?
By Sourced Externally
January 9, 2022
The advent of electric vehicles will eventually extend to motorbikes, despite a deep cultural attachment to the internal combustion engine on two wheels
The guttural roar rising from the start-up pits was flag marshal Shane Adderton’s cue. The 34-year-old technician has been involved in the motorbike world since he was a teenager, and volunteering at South Australia’s racing mecca of Mallala Motorsport Park always gave him a special thrill.
“When you hear them start up and leave the pits, that sound is something you look forward to,” he says. “That note of the exhaust – the emotion it creates is part of the attractiveness.”
The vrooming from the pits also serves a more practical purpose. As a flag marshal, it was Adderton’s signal to march out and wave bikes into position, highlighting any dangers and hazards on the track.
One race day at Mallala, Adderton missed his cue completely. In his first time officiating an electric motorbike race, Adderton learnt a valuable lesson: he could no longer rely on a deafening rumble of forewarning. “I didn’t know the electric bikes were even on the track until they’d gone past me,” he says.
Adderton, a technical cadet, loves to tinker around with his four bikes, but the unfamiliarity of the mechanical workings means he isn’t sure if he’ll be adding an electric model to his collection.
He’s not alone in his reticence. That guttural roar he loves so much has inspired not only art and culture, but thousands of clubs around the world full of people dedicated to cruising the roads with nothing between their body and an internal combustion engine except a good set of leathers.
But those engines will eventually become a thing of the past, and motorbikes have to be part of that. Global Market Insights estimates the international market for electric motorbikes will grow from $42bn in 2020 to $56bn by 2027 – but this analysis assumes increasing government support and stronger emission regulations.