Why would you ever buy an electric Harley motorcycle when you could just build one in your own home?
Well, if your home also had a fabrication workshop. And a paint room. And a fiberglass molding area.
Alright, so maybe this isn’t exactly the home project that anyone can do themselves, but it’s still pretty amazing to see the process of someone literally building an electric motorcycle almost from scratch.
The first step is purchasing a whole bunch of square steel tubing to build a frame. If you can't weld, then you're already stuck since this requires a LOT of spot welding and precision grinding. A few steel plates will also be required at times, as well as a round piece of thick steel tubing to serve as the head.
While the fork is pre-purchased from an off-the-shelf motorcycle kit, the rear swing-arm is made entirely by hand. A DCN Burner-RCP 2S 200mm shock is rated for up to 750 lbs, and since the whole bike will clock in at just over 200 lbs, this should be more than enough.
Once the frame is carefully constructed, a kickstand is made and then the whole frame gets buffed out in preparation for the next step, which is painting. Gotta protect that steel from corrosion, and a good layer of paint is the best way.
Next is the battery and the motor. The motor is actually a part of the rear wheel which is purchased from an e-motorcycle kit along with the battery. If you think that's cheating, well, you can't expect someone to make their own lithium-ion battery pack, can you? The motor is actually embedded inside the rear wheel and requires no chain to turn--just an electric current. A control module is then placed in the frame and wired up to the battery and motor, while a small display in the head provides the driver with all necessary driving info.
All the important bits are done, but a bare frame wouldn't be much fun to drive on. Now comes the tricky part which is fabricating fiberglass body panels and a vinyl seat. This is definitely not something for novices, but this guy makes it look easy.
Many hundreds of man-hours later, and we have an electric motorcycle that looks good enough for a showroom floor. It only has 16 hp or so, but since it just weighs 200 lbs, you can still get it up to 75 mph with enough of a run. And it has a 60-mile range, which is more than enough to get into town and back.
Best of all, you can buy the blueprints for just $10. Of course, you’ll need to know how to weld and build fiberglass molds, but maybe you’ve got a few friends who can help you with that.