Royal Enfield has made no bones about the fact that it is working on electric two-wheelers, and we've managed to get our hands on a picture of its very first electric motorcycle concept. Internally christened the ‘Electrik01’, it features some rather distinctive design elements, the reasons for which are made clear in the product brief that we’ve also managed to take a look at.
1. Employs a girder fork for front suspension duties
2. Features neo-retro styling cues
3. Still in the concept stage, with production a long way away
Royal Enfield electric motorcycle concept: design, chassis
Admittedly, this isn’t an extensive look at the entire motorcycle, but even this partial view reveals some rather interesting details. Like the front suspension, which takes the form of a rather unusual girder fork. Seeing as to how the product brief is full of terms like ‘non-conformist’, ‘game changer’ and ‘lone wolf’, it's possible that the production version of this motorcycle will stick with the girder fork set-up.
Other areas of focus include “high quality tactile finishes and touch points”, and “neo vintage/classic” styling, which also explains a lot. After all, the girder fork was most widely used in the first half of the previous century, so there’s a lot of retro appeal there. This is also seen in the classical round headlight, and a hint of tradition is also evident in the fact that the Electrik01 features a conventional ‘fuel tank’. Of course, this is only representative.
The chassis is quite interesting too, with two frame tubes emerging from either side of the headstock – one running along the top edge of the fuel tank, and the other running downward and seemingly cradling the battery pack. More conventional aspects include the presence of alloy wheels which seem to be wrapped in Avon Roadrider tyres.
Royal Enfield electric motorcycle: launch still some time away
So, what can we draw from all this? The first is the fact that a road-going Royal Enfield electric motorcycle is likely still some time away. The bike you see here is still very much in the early phases of its development, with RE internally calling it a QFD (Quality Function Development) concept. QFD is a model for product development that aims to translate customer needs and expectations into end results by listening to the voice of the customers.
Even with recent petrol-powered models, RE has spent a great deal of time road-testing before putting products on the market. And with this being the implementation of a new propulsion technology that RE has never employed before, you can expect even longer development timelines than usual.
What’s clear, though, is that the very first RE electric motorcycle will still be very much a Royal Enfield. The brief says that the product must ‘be its own’ and follow its own ethos and DNA, rather than that of the segment. The Enfield character is also evident in the fact that the bike will feature neo-retro styling cues.
What the Electrik01 concept will evolve into is anybody’s guess, but what’s without question is that this is going to be an interesting journey.
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