Community Commentary February 2020 Editor’s Letter: Something A Little Different

February 2020 Editor’s Letter: Something A Little Different

If you haven’t checked out the Table of Contents for our February digital issue yet, you might be in for a bit of a surprise—we’re testing the 2020 Giant Trance E+ 1 Pro electric-assist mountain bike. Don’t worry, though. We are still Ultimate Motorcycling and dedicated to motorcycling we shall remain.

February 2020 Ultimate Motorcycling Editor’s Letter: Something A Little DifferentHowever, as you have undoubtedly noticed, the boundaries of our sport are blurring at a rapid pace. Thanks to the various electric-powered motorcycles, three-wheeled motorcycles, and electric-human powered bicycles, we have more choices than ever when it comes to fun and practical ways to move from one point to another.

Electric motorcycles aren’t that controversial. Sure, some people will be diehards for the internal combustion engine (ICE) until the last gasoline refinery closes. When that date is, no one knows, though it seems inevitable at some point. However, the market hasn’t decided on the final implementation of electricity as a source of locomotion. Are batteries the answer, or just an interim solution? We will wait and see, and we are confident that we will eventually embrace whatever technology prevails.

Three-wheeled motorcycles certainly rub some people the wrong way. They think of tricycles from their days as a child, and that’s pretty much the end of the conversation for them. Yet, the technology shown in the Yamaha Niken confirms that a three-wheel motorcycle is a legitimate motorcycle. While many two-wheel enthusiasts aren’t excited at the prospect of two front wheels on a motorcycle, that doesn’t mean that it won’t bring more new blood into our sport—a concern the manufacturers have sweated over for decades.

Other three-wheel vehicles are still of interest, as they are adjacent to the motorcycle world. Coram Publishing President Arthur Coldwells rightfully believes that leaning is an essential part of the motorcycle experience, and it’s a defining feature. That leaves out vehicles such as the Can-Am Spyder, the Polaris Slingshot, and the Harley-Davidson Trike line. We will still cover them from time-to-time, as they are motorcycle-adjacent. However, we’re always going to lean towards motor vehicles that lean in the corners.

That brings us to the new electricity-assisted bicycles, such as the Giant. There are factions in the mountain bike world that are aghast at electricity being added to bicycles, and off-road motorcycle enthusiasts love the braap that comes from an ICE, be it two-stroke or four-stroke.

Plus, many simply are uninterested in pedaling. However, off-road motorcyclists often don’t have quick access to riding areas, and that’s where the eMTB comes in handy. There are many places you can ride one, and it certainly combines the motorcycle and bicycle buzzes in a fascinating way.

When you read our tests of non-leaning three-wheelers or electric-assist bicycles, we’re going to be writing from the perspective of motorcyclists writing to fellow motorcycle riders. From a purely practical standpoint, that makes sense—it’s who we all are. Indulge us now and then, and if we can have fun on different sorts of wheels, let’s go riding!

Don Williams
Don Williams
With 45 years of riding experience, Don Williams is a fan of all kinds of motorcycles. He enjoys sport bikes, cruisers, dirt bikes, touring bikes, adventure bikes, dual sport bikes, and rideable customs. Ask Don what his favorite bike is and he will tell you, "Whatever bike I'm on."

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