I’m in two minds about electric motorcycles. The instantaneous torque and low maintenance is appealing, for sure—but I also love the character and intangible ‘soul’ that internal combustion engines have.
Styling is also an issue. Tesla has it easy, because bodywork hides the powertrain in a car. But the battery packs on unfaired electric bikes are very visible indeed; they don’t have the allure of solid metal fins, cases and covers. And who doesn’t love the curves and welds of a good exhaust system?
To my eyes, Alta Motors has got very close to solving the styling problem with this new street tracker concept, called the Redshift ST. It’s a minimalist approach, with a sliver of baby blue bodywork cleverly drawing the eye away from the inevitable battery.
Alta is pitching the Redshift ST as ‘flat track racing and urban commuting in one hooligan-sized package.’ And with 120 ft-lbs of torque propelling just 250 lbs (114 kilos) of motorcycle, it’s likely to be a fun ride. For comparison purposes, that’s around the same torque you’d get from a Suzuki Hayabusa or Yamaha V-Max.
If the ST goes into production, it’s unlikely to be dicing it out with Harley and Indian on the dirt tracks, but the styling influence is welcome. The 19-inch BST carbon fiber wheels, shod with DOT Mitas tires, look especially good. And the seat height is a friendly 31 inches.
Range with the current 15-pound battery pack is 50 miles (80 kilometers) and a full recharge takes six hours. For commuters and city dwellers, that should be just enough to banish range anxiety.
To gauge interest in the ST concept, Alta has bravely decided to enter the lion’s den. On February 10, it’ll unveil the bike to the public at The One Moto Show in Portland, Oregon—which is probably akin to launching a tofu burger at a Texas bar-b-cue festival.
Alta is also entering an ST into The One Pro flat track race at the Salem Indoor Speedway, an even braver move. Pro racers will be chasing a $10,000 purse there.
But we reckon that Alta deserves to succeed with the ST, and we’d love to see it go into production. Who else feels the same way?