Smart riding and an all-electic chopper – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

23 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Smart riding and an all-electic chopper – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Siemens Smart Chopper

Pittsburgh Rides

My summer travels away from Pittsburgh unfortunately did not include any motorcycle riding, but I observed a great deal about riding outside the U.S. and perhaps saw a glimpse of the future in New York City.

First to London, where the traffic was bumper to bumper but strangely without any of the blaring horns and aggravation you typically see here in this country. Pedestrians obey street crossing lights, buses and taxis do not run yellow lights, and motorcycles and scooters are widely used and welcomed.

As Wes Siler pointed out in an Aug. 1 Newsweek article, London is very biker friendly. Tens of thousands of Londoners use motorcycles and scooters to commute. Whereas London charges a hefty fee for motor vehicles entering certain highly congested sections of the inner city, motorcycle riders are not charged and even have free parking in many areas and are permitted to use bus-only lanes.

Like many European cities, two-wheel vehicles are considered a good way to lower traffic congestion and vehicle volume.

It was also obvious that drivers do not text or use handheld cell phones. When asked about this, a professional driver replied that all of the United Kingdom has had a no handheld cell phone while driving ban in effect since December 2003. He said the penalties were so stiff that there were few violations.

One of his colleagues had a second offense driving while using a handheld cell phone, and the penalty was 300 pounds (about $500) and suspension of his license for six months. Such strict laws force all drivers to pay attention and allow the mix of buses, cars, taxis, bicycles, motorcycles and scooters to exist in harmony. (A check on the Internet shows most European countries have driving cell phone bans in addition to the U.K. including France, Germany and Spain. Worldwide, 46 countries have such bans.)

Siler also stated that New York City was the least biker friendly city he knew. But last week I was witness to an event that may herald a future in motorcycle technology — the unveiling of the Siemens Corp. Smart Chopper, built by the famous Orange County Choppers. OCC founder Paul Teutul Sr. showcased the all-electric chopper on a segment of FOX Friends morning news show last week.

He then presented it to Siemens at a ceremony at New York’s Columbus Circle. The bike was the OCC’s first electric chopper, and building it presented many challenges, according to Teutul and his chief engineer, Jim Quinn.

Siemens Smart Chopper

Because Siemens is a world leader in environmentally friendly technology, the Smart Chopper was to incorporate many sustainable concepts. The bike frame was made from recycled materials. The DC motor produces more than 30 peak HP and will power the bike above 100 mph. Power comes from a 72 DC volt system with 96 12-volt cells.

No gears or clutch — infinite power adjustment from the electric motor goes through a 4:1 dual chain drive. The front wheel spokes are made to resemble the blades of a wind turbine while the rear wheel looks like a turbine rotor used to generate power. LED lights and water-based paints bring the bike in at a low 350 pounds.

Fans commented to Teutul, There is no loud chopper sound. He replied, It’s the future!

The building of the Siemens Smart Chopper is scheduled to appear on TLC’s American Chopper on Oct. 22 at 9 p.m.

Glenn Avick lives in Carnegie and is the president of Loftus Engineers, LLC.

Siemens Smart Chopper
Siemens Smart Chopper
Siemens Smart Chopper
Siemens Smart Chopper
Siemens Smart Chopper

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