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Electric Enfield Completes Edinburgh 200 Mile Trial

An electric motorcycle has completed the 200-mile Edinburgh Trial for the first time, unsupported and using only public charge points. It’s thought to be the first time an electric bike has finished any of the major long-distance trials – run by the Motorcycling Club (MCC) these consist of off-road special sections linked by road mileage.

Engineer Fred Spaven is no stranger to battery bikes, having converted an Enfield Bullet to electric in 2015. An experienced MCC competitor (on a BSA Bantam) he was inspired to take the electric route while working on his PhD with University College London – UCL offered to part-fund a suitable bike out of its motorsports fund. Calculating he needed a 100-mile range between charges, Fred settled on a smallish 8.5kwh battery to keep weight and cost to a minimum, and an Enfield Bullet frame, with fairly narrow tyres (not fat knobblies) to reduce energy consumption.

“The trial itself went well,” he said, “provided you ignored the scoresheet. I wasn’t chasing medals…what I was interested in was road miles, though I did clean a couple of sections. I did three half-hour recharges and dropped the bike once, fortunately a soft landing. But I ended with that most valuable piece of A5 card, a finisher’s certificate.”

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, said: “Fred’s approach is interesting, lightweight and relatively low tech, big manufacturers could learn from this approach. Electric power works best focusing on lightweight and conserving limited energy supplies, not emulating modern ICE designs where there’s a superabundance of power available from an energy source with a density that Ebikes can only dream about. Reality check, do the physics and chemistry, which, funnily enough, would be exactly what I’d expect from a UCL PhD! Brains over brawn.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Dave Cook