Flax And Pineapple Went Into This Electric MotorBike Build

Completely powered by electricity and designed to withstand fleeting trends, the Tarform could be the motorcycle of the future.

By Robert Ross 19/12/2019

Taras Kravtchouk was wrenching on a 60-year-old Triumph Bonneville in his Brooklyn garage when he began to envision a modern electric motorcycle—clean and sustainable—with philosophical roots to iconic machines of the past. Those simple machines embodied a spirit of independence, a concept that remains relevant but now seems rarer than ever. “We are creating products and services that do most things for us,” says the designer. “Food is delivered, and self-driving cars take us to our door with the tap of an icon. In the process, I believe the human spirit becomes dormant. Motorcycle riding provides one of the most powerful human experiences. We want people to reclaim their sense of freedom.”

The Tarform expresses freedom in many novel ways, primarily through the absence of a conventional engine. Powered by an electric motor that turns the rear wheel via a roller chain, it delivers 160 kilometres of range and instant acceleration with regenerative braking (the regenerative aspect can be turned on and off as desired), features that do impose some limits, at least for now. It will get smarter, too. Kravtchouk plans to soon integrate sensors and artificial-intelligence connectivity to enhance safety. The bike will be able to anticipate unfavourable road conditions to avoid danger, inspiring greater rider confidence, and keep the rider informed on a handlebar-mounted display.

Believing that the freedom to ride brings with it the responsibility to minimise environmental impact, Kravtchouk embraced three fundamental principles in designing the motorcycle, beginning with the premise that the most sustainable object is one that does not get discarded. The likelihood of being passed from one generation to the next is dependent on timeless design, something the Tarform expresses with clean lines and the archetypal shape of classic bikes.

Tarform motorcycle dash

Courtesy of Tarform

Ethical sourcing is important, too: Kravtchouk works with fair-wage suppliers that manufacture components in environmentally conscious factories. The company also explores the use of non-toxic, high-performance biomaterials, such as fabricating body panels from flax fibre and seating made from pineapples. Other design details include components that are not permanently glued or bonded, making upgrades and repairs easy. The goal is to not rely on petroleum-based products anywhere, ultimately using fully recyclable materials during manufacture or in the event the motorcycle itself should ever need to be reclaimed. “At Tarform,” says Kravtchouk, “we treasure the freedom to ride in nature and feel responsibility to build vehicles that do no harm to our environment.” The Founder Edition, unveiled this month, is priced starting at US$32,000 (around A$46,900).

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