Modern petrol-powered motorcycles are quick off the mark no doubt, but a growing number of new electric models could be set to push the boundaries further. Two-wheels and plenty of battery power, combined with a lightweight design means the instant burst of torque you get from a battery and electric motor configuration is perfect for bikes. Which is exactly why the Arc Vector is getting a lot of attention.
Arc, a British company, recently unveiled its prototype for the Vector, which was created in Coventry of all places. And, as prototype creations go it’s certainly a looker. Better still, the Arc Vector isn’t just a show-without-the-go creation that has no real meat under the bones. The Arc Vector is going to become a real, production entity. Whilst it’ll also be low volume rather than mass-produced, Arc plans to start its built-to-order production in South Wales, commencing in 2020.
The first thing to grab you about this electric motorcycle is its looks. However, the appearance is backed up by performance, thanks to a 399-volt electric motor that delivers 133 brake horsepower and offers a beefy 148Nm (109ftlb) of torque. It weighs just 220kg too, so what that combination will get you is probably going to be the need for clean underwear once you’ve blatted it up the road and back.
Arc reckons that the Vector will push you from 0 to 60mph in just three seconds, although top speed is ‘only’ around 125mph. Nevertheless, it sounds like the getting there bit of the journey is where the main fun element is going to come from. The seat height, for example is just 840mm from the road, so this is a low-slung but big-on-thrills machine that also appeals due its simple twist-n-go appeal.
The innovative Arc says they are making this a motorcycle that will appeal to anyone who wants a new take on the conventional two-wheeled setup that has basically remained the same for years. While you get unbridled torque, the Vector also comes with traction control, which is a reassuring addition that will presumably reduce the need for quite so many changes of underwear, along with ABS brakes that boost the handling characteristics when it comes to slowing down.
Adding extra zing to your riding experience are the variable dynamic modes built in to the Arc Vector. Moreover, the motorcycle also features hub-centre steering, which means the steering pivot points are inside the hub of the wheel, instead of being in the more conventional location above the wheel in the headstock. While this isn’t unique, company founder and CEO Mark Truman says that it provides the sort of edginess missing from many motorcycles. And he should know having done much of the development and testing himself in order to prove the worthiness of the new machine.
While the bike sounds like a challenging but fun proposition, it further benefits from the way the motor and battery elements have been integrated into the overall design. A carbon-monocoque arrangement, this means improved rigidity and better structural integrity. Interestingly, the swing-arm is carbon too. And, on the point of the batteries, the Samsung 21-700 power units, have been developed specially for the Arc Vector by the Korean electronics giants and haven't been seen anywhere before.
Elsewhere, a premium price tag means there’s not going to be any faffing around or corner-cutting when it comes to components. While the belt-drive bike can get up to speed in no time, it can also stop nicely thanks to high-performance Brembo disc brakes. There’s high-end Ohlins suspension too, that anti-lock system from Continental, and tyres that keep you stuck to the road thanks to Pirelli. Meanwhile, a heads-up display and haptic alert system means you get first-hand info on what’s going on too, which from something so quick and valuable seems very sensible.
Arc has dubbed its new bike a neo-café racer and that hunkered down stance confirms that this is a machine that means business. It’ll certainly be pretty exclusive, with only 399 units set to be built in the first 18 months of production. In fact, the only real downside to the Arc Vector that we can see is its pretty steep asking price, with the fledgling bikemaker saying that prices will start ‘from’ £90,000.
So, if you’ve got deep pockets and a penchant for rapid-fire underpant changes then this might just be the machine you’ve been looking for.