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Electric Tron Lightcycle Hits the Streets 113

Posted by samzenpus
from the master-control's-new-wheels dept.
cylonlover writes "Practicality tends to take a back seat when you combine sci-fi cult status with custom chopper building — and there's no room for a pillion passenger on the Lightcycle. We first spied Parker Brothers Choppers Lightcycle project last year when it surfaced in gas-powered form, now the company has released video of a fully-electric version of the neon-packing two-wheeler in action. The electric motor may be quieter, but this one's still guaranteed to turn heads."

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Electric Tron Lightcycle Hits the Streets

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  • Dodge my wall!

  • Shiny. Want one. Sigh. Wife says "never gonna happen". Oh well.
    • by lexsird (1208192)

      Get one for your wife. It sounds like a good trade.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Dunno... it looks cool, but that's all it has going for it. It doesn't look so cool for the driver, who seems to be having trouble controlling it, or for his back (and balls!) because of how the footrests are positioned.

      If you're comfortable driving a chopper with monkey bars it would be ok maybe, but I prefer a more traditional bike -- say, a hog or a sportster with the fairings and saddlebags and other garbage stripped. And no chopping or monkey hangers!

    • Even if I had the cash, wife veto in 23 milliseconds.

      • LOL! Showed my wife the gas version, she says "and it's only 55k"...
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Serves you right for asking.

        • by Macgrrl (762836)

          I see you subscribe to the "it's better to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission" school.

          For my part, the permission comes in if they have shared assets - you are asking for permission to spend a fairly large amount of cash on a luxery item - do you really have that much disposable cash lying around? If yes, go for it. If no, well you might want to consider whether it is really worth it.

          Sorry, I forgot this thread had nothing to do with living in the real world with real responsibilities.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Shiny. Want one.

      I don't... not until it doesn't emerge from a stick while the driver takes a fwd plunge.

  • by ak_hepcat (468765) <leif @ d e n a l i . net> on Thursday September 22, 2011 @11:54AM (#37480872) Homepage Journal

    Looks horribly uncomfortable and dangerously unwieldy to ride.

    I think i'll pass.

    • Re:Ugh... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:03PM (#37480984) Journal

      Yeah, looks awesome, but it's even more of a bling-toy than the average chopper.

      Horrific riding position, little to no suspension travel, and if it has a decent-performing electric powertrain, it'll cost a fortune.

      Here's how I would have done it:

      1. Make it more practical. Try to massage the seating position into a more regular sportbike style. Yes it won't be 100% accurate but who needs that. You can put surprisingly wide wheels on a sportbike before the handling starts to really suffer.

      2. Put a 600cc engine on it with a noisy-ass supercharger. Maybe make it gear-driven for more gear whine. It will sound sufficiently alien that people who hear it will think "WTF is that?" and it will have WAY more than enough power to haul around any extra weight.

      3. At the rear, have a vertical stack of powerful LEDs, and add a sprinkler system in the back that releases a heavy, vertical line-shaped mist. This way you can hit a button to lay down a "light trail" :D A laser projection system like those fancy bike safety things could be used to lay down a line on the ground behind the bike too.

      4. Get appropriately lit riding gear B-)

      • WRT 3, Better still get it spraying a cloud of tritium so that the glowing effect stays there for a while after it has passed.

        What could possibly go wrong?

        • by Xiterion (809456)
          Tritium itself doesn't glow - the shiny tritium powered light sources all have a phosphor coating to give the glow. Which is really unfortunate, because I really wish there was a handy glow in the dark gas.
      • So basically you want a CBR600RR that leaves a trail.

      • by polar red (215081)

        ecent-performing electric powertrain, it'll cost a fortune.

        electric engines are up to 10 times smaller than ICE with the same horsepower, and they don't even need a transmission. if there is a problem with electric engines, it's the batteries.

        • Yeah that's where all the costs come in. Sure you could have decent performance for cheap, if you just want to sprint down your street a few times :-P

        • electric engines are up to 10 times smaller than ICE with the same horsepower, and they don't even need a transmission. if there is a problem with electric engines, it's the batteries.

          10 times? Are you talking about engines in the power range of a motorcycle engine (50-100 bhp)? At the very rough conversion of 1KW to 1hp, Where do you get a 50KW motor you could put on a motorcycle? I'll take leaving out the battery/fuel tank comparison, but if you include everything else (including cooling and control circuitry) does the 10x size difference still hold?

      • by geekoid (135745)

        "Yes it won't be 100% accurate but who needs that. "
        fail.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        It's not intended to be practical. It is like buying a Batmobile. You don't buy it for practicality. You buy it because it looks exactly like the Batmobile. Once you change the look, you might as well get a standard vehicle.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Like your mom.

    • by arielCo (995647)
      That's what she said :-(
    • by iamhassi (659463)
      Agreed. Looks like it would be a bit easier if it wasn't so wide. I looked at the original scene from the movie and they don't look that wide.... [youtube.com] or maybe the guy in the ParkerBrosChoppers video is really short and small.
  • A bike like this would definitely need some sort of gyro-stabilization similar to the segway (remember those?). That is, it should be able to remain upright on its own. The bike looks a little precarious at slower, city-driving speeds.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      remember them? I see them everyday. Security people riding them, tours, rentals, warehouse people. And that's just my walk through downtown.

    • The bike already has at least 4 gyroscopes: 2 wheels, the crankshaft, and the transmission mainshaft. You could make a case for the counter shaft also being a gyroscope but that depends on the type of transmission used. I doubt you'd be able to realistically get a machine that size to stand on it's own thought it would be something I've never seen before. I'm not convinced that this handles poorly. The "stability" of a motorcycle is almost entirely dependent on the trail calculation (relationship betwee
    • You cant gyro stabilize a motorcycle... it needs to lean to turn to generate the camber thrust necessary to turn. Thats also why motorcycles cant have flat wheels, and why the front tire is smaller than the rear. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camber_thrust). The problem with this bike is that the wheel cowls and lights dont seem to have enough road clearance to lean the bike over to steer effectively. As soon as a cowling touches pavement the wheel will lose traction, and bye bye Louise. If you watch the v
      • You cant gyro stabilize a motorcycle... it needs to lean to turn to generate the camber thrust necessary to turn.

        That's not entirely correct. Gyroscopic forces are what keep the bike from falling over at speed. In fact you control the bike by manipulating the front gyroscope (wheel) in relation to the rear through a process known as counter-steering (to turn the bike left you turn the handlebars to the right, causing the bike to lean to the left; the gyroscopic forces of the wheels, crankshaft and mainshaft keep the bike from falling over completely while you're leaning into the turn).

        • Here's the obligatory wikipedia article on my point. Note the "gyroscopic effects" section: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countersteering [wikipedia.org]
        • Yes I over-simplified a bit. There are lots of forces that come into play as you say. There was a great article in Motorcycle Week a bunch of years ago (wish I could find the link) that went into it in detail, and their conclusion was that if you started to think about how you're steering you'll end up not being able to do it. Also while some of the gyroscope precession effects are somewhat stabilizing others aren't. I've read (again sorry no link) that precession effects from shaft drive systems degrade tr
          • ...and to my original point to the OP, adding gyros will not stabilize the bike. All the wikipedia articles and cited references back this up pretty definitively. The OP is also incorrect that trail is the predominant factor in stability. PP's are incorrect that the Segway uses gyros for stability. The lightcycle thing isnt unstable, its just unrideable because the bike cant lean because of insufficient road clearance between the ground and the wheel cowls.
  • by tscheez (71929)

    that looks really uncomfortable

  • Why so slow? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gotung (571984) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @11:57AM (#37480922)
    Why is he riding so slow in all the videos? I'll tell you why, because taking your foot position all the way back to that ridiculous angle has that guy riding squarely on his junk. The slightest bump probably feels like huge kick to the nut sack. Most custom bikes give up comfort for fashion, but that takes thing to a whole new level.
    • by CityZen (464761)

      Hopefully, the seat would be contoured or otherwise designed appropriately, with firm padding for the pelvic bones and lots of give for what's in between.

      However, it seems that there can be little suspension travel, if any, so even without the above issue, this thing looks dangerous on imperfect roads.

      Still, it's pretty impressive to take something designed without any engineering in mind and produce something even a bit functional.

    • by Device666 (901563)
      Well I'll don't mind having a bit pain in the nutsack if I would own such bike. Tron is part of my childhood, it was extremely cool then and still is. I am just plain jealous I don't have one. Let's be fair.
      • by LS (57954)

        Darwin at work. Sacrificing your nuts for a childhood sci-fi fantasy.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          Since it won't destroy you nuts... well, not most people, I suppose you might keep your son you stomach.

          haha, I kid, yours are obviously in your wife's purse~

  • But I'd still much prefer the Dodge Tomahawk [wikipedia.org] over this. Neither are terribly practical or every day use vehicles so the amount of energy saved by having an electric version is negligible
  • Kelly controller, 2 etek types, and a pack of SLA's? This thing wont do 50mph...
  • Lying at that angle to ride it, I can just see every single accident, and every single time, the rider will go flying forward, headfirst.

    At least the long fork bikes have them leaning backwards, with feet first..

                      mark

    • by SomePgmr (2021234)
      You can be laying as far back as you want (my bike has forward controls) but you're still probably going torso-first over the handlebars in a collision.

      Riding while laying forward like that is horrible though. I've done it at higher speeds using the passenger pegs when you don't need to shift and the rear brake is useless, just to stretch. You wouldn't want to do it for long. It's like an exaggerated version of the posture on a sport bike, which already aren't designed to be comfortable.
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Riding while laying forward like that is horrible though. I've done it at higher speeds using the passenger pegs when you don't need to shift and the rear brake is useless, just to stretch. You wouldn't want to do it for long. It's like an exaggerated version of the posture on a sport bike, which already aren't designed to be comfortable.

        I'vve often ridden a hundred and fifty odd miles at a time on a sports bike (before having to refuel) they're not that bad as long as you remember to unfold/shake your legs a bit every now and then to avoid cramp. Plus it's a lot more fun going fast crouched behind a fairing than acting as a human sail and being battered to buggery at anything over 80mph.

    • Notice that the first section where he looks like he is zooming down the road is actually sped up. You can tell by the pixels, and also the water rippling in the background.

      He drives in the bike lane because it can't reach road speed. That thing has 12 car batteries in it, and a steel frame with only one electric motor it doesn't have enough juice.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Lying at that angle to ride it, I can just see every single accident, and every single time, the rider will go flying forward, headfirst.

      At least the long fork bikes have them leaning backwards, with feet first..

      mark

      Er, on sports and race bikes you're leaning forwards too, If you hit something head on you're going to get thrown forwards regardless.

  • C'mon, THAT is the one feature everyone wants, to have that idiot blinding you with his lights crash into your wall when you do a 90 degrees turn.

    But even with a wall it would be rather hard to convince me to ride a bike sitting on my NUTS. Especially a bike with near-zero suspension.

  • OK, at least let Tron Guy do the promo!
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Awesome new lightcycle game came out the other day, it's pretty sweet
    http://flashbikearena.com/

    They call them "flashbike"s though LOL

  • I think the "Testing the Bike and Lights" segment was testing whether or not it got attention from the chicks. They both turned their heads, so I guess it passed.
  • by jamrock (863246) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:42PM (#37481500)
    The Tron bike is pretty cool, but impractical. The Peraves Monotracer [youtube.com] is a Swiss-built cabin motorcycle which is not only practical, it has to be one of the coolest vehicles ever produced (video in German). The electric version, the E-Tracer [youtube.com], which boasts a top speed of 200 mph, an average equivalent fuel consumption of 203 mpg, won the Progressive Automotive X Prize for electric vehicles. Now if only I could afford one...
    • by Pax681 (1002592)
      and the monotracer got it's inspiration from?????????
      The Quasar Bikes [youtube.com]
      • Now that reminds me of the game Cyberbykes. '80s-tastic!

      • The Quasar is semi-enclosed. The Monotracer, and it's predecessor, the Ecomobile, are fully enclosed cabin motorcycles. Cabin motorcycles can trace their origins back to the 1920's, 50 years before the Quasar.
        • by Pax681 (1002592)
          what part if "inspiration" do you fail to comprehend?
          • by jamrock (863246)
            What part of "not the first" did you fail to comprehend? You're assuming that the Monotracer was inspired by the Quasar. Care to back that up? The cabin motorcycle concept had been around for half century before the Quasar, which is considered a "feet forward" motorcycle, not a cabin motorcycle. There were many other cabin motorcycles before the Monotracer; the Quasar is not one of them, so it's a reach to state that the Quasar was the inspiration for the Monotracer. The Quasar certainly brought attention t
            • by tehcyder (746570)
              The Quasar is a lot more recent than 1920s cabin motorcycles. I'm clearly not as much of an expert in motorbike history as you, but I'd never heard of cabin motorcycles before, whereas I do remember actual articles about the Quasar in my youth. Ahem.
              • by jamrock (863246)
                I remember seeing pictures of the Quasar in Popular Mechanics in the mid 70's myself. The Quasar may possibly have inspired the Ecomobile, which evolved into the Monotracer, but I seriously doubt it, unlike Pax681, who avers definitively that it was. The Ecomobile bears much greater resemblance to the little enclosed cab trike delivery vehicles popular all over Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean in th 50's and 60's.
      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Well said that man. I think the Quasars are much better looking, in that they look more like a motorbike than a car.
    • by Whorhay (1319089)
      That's so frustrating to see such cool vehicle limited to such a small production run. Maybe it has something to do with it's $77,000 pricetag, but I'd think mass production could reduce that to maybe as low as 50k.
      • by jamrock (863246)
        You're correct, the price is so high because of the limited production and the fact that they're all hand-built (apparently only about 400 or so have been produced). Cabin motorcycles were originally envisioned as low-cost "two-wheeled cars", and if they were produced in large enough numbers I certainly think the cost could be a lot lower than $50,000. The $77,000 you quoted is a big step down from the $92,000 I heard last year, so that's already extremely encouraging. And that's the gasoline-powered Monotr
    • by c6gunner (950153)

      The Peraves Monotracer is a Swiss-built cabin motorcycle which is not only practical, it has to be one of the coolest vehicles ever produced (video in German).

      Yeah. I dunno about you, but I'm not driving anything that looks like Humpty-Dumpty.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      The Tron bike is pretty cool, but impractical"
      thank you mister 'I don't get it.'

      • by jamrock (863246)
        And what is it exactly that I don't get? Please, give us the benefit of your considered opinion, O Fount of All Wisdom, so that I may tell my grandchildren that I listened to geekoid and changed my life for the better.
  • If it can't make a 90 degree turn at 200mph I don't want it.
  • ...as soon as Parker Brothers makes a little pewter one I can use for my marker in Monopoly.
  • I've seen better at Burning Man
  • There is a brand new tron clone out for iphone/ipad, its really fun. It adds a few things to the classic mix, all in 3d using the Unreal Engine. You guys should check it out: http://flashbikearena.com/ [flashbikearena.com]
  • it surfaced in gas-powered form, now the company has released video of a fully-electric version

    First there was gas light, now we have electric light.

  • Head turning due to noise pollution doesn't prove people think you're cool, it proves you're a giant asshole likely with a micropenis. On an unrelated note, my Honda Cub does in fact turn heads & even gets me the occasional cheering chicks & that shit's 72cc, so the article's argument does at least seem to be valid.
  • That would be very unsafe and uncomfortable. Not to mention it has almost no ability to lean, so I won't be able to corner hardly at all. The driver in the video is improperly dressed (no boots, no gloves, no jacket). It is also illegal just about everywhere in the USA to have a private vehicle with ANY type of blue lights on it.

    Aside from all that, it is wicked kewl :)

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      the driver in the video is improperly dressed (no boots, no gloves, no jacket).

      I thought that, but in his defence he only seems to be going walking speed.

  • What would that mean if Neo (from The Matrix) were to ride a Tron Lightcycle.

    Organic world -> Matrix Simulation -> Electronic Tron world inside a simulation -> Build a Matrix Simulation -> Pick up a phone

    Anyway, cool looking bike...

  • WANT.

  • Meh. It may be good for a display model but that's about it.

  • By the look of it, the "wheels" are just custom hoods over the real wheels. I'd imagine this would make it VERY difficult to corner!

  • After all that effort imagine his dissapointment when he rides it past a couple of hot chicks and they don't even notice (0:30).

Never make anything simple and efficient when a way can be found to make it complex and wonderful.

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