This Electric Chopper Looks Cool, and That’s Why I Hate It

An existential crisis for a motorcycle enthusiast

September 1, 2016 9:00 am

Electric is the future. And I dig it.

Environmental regulations are getting stricter. And, in my opinion, not nearly fast enough. Ending fossil-fuel use is a necessity for the future of the planet. Sucks, but there it is.

Which is why I really want to like this electric chopper.

The work of one very talented electrical engineer, Bruno Forcella of Sine Cycles, the bike was built nearly a year ago. According to Bike EFIX, Forcella wanted to make something out of the ordinary.  So he went to task putting an electric drivetrain from Zero Motorcycles in an open-frame style chopper by stripping down a second-hand Cleveland Cyclewerks Heist and adding new mounts. Zero isn’t known for dealing in anything but complete bikes, so kudos to Forcella on his artful persuasion.

And piece by piece, it seems like he’s got the makings of a real chopper. There’s a Rich Phillips seat on Lowbrow custom springs, a Led Sled Customs rear fender and a Cole Foster tank. A tank housing electrical components. 


It’s not that I don’t love electric motos. I’ve sung their praises in the past, the Brutus V9 being the sneakiest badass of 2015. But let’s get real — electric makes aren’t Harleys or Triumphs or whatever combustion make gets your pulse racing. To me, this bike is as much of a chopper as a MacBook is a first edition of Catcher in the Rye

“There’s only very little maintenance needed, no more changing oil or filters, no more replacing spark plugs or timing belts and so on,” Forcella has said. The little beast has 57Nm of torque and top speed of 74 mph and a range of 34 miles, which Forcella aims to improve. 

Plus, it even has a Bluetooth app that transmits the bike’s stats to the rider and allows them to program their own riding modes.

An app.

For me, motorcycle culture has always represented freedom. The idea that I could set out on my own and if something went wonky, I’d pull over and fix it. It meant checking your bike and knowing its status, not being told. It meant caring for it. Spending time on it. Taming it. Maintenance isn’t a nuisance, it’s a joy — the sign of a hardcore friendship. 

The Sine is a commendable work of innovative craftsmanship. But choppers have pipes that stifle the laughter of small children, scars that you dare not ask about. A chopper will always have your back in a bar fight. This minimal number looks as if I’d have to carry it out over my shoulder after two hard lemonades.  

So, three cheers to the future and all, but calling an electric a “chopper” only makes my heart thirst for the real thing. A machine that goes vroom and knows its asphalt from its apps.

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