Engineering innovator and motorcycle racer Erik Buell has followed the release of his Fuell Flluid 1 electric bike project with a promised second electric vehicle, the Fllow Electric Motorcycle (yes, two “Ls”). The launch recently went live on Prelaunch.com.
The $11,995 (base) 400-pound Fllow will come in two versions, a low-power 15-horsepower urban machine that will allow lower-level license holders to cruise legally, and a full-power 47-horsepower “S version that produces just over 550 pound-feet of torque, with a top speed of 85 mph and a 0-60 time of just 3.5 seconds. Range is 150 miles / 240 km at best in Urban riding As always, electric range is dependent on many factors, including rider weight, speed, terrain, riding demands (urban or highway, etc.), and the weight of the rider’s right wrist. two versions of the Flow will be visually identical with essentially the same features Speed restrictions will be software-based, according to Fuell.
Flow technology includes a 400-volt, 10 kWh modular battery, along with 50 kW CCS-2 DC Level III charging capability that Fuell says enables a fast-charging option as fast as a “traditional shutdown.” for petrol”. In a press release, Fuell said the Level III CCS charge time could be less more than 30 minutes. “As you never charge 100% of the battery, but rather 20% to 90% usually, the actual charging time is about 15 minutes. Just enough to have a coffee, check your emails and get back on the road said Fuell in his latest press release.
When it comes to unique features, the bike’s design definitely reflects Erik Buell’s consistent approach to functional information form with a touch of panache, from the magnesium monocoque frame design to the blanket bodywork. complete aerodynamically slippery (trade secret: most motorcycles, including these shark-like sportbikes, are about as aerodynamic as a brick). “It’s the most radically innovative chassis design I’ve ever done, and from the steering column to the rear wheel, it’s filled with new design concepts that no one has ever done before,” says Buell. in a press release.
Indeed, there are smart Erik Buell touches throughout, including a large 50-litre (10-gallon) lockable storage area where the gas tank would be on an ICE machine. It’s big enough to hold a full-face helmet and more. Turn signals are integrated into the ends of the handlebars (à la vintage BMW) and the overlapping LED projection headlights sit below a transparent front fascia that turns into a small windshield. The Flow is designed for two-up riding, but the seating area seems to be…minimalist. Owners can also customize the Flow with different color accent panels on the front of the bike and other locations (as below).
Unlike nearly every other full-size electric motorcycle on the market, Buell has placed the Flow’s motor inside the return wheel, something more common with e-bikes – but not Buell’s Flluid e-bike. Of the well-known full-size electric motorcycle manufacturers, only Sonders also uses this approach on its Metacycle.
Unsurprisingly, Buell’s rear wheel motor design is a hub of innovation. The rear wheel also rides on a single-sided swingarm like that found on much more exotic bikes. This choice makes rear wheel work – from changing tires to upgrading the entire wheel – much easier and faster. The motor system is also protectively sealed inside the wheel.
Buell’s dedication to simplicity is holistic on the Flow; he says the bike uses “60% fewer parts and is assembled in 40% of the time” compared to gas-powered bikes. Considering it doesn’t have a gas engine and complicated transmission/transmission, that makes sense. Buell also says the bike will be built in the United States and “parts and components will emphasize American and/or Western provenance.”
The hub motor’s interior design also draws inspiration from one of its best-known technological touches: the unconventional ZTL rim-disc brake system from its Buell motorcycle days. Except in this case, the way the engine is designed, the acceleration forces – like the ZTL braking system – transfer the load more efficiently to the wheel rim instead of the hub like a conventional chain and sprocket setup. A hub motor also avoids parasitic driveline inefficiencies caused by the chain (or belt) and sprockets. There’s no clutch or gears, chain or belt, and few moving parts (possibly only one, the wheel itself). And while this approach adds unsprung weight to the rear wheel, on such an urban machine it’s less of a concern than on a sportbike – and the engine can get lighter over time as updates are made. become available, updates Buell says the Flow will be able to use because of its modular architecture.
The choice of hub motor also has several advantages beyond simple simplicity; it frees up “motor space” in the chassis for more battery space or storage space, and hub motors also tend to be very quiet. While the rear wheel styling looks a little flat and plain on the pre-production bike seen here (and it’s a real bike, not a render), the engine cover can definitely be revamped for a different look at the moment. when mass production begins, hopefully next year. Speaking of the ZTL brake, the Flow does not have the ZTL setup as it is more suitable for high-speed, high-load sport bikes. The Flow uses a more conventional but still modern single-disc and one-piece style caliper setup. Rear braking also includes regeneration to extend battery range.
As mentioned, Buell is looking far down the road with the Fllow; it’s designed to be very modular and easily upgradeable over time, whether that means inserting a new and better battery when this technology arrives, or lightening the weight of the rear wheel motor as the Electric motor technology continues to mature, which it does rapidly. Even the charging plug is designed for easy swapping if EV manufacturers reach agreement on just one type of charging port (currently there are many types). But for now, it has the most popular J1772 port with DC Fast Charging (aka CCS) points included for a charge time of “under 30 minutes” according to Fuell. Or, riders can use a Level II charger or simply plug it into a wall outlet for overnight charging.
Of course, the Flow uses a smartphone app to tweak things to a rider’s preferences, as well as offering security, tracking, GPS, OTA updates and more. The speed and so on is displayed on a large LCD screen, it is not clear if it is a touch screen. There will also be a key fob for security.
Still with high-tech features, the latest information from Buell indicates that they also plan to offer the latest safety and driver awareness technologies, including front and rear radars, front and rear cameras, detection of blind spots, ABS, regenerative braking and a high degree of smartphone connectivity.
While Buell is an admired icon in motorcycle circles, the Fllow motorcycle and Flluid e-bikes are a departure from his typical lightweight, high-powered race machines that many riders are used to seeing with his name on them. . In a 2021 interview, Buell told Forbes.com that he’s all about e-bikes and e-motorcycles, and it’s good to see things moving forward for Buell and his team and Fuell after the pandemic and Supply chain chaos caused understandable delays in Flow’s design process.
So, who is this unique machine for? Buell says the Flow “has the luggage capacity and practicality of a large scooter, but looks and handles like a mid-size motorcycle.” With its unusual design and styling, accessible power and innovative ideas, Buell is gearing the Flow towards an audience that is unfamiliar to it: entry-level riders who want something a little more powerful than a small-wheeled machine. they will quickly overtake. But given its fan base and the unique design of the Flow, we bet experienced riders looking for an affordable street machine with equal performance and functionality will also take a long look.
We’ll have to see if his instincts are there when the bikes start production next year. $200 nets potential buyers a spot in the pre-order line, which Fuell says will also get a $2,000 discount on the bike – and a $1,060 FUELL Carbon helmet from Veldt (shown here). below) that wouldn’t look out of place during a SpaceX launch.
Forbes.com hopes to get time for a Fuell Flow-1S review in the near future.