Vectrix: Maiden Voyage

by Ben N on March 2, 2015

Today was the maiden voyage on the Vectrix electric motorcycle. (Click the video above to see!)

I put on my long underwear, grabbed my best thick gloves, and headed over to where I’ve been working on the cycle. I powered it up and took it down to the road to get ready for the first ride.

IMG_2323The cycle booted right up, and I noted that the battery meter was all the way to the top (the first time I have ever seen that) and I was given a 45 mile estimated range. The odometer was at 1006 miles.

I twisted the throttle and Vectrix took off – VVVVRRRRRRRRRRRR! The combination of electric motor and planetary gearing gives a unique sound. To me, it certainly sounded loud, but I’ve never ridden another Vectrix to have anything to compare it to!

The Vectrix feels great. The seat is big and comfy, with the passenger section of the seat snugging right up to the small of my back. The heavy battery gives a low center of gravity and it always felt nicely balanced. It feels like a large vehicle when compared to my Kawasaki KZ440 EV.

IMG_2325The regenerative braking works great. It’s a manually controlled, by rolling the throttle in the reverse direction, and variable – the further you twist the throttle, the more the braking effect. (It also throws on the brake light.) If the Vectrix is at a stop, you can use the same backwards twist to activate reverse – a handy feature for quick Y-turns or parking.

I topped off the tire air pressure at the cabinet shop down the street. The business is run by a friend of mine, and my dad owns the building. Both of them were there, so I got to show off the cycle a bit.

I was testing the cycle on a side street, which dead-ends. There is almost no traffic there, but in the cold of winter, many side-streets buckle, making some nasty bumpy bits, not fun for cycles. Still, I zipped up and down the road a few times, including one time driving as fast as I was comfortable on those road conditions. Lets just say the Vectrix definitely has a higher top speed than the Kawasaki!

I also found out that if you leave the turn signal on, after a minute, the cycle starts beeping at you… with the horn. For a moment, I feared that it was some sort of low battery warning, but then I realized the turn signal was on and when I stopped it the horn beep stopped as well.

IMG_2333My total test drive was 4.6 miles, and the estimated range remaining was 36 miles. So, I started with an estimated 45 miles, drove 4.6, and had 36 miles left! If those numbers hold true, then I have about half the estimated actual range. While 23 miles doesn’t sound like a big number, that might work fine for me. When I run around in the summer, doing errands, banking, a trip to the hardware store, etc, it’s commonly about a 10 mile round trip. And there’s really no way to know what the actual pack capacity is until really using it.

Keeping in mind that the entire pack was at 1.9 volts when I got it – so low it wouldn’t even turn on the LED trunk light, and that that’s what got me such a good deal buying the cycle, even 20 miles of range in the battery pack is pretty darn good. I’ll likely just use the cycle and have some fun with it whatever its limited range happens to be. In the future, nothing is stopping me from upgrading the batteries to Thunderskys or Leaf cells.

Til next time, stay charged up!




end: 36, 1010.6,   3 bars missing on battery meter

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