Monthly Archives: November 2011

FX Expedition – World’s Lightest Adventure Motorcycles

FX-4 Backcountry Expedition Testing

FX-4 Backcountry Expedition Testing

FX Bikes has some hard core adventurers lining up for long range expeditions on Mountain Motos, such as:

  • Crossing the Andes via donkey trails.
  • Mt Everest Base Camp
  • Canada to Mexico via the Rocky Mountains
  • Mongolia…1000 miles with no roads
  • Around the world (of course)!

We’ll kit these factory-sponsored riders up with:

  • Extended range fuel tank (3 gallons / 12 litres, 360 mile / 600 kilometre max range)
  • Make sure they can tie all their gear on easily
  • Ruggedize all over
  • Street legalize if needed
  • Whatever ize it takes
  • and feed this all into the FX Expedition model.

Its kind of the opposite concept to Ewan McGregor’s Long Way Round on BMWs carrying full camping and spare parts kits, which was:

  • 90% sealed roads
  • 9% gravel/dirt roads
  • 1% off-road (and usually fallen over with 2 guys to pick up).

FX explorers can carry gear as well, but super-lightweight hiking-style kits, or pop onto support vehicles and focus on spending

  • 90% of the time off-road
  • 9% on broken roads/trails
  • 1% in between on sealed roads.

What do you think?

If you have serious expedition experience (not necessarily on motorcycles) and you have some adventure ideas for an FX Expedition, you can apply for factory sponsorship.

Otherwise, its still free to get your name on the wait list.

FX Mountain Moto Testing 2 Super-lightweight Motorcycles On SUV - Arthurs Pass NZ

Early Testing of 2 Mountain Motos On SUV Support Vehicle - Ready for Adventure in Arthurs Pass NZ

FX Marine: Seaworthy Mountain Motos

At FX Bikes we often get inquiries from owners and captains of watercraft (boats, yachts, super yachts, sailboats, ships…thought I’d better cover off all the names I know of to avoid offending people…I know for instance that navy people hate their ships being called boats!)

From these inquiries and our own research we understand some of the problems and needs of the marine community, such as:

When you get to shore / harbor / marina / wharf etc., what do you use for transport or recreation on land?

  • Bicycles are one of the only options, but how boring Smile
  • Motorcycles can be lifted by crane onto larger seacraft but otherwise they are too heavy (I’d love, I mean hate to see someone dropping one into the ocean off a gangplank!)
  • Anything you bring onto a seagoing craft tends to rust or corrode if not designed for the conditions.

So, we’ve developed these specifications and features for our upcoming Marine models.

  • FX Marine models are “marinized” versions of the FX Off-Road and Dual.
  • The frames are the same design but anti-corrosion treated (“Marine White” is the color of choice).
  • We’re also testing the idea of stainless steel frames in the same design.
  • Any non-stainless fasteners are replaced with stainless steel or other non-corrosive materials.
  • Electronics are coated or fully encapsulated to protect from salt air and water.
  • Marine grade battery replaces standard battery.
  • Care is taken to allow for easy, regular cleaning.
  • Any other suggestions?

Please let us know what you think by private message (email etc.) or in the comments below…

FX Mountain Moto in Marine White
FX Mountain Moto in Marine White

 

FX Bikes Early Concept: UniCross

FX Bikes UniCross Concept

FX Bikes UniCross Concept

Back in the earliest days of FX, before we were even called FX, there was…UniCross!

This was our first serious visualization of the super-lightweight powered mountain bike we were about to build.

Our technology incubator neighbor and mountain biking buddy, Campbell McGrouther, was a 3D artist and animator who eventually went into production of major motion pictures…we were lucky!

Cam did this mockup for us which was so photorealistic quite a few people thought it was real until we told them otherwise.

It was a great tool to start testing rider feedback on the design.  (The first change we made was to get rid of the bicycle seat!)

FX Bikes Early Concept

FX Bikes 1st Generation FX-1 Concept - The Ugly Duckling

 

Derbi DH 2.0 Concept

Derbi DH 2.0 Concept

In many ways the UniCross and FX-1 concept was like the Derbi DH 2.0 concept that came years later (although the Derbi model was much prettier than our Ugly Duckling!):

  • Both were single speed with centrifugal clutch
  • The Derbi 100cc 4-stroke
  • UniCross was 120cc 2-stroke (grunty!)
  • Both weighed around 40kg / 88lb
  • Both used mountain bike wheels, suspension and brakes
  • Both were never going to work in their current forms!

We could tell you all the reasons why these concepts were not realistic, and why FX has moved to its current designs, but we’d rather let companies like Derbi (part of Piaggio) and anyone else wanting to make super-light motos or powered mountain bikes learn the hard way 🙂

 

Electric bikes getting popular…and getting banned?

The Beast electric bicycle…US$33,000.

Sarah Laskow makes some good points in this article about e-bikes: GOOD Mobile.

At FX we’ve been watching this market for a long time…in fact we originally considered starting our lineup with a power-assisted-bicycle, but decided against it because

  1. As mentioned in Sarah’s article, e-bicycles are accepted in some places, ignored so far in others, and banned altogether elsewhere
  2. There are 100s of e-bicycle makers out there already
  3. Most of them make granny-style bikes that are never going to start a revolution 🙂
  4. The small number of high performing e-bikes entering the market are still very expensive and have very limited range (10 minute minimum!)

E-bicycles will gain mainstream legal compliance before transporters like the Segway (banned on sidewalks AND roads in some jurisdictions) and, in pretty much the same new category, the YikeBike (which is a bummer because Yike is from my hometown Christchurch New Zealand and an awesome product)…

To me these are kind of “20mph mopeds” and in some regulators’ minds will require all the same lights, brakes etc…I did hear that YikeBike had to install a brake on its teeny little rear wheel to gain compliance somewhere…crazy.

I’ve seen well organized community applications to install a street sign at a dangerous intersection take 10 years to complete, so I’d hate to be waiting for these new category vehicles to gain acceptance.

Look at Orbital Engine Corporation…they spent 20 years developing direct injection 2-stroke technology that resulted in small 2-stroke motorcycles with emissions as low as 4-strokes (e.g. Aprilia Ditech 50cc scooters).  They were still banned almost everywhere and they pretty much gave up.

FX is focused on existing categories…the 125cc Mountain Moto Off-road is in the dirt bike class, and the Dual will comply as a dual-sport motorcycle.  Our first electric bikes in the pipeline are full size e-motorcycles, and if we do release a e-bicycle it will be when we know it is fully compliant 🙂

Welcome to the new FX Bikes website!

This whole new website is powered by WordPress, which is apparently really really good.

And on top of that, it uses the Thesis theme for WordPress, which is apparently really really really good!

The best part is that the FX site AND blog are now a living document, easily updated and improved…this will make it more dynamic and interesting, as long as we have time to work on it!

Suggestions and questions are always welcome…

Mike