Unconventional looking DIY motorcycle hybrid kit announced

Powertrain specialist Vitesco has developed a do-it-yourself kit to create a hybrid motorcycle out of conventional petrol-powered donor bikes


FOR many readers, there is an understanding that there is a lot more life left in the conventional petrol-powered motorcycle than the authorities would have you believe.

One method of extending the petrol-powered era just a little bit further, which also seems to have flown under the radar of many manufacturers, is hybrid motorcycle technology. Kawasaki is the only firm that seems to be actively investigating the tech, so much so they have a working prototype that should be ready to hit the shelves in just a year or two.

But buying a brand-new hybrid motorcycle might not be to everyone’s needs, and what about the hoards of conventional bikes out there that might just need a little bit of life assurance? Well, automotive parts supplier Vitesco might have the solution. It comes in the form of a bolt-on kit that riders can buy and fit into their existing petrol-powered bike. Granted, it’s not the best-looking or most elegant design solution, although it is an interesting take on the future fuels debate.

The bike is reported to have been developed during 2021 and is said to now be at the stage where it can seamlessly transition between electric and petrol power. The hardware of the bike consists of an existing internal combustion engine (ICE), battery, electric motor, power controller, electric transmission, centrifugal clutch, and an actuator that swaps the drive from battery to ICE power.

The system works like any four-wheeled setup, if you keep the bike below 40mph, the battery power can extend the range of the bike by nearly 20 miles. Once you escape the city, switch the system over to hybrid power and your bike rides (almost) like a conventional petrol-powered bike.

Is a DIY hybrid motorcycle the answer?

Obviously a bolt-on kit to hybridise your bike isn’t perfect. As the bike will have been designed and developed as an ICE bike, its packaging won’t be ideal for stashing all the Vitesco electronics within – as is shown by the fairly fussy-looking concept picture you can see at the top of the page. Moreover, the bike’s handling will likely be thrown out of kilter thanks to all that kit being bolted onto a bike that wasn’t originally designed for it.

But even taking all that into account, we don’t think Vitesco will care, and there is a good reason for that. This isn’t a kit that the firm wants to sell to punters so they can go out and modify their bikes at home. This is a proof of concept, allowing Vitesco to showcase its tech on an existing machine, opening up the possibility of mainstream manufacturers knocking on the door if/when the hybrid motorcycle revolution begins.

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