Friday, March 18, 2005
A hydrogen powered motorcycle has recently been introduced in Britain. The thing can only go 50 miles per hour. It claims it can run for four hours before it needs recharging, but it also boasts a 100 mile range. So I guess four hours at 25 miles per hour, and you can call it even. Researches are having trouble with the silent engine. People are worried that other motorists won't hear it coming, and nobody will want to buy a bike that doesn't go "vroom!" In response, they are working on artificial engine noises that can be switched on and off to simulate a real bike. Riiiight, that'll do it. This will catch on about as fast as hybrid cars did. It might work in the U.K., but American bikers aren't going to be fooled by a speaker that makes engine noises while you ride. Internal combustion engines offer a little more than that. There is the vibration, the feeling of power, oh, and speed that goes along with riding a real chopper. They are going to have to do better than this, I'm afraid. I'd like to see the first hydrogen biker gang. A bunch of University schmucks with granola in their beards speeding silently past, or blasting Mozart from their little engine noise simulators. The biker culture is built on the raw power of a Harley-Davidson hog, and that isn't going to change for a while yet.