The Fuel is the Problem

Recently produced motorcycles are capable of handling fuels containing ethanol up to 10%, but older motorcycles have no chance of surviving an ethanol-fueled diet for more than a few years without extra maintenance. Even higher percentages, as currently proposed by the petroleum industry, will lead to worsening deterioration issues.

In addition, over the next 20 years, we can expect gasoline stations to be more and more difficult to locate as the world moves to electric powered mobility. For these reasons and more, Conversion to electric drive is one of the few long-term solutions for keeping an older motorcycle on the road. Fuel additives can help, but you don’t really want to pack a bottle of ETHANOL FIXER everywhere you go – that’s some poisonous stuff.

Now, I’m not suggesting that every motorcycle will need to be converted to electric drive to keep it on the street…

But the days of easy fueling for old motorcycles are on the way to zero.



There will be a future demand for canned gasoline, and boutique-antique filling stations will be popular for all types of classic vehicles that require petroleum fuels. Collectors and aficionados will be charged special licensing fees and probably find restrictions on where they can drive their old vehicles, especially in cities.
There are many classic motorcycles that just aren’t suited to conversions.

Many will consider it sacrilege to swap out the noise-making gas-hog for electric propulsion, and others that will simply learn to home-brew the fuels they need as filling stations become charging-only locations. But considering a gallon of “engineered fuel” for 4-cycle lawn equipment sells for $72us at the local garden Big Box store, you see obvious indication of what’s written in our future.

So when we consider that major automakers are already planning the end of combustion engine production lines, we must also expect the reversal of the range anxiety felt by early adopters of electric cars. The route will be specifically planned to get the old bikes home before the tank is empty, while the electron-riders in the group can pick up energy everywhere.

And that will be an interesting problem to have.


— Ernest Eich

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