Kacy Marrs was working at a Chick-fil-A when he first met Brad Fanshaw three years ago. Fanshaw is a hot-rodder through and through, an entrepreneur who partnered with Boyd Coddington and turned that name into custom-car superstardom. Fanshaw had run the American Bicycle Association and rode professional BMX before joining a skateboard and clothing company called Vision. Kacy had moved to Southern California from Alabama, devouring every motocross track once he got here; as the general manager of his Chick-fil-A, he was on his way to opening his own franchise when the two paths crossed over cheap chicken sandwiches.
Brad knw a good idea when he heard one.
Kacy had designed the Marrs M1 electric bicycle in his spare time, then taught himself to weld and built two prototypes. They tested these for a year and a half -- through SoCal's "cold" weather and Santa Ana's 100-degree heat. This was around the time when all those Biker Build-Off shows were getting popular, said Kacy -- and somehow, it hadn't occurred to either of them that electric bicycles, the strand cruisers they saw going up and down the beach, could benefit from such creativity. "Why do electric bikes have to be stupid?" Marrs said. "Why can't we build something cool?"
Kacy's result looks like an Indian board track racer, a Triumph bobber from the Nixon administration and possibly a Schwinn Stingray. The springer seat, in fact, does come from a Triumph bin. The front-leaf spring is achingly vintage. A solitary rear brake, a hydraulic disc, is more than effective at stopping the Marrs Cycle's 140 pounds. (Unencumbered by braking filigree, the front wheel looks massive.) And Kacy has a goal to snap up every Harley-Davidson kickstarter pedal on eBay: they are painted gold, then machined to fit.
The bicycle is powered by a brushless 3-phase DC motor, attached to a 48-volt lithium battery. The electrical components come from overseas, but the frames are built on a jig in a cramped garage in Anaheim that plays host to Brad's Bonspeed endeavor as well as a 392 Hemi-equipped MOONEYES dragster that hasn't been started since 1976. The air-cooled battery box is welded from aluminum by one of Brad's hot-rod connections. In raw, unpainted aluminum, the cases look rough and sinister.
Fanshaw and the author agree to race for pinks.
You sit naturally upright atop the springer seat, which is wide, lumpy and thinly padded. From ground to handlebar, the bike is a mere 36 inches tall. The pedals stretch forward almost like a recumbent bicycle. Twist the throttle, and the bike hums with near-instant speed; the big and wide motorcycle tires allow for graceful lean-in. Despite the wheelbase, it's surprisingly agile. The learning curve is nonexistent.
Expect 25 miles of riding on a single charge, said Kacy, which takes 5-8 hours. Pedaling from a standstill is cumbersome, but, at speed, it feels like powering through on high gear. Kacy has had to ride it home after the battery ran out.
At 20 mph, it's as fast as Marrs could make it while keeping it classified as a bicycle. Kacy claims to have reached 60 mph on a downhill stretch of the PCH, propelled forth by gravity, a 60-volt battery and sheer hubris.
"We should totally take it to the Velodrome, race around," said Brad. "Electric bicycle racing -- wouldn't that be awesome?"
Since production started in August, Kacy and Brad have sold 10. One went to Australia. Another went to Thailand. And yet another, with custom saddlebags, went to London to a man who rides it every day instead of paying congestion charges on his Aston Martin. James Hetfield of Metallica was the first to buy one. He loves his. He rides it between concerts and badgers Kacy about improvements. That kickstand on newer bikes? Hetfield's idea, possibly. His merely had a detachable stand.
The price of a Marrs M1 is $7,500. For the craftsmanship and the handcrafted nature, Kacy and Brad think that's fair. "I mean, there's an electric bike from Germany that costs $50,000," said Brad. "And that's because it's all carbon fiber!"
If that's too steep for you, then take this to heart: Next year, Kacy and Brad promise to introduce a new generation of electric bicycle that's half the price. Expect it to look as polarizing as the M1. Because "...the bikes you normally see," said Brad, "They're geeky, they have no personality. This is the hot rod of electric bicycles."
Article SOURCE: this factual content has not been modified from the source. This content is syndicated news that can be used for your research, and we hope that it can help your productivity. This content is strictly for educational purposes and is not made for any kind of commercial purposes of this blog.