Electric Motorcycles News has been contacted by Moses Rowen, an Irish industrial designer based in Dublin. Moses Rowen is a freelance designer specialising in innovation design. Today he shared his project Mako 027, awarded by the Red Dot Award for Mobility 2019.
Mako 027 is an electric motorcycle that explores an analogue aesthetic for electric vehicles. Motorcycles are inherently evocative in their design, the act of riding is one of passion. The aesthetics of a motorcycle are defined by the lines of the tank, the elegant flow of the exhausts and the intricate casting of the cooling fins. Electric motorcycles do not benefit from these visual references and therefore require a totally new design language.
Irish designer Moses Rowen carried out research in New York City by interviewing riders and custom bike builders. He found that there is a resistance within the community to electric motorcycles as they lack the emotional connection, sound and smell emblematic of combustion bikes. These insights inspired the use of traditional materials and processes to make Mako 027 appealing to riders. The frame is sand cast from Aluminium, using the same techniques as a traditional engine block. The girder forks and rear swingarm are brutalist industrial monoliths, the antithesis of the streamlined plastic forms of typical electric motorcycles.
The motor controller is finned and low slung to evoke the effect of an engine’s sump while still providing effective cooling. The motor generates 105 bhp and 265 ft⋅lb of torque, allowing Mako 027 to accelerate to 60 mph in under 3 seconds. In contrast to a traditional motorcycle, the motor is mounted outboard of the frame and bolted directly to the swingarm. Uniquely, the annular gear of the planetary reduction gearbox is machined directly into the rear wheel while the rear brake caliper is a stressed member of the gearbox. The batteries are aircooled, housed in extruded Aluminium Nitride casings that serve as excellent heat conductors while also providing electrical insulation, a rare combination of properties.
The avoidance of a digital aesthetic meant that plastics were minimised and screens were ruled out entirely. The end caps for the batteries are made of a cast technical ceramic. These are coated in an electrochromic enamel which changes colour as the batteries discharge, fading from bright Teal to Gray. This allows the rider to intuitively tell how much range they have before the next recharge. Velocity is displayed on incandescent Nixie tubes, maintaining the analogue purity of Mako 027.
About Moses Rowen
Moses Rowen is the founder of an award winning innovation design consultancy based in Dublin. His projects range from zero gravity exercise devices for NASA to gene therapy systems and sustainable electric vehicle infrastructure. Moses’s key interest is in urban sustainability, particularly focusing on movement through a city and its effect on quality of life, his body of work reflects this interest.
Moses believes good design can change people’s lives for the better by utilising a multidisciplinary approach to solve complex problems.