Eco-Friendly Models Improving Attitude, Reputation of Motorcycles

Motorcycles are stylish, thrilling and affordable—but traditionally, they’ve always been highly pollutive vehicles. Pound for pound, as far as emissions go, the motorcycle has been tabbed by some as the most non-eco-friendly vehicle on the road, with some estimates saying the average chopper spews out 10 times more pollution than a car, mini-truck or SUV. This Los Angeles Times article goes into more detail as to why, if you want specifics.

The good news? Engineers are seeing the benefits of making motorcycles a more environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Green choppers can run on an electric battery, hydrogen fuel cell, biodiesel or ethanol, all of which reduces the impact of emissions. As manufacturers roll out more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly models, motorcycles are on their way to becoming a great choice for environmentally minded people who want a cool ride. And though these eco-friendly bikes may cost more than traditional ones, consumers are seeing fewer maintenance costs.

Attitude (and Production) Adjustment

The big motorcycle manufacturers like Honda and BMW have made eco-friendly changes to their bikes. Honda added a 25 percent more fuel-efficient engine for its scooters, and BMW is using water-based paints on the production line.

The infectious attitude toward green-friendly bikes has produced some slick models, including the Zero S DS electric motorcycle. An owner of this bike never needs to change the oil, deal with exhaust or visit a gas station, and he or she will start saving immediately on fuel and maintenance costs. According to the manufacturer’s website, the bike has a maintenance-free powertrain that produces direct-drive power with a silent constant tension belt, eliminating the oil, gas and smog-producing components of a traditional powertrain.

Should You Swap Tires?

You may have heard about this trick: In an effort to go green, some motorcycle owners swap their bike’s tires with car tires. To purists, this is a sin, and the jury is still out as to whether this is a good idea for those willing to try it. The idea is that a car tire will last longer; the life of a motorcycle tire is between 10,000 to 15,000 miles, whereas a car tire can last up to 50,000. Thus, it may make sense for a chopper owner to give it a try—it saves money by cutting down the cost of replacing motorcycle tires, which some would argue cuts down on the demand for motorcycle tires overall. It’s the simple argument that reduced tire production in the world produces less emissions.

Some purists (and definitely manufacturers) say putting car tires on a motorcycle is potentially harmful to the bike, that doing so affects the bike’s longevity and can be a safety issue. Bike mavens will most likely stick to motorcycle tires with proper rolling resistance, inflation and tread to get the most miles on their beloved brands, keeping overall fuel consumption to a manageable hold. To learn more about the right motorcycle tires for your bike, visit


Credit John Courtney on Google+

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