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Bicycles Lit Motors C-1

Published on January 6th, 2012 | by Charis Michelsen

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It’s a Motorcycle! It’s a Car! No, It’s the C-1!



Most drivers who wouldn’t touch a two-wheeled vehicle with a ten-foot pole (motorcycle, scooter, you name it) will tell you that they’re dangerous and uncomfortable; what’s to stop them from tipping over and it’s just cold and wet anyway and I will be in my nice warm quiet car, thank you. The proponent of said two-wheeled vehicle will then insist that their bike is super fuel efficient, accelerates (and brakes) quickly, is more maneuverable, takes up less space (yay, easy parking), and so on.

And the debate will never ever end, because both parties are entirely sure that the other person is full of, uh, hot air. One possible solution is what Lit Motors came up with – the C-1 is fully-enclosed, has two wheels, and has a controlled gyroscopic stabilizing system to keep it upright. It’s even fully electric. While the C-1 doesn’t actually exist yet, Lit Motors has an operating model of the stabilization system and a fiberglass mock-up of the vehicle. The next stop is a working prototype, which they claim will be done in a few months. They are willing and eager to share details, though.

The Company

Lit Motors is based in San Francisco and headed up by Daniel Kim, who traveled the world for a year and used the opportunity to evaluate transportation challenges and innovations all over. In an interview with Gizmag, Kim said:

“I met thousands and thousands of people, and learned how cultures function and how people get around. It was an amazing experience. That’s basically what inIformed me, for the rest of my life.”

The Specs

There are supposed to be a number of different versions of the C-1, aimed at different markets. Differences include the battery pack (8-10 kWh for developed countries and 4-6 kWh for others) and the range (somewhere between 150 and 220 miles for the bigger-batteried bike). Both models will have hub motors in the wheels and reach a top speed of 120 mph (yes, you can break all the speed limit laws).

Flywheels below the vehicle floor, as previously mentioned, will help stabilize the vehicle and generage 1300 ft/lbs of torque. Kim told Gizmag that the C-1 will not be unstable when going really fast around corners (a problem with some previous attempts at gyroscopically stabilizing bikes).

The bike will also stay connected to the internet, in order to monitor traffic, construction, and weather. I have to wonder if, like the Audi A2 concept, it will also automatically connect to social media like Facebook. I can’t see that as being a positive. Traffic updates, on the other hand, are pretty awesome.

The first run of vehicles is expected to be about $24,000 USD, and the bike is supposed to go on sale late next year if all goes according to plan. Once the vehicles are in full production, the price should drop to $16,000 USD.

You Can Order It, If You Want

While the bike, as we said, doesn’t actually exist yet, Lit Motors will take a deposit ($250, refundable, so not a bad deal) if you want one of the first ones out the door. They don’t have too many yet, but that may change.

The C-1 addresses some of the sticking points between motorcycles and cars; it’s great that it’s enclosed, and it’s great that it moves quickly and goes pretty far before it needs to be charged. It seems fairly positive by all initial accounts, but I think I’d like to (make someone else) drive it before passing final judgment.

What do you think – want one? Let us know in the comments, below.

Source: Gizmag | Image: Lit Motors.

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About the Author

spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissan, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.



  • Fred @cardefender.com

    Yes build it like my iPhone & it will last forever I Want One.

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  • http://twitter.com/PA32R PA32R

    Yikes. Put it on three wheels! All of the advantages, none of the disadvantages. Also, 1,300 foot pounds of torque? What does this even mean? I can’t imagine that it means putting that much torque to the drive wheels.

  • http://twitter.com/Chuckabutty Bill Smith

    Isn’t a part of riding a motorcycle about having your knees in the breeze? It’s too much like a car.

  • Larry

    And what do you do at stop signs

  • Lori McKeown

    would need to drive it before putting any money on it. very concerned about visibility with all the faring…but love the idea of it so far…

  • http://nickbentley.posterous.com/ Nick Bentley

    I really want one, though I don’t want to be in it to see how it responds to that first, strong sideways gust of wind.

    • Carl

      That would be my fear also…cross wind and turbulance caused by larger trucks, buses and mountain passes.

  • Stuart Kellock

    Brilliant, my dreams realised!!

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  • Shaun B.

    1300 ft/lbs of torque! You might want to double check that number! For reference, the new Mustang GT is listed at making 390 ft/lbs of torque.

    • Charis Michelsen

      Well, what Lit Motors said to Gizmag, verbatim is “The flywheels will be located beneath the vehicle’s floor, and should generate over 1,300 lb/ft (1,763 Nm) of torque in the final, commercial model.”

    • Driftrun2

      The Mustang is piston driven converted to circular changed 90 degrees and converted then to linear torque. lots of loss. This is circular transfered straight to circular to linear drive. not near the loss. thats why much smaller electric motors can do the same work as huge gasoline engines

    • DennyB

      The 1300 ft/lbs of torque refers to the gyro below the floor. Not the driver motors.

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