I’ve been calling for an electric-only division of motorcycle licenses for years, now that e-motos are gaining in popularity. We aren’t there yet, but at least now some new riders can learn to ride and get their motorcycle license entirely on an electric two-wheeler.
It’s happening in France, where Philippe Monneret’s Easy Monneret training center in Puteaux, right outside of Paris, is giving new riders classes on electric motorbikes.
The classes are designed to give riders the same education they would normally get in a typical motorcycle training class that is taken before getting one’s license, but entirely on electric two-wheelers.
There are courses for nearly all ages, with kids aged 7-12 learning to ride on the KTM SX-E 5 children’s electric dirt bike. For adults who already have a typical car driver’s license for two years already, they can start on a 125cc equivalent electric scooter.
Just seven hours of instruction split across two days (and a fee of around US $250) is enough to complete the course and prepare the new rider to take the examination to receive a motorcycle license in that power class.
The Puteaux location is Monneret’s first, but he plans to have four more electric motorcycle schools operating in France by 2025.
As Monneret explained to French publication Le Repaire Des Motards:
The creation of this center is a perfect response to the growth of the electric two-wheeler market and to the expectations and needs in terms of prevention and training of a new, mainly urban clientele. We innovate with courses, a program, a track, a structure, and a device totally adapted to motorized two-wheeler users.
In the past, we’ve seen Zero electric motorcycles used to give prospective new riders a taste of what it’s like to throw their leg over a bike, albeit with power settings programmed way down.
That’s another example of an advantage of electric motorcycles and scooters for new riders – the power level can be adjusted with a simple swipe of a slider in an app.
I am a huge fan of this new movement, as you may have guessed if you’re familiar with my writing (or riding).
As a 33-year-old rider, I’ve come of age in the world of electric motorcycles. And I’m not alone. There are millions of us.
Personally, I’ve spent likely 98% of my saddle time on electric bikes, with my limited gas bike experience being either borrowing a friend or family member’s bike (I’ll admit my sister’s little 250 cafe racer is pretty fun), or time spent in classes to get my license.
I’ve discussed before how silly it is to waste time teaching gas bike skills to riders who will never use them – riders who will commute entirely on electric scooters or motorcycles.
Years ago I spent days rumbling in a parking lot on a Harley-Davidson, practicing the friction zone and shifting gears to develop a skill I almost never use now. Clutches and gears were a workaround for motorcycles (and cars) that was necessitated by the fact that their silly little combustion engines couldn’t make enough torque at low end to easily get rolling. Such devices were made obsolete when electric motorcycles rolled onto the scene and could directly connect their powerful and torquey motors to their drive wheels, no gearboxes required.
After getting my license, I almost exclusively rode electric motorcycles until I moved to a new country and had to retake a motorcycle course/test to get my license again. Here I was in another parking lot for weeks, this time rumbling on a Kawasaki Ninja, completing my requisite number of classes to get a foreign motorcycle license so I could once again return to electric motorcycle riding.
The fact of the matter is that we’re still in an awkward transition period from gas-powered to electric-powered transportation. There are plenty of kids getting their car driver’s licenses in electric cars that have never even experienced driving a car with a combustion engine or had the pleasurable experience of pumping gas. For motorcycles, which have always lagged around a decade behind the automotive industry for most new tech, are starting to reach that point. It’s about time we embraced it and just let new riders learn on electrics so that they can spend more time learning the important riding skills they need and less time on the things they don’t.
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