Slack Randoms: A Harley Davidson e-Bike, a Homemade Penumatic Drift Bike & More

Nov 6, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  
We use Slack as our workplace communication tool at Pinkbike and we have a #randoms channel which we use to share an assortment of videos and stories from all corners of the cycling world and beyond... We thought a couple of the moments from the past week were too good not to share with a wider audience, so here are some of the highlights.

Harley Davidson's new e-bike


Harley Davidson has been teasing its move into electric vehicles since 2018 and has now taken the plunge with its spin-off Serial 1 Cycle Company. I'm aware that 'Slack Randoms' is quickly becoming 'Unusual e-Bike of the Week' but this one from Harley Davidson is definitely worth some column inches, so here we are once again.

This is the first concept bike from Serial 1 Cycle Company, which will be produced by a spin-off company from Harley. The company will be run by former Harley employees and Harley will be a minority shareholder with venture capitalists owning the majority. The name comes from “Serial Number One,” the nickname for Harley-Davidson’s oldest-known motorcycle.

Details are thin on the ground for the bike but it's clearly targeting a city/commuter market. From the pictures, we can tell it uses a belt-drive, has integrated lights and leather finishing details. Interestingly there's a graphic on the frame that says, "powered by Harley Davidson". Is this just a reference to the parent company or could it also point to a Harley produced motor and battery system? Time will tell and full details are expected to be released when the first Serial 1 bikes are launched in spring 2021.


This may be Harley Davidson's first foray into e-bikes, but they certainly aren't the first motorcycle brand to take an interest in the exploding market. We've seen enduro bikes from Ducatti, a commuter bike from Triumph and even a motor system from Yamaha, but why are motorbike companies so interested in the ebike market? The obvious answer, of course, is money. The global e-bicycle market was estimated to be over $15 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at an annual rate of more than 6% from 2020 to 2025 but there's more to it than that.


Harley Davidson, in particular, has an aging customer base and its main product that seems less and less suited to younger generations. It's something the company has admitted itself with CEO Matt Leviatch telling TheStreet while talking about electric motorbikes: "These motorcycles are easier to ride than bicycles, they lend themselves to urban environments where our product is maybe less targeted or less suited. They are suited to a generation of people that don’t have the mechanical depth of experience that maybe boomers had with manual transmissions and clutches." Patronising as this may sound, it's clear that when its current generation of customers moves on, Harley will struggle to market itself to younger generations. This move into e-mobility is a way for it to stay relevant with a new generation of customers.

It's clear that e-bike market is a huge growth area and the UCI and FIM's scrap over the sanctioning of eMTB World Cups is one of many power struggles we're likely to see between the motorbike and cycling industries in the next few years.


A custom-built, pneumatic drift bike


How cool is this? 'Make it Extreme', a YouTuber, took apart a kids' BMX and turned it into this super-long, air-powered drift bike. The bike uses two air pistons to lift the rear wheel off the ground so the back end is running only on reduced friction plastic surfaces. The result is a bike that' gets more sideways than a Kade Edwards whip at every opportunity. For a more in-depth read on the bike from the creator, click here and watch the bike come to life by rewinding the video.

Squirt boating: kayaking's sparkly submarine subculture


"There’s a subculture of kayaking known by few and understood by fewer. The paddlers don diving goggles and neoprene and slide into thin, uncomfortable boats not meant to float but designed to sink. Below the waterline, their goal is to stay underwater as long as they can. This is squirt boating.

After squirt boating’s heyday in the early 1990s, the scene has all but disappeared. But when it comes to the history of squirt boating, the legend starts with Jim Synder. The Mystery offers a rare glimpse into this obscure sport and the dedicated few who continue to keep the tradition alive.


God tier run bike racing


Alec Eklow's 540 to fakie


The last time we saw Alec Eklow in Slack Randoms he was flairing an open loop, now he makes his second appearance with this unreal 540 to fakie. He's promising a 900 coming soon so watch this space for more.

Ah yes, the 'Good Old Days'


Skate clip of the year?


So good they play it thrice. The ender to Fffurther from Zane Timpson is heavy.


74 Comments

  • 64 4
 That Harley Ebike is actually surprisingly well thought out. I like the brake mounts on the fork, and the proportions of the frame around the battery/motor look quite nice. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, the hidden cables and integrated tail lights are pretty trick.
I'd have gone with tan wall tires though, the white is a bit much.
  • 11 0
 I thought the exact same thing. It's actually pretty cool (for a cruiser e-bike).
  • 3 0
 + missing fenders
  • 4 1
 HD have timed it well. With Long Way Up streaming at the moment, there are a lot of eyes on Harleys’ electric offerings.
What ever anyone thinks here, this will do well when it comes out.
  • 2 0
 Agreed, very nice looking bike, i'd love to have one as my town bike. Glad they aren't using harley name. I would purchase and be stoked.
  • 1 0
 I can see this as a hip scrambler with some well appointed knobbies
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: I'm betting that's no coincidence.
  • 4 0
 The white is a bit dweeby to the modern eye, but history kind of forced their hand: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harley-Davidson_Model_1
  • 3 0
 @ryan77777: Indeed, I'd say a commuter with no fenders and rack of any kind was designed by someone who doesn't commute, or who's got all the ideal conditions (showers at work, safe storage space at work, etc).

I've been commuting for merely 3 months now (with my old enduro). One day it got rainy, well 3 days later my bike had fenders. I also carry a huge U-lock (so if any a*shole wants to steal a bike he'll takee the one beside mine), I was carrying it in a backpack at first, big mistake, sweaty everyday when it was sunny.

So you need a big shock that is fixed on the frame (or carried in a panier or whetever it's called)
And you also need a front & rear lights both to see and be seen.
And if there's space to carry rain cloths (top and lower) it's even better (see Nicolai's ebike).

So this one is stylish (good integration of the elevated chainstay, nice proportions) but it's more a leisure bike you take out when the weather's nice than a 365 days/year commuter.
  • 2 0
 @ryan77777: No fenders or rack mounts on an urban bike is inexcusable
  • 36 2
 Harley should get into the mobility scooter market to retain their current customer base
  • 20 1
 The funny thing about Squirt boating is it stemmed from what is now a smaller subculture in the US of Slalom racers(huge in the 80's now probably around 100-150 total), it basically started with folks playing on eddy lines, sinking their sterns and getting vertical - some of the folks in the video were in slalom boats technically. Then those folks squeezed into smaller and smaller boats with less and less volume and boom. Jim is a bevy of knowledge and an excels with composites, he and Jeff have done a ton for the outdoor water industry as a whole. He was the only one with West Systems Epoxy within a hundred miles to help me repair my old boat of mine before Slalom Nationals at Deep Creek MD in 2007 or 8. worth your time watching, some of the best whitewater(everyone will have a different opinion, the OG class 4/5 water is western MD and SW PA) in the US is out there on the Yough - littered with US paddling history. Cool feature.
  • 22 1
 Oh look, we found the boat nerd!
  • 12 0
 @Circe: never heard of www.pinkboat.com I presume?
  • 10 0
 I get some serious hacky sack vibes from that video.
  • 8 0
 @Circe: lol, the fact I used to be good at something surprises you?.
  • 2 0
 @isaacschmidt: It surprises the hell out of me!! Hack!! lol
  • 2 0
 Thanks for this it explains the whole thing better than the video!
  • 2 0
 Stern squirts are back in style.
  • 2 0
 The Top and Upper Yough were fun for downstream runs, especially in Attila's Thrillseeker, but the Cheat Narrows and Canyon, Big Sandy, and the Tygart were where we'd find the perfect charcs.
  • 2 0
 @Geochemistry: @circe see there are two of us! Also, I should comment that I was primarily a slalom C1 guy, with a little bit of plastic C1. The C1 squirt community is even smaller. That’s awesome on the river references. I lived near ASCI to help get their slalom gate system set up and race and paddled whatever I could.
  • 10 0
 Must say, that Harley bike looks great, combines a good bit of the early 1900's look with a modern bike's look and components look on point for a commuter/cruiser type bike. Well done.
  • 10 0
 Will the Harley e-bike come with an entire set of riding clothes or will you have to buy that at the Harley store? Also will it randomly fall apart as you ride it?
  • 10 0
 So long as it leaks oil who cares? That's how you'll be able to tell it's a genuine HD.
  • 3 0
 @kzink: without the obnoxious “nobody hugged me enough when I was younger” noise, is it really a real Hardly Ableson? Suspension looks pretty rudimentary though, so at least that part checks out.
  • 1 0
 @mtallman2: "the obnoxious “nobody hugged me enough when I was younger” noise"
Hahaha, never saw it formulated this way :p
  • 11 0
 Those kids are the cutest thing I've seen in a long time
  • 7 0
 I watched that whole squirt boating documentary and I still don't understand what it is or what's going on but it looks neat. So my summary is ........because fluid dynamics?
  • 7 0
 Because you get to live like a fish for a few seconds. Great video - I had no idea.
  • 5 0
 I *think* it's people enjoying the surreal feeling of 'floating' underwater and looking at the world go by, while doing your best not to drown.
  • 8 0
 It would've been cool if the Harley E-Bike had a fancy mount on the fork or frame to hold a card in the spokes
  • 2 0
 Obviously, I'd rather have that hardtail with the double crown fork, but the Harley e-bike is remarkably good looking. I like the way the eye is drawn away from the "motor clump" around the BB. Given that Harley gave up on engineering in favor of marketing and design a long, long time ago, they might get somewhere selling these.
  • 4 0
 damn those little rippers shooting out of the gate, am I watching a kids video or a 4x world cup?!
  • 3 2
 HD needs to look at Cannondales attempt to enter the moto world. Not only did it not work but was the laughing stock of the MX/quad industry. Keep making overpriced shit that only appeals to overweight people who don't have a clue to what a bicycle is.
  • 3 0
 That’s their motorcycle market in a nutshell. It’ll be good for cruising around the retirement trailer parks out west.
  • 3 0
 I actually really like the design language harley opted for. Much more modern than expected
  • 2 0
 Definitely not written by a dude who braids his beard.
  • 1 0
 @rrolly: lol wat
  • 2 0
 That Harley ebike actually looks a lot better than that tony ellsworth ebike a week or two ago. I think that really says something!
  • 4 0
 Taking her to Sturgis with my leather chaps.
  • 4 1
 I don't understand all the admiration for the Harley bicycle, it looks like it was made for people who think golf is fun.
  • 2 0
 Damn, that skateboarder is brave. All with no handles... And those tail lights on that Harley are pretty cute...
  • 2 0
 Replace “Harley Davidson” with “Ellsworth” name and see how you really feel about the look of this.
  • 3 0
 What I like least about the Harley is that I don't hate it. Blank Stare
  • 3 1
 Harley attempting to bring their reputation of expensive inferior designs to the cycling world! Love it!
  • 3 1
 Harley E-Bike..., for when you want to break down 10 miles from anything useful
  • 2 0
 @Nagrom77: When my friend starting fixing Harleys at his auto shop I asked why not Honda or Yamaha and he said because all he would be doing is oil changes. So true
  • 3 0
 That drift bike should be on metal plates, throwin sparks the whole way.
  • 2 0
 The strider race was more exciting than most pedal bike races. Amazing holeshot and some good lines by the winner.
  • 2 0
 How intense was that! Not what I was expecting. Kid the won deserves a Red Bull helmet. Sure looked like she and the rest of them had been drinking it!
  • 2 1
 can we talk about the fact that the harley bike has a huge motor unit and no gear hub? will we finally see integrated gearboxes on ebikes?
  • 1 0
 Singlespeed? I don’t see a shifter.
  • 1 0
 @DHhack: possibly. or a CVT like revonte
  • 4 3
 "but why are motorbike companies so interested in the ebike market? The obvious answer, of course, is"... because they are motorbikes.
  • 1 0
 “These motorcycles are easier to ride than bicycles”
Is pedalling optional I wonder?
  • 2 0
 That Harley better have built in sound effects
  • 1 0
 I thought penumatic was something else entirely...could still be ridden and slidden...if that's your thing.
  • 1 0
 The drift bike needs an e-assist to make it back up the hills. Maybe Harley could help out.
  • 2 0
 Further! Westernworld, awesome doods!
  • 1 1
 So Harley buys Alta motorcycles which made a solid electric motorcycle, closes its doors and then comes out with a cruiser elite? WTF HD?
  • 1 0
 HD didn't buy Alta. That was Bombardier. Damn shame either way, that tech just getting bought and buried.
  • 1 0
 @ryetoast: Oh that's it. HD was going to buy a chunk and bailed out last minute. If only Alta could have held on until Covid struck they would have been in the money. Either way, sad to see proper electric motocross bikes go away for now.
  • 1 0
 PornKing, ohhh I remember as we rapping on 24 bikes as a kids
  • 1 0
 Oh my! 24 bicycle, my first real bike :')
  • 1 0
 Build custom drift bike. Use V brakes?
  • 1 0
 if it doesn't sound like a Harley I'm not interested
  • 1 0
 Do you have to have a belly and beard to ride one of those Hardly things?
  • 1 0
 24 Pornking mk3 with the sliding drop outs. Good stuff!
  • 1 0
 Damn auto correct... cruiser ebike.
  • 1 2
 There is something about Striders that make me think they aren't made for boy's anatomy.
  • 1 0
 Sam pilgrim
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