What is the Project Blue Smoke?

The story begins from around ten years ago. I was 16 and purchased my first motorcycle, Aprilia AF1 Sport Pro. I painted it Smurf-blue and enjoyed riding it around, being able to go where ever I'd liked. I installed RAVE 2 and the 34mm carburetor and it felt like a rocket.

When I drove it back to home during the autumn break of my studies, I wanted to know exactly how fast it would go. It got up to 140km/h according the speedometer and that's when the engine seized, locking the rear wheel. I pulled the clutch and rolled to a bus stop to see what just happened. The coolant temperature was at its max and the engine wouldn't rotate at all.

Aprilia AF1 Sport Pro that I owned in in 2006

During the following winter I rebuild the engine with Polini 154cc cylinder kit. That wasn't the end of technical problems, though. After the third engine rebuild, I wanted to rebuilt the whole bike - to electric. I was also studying electronics in a vocational college at the time and I really wanted to do that as my final thesis. I even tried to acquire sponsors, but failed. I didn't have enough money to start the build, so I sold out the bike, purchased a car and moved on.

After the third engine rebuild, I wanted to rebuilt the whole bike - to electric.

Allthough very practical, I was bored with my car. I wanted to have a motorcycle. It was also time to join the military service, so I sold my car and purchased a Suzuki GS500E. I had it for four seasons without any technical issues. When I had finished the military service and my studies in university, I upgraded to SV650S.

Suzuki SV650S

All this time the idea of an electric motorcycle stayed in the back of my head. I started to see news about electric motorcycles racing at the Isle of Man, Tesla starting to produce electric cars, drone videos on Youtube etc... Yes, the drone videos were important part of the story. I started building them as well. Then I took the components of one and build a twin motor e-bike. It made a crazy noise (two 420 chains not perfectly alligned) and it was fun to drift during the winter, but had some issues - I burned a motor and two controllers. Then I build a hub motor e-bike to ride to work and hobbies.

Twin motor monser

The price of the batteries, electric motors and controller had come down a long way of what they were ten years ago. The availability of those parts were much better, too. The late 90's and early 00's Aprilias were also in just few hundred euros, at least the ones that had some technical issues, which is not too uncommon on these things. So I purchased the frame and started looking for the parts for the project.

First ride with electric power

I started a youtube channel for the project to show people what I'm doing and to help keep the motivation up. I needed a name for the project and by brother suggested "Blue Smoke". I liked that, because electric devices work with blue smoke - if it gets out of, the device is broken. Blue smoke is also something, that the 2-stroke Aprilias push out of the exhaust.

All electric devices work with blue smoke - if it gets out, the device is broken.

So the build continues. I had my first test rides last year and I'm hoping to register the bike this year. Feel free to comment, I'd appreciate it.

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Comments (1)
  • It's a great idea that works better in theory...in my humble opinion.

    The SV. The V-twin sound is something you didn't miss? Sound is important, not just for riding enjoyment but as a safety indicator to other vehicles and pedestrians. Granted, this is not a big issue in rural Finland.

    Using throttle output signal to a sound module that varies pitch and volume, in turn linked to a looped MP3 -> a compact PA speaker is something I wanted to try. My project didn't reach that stage.

    Time lapse video showed fairings covering an empty space. One suggestion I'd have if Blue Smoke is still active: use that empty space low in the frame for batteries to reduce centre of gravity. It means a new box/sub-frame.

    7 months ago

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