Strap in, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.
That the BMW R71 is one of the most iconic, beloved motorcycle designs of all time is just a fact. If you’re a startup looking to create an arresting electric motorcycle design, you could definitely choose worse inspiration than an R71. Friends, meet the ALYI ReVolt electric motorcycle, created by industrial design firm Modus.
ALYI is short for Alternet Systems, Inc, a company with the primary purpose of expanding electric mobility options throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Founded by two former U.S. military men, the company’s website focuses on energy storage (or batteries), as well as a heading for “Electric Vehicles.” The ReVolt electric motorcycle is currently the only vehicle under that heading, although presumably from that language, more are somewhere in the planning stages. ALYI also lists “Military Apps” of its electric storage and vehicle developments as a focus.
Anyway, back to the ReVolt. According to an ALYI press release from September, 2020, ALYI itself came up with the initial R71-inspired design for this bike. It then brought Modus on board to make it a feasible electric vehicle effort, rather than just a drawing that someone thought looked cool.
According to an earlier ALYI press release from August, 2020, the plan is to manufacture the ReVolt entirely in Kenya. From there, it plans to expand throughout Africa. At the time, the company listed a $25 million investment from cryptocurrency firm RevoltTOKEN, which itself plans to raise $100 million via an initial coin offering (the cryptocurrency world’s version of an IPO, which is extremely risky and Wild West-y due to little or no regulation, according to Investopedia) to help fund ALYI’s estimated $300 million electric vehicle vision.
To date, the design rendering you see above is the only image that ALYI has released. There are also zero specs available about this bike, and distribution channels are also unclear. However, the firm will let you sign up via a website form to be on its pre-order waitlist, because it’s apparently releasing 200 Retro ReVolt electric bikes as a sort of limited-edition model.
According to a press release dated January 13, 2021, ALYI reports that “almost all of the pre-orders have been allocated.” It goes on to say that over 1,400 people have already signed up expressing interest, and will have first priority in getting their hands on one of those 200 limited-edition bikes. Entries past the first 200 will be waitlisted.
What will this nebulous mystery machine cost? Quoting directly from the most recent press release, “within the next thirty days, those on the pre-order list will be required to make a $500 initial payment. When the Retro ReVolt Electric Motorcycle goes into production, a $6,000 deposit will be required. When the Retro ReVolt Electric Motorcycle is ready to ship, a final payment of $6,000 will be required.”
Do I need to mention at this point that there’s also zero estimated timeline available, should you be wondering how long interested parties can expect to wait for all these steps to take place? I’ll be happy to be wrong, but so far, it looks like there’s nothing here other than a website and a single design render that literally anyone with some amount of artistic talent could put together. Add to that the general confusion generated by the idea of this design having a primary use as a motorcycle taxi, and it’s more than just the design render that looks awfully sketchy.