Work has begun on The History of Electric Motorcycles. While I’m starting to put together an actual chapter outline, it’s pretty clear that in electric motorcycles, as well as the broader realm of EVs in general, The Endless Sphere is, as one guy said once, the “brain trust of the EV movement”. I became aware of this site around 2009, but it had been around for quite some time at that point. It’s always seemed to me to be a little skewed towards e-bikes, that is, electric bicycles, but it turns out there’s good reason for that.
Looking for a minute at The Wayback Machine, the first Endless-Sphere site was part renewable-energy vehicle, part hosting services, owned by a Michael Brown, in Tennessee:
Welcome to Endless Sphere Technology
Written by Web Master
Saturday, 21 January 2006
Welcome to the Endless Sphere Technology website!
Here you can find out about hosting services, prices, as well as many other things that our company has a part in. If you want a technician to come out to your business, please call our main office number during regular business hours.
We are proud to serve the Middle Tennessee area to meet the IT & Hosting demands or needs of the business community. We know that running a business that depends on computers comes with a large price tag of the IT guy to hire to maintain everything. We are here to give the companies the big power of having an IT person at their assistance to grow their business, but without the high salaries that come with hiring an IT person on the payroll.
And even back then, there was a piece on the “hybrid electric bicycle”:
The forum, proper, began in November 2006, which a series of blank posts, and one particularly, um, off-topic post titled “Dom Harvey’s Generosity and Talent” starting with this:
O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it–for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
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…and going on to talk about Dom’s gear conversion:
Dom made for me this incredibly perfect gear conversion
which will likely speed up my bike once I restore it to 36 or 48V.
It’s an 11t gear grafted to a Unite motor’s 9t gear’s hub.
Seamless, perfect, hardened.
Art in welding and machining.
That post was by a Reid Welch – who apparently is still an active member on the forum.
Here’s an interesting post on the forum, with a timeline and discussion: Endless-Sphere Timeline.
May 8th Endless-sphere created.
Nov 23rd 10 members.
Dec 22nd Safe joins.
Dec 27th Ypedal joins.
Dec 31st fechter joins.2007
Jan 3rd Xyster joins.
Jan 4th TylerDurden joins.
Jan 26th 50 members
Mar 16th Miles joins.
Mar 31st 100 members.
Apr 8th Doctorbass joins.
Apr 14th Drunksunk joins.
May 24th Lock joins.
Sep 6th vanilla ice joins.
Oct 8th 500 members
Nov 2nd 1000 members
Dec 10th Link joins.2008
Mar 11th AussieJester joins.
April 19th recumpence joins.
May 17th dogman joins.
May 20th John in CR joins.
May 30th SWBluto joins.
June 9th dnmun joins.
Jul 27th johnrobholmes joins.
Oct 24th 100,000 posts.
Oct 29th Non-hub Motor section started.
Oct 29th liveforphysics joins (good timing!)2009
Feb 3rd Safe expelled…
June 22nd 5000 members
Aug 11th 10,000 topicsAug 17th amberwolf joins.2010
Feb 4th Motor Technology section created.
Apr 7th Stand-up E-scooters section created
Jun 16th Electric Aircraft and Watercraft section created.
Nov 26th 300,000 posts.2011
Feb 15th 20,000 topics.
Feb 25th dogman 10,000 posts!
Mar 30th 10,000 members.Aug 4th Change of forum “ownership” announced….
Aug 6th After overwhelming objections from ES members the new “owner” agrees to negotiate a sale with the community
That last little bit belies some seriously emotional drama that happened during a few months:
“Early 2011: ES bought out, unbeknownst to it’s membership (with no offer to the members to let them buy it, either)
Late July 2011: ES moderators notified of the change; discussion attempted with new owner to little result.
Early August 2011: ES membership notified of change; discussion attempted with new owner to no noticeable result. Revolt in progress.”
That whole transaction probably could warrant it’s own chapter, but it’s more about the nature of forums and the online community than electric motorcycles, so it’ll have to wait for now…