World’s first electric motorcycle tour company comes to Oconee County
The world’s first electric motorcycle tour company is in Long Creek, SC.
Founded in 2020, Electric Motorcycle Tours was established by a long-time adventurer who believes electric motorcycles are the future. Phillip Clay has done multiple 30-day solo tours on conventional bikes, but it only took one test drive of an electric bike for him to be hooked. He sold all his gas-powered bikes and now has a fleet of Zero motorcycles.
We joined Clay for one of their standard tours: a scenic 90-mile loop of backroads including 50 miles of non-paved forest roads. These tours accommodate up to four riders plus Clay, who acts as support.
When you arrive, the first thing you notice is that Clay and Melissa Smart, the owners, have put a lot of effort into making this a great experience. They’ve installed one of the nicest bathrooms/changing rooms/showers I’ve ever seen in a backwoods scenario. We were greeted with warm smiles and hot coffee, plus some delicious homemade snacks.
Clay gave us a briefing on how the bike and navigation system works. Then it was time for a quick test ride. Besides being incredibly light (under 300 pounds), two things really stood out to me. First, there’s all the torque all the time (78 pounds of torque, in fact). Just like a Tesla, when you ‘give it gas,’ it delivers right away. There are no gears to change, it just brings the speed and torque.
Secondly, there is no noise. There is no tailpipe. There is no burp-burp-burp. No chug-chug-chug. And it is a belt-drive, so you won’t hear a chain. The only sound while riding is the tires crunching the gravel. Being a long-time motorcycle rider, it was disconcerting at first to not hear the bike underneath me, nor hear the response of the machine when I gave it throttle. But after about 10 minutes, I got used to it and felt like I was experiencing the future today. Phillip says he sees a lot more wildlife these days riding these quiet machines. Plus, he believes less noisy motorcycles will mean more places to ride, as riders won’t disturb neighbors and other users.
We started our adventure and were quickly surrounded by the beauty of the national forest, where we would spend much of the day. The navigation system was a cinch to use. The bikes handled beautifully, and we could focus on riding. Being on forest service roads most of the day, we encountered only three vehicles, trucks actually, all day. Oh, this is the life!
Clay has set up these Zero FX bikes with dual batteries. Riding off-road, we should get about 50 miles before we have to swap out the batteries. We met Smart at lunch, and in no time, Clay had ‘hot swapped’ the batteries. Hard to beat our lunch spot down by the Chattooga River.
Things to Know:
- You need a valid motorcycle license.
- Bikes are provided.
- You need to bring your own gear: helmet, padded jacket, pants, boots, and gloves.
- Pack a lunch, snacks, and water. There are saddlebags (designed and made by Phillip) on the bikes to stash your stuff.
- Tour takes 5 to 6 hours, and you ride at your own pace.
- It’s a whole lot of fun!
Book your trip HERE.