Details of Armotia’s electric 2WD bike start to surface

Despite their usefulness, motorcycle two-wheel-drive systems are still slow in coming to market. However,  Armotia might be about to change that.

Armotia is an Italian outfit with two machines, the Due R and the Due X (essentially the same machine, but one’s an off-roader and the other’s in supermoto trim).

At first glance, there’s nothing too exciting about the Armotia Due machines; they’ve got an air-cooled motor powering the rear wheel, with 5.1 kWh battery pack.  Reports say top speed for the supermoto version is roughly 88 kph, and 80 kph for the electric version. None of those facts thrill and excite (Bitubo monoshock rear suspension and Brembo front brakes do point to the machine’s quality, though).

The supermoto version has a little more top speed than the off-road version.
The supermoto version has a little more top speed than the off-road version.

What does make the  Armotia machines interesting is the fact they also have a 15 hp motor driving the front wheel. This technology has been available floating around for quite a while — Yamaha experimented with installing it on their dirt bikes, and Philadelphia-based Christini has mated their 2WD system with Chinese motorcycle platforms to build a lineup of machines they’re selling seemingly everywhere in the world but Canada (they’re selling quite a few to military operators, for what it’s worth).

It isn’t easy to efficiently transfer power from an internal combustion engine to a motorcycle’s front wheel. An electric motor setup is far easier, but not something the market has really explored. Armotia has pioneered the concept now, so it’s only a matter of time before another respected battery bike outfit picks up the idea. And it’s also possible we’ll end up seeing the technology mated with an internal combustion engine, to create the ultimate hybrid.

Find out more about Armotia’s bikes at their website here (you might need Google Translate). We haven’t heard anything about a possibility of these bikes coming to Canada, but it would be pretty cool if they did.


  1. Didn’t Yamaha have an experimental R1 at some point as well? The hybrid option might be interesting if they could get a bike around a track faster with it.

    • Yamaha had the 2-Trac system, back in 2002. It was a hydraulic drive, where the main motor drive an auxiliary oil pump that sent high pressure fluid to a hub which essentially had a pump built into it. It was lighter and less cumbersome than other mechanical systems (think Christini) but gave about 15% of the traction into the front wheel.

      They did sell it as an official option on the European YZ450F, but only put it on the R1 experimentally. It was pretty epic…

      • I remember the 2-Trac; it was featured in Cycle World. And you’re right on the limitations. I suspect the hydraulic drive was easier to maintain that Christini’s system, but like you said, low power delivery.

        I think it’s telling that the Christinis are being sold to commandos and border patrol agencies, etc. — people who already maintain helicopter fleets, and are therefore used to high-maintenance machines. I’d love to try a Christini and I bet they are a blast, but I also suspect they aren’t much fun to work on.

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