Real-life Shotaro Kaneda’s Akira electric moto by Bel&Bel

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Bel&Bel is set to craft a limited run of all-electric Kaneda bike replicas on commission during 2024. Images courtesy Bel&Bel

In the world of modern motoring, a unique fusion of art and technology is emerging, captivating both motorbike enthusiasts and fans of manga and anime. Bel&Bel, a Barcelona-based upcycler and art studio, is at the forefront of this exciting trend, crafting an electric motorcycle that pays homage to a dystopian manga classic. This article delves into the creation of the Akira electric moto, a limited fully electric model inspired by Katsuhiro Otomo’s 1980s cyberpunk manga epic, “Akira.”

The inspiration behind the build

“Akira,” set in a nightmarish future version of Tokyo, features teen gang leader Shotaro Kaneda riding a red low-ride motorcycle, a symbol of rebellion and futuristic design. This motorcycle has become an iconic element of the series, and its influence extends beyond the pages and screens. Bel&Bel’s project is not the first attempt to bring Kaneda’s motorcycle to life; there have been several fan builds, including a notable one in Japan that cost about 10 million yen (approximately US$121,400) and took seven years to complete.

Bel&Bel’s unique approach

Bel&Bel, known for transforming iconic vehicles into art pieces and furniture, has embarked on creating working electric replicas of the Kaneda bike. Their approach is unique: the studio has a history of creating manga-inspired rides, like the Vespa-like Monowheel Z-One and Dragon Ball Capsule No. 9. The Akira electric moto is their latest venture into blending art with functionality.

Technical aspects and design

The initial prototype of the Akira electric moto was built around a modified Yamaha Majesty YP 250 scooter chassis, featuring a single-sided swingarm from a Honda VFR 800. It integrates a 250 cc Yamaha moto engine and a 1,000-W electric hub motor, showcasing an intriguing hybrid design.

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The functional Kaneda bike prototype boasts a 250cc engine from Yamaha and a 1,000-Watt electric hub motor.

The latest model, however, is a step up. It is custom-built from scratch and includes a metal chassis with fiberglass and carbon-fiber panels. The bike features a 72-V/5,000-W mid-drive motor, powered by a Gates Carbon Belt, and offers three power modes plus reverse. It boasts an impressive 520 Nm (383.5 lb.ft) of torque, can reach 100 km/h (62 mph) in six seconds, and has a top speed of 150 km/h (93.2 mph).

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Bel&Bel’s Kaneda bike, initially a hybrid, is now being produced in a limited series as an all-electric model.

Performance and features

Details on the battery capacity are yet to be disclosed, but the charging port is cleverly disguised in the “original competition-type gas cap.” The bike is expected to feature a rear disc brake with optional ABS, perimeter LED lighting on the 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, and slick Moto GP racing tires. The digital control panel mirrors the manga original, and there’s mention of a pop-up headlight and front and rear air suspension, enhancing both aesthetic appeal and riding comfort.

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Embodying futuristic elegance, the Kaneda bike replicas fuse manga-inspired aesthetics with modern electric functionality.

Availability and pricing

Bel&Bel plans to produce a limited build-to-order series of these electric bikes, each priced at €24,000 (about US$26,000). Interested buyers are required to make a €5,000 down payment, with the balance due during the build process. The studio is currently working on two private commissions, after which they will commence production of the limited series.

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The all-electric replicas of the Kaneda bike will feature three driving modes, in addition to a reverse function.

Source: Bel&Bel