Minimalism is without a doubt one of the most intuitive design languages. The stripped down necessities in their simplest form. Its often great for sustainability and is what makes Scandinavian design so notable and iconic. These design principles when applied to motorcycle manufacturing and engineering is how Tarform, an electric motorcycle manufacturer, was born in Brooklyn New York.
Taras Kravtchouk, the founder of Tarform, started the company out of desire to create a better motorcycle and after spending 20 years in digital design he wanted to make a physical product in the real world that had meaning. This is where his background in industrial design, interest in motorcycles and connections to talented craftsman in Brooklyn was a perfect combination.
From a sketch on paper to a production ready vehicle, the electric motorcycles from Tarform look like something out of a Sci-Fi movie and sound even better. Its a motorcycle that would look just as good as an art piece posed in a loft as it would gliding down the streets. Its not just the iconic design and sustainable materials that makes Tarform different. Its the powertrain. 100% pure electric run with lithium ion batteries at 120 miles of range… for now. Taras says that as battery technology improves this will help increase the range. For how most motorcycles get used, this is plenty of range. Even more than some electric cars on the roads.
Unlike other manufacturers, Tarform is thinking about the motorcycle’s future and how it’s materials will work with the environment. Nearly all other motorcycle manufacturers make use of animal leather, nylon, numerous types of plastics made from oil and other synthetic materials like polyurethane. At the end of their life cycles, these materials can’t return to the environment safely and end up polluting the planet both during manufacturing and returning to the Earth.
Tarform’s motorcycle frames are made from steel that could easily last 100+ years. Structural components, hand shaped metal body work and gauge housings are made from 100% recycled aluminum. The body panels are made from biodegradable flax seed fiber composite and dyed with algae pigments. Even the fabric used to make the seat… is made from pineapple leaf leather.
Something I noticed in the reveal video, when they showed the motorcycles to the public for the first time, is that everyone wanted to touch and feel them. There is something about the textures, the materials and the shapes of the bike that draw you to it. Its familiar in its design but at the same time futuristic. You can visually feel the textures even through photos. Tarform motorcycles are almost organic in their nature.
Taras describes the manufacturing as “we kind of wanted to honor the spirit of craftsmanship and embrace a little bit of the values of how vehicles were made in the 50’s and 60’s”. This is a time where craftsmanship of vehicles was a true art form and were made to last. This is why so many vehicles from that era are still around today and some models even sought after by collectors. Most motorcycles though, haven’t made this way in over 50 years aside from artisan manufacturers. And none of them are electric. Until now.
One of the big questions Tarform wanted to answer through design was “how do you create something meaningful that is meant to last?” A philosophy Taras mentioned from a watch advertisement where the idea is to “hand it down to the next generation”. Which in itself is inspiring. The idea of being able to hand down an iconic design, something that you enjoyed for decades knowing that your children or grandchildren will enjoy it as much as you did. All while having minimal impact on the planet.
Most of the things we own today were designed to be replaced. But in a world that is moving toward sustainability, this is a common business practice that isn’t sustainable. Taras’ answer to this is to design and build something that people desire. And that desire then drives the evolution of the design. But all elements have to work together to create that desire. The look, feel, movement and even the sound.
Motorcycles are partly known for their sound in both positive and negative aspects. So one of the first questions that comes to mind with an electric motorcycle is “what does it sound like?” Taras says they “take the natural sounds from the electric motor and amplify them through a resonator. So its very similar to how an electric guitar works”. And honestly, it sounds amazing. There is something truly iconic about the acoustics. From startup to accelerating and slowing down there’s something there that makes you want to listen to on repeat. A primal yet other worldly sound.
Whats happening with electric motorcycles is going to be very similar to what is happening with electric cars. Once you drive one, you realize there is not going back because you’ve experienced the future. And the sustainable electric future is way better in every way. The way it sounds, the way it feels and most importantly how it accelerates. With electric motorcycles there’s no gearbox so there is no need to focus on shifting. Simply get on and go. The minimalist design also results in minimalist function providing a better riding experience.
We ride motorcycles because there is not other feeling like it on Earth. When that’s combined with feeling good knowing your ride is more sustainable for this planet… there’s no replacing that.
Tarform does more than make electric motorcycles and moving art. They help inspire the world to look forward to our sustainable future through their design and engineering.