"Why are so many custom builders choosing to use electrics as a platform?" a friend asked me as we walked through the Petersen Museum, inspecting the custom electric motorcycles displayed at its latest exhibit: Electric Revolution.

The answer is simple: If you start with a tried-and-true platform, one that works, you essentially just have to set up ergos, a throttle, brakes, and some sort of final drive to get power to the rear wheel. Well that, and the fact that this is the most major technological shift in motorcycling since its inception. Probably best to get on board now.

Roland Sands Design's Super73  at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
Roland Sands Design customized a Super73 electric bicycle into this mini electric motorcycle, housing the battery in a more familiar gas-tank-esque shape and adding a telescopic fork and café tailsection.Morgan Gales

Electric customs are clean. There’s not carbon buildup from your exhaust pipes, no leaky oil coming from your engine cases, and no gas spilling out of your gas tank—just a nice, clean battery and some wiring.

The “Crapshoot” by Alta Motors at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
The “Crapshoot” is an electric drag racing motorcycle built by Alta Motors.Morgan Gales

The Electric Revolution show at the Petersen Museum hosted some of the best custom electric motorcycles in the world, both old and new. Curated by Paul d'Orléans, nearly every category of bike was touched upon, from streetbikes to fully faired land-speed racers, trackers, café racers, and more—most designed to be highly functional in their own regard.

“Moto Undone” by Joey Ruiter at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
“Moto Undone” by Joey Ruiter looks almost invisible riding down the road, with its highly reflective bodywork.Morgan Gales

Two specific bikes, however, were more sculptural than the rest—choosing to not only challenge the concept of what should power our motorcycles, but how they should look. “Moto Undone” by Joey Ruiter and “Racer X” by Mark Atkinson both have wildly eccentric bodywork, but still function the way we expect motorcycles to (for the most part).

“Racer X” by Mark Atkinson at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
“Racer X” by Mark Atkinson challenges the way we think about motorcycle design with hubless wheels and a two-part steel and carbon-fiber frame construction.Morgan Gales

It's exciting for us to see a whole exhibit dedicated to this forward-thinking category of custom work and hope to see more like it popping up soon. Check out the Petersen Museum's website to see more information on the Electric Revolution.

Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
Harley-Davidson's LiveWire motorcycle and electric scooter concepts were on display at Electric Revolution.Morgan Gales
The Tarform at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
The Tarform electric motorcycle integrates a great deal of modern technology, including a vehicle proximity sensor on the dash.Morgan Gales
Alta’s Red Shift at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
Alta’s Red Shift off-road racer reimagined as a dirt track racer by Blatant Moto.Morgan Gales
Energica custom by DeBolex at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
DeBolex puts a vintage race spin on Energica’s modern platform.Morgan Gales
The Curtiss electric motorcycle at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
The Curtiss electric motorcycle blends electric motorcycle technology with high-end construction elements like its billet machined girder fork.Morgan Gales
Cake motorcycle at the Electric Revolution exhibit in the Petersen Museum.
Cake motorcycles are slim and lightweight, looking like a cross between trials bikes and mountain bikes.Morgan Gales
Land-speed racer from Airtech on display at the _Electric Revolution_ show.
A fully faired land-speed racer from Airtech on display at the Electric Revolution show.Morgan Gales
The panel on stage at Electric Revolution talking to the crowd.
The panel at Electric Revolution discussing the future of electric motorcycles.Morgan Gales