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How it all began

In the spring of 2012, me and a friend went on a road trip in the USA. Riding two big fat Harley Davidsons, we crossed the United States from New York to Los Angeles. Although Fransiscó had already been founded by that time, the road trip would become a milestone event for Fransiscó.

The adventure started when we picked up two rented Harleys and started riding southwards to the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, experiencing the elements in their fullest. Via the famous ‘Tail of the Dragon’, we passed several state borders towards the west coast. On our way to Yosemite National Park we rode through the hot Nevada desert. We turned onto the ‘Extraterrestrial highway’, a long stretch of road passing Area 51, a highly secretive military air base. Just after roughly 30 seconds, we passed the following road sign: No Gas Next 150 Miles.

No Gas Next 150 Miles

Shortly before passing that road sign, we fuelled-up our Harleys. Still we only had 160 miles of range left according to the not so accurate Harley onboard computer. This should be enough to reach the next fuel station, but, in the desert without anybody around, you start to get a little bit of range anxiety.

While riding and enjoying the landscape around us, we started joking about running out of fuel and stranding near Area 51. During an intermediate stop, exactly at the location where the top photo was taken, we got kind of inspired and started thinking about solutions for such range anxiety. Our solution at that time was an electric adventure motorcycle. Quite ironic actually, since range anxiety normally is associated with electric vehicles, not with fossil fuelled Harleys. We would unfold or roll-out some solar panels and wait for the sun to charge the batteries. Charging would take quite some time and it would require dragging along relative heavy and large solar panels on our adventures. So, in hindsight, it wasn’t a particular practical solution. Still, a seed was planted……an electric adventure motorcycle, how about that!

At the time I had an excellent job as an automotive concept development engineer, mainly researching efficient electric vehicles and creating lightweight automotive structures. Lightweight and efficiency have aways been in my DNA. I enjoy getting the highest performance out of the least amount of resources. This is where Fransiscó’s motto originates from: “Leave nothing but tire prints”, all the rest is inefficient waste.

Leave nothing but tire prints

Since my childhood, I had the desire to create something new, from a blank sheet of paper. In 2009 I already registered Fransiscó, but due to work obligations and restrictions I was actually not able to devote much time towards setting up Fransiscó. My work experience and desire to be on my own feet formed the fertile ground to plant the adventure motorcycle seed into. After the road trip, I quit my job and started working on the adventure motorcycle.

Before, I had all the resources and tools a modern engineer could dream of, but having left that job, I had to build it all up again myself. Software, hardware, office equipment, tools, R&D budget etc. So, I tried to generate an income by offering engineering consultancy to customers, mainly regarding lightweight and additive manufacturing. Consequence is that less time was spend on the adventure motorcycle, the actual goal of Fransiscó. The objective now is to refocus again on the motorcycle. I will still perform customer assignments, mainly to keep the lights on, but I will devote more time to the adventure motorcycle. I will frequently publish the progress on this blog.

More about the early days in another blog post, but for now, this is how it all began!

Gilbert Peters

I’m the founder and owner of Fransiscó. I have a passion for lightweight and high performance engineering. In this blogs you will find occasionally a write-up of things that keep me busy. I you want to know more about my background, please have a look here… 

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