Savage from Night Shift Bikes – electric cafe racer

When I first contacted Matt from Night Shift Bikes he was psyched to share more about this electric cafe racer build.

Night Shift Bikes is a late-night garage outfit in New Orleans dedicated to custom electrics.

This is their second fully custom build. They came out with the idea of an electric cafe racer project and after finding a solid 2003 Suzuki Savage rolling chassis on craigslist, they sold the gas drivetrain and parts for the same amount, sending the swing arm off to the wizards at Enertrac who laced a new 18-inch rim around one of their 602 electric motors.

Along with dropped front forks, the bigger rear transformed the stance of the old 650 cruiser into a more balanced racer.

Enertrac’s brushless DC motor delivers 10KW continuous and up to 30KW of peak power right to the rear hub, saving the weight and complexity of a transmission. Say what you want about the lack of getting to change gears, but Candler loves riding electric and compares it to the zen feel of first riding fixed-gear bicycles after a life of derailleurs.

The custom battery box protects 64 3.6V lithium-ion batteries that provide 110 volts at up to 250 amps for close to 90 mph. Keeping an eye on each of the 64 cells when charging and underway is a battery management system by Orion.

Power delivery is managed by a Magura throttle and Kelly Controller that manages power the same way an ABS braking system does, by sending power to the motor in pulses, adjusting the length of and space between the pulses to provide a smooth power curve.

Battery health, charge and discharge limits, power curves and charging speed can be fully customized by plugging into a laptop in the garage.

Candler’s working on a Bluetooth connection to manage things from his smartphone 24/7.

A 3,000 watt charger from Eltek sits where the tank used to be. It plugs into any 110v AC socket through a port behind the seat. Candler carries a spare cord in his motorcycle jacket in case he tests the limits of the bike’s 40-mile range. Bodywork includes considerable tab cleansing, a new structure for the quick-swap battery pack, and a custom hoop for a seat made of scraps from JT Nesbitt’s Bienville Legacy. JT’s been giving feedback and encouragement throughout the build.

The bike runs three separate electric circuits:

  • 96V for the drivetrain
  • 24V for the motor controller
  • and 12V for everything else.

The 12V circuit gets the full motogadget treatment including the m-unit, m-button wiring harness, and m-lock wireless key switch. Other upgrades include LED lighting all around, a new rear disc, and a torque arm.

Rearsets, shocks, front fork drop hardware, and triple tree hardware are from RYCA. Matt gives the community a ton of credit for help along the way on this build.



  • 2003 Suzuki Savage Rolling Chassis
  • 96 Volt battery pack (32s2p Headway 15 amp cells)
  • Custom battery box
  • Custom Enertrac 602 Hub motor in 18″ rear wheel
  • Kelly Controller
  • Orion Battery Management System
  • Eltek Valere 3,000 Watt on-board charger
  • Cycle Analyst
  • RYCA motors CS-1 mod components
  • fork inserts to drop front end
  • upgraded shocks
  • kickstand mod
  • rear sets
  • rear disc brake

Night Shift’s got more electrics in the works, so stay in touch on Instagram at @nightshiftbikes or at


Images by Harlin Miller