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DIY: Next Level, Todd Perkins

Electric Motorcyle

By Travis Hoewischer

Published August 1, 2013

Todd Perkins grew up in an old-school family, but he was way into metal.

We’re not talking Iron Maiden (although the 49-year-old designer was into that, too); we’re talking elements, compounds, and alloys.

“My family were wood people,” he laughed. “Somewhere along the line, I just developed a passion for things that moved.”

It likely he started, he said, when his brothers brought him a Honda 750 motorcycle that rattled the windows of their home when it pulled into the driveway. Just a little guy, his brother let him work the controls, and he was hooked.

Since then, Perkins has spent 30 years as a metal fabricator and artist, his latest work one of the headlining projects coming out of the Columbus Idea Foundry – although it’s not going to be rattling any windows. It’s almost entirely silent.

Scrape, his electric-drive concept bike, barely makes a peep, other than the sound of the battery and the slight rotation of the bike chain. Visitors to the Idea Foundry got their first look at the bike last year, and were amazed at project’s duality – it’s merging of classic American and Italian design features, in sharp contrast with the bike’s golf-cart like hum.

Even for a gearhead like Perkins, the response to his projects is what always drives him further.

“It’s really not the vehicles; I like creating a reaction for people,” he said. “The real glory moment is when something I did connects with other people and I can see their reaction. This is really all about people.”

Scrape isn’t just a fun vehicle – it’s a research and education tool.  Scrape showcases and promotes electric vehicle technology, with a fully functional demonstration of how EVs work and how the technology is superior to most alternatives.

It’s a labor of love with a deep commitment, something the once-impatient Perkins has also inherited from his parents. His dad used to work at a steel mill and built the house Perkins and his family grew up in.

“You have to make a commitment to what you’re passionate about – that’s something I think is missing with a lot of people today,” he said. “I was raised old-school, and old-school people moved slower – I mean, they didn’t have microwaves. But when they did something, they stuck with it until it came to fruition.

“You have to drive and drive until you get it to go.” •

For more, visit www.toddperkinsdesign.com.


Greg @ 08/07/2013 06:41 am

Great article. The Honda Sabre was my first love.