Flight of the Falcon

By Lorraine LorenzoJanuary 21, 2018

Bamboo brings style and substance to a motorcycle’s body

THE VISION BEHIND Green Falcon, a revolutionary cafe racer electric motorcycle which body was fashioned using bamboo, is simple: To find our own way to transport everyday Filipinos in a vehicle that has grace, style, and also environmenat-friendly.

“The whole endeavor is dedicated to God and country. We wanted something that’ll take away what’s degrading on how Filipinos get from one place to another. We wanted them to know that there’s another option besides a diesel-soaked engine,” said Green Falcon designer Christopher Lacson.

The Green Falcon by Banatti, a subsidiary of the Modular Energy Efficient Portage Inc. (MEEP), was conceptualized to inspire and innovate the transportation sector, and to open new markets that aim to elevate the way we move.

“Our end goal is really to use what we have done with The Green Falcon to show how we can build The Meepney, or modern jeepney, a green transport system designed by MEEP, wherein efficient stations can be established that can improve the lives of commuters using electric jeepneys. But before we can do that, we have to show that we can do this first,” said Lacson.

Green Falcon designer Christopher Lacson


Role of bamboo

At the heart of the design is the use of bamboo, considered by Lacson as God’s ‘super grass.’

“Banatti infuses a material never before utilized in motorcycles. Bamboo has many wonderful properties that apply perfectly on the body of the Green Falcon. Bamboo is pliant, sustainable, and a renewable natural resource material that has a myriad of uses. We wanted to find a way that can elevate the use of bamboo. There are many groundbreaking products from bamboo already available, but we really wanted to do so much more.”

The decision to use bamboo is a journey on its own. Lacson and his friend, mining lawyer Leo Dominguez, have been long-time proponents of bamboo.

“In mining, you always have to rehabilitate the land where you mined. If you plant trees, by law you’re not allowed to cut them down. But if you use bamboo, not only do these plants grow easily, you can harvest them and they grow back just as easily.”

Dominguez took his initiative further by establishing a six-hectare bamboo plantation in Davao, and from there the friends thought of ways of how to use the ‘super grass.’

When Lacson worked with and partnered with prestigious furniture designer and member of the world renowned Movement 8, Milo Naval (also known for his extensive use of bamboo), he was invited by the designer to join the 2017 Manila FAME Festival’s Bamboo Extreme exhibition.

“Milo knew I had some ideas for a vehicle wherein we can use bamboo, and since I already had a design in mind, and even have a components from a previous project, I showed him the initial design of the Falcon. Through his generosity, he encouraged us to build the Green Falcon at Milo’s Evolve Factory with the help of his expert craftsmen. Suddenly I had a timeframe and a deadline to do this life-changing project.”

Modern and efficient

It took Lacson and his two builders Jess Alimbo and Eduardo Canete, along with Evolve’s craftsmen nine months to finish the Green Falcon prototype in time for the exhibit. What resulted was a beautiful, sleek vehicle that is 30 percent lighter compared to other motorcycles that make use of fiberglass for the body.

The Falcon can achieve speeds from 60 to a maximum of 110kph and was conceptualized with city driving in mind. The Green Falcon’s 3.3kW, 70Nm of torque is enough for the motorcycle to accelerate quite quickly. And since it’s electric, it has low rpm torque, which is engine speak for accelerating quicker than motorcycles with Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) which needs more revolutions, which in turn, consumes more gasoline.

The bamboo was used in the body for its ‘ergonomic’ components, making the rider experience on the Green Falcon truly exceptional.

“When people saw the Green Falcon at the Manila Fame, it came as a surprise to them that the motorcycle is Filipino-made. That’s what we were aiming for. To show that we have capabilities to create something beautiful like the Falcon, and then keeping it earth-friendly by using materials like bamboo.”

For his next designs, Lacson aims to use new composite technologies of bamboo that will allow him to create a vehicle that uses the organic material for more if its components.

“The Green Falcon was designed to create new markets, fuse cultures, and spark industries. It is aimed primarily at adventurous metro-millennials, for people who want design, performance, sustainability, and care for the city and the environment.”

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