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Electric motorbikes for the track

Electric motorbikes for the track - News

The phrase 'electric motorbikes' for many means too slow, too boring, too ugly, too expensive and just rubbish. But in the last year, there are manufacturers around the world making massive leaps forwards in electric 'powertrain' technology and the future of electric motorcycles is not as far away as you might think! With electric bikes, the power is not about the bhp but the torque. In this article, we feature some of the models that could cut it on a track day.

First up is the Mission R pictured above. Made by Mission Motors its essential stats are 160bhp, 120 lbs of torque. 150mph top speed and 0-60 in less than 3 seconds. Now that's not a bad start! 140 miles between charges is alright too. The list of clever stuff is endless but we were particularly interested in the traction control technology which, being an electronic wizard, uses a seamless system that processes thousands of calculations per second to adjust the power output rather than the agricultural system of cutting spark and fuel. Linked to this is the ability to have adjustable throttle mapping and regenerative braking. All the rest is similar to the traditional high spec superbike. Ohlins this, Marchesini that and Brembo the other. It's fast, thanks to its Ducati styling it looks great and should get the heart pumping out on the track. You can order one of these now from the US for £25,000.

Italy has produced the Energetica Ego (rubbish name) which won't keep up with the Mission but still most definitely qualifies as a sports bike. CRP is a serious company and has produced a bike with the following essentials: Torque is heavy duty at 144 lb right from zero rpm. All that toque saps power a bit quicker resulting in a ride range of about 93 miles. Top speed is just shy of 150mph. This one will have ABS and all the rest of the 'normal' bits are made by familiar names. The powertrain puts out a very respectable 134bhp which is about the same as a fairly new Yamaha R6 although weighing in at 258kg it won't be handling like one! Saying that – the electric engine has far less gyroscopic forces than a combustion engine so changes of direction at speed might not be such an issue. Just be a bit careful when you throw it into a slow hairpin-like the Melbourne Loop at Donington or a slow chicane like Knickerbrook at Oulton Park! The Energetica will cost you about £17,000 depending on your spec.

Both the bikes previously mentioned are road bikes suitable for the track. The Amarok P1 is a race bike and a serious one at that! This Canadian born race bike hasn't gone down the 'more power is best' route. This 147kg, 250GP look-a-like is in MotoGP territory and produces over 100bhp and 77lb of torque. This will be one of the sweetest handlings here as the designer has started from the ground up enabling the engine to be part of the chassis rather than trying to find an existing bike chassis that the electric engine can be shoe-horned into – Which is a definite compromise for centre of gravity, front/rear weight bias etc. Also the existing 'road bike' based electric machines suffer from tremendous heat build-up and so have to stick out bits of the engine to keep cool. This GP bike concentrates airflow through its fake petrol tank and underflow.

Finally is the fastest and most advanced thing on track at the moment. The US-built MotoCzysz E1PC which isn't going to win any awards for its 'catchy' name but it does win races. This racer throws out a goliath 220lb of torque. All the top end sparkly bits adorn the carbon fibre frame and top speed may be down on the big boys above but the 'very real' 140+mph figure is not far off. Bikes like this and others are robust enough to survive the IOM. They are fast and getting lighter all the time. Electric cars were scoffed at not so long ago but are now commonplace with the big manufacturers. It won't be long before bikes take the same route. Trouble is my electric bill at home is bad enough as it is without plugging one of these in! Although I would definitely fancy trying one or two of these out on my next track day.

18 October 2013

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