Tuesday, June 8, 2010

TTZero at IOM Hots Up

This year's all-electric TTZero race at the Isle of Man is shaping up to be an exciting and technically interesting race.

The MotoCzysz bike is definitely one of the most beautifully sculpted bikes, of any type, I have seen and seems to go as fast as it looks. Yesterday's second practice saw the MotoCzysz 'zeroing' in on 100mph (160kph) average lap speed which is a good improvement on last year's record of 87.5mph set by Team Agni. A £10,000 prize will be awarded to the first all-electric bike to crack 100mph average speed at the Isle of Man.

The main limit to performance still seems to be battery storage and the need to conserve power. This is why you don't see the electric bikes flying off the start line, even though they are capable of it. It is the highest average speed that wins the day.

Speaking of Team Agni, this year's bike is sporting a dustbin fairing which is allowed under the FIM rules for electric motorcycles.

The excitement of this year's Isle of Man race is providing a much needed 'shot in the arm' for electric motorcycle racing. There are two competing electric bike world series being run this year: the TTXGP series and the FIM's e-Power.

The first round of this year's e-Power series, at Le Mans, was a dismal display with only 6-bikes turning up (one of them an electric scooter) and only 5 of those managing to get to the start line.

The first 2010 TTXGP round at the US Infineon track, in May, was not much better. The electric bikes were shuffled to the side and made to race on the little-used infield track, out of sight and out of mind of the crowd who had turned up to watch the superbikes. The most exciting electric-bike related thing to happen was probably the Hell for Leather crew's antics with an electric supermoto in the woman's bathroom (for which they were thrown out of the paddock).

Update: The MotoCzysz E1PC won this year's TT Zero event at the Isle of Man with the Agni bike coming in a respectable second. The MotoCzysz came close to but did not break the 100 mph (160 kph) average speed. Perhaps next year. If you want to read a good overview of the MotoCzysz bike and it's development then check this story on the Popular Science website. It's worth a look for the pictures alone.

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