Victory Motorcycles is preparing two all electric motorcycles to compete in the Pikes Peak hill climb and the TT Zero race on the Isle of Man this year. The racer for Pikes Peak will be a modified version of the company’s street legal Empulse TT. “Victory Racing serves as an international R&D development program and test bed for future products, and since Pikes Peak is arguably the most challenging race in America –it’s exactly where we need to be,” says Alex Hultgren, Director of Marketing for Victory Motorcycles.
Victory Motorcycles has announced it will enter two electric motorcycles in this year’s TT Zero race on the Isle of Man. The Victory entries rely heavily on the Brammo Empulse RR bikes that Victory inherited when it acquired Brammo motorcycles earlier this year. The Victory effort is a full-on factory campaign and will feature two top tier motorcycle racers — William Dunlop and Lee Johnston.
The Victory race machines will have 150 horsepower and 166 lb-ft of torque. The both have upgraded 17 kWh batteries, (more than what most plug in hybrids have) new motor controllers and an improved aerodynamic package to help them make it around the challenging 37.7 mile Isle of Man mountain race course as fast as possible.
According to a Victory Motorcycles press release, this will mark the first time the company has entered a European race and its first contest using an electric motorcycle. The motors for the TT Zero machines are made by Parker Hannifin, a highly regarded manufacturer that also worked with Brammo before the sale. The race will take place on Wedesday, June 1oth.
“I’m more than excited to race this prototype at the Isle of Man,” says rider William Dunlop. “Electric powertrains have many advantages, and the Isle of Man is one of the greatest tests in motorcycle racing.” Professional Rider Lee Johnston will be riding the second entry for Victory Racing at the Isle of Man TT. He says “I’m excited to make history by racing the new Victory electric race prototype. It’s thrilling to be part of the emerging electric motorcycle movement.”
If you are not familiar with Parker Hannifin, it may surprise you to learn that it has annual sales of more than $13 billion and is the world’s leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of mobile, industrial and aerospace markets. The company employs approximately 57,500 people in 50 countries around the world.
Victory Motorcycles will host live updates and feeds from the race on its website and on its Twitter feed, @VictoryBikes. The Isle of Man always provides some of the most exciting motorcycle, automobile and sidecar racing in the world. Be sure to tune in.
The TT Zero on the famed Isle of Man has become an annual gathering of the fastest and most technologically advanced electric motorcycles on the planet. After the first four TT Zero races were dominated by MotoCzysz, Team Mugen managed to finally take first place with a new and improved design. For 2015, Mugen is coming back to the TT Zero intent on maintaining its top ranking, and it will try to do so with the Shinden Yon, or “God of Lightning Four.”
Asphalt and Rubber reports that Mugen has made many improvements to its TT Zero-winning electric motorcycle this time around, which includes better aerodynamics and 10% more horsepower for a total output 147 horsepower. Peak torque of 162 lb-ft remains the same, though these improvements added a total of 22 lbs/10 kgs to the Shinden Yon’s curb weight. It now tips the scales at 551 lbs/250 kg.
Having won the 2014 TT Zero by less than 25 seconds, it will be interesting to see if the increased horsepower is worth the additional weight. Mugen has managed to retain its winning (and record-setting) rider lineup though of John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey. That’s no guarantee of victory though, as electric motorcycle makers like reborn Sarolea aren’t just entering the TT Zero for shits and giggles. Which electric two-wheeler would you put your money on?
Last week John McGuinness rode a Mugen electric motorcycle to a new record at the annual TT Zero on the Isle of Man. He managed to complete the 37.7 mile course in 19 minutes and 17.3 seconds, at an average speed of over 117 MPH, and we’ve got the on-board footage to prove it.
This video is not for the faint of heart, and it’s frankly amazing that McGuinness is able to navigate the narrow roads and tight turns of the TT Zero course the way he does. His Mugen Shinden San electric motorcycle moves like magic, dipping and juking through the corners with no complaint silently and steadily, reaching speeds in excess of 154 MPH.
McGuiness set the overall record for motorcycles at more than 131 MPH last year, and he has closed the gap between combustion and electric motorcycles with this wild ride. The rate at which electric motorcycles have advanced is unparalleled by conventional motorcycles, and even though the TT Zero has only been around for 5 years, it’s already giving gas bikes reason to worry for the future. How much longer till electric motorcycles exceed their combustion counterparts?
With nearly 20 minutes of electric racing bliss from the on-board camera, pregnant women and people with heart conditions should probably avoid this video. It’s that heart-poundingly exciting and scary, all in the same breath, and it’s a wonder how John McGuinness manages to hang out.
In just 19 minutes and 17.3 seconds, John McGuinness raced 37.7 miles around the Isle of Man at an average speed of 117.366 MPH on his Mugen electric motorcycle. It’s the first time an electric motorcycle has completed the Snaefell Mountain course in under 20 minutes, and beats out last year’s TT Zero record by some 7 MPH.
Riding a modified Mugen Shinden Sari, McGuiness and teammate Bruce Antsey dominated the annual running of the TT Zero, an electric version of the famous island race that has captivated audiences and island dwellers for decades. The victory also marks the end of MotoCzysz’s four-year domination of the zero emissions motorcycle race, With McGuiness easily grabbing first place, followed by teammate Antsey, the battle for third place came down to Ohio State’s Buckeye Current, and the newly-resurrected Saroléa to battle for third place. Ultimately, Ohio State’s Rob Barber managed to edge out the Saroléa team by just .37 seconds. You couldn’t finish any closer if you tried.
The TT Zero has become one of the most-watched contests of electric motorsports, and it was a real pioneer in bringing zero emissions racing to the masses. With upcoming racing series like Formula E giving electric vehicles an even bigger venue to showcase their strengths, its important to remember that a decade ago, there was no such thing as the TT Zero, or even electric motorcycles.
In 2010, when MotoCzysz won its first race, the record stood at just 96.8 MPH. With McGuiness setting the outright lap and speed record last year, he’s managed to close the gap between his own records in little time. At this pace, it won’t be much longer before an electric motorcycle outpaces all the gas competitors.
It already happened at Pikes Peak, and the Isle of Man could be next.
Source: Isle of Man TT Zero
Last week Michael Rutter and John McGuinness battled to be the fastest electric motorcycle drivers at the Isle of Man TT Zero. Ultimately Rutter beat out McGuinness by less than two seconds, giving you an idea of just how close this race was from start to finish. And now we have the on-board footage from this daringly quiet motorcycle race.
It is amazing how fast and far these electric motorcycles have come in just a few years. In 2009, the fastest electric motorcycles couldn’t even break an average pace of 90 mph. At last week’s event though Rutter and McGuiness both averaged more than 109 mph, and reached speeds in excess of 140 mph on straightaways. That’s a jump of more than 20 mph in four years.
Taking place on public streets and narrow roads, the TT Zero is not a race for the feignt of heart. It is, however, one of the premier motorcycle racing events on the planet. McGuinness himself currently holds the outright lap speed record of 131.67 mph, a feat he accomplished on a Honda CBR1000RR.
But if electric motorcycles keep up their current progress, in another five years it will be an EV that holds the outright speed record, and we can’t wait for that day.
Source: Asphalt and Rubber
In true David vs. Goliath fashion, Michael Rutter defeated John McGuinness at today’s epic TT Zero finale, with the two electric motorcycle racing giants squaring off in a race for the record books. Less than two seconds separated the racers, but in racing, that is all it takes.
McGuinness, riding a Mugen motorcycle that reportedly cost between $4 million and $6 million to develop, was the heavy favorite to win this electric motorcycle race, especially after setting a blistering 109 mph lap in practice. But Michael Rutter, riding a Motoczysz motorcycle, managed to beat out the 19-time TT victory by a scant 1.67 seconds.
Rutter’s overall lap speed was 109.675 mph, while McGuinness averaged 109.527 mph, with neither rider able to break the 110 mph barrier as anticipated. Michael Czysz was unable to attend the event due to his illness, but I can only imagine his elation upon learning of the victory.
The defeat was reportedly “soul crushing” for McGuinness, to say nothing of Mugen, which spent a lot of money trying to defeat Rutter. This is the third straight victory for Rutter, and and the fouth win Motoczysz, which has dominated the racing class since its inaugural year in 2010.
There’s always next year, Mugen.
Source: TT Zero
I don’t want to write this, but with Cancer, the more people who know, the more a person can get prayers and healing thoughts sent their way. Which can often be more powerful than chemotherapy, actually. Michael Czysz, CEO, founder and genius behind the curtain at MotoCzysz, will have to miss the 2013 TT to undergo cancer treatment. The TT isn’t something one just misses because they have the sniffles. It’s more than a way of life, it’s as important to motorcycle racers and hardcore fans as a trip to Mecca is to a Muslim. So this is serious.
When I broke 8 bones last April, I had a friend write “May 31” on the white board in my room, as my healing goal. That was the date I was set to fly to the Isle of Man from Los Angeles. All I needed to do was get on that plane. There was no way I was gonna let a shattered pelvis stop me from watching the greatest race on Earth. I wish Cancer could heal as easily as broken bones. Please keep Michael Czysz in your thoughts and look forward to his return to the Isle of Man next year, and for many years to come.
The MotoCzysz bikes are ready to roll, and Rutter and Miller will be racing them. But Michael will have to sit this one out for the first time since he started campaigning the races back in 2009. If you haven’t seen Charge, please do, as it portrays the challenges the Czysz team went through so well. After seeing that film I had the honor of meeting a lot of the people in it, and I felt it portrayed them very accurately. And if you’d like to know more about what MotoCzysz has in the works, read the piece from my visit to their headquarters last month.
Press Release Follows:
The Isle of Man motorcycle race is an important pilgrimage for any fan of two-wheeled motorsports. Our own Susanna Schick recently made the trek to check out the TT Zero, an all-electric race around the famed island racing circuit. This year Michael Rutter riding the Motocyzsz E1pc electric motorcycle broke the 100 mph-average speed record, and we’ve got a brief on-board video from this record-setting run.
There isn’t a whole lot to say that hasn’t already been said. After “breaking the ton” during practice laps early last week, Michael Rutter and the Motoczysz team managed to lap the 37.7 mile course with an average speed of over 104.5 mph. Duke Video had a camera attached to Rutter’s bike, and they posted this brief video to YouTube giving us a preview of the action.
For those unfamiliar with the Isle of TT race, this brief video gives you an idea of what the riders must navigate. Tight roads, winding turns, and dangerous hills, any one of which taken wrong could turn into a fatal accident. And yet this is one of the most famous motorcycle races in the world…and electric bikes are already making their mark. It took gas-powered bikes 50 years to average more than 100 mph. It took electric motorcycles just 4 years.
How long before an electric bike breaks the overall record? It’s just a matter of time at this point.
The SES TT Zero awards ceremony was held last night at the lovely Villa Marina around 10 pm. Because the days are so long this far north, the nights are too, in a way. It all adds to the excitement of being in motorcycle heaven. Luckily the house we’re staying at has cable with a DVR which our host graciously programmed to record all the TT races, so we can be free to enjoy the day’s events and watch the complete races on the days off, like today. Please contact itv4.com if you want to be able to watch the races in a more timely manner, the way BBC and others offer the races they film. It’s great if you’re in the UK, but for the rest of the world, there’s a long delay. Well, perhaps that’s part of the trick to get you to make the pilgrimage to this sacred isle of racing.
Third place finisher Mark Miller has been racing with MotoCzysz since their debut in 2009. I spoke to him just before the race and he was quite concerned about the wet/dry conditions, as that can be much more dangerous than heavy rain. For heavy rain, they have special rain tires which give excellent grip. But because racing at the Isle is so dangerous, they no longer race in the rain at all. So today’s race was postponed until the rain stopped. But this is no NASCAR pansy shite with blow dryers. They race when the rain stops, and ride around the wetter bits when they can.
Second place finisher and TT Legend John McGuinness allowed his daughter to steal the show onstage, but also had some very interesting things to say about riding the Mugen Shinden. The sound is not as clear on my camera, but I was sure he said “We had it set at 40% in practice, then I learned that it was in Map 1. When we put it into Map 2, it was like a rocket!” They can’t have done a 96.9 mph lap in practice then a 102 mph lap in the race going from 40% to 100% power delivery. But it does make sense for them to have multiple maps available for different conditions. That’s the beauty of electric vehicles, you can program them exactly how you want. In the interview I did with Michael Czysz (forthcoming) he touches on this, talking about how the gas superbikes now use all these electronics to make the motors more efficient, when an electric motor is already near 100% efficient.
SES TT Zero winner Michael Rutter talks about winning the 10,000 prize: “…The press have been slagging off saying that when McGuinness wins his 10,000 he’ll fill his wheelbarrow and wheel it past my caravan (camper). Well now that I’ve won it I can afford a nice motorhome like McGuinness!”
Stay tuned for more interviews, as I will try to get a few moments with the race winners this week.
Michael Rutter began and ended the 2012 TT Zero race in front on the MotoCzysz machine, finishing in 21:45.33 minutes with an average speed of 104.056 mph, clearly winning the £10,000 prize for being the first rider to break the ton at the Isle of Man on an electric motorcycle. McGuinness beat Miller to second place with a 102.215 mph average lap in 22:08.85 minutes, Miller finished third with 101.065 mph average in 22:23.97 minutes.I spoke with Miller shortly before they started and he was very concerned about the conditions. There was still a bit of wet pavement in some parts, and they’re all on racing slicks. However, his concerns were unfounded, as the track conditions did indeed turn out to be fine.
Rob Barber came in a distant 4th, at 78.22 mph average in 28:56.45 minutes. In fact, the podium celebrations were well underway when Barber came across the finish line. Eight bikes started but only four were able to finish. This is the nature of racing new technology built on a tight budget. Some teams in the TT Zero are at least partially student projects, from universities such as Imperial College London and Kingston University. Others simply had problems I hope to uncover in interviews later today.
However, enough about failure. Today is a massive success story for Czysz, the motorcycle builder who dreamt of competing in MotoGP then had to shelve that dream, as seen in Charge, the film about the beginning of electric motorcycle racing here at the Isle of Man back in 2009. When he first learned of TTXGP from his electrical engineer, he was able to keep his dream alive of making a competitive race machine. And the past three years he’s proven successful at that. I only wish I could afford to buy one. For now, the price on the world’s best electric race bike? Unobtanium.
With the capricious weather having forced multiple schedule changes, the latest schedule has TT Zero starting at 3:30 GMT, in just 30 minutes. Earlier today I walked the paddock looking to chat with teams ahead of the race. However, most TT Zero tents were zipped up tight. Except of course for Mugen…
I spoke with Mugen’s Colin Whittamore again, who when asked how much juice the Shinden had left after McGuinness returned to the pit, would only answer “A bit.” A little bit, or a big bit, we’ll only know when McGuinness puts on his race face in 30 minutes. Whittamore explained that McGuinness will race as a racer, and has his own goals, but that the company has met their primary goal- to complete a lap at the 37+ mile circuit. They do not have a >100mph average speed goal like MotoCzysz. Czysz has this goal marked on the front fender of each bike, with the timing goal of finishing before 22 minutes, 38:28 seconds:
Stay tuned for the full race report, as I’m off to Parc Ferme to see which teams will start the race…
As our intrepid (and now international) reporter Susanna Schick has already reported, yesterday electric motorcycle team Motoczysz managed to “smash the ton” at the Isle of Man TT Zero. Motoczysz became the first electric motorcycle team to average over 100 MPH across the over 37 miles of roads on the Isle of Man, and they have a huge rear wing and other aerodynamic enhancements to thank for putting them over the century mark.
It took gasoline-powered motorcycles over 50 years to achieve an average lap speed of 100 MPH on the twists and turns of the Isle of Man. For electric motorcycles, it was less than five years, as Motoczysz spent the time since last year’s race focusing on improved aerodynamics on its E1pc electric motorcycle. To that end, the 2012 version of their electric racer features a number of fins, ducts, and wings, particularly on the back end of the bike.
Wind resistance increases exponentially with speed, and since the E1pc already has 200+ horsepower and weighs just 525 lbs, it was a matter of aerodynamics, not power, that would help put Rutter over the 100 mph mark. Functionally speaking, this is pretty much the same 14 kWh drivetrain as last year’s bike, though the cooling systems have been improved. to make up for less air flow. The biggest difference is the big butt-wing and aping fish-mouth front end, along with other aero enhancements, that helped put the Motoczysz team over the top. Aerodynamics are proving to be an integral part of increase fuel efficiency for both gas and electric vehicles, and this is no doubt a preview of the designs that other vehicle makers will eventually embrace.
Rutter averaged a speed 102.5 mph in the only practice race for the TT Zero, a racing that carves through countryside and village alike, as this helmet-cam video from Motoczysz 2011 run shows. He did this over 37 miles, though he had to walk his bike back to the pit after passing the grandstands. Electric motorcycle racing is in many ways the vanguard of alternative fuel motorsports, and the sport has already come quite a ways. But there is even further to go, and it looks like the Motoczysz team is intent on leading the way.
Source: Asphalt and Rubber
Michael Rutter was the first rider to break the ton on an electric motorcycle at the Isle of Man, registering an average speed of 102.5 mph in the first and only TT Zero practice over the 37 mile course on the all-new MotoCzysz machine. This feat took the gas-powered bikes 50 years to accomplish. The electric bikes, specifically MotoCzysz, have done it in 4 years. Last year (Czysz’s first with two bikes) they took first and second place, the year before they won first place, and in the inaugural year, they DNF’ed. In the photo below, note the attention to aerodynamics, then read Michael Czysz’s blog post on the topic, where he explains why it’s better to have a bike built like a Kardashian…
However, the £10,000 prize is limited to actual race time, and specifies that the fastest rider may eclipse the first rider to break the ton, as the fastest rider will take the prize. Before Rutter’s record finish in practice, the announcer used the example of if Rutter was to finish first at over 100mph, but Mark Miller (his teammate) were to come in at a higher average, Miller would be the one winning the prize. However, first time electric racer (yet 18 time winner on the gas bikes) John McGuinness came in an easy second place on the brand new Mugen Shinden, about 20 seconds behind Rutter. He posted a top speed of 158 mph in the trap, and completed a 96.9 mph lap. McGuinness even had enough juice to ride back into the paddock, albeit to the closest pit. Read more about the Mugen Shinden on Asphalt and Rubber.
Rutter ran out of juice after passing the grandstands and had to push his bike up the pit lane. Miller had to cruise to a finish and walk his bike home as well. Miller explained his gauges broke so he didn’t know how much juice he was using and did his best to manage it. He took it easy, and went for a good average, yet still managed 153 in the speed trap and a 94.8 mph average. George Spence finished 4th in practice on the Ion Horse 1/ Ecotricity Kingston machine at 73 mph average speed, and was the last bike to make the provisional results sheet. What started out as solely a University project has come a log way since the first race in 2009, and it shows. Tomorrow I’ll stalk the teams to find out what happened to the rest of them…
Walking through the TT paddock felt very familiar, and the whole event feels like a homecoming. In fact, so many of the people were familiar from having watched Charge (admittedly, more than once, and reviewed here.), I felt as if we were old friends. This video shows all the bikes starting, yet not all made it back in a timely fashion…