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.
isle of man
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.
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
Mugen Motorsports and Honda have a long and successful motorsports history- and the next chapter of their storied journey just got dropped on an unsuspecting public in Tokyo, when the all-electric Mugen Shinden San made its debut.
Mugen built the bike to take on the perilous Isle of Man TT street circuit and race against ICE motorcycles from Ducati and Yamaha, as well as electric bikes from Brammo and, maybe, the Ohio State University. With lighter, denser batteries and about 10 more peak HP than Honda’s 2013 competitor, the new Mugen Shinden should score a 115-average MPH lap in the hands (crotches?) of riders John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey.
You can check out the new Mugen Shinden San’s specs, below …
|HONDA MUGEN SHINDEN SAN SPECS|
|Overall length / width / height (mm)||2,125 / 680 / 1,130|
|Ground Clearance (mm)||130|
|Seat Height (mm)||840|
|Total Weight (kg)||240|
|Tire (Front)||120/70ZR17M/C (58W)|
|Tire (Rear)||200/55ZR17M/C (78W)|
|Frame||CFRP twin-spar type|
|Motor Type||Oil-cooled, 3-phase, brushless|
|Maximum Output (kW [ps])||100 |
|Maximum Torque (N·m [kgf·m])||220 [22.4]|
|Battery Specification||Laminate-type Li-ion|
|Battery Voltage (V)||370|
… and take a rare look under the skin of a hyper-competitive, super-advanced, 100+ MPH, all-electric Isle of Man TT racer in the photos, below. If you want more, head on over to Asphalt and Rubber, where you’ll be able to find a more complete gallery of Honda Mugen Shinden San photos. Enjoy!
Source | Images: Asphalt and Rubber, via Car News Cafe.
The Isle of Man. No, it’s not like “Whore Island“, but for women- or, maybe it is, if what gets your motor running is literal motors running. That’s because, since 1907, hundreds of competitors and thousands of spectators have descended on the tiny British island to take part in the famous Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) motorcycle race. It is one of the most thrilling, most demanding races in the world- and this is what it looks like from the point of view of a racer.
Here’s the official summary of what you’re about to see …
It’s lap 3 of the 2013 Monster Energy Supersport Race 2 – Michael Dunlop is holding second place on corrected time to Bruce Anstey but trailing John McGuinness and Cameron Donald on the road. As he leaves the pits it’s clear Michael is on a mission to get himself on to the podium for the fourth time in a week.
Blasting down Bray Hill on the PTR tuned MD Racing CBR600RR Dunlop’s a man on the move. With John and Cameron in his sights Michael’s in determined move – watch as he dices with these old TT hands and puts a silky move on them at Ramsey Hairpin!
… and as you watch this, keep in mind: these images are not sped up, there is no cage protecting Michael Dunlop, and he is utterly dependent on the brakes, shocks, engine, and frame of his Honda CBR600 working exactly as they are supposed to on every climb, in every bend, and through every corner. Or, you know, he’ll die.
The all-electric racers from Brammo will be competing against these 600cc Honda riders at the Isle of Man later this year, and they’ll have their work cut out for them. Other electric motorcycles from MotoCzysz and, one day, from Ohio State will compete, as well, hoping to out-pace the ICE field. So, faster than what you see here- which we’d post a video of, but it’s all just a bunch of crazy plaid. Enjoy.
College ain’t what it used to be, and that’s a good thing. Ohio State University introduced a program that allowed engineering students to build a TTZero/TTXGP class electric motorcycle that- one day- may make it to the grid at the legendary Isle of Man TT.
The updated RW2 motorcycle shown here is the second all-electric racing motorcycle to come from Ohio State since the program’s inception in 2010. The first bike, the RW1, had a top speed in excess of 140 MPH- and the RW2 promises to be even faster thanks to its reduced weight, improved aerodynamics, and more powerful electric power unit. OSU’s RW2 is packing the equivalent of 70 HP (plus LOTS of torque) and battery capacity roughly equal to that of a Chevrolet Volt, necessary to traverse the 37.7 mile course at the Snaefell Mountain round of the TTXGP Championship.
You can read more about the program from OSU’s website …
During the academic year, the team designs and builds a two-wheeled electric racing motorcycle to participate to the Time Trial Extreme Grand Prix (TTXGP) Championship. TTXGP is currently a set of three international circuits (North America, United Kingdom, and Europe). Each circuit is comprised of approximately four different races, with the top teams from each circuit competing in Spain for the World Championship.
This project promotes leadership in electric transportation conversion, energy storage systems, advanced traction system, and system integration. At the same time, team members gain vital engineering, business, and communication skills applicable to real-world jobs.
… and check out some of the Ohio State University’s TTXGP engineering team, along with the RW1, in the photos below.
Ohio State University Engineering
Next year’s Isle of Man motorcycle race will once again feature electric motorcycles. This year, though- and, for the first time!- the electric bikes will be competing with the internal-combustion machines in the same category with Darvill Racing bringing a Brammo electric motorcycle to the big leagues.
In the past, motorcycles from makes like Brammo and MotoCzysz have dominated the TT Zero class (named for “Time Trial, Zero emissions”), with MotoCzysz smashing the ton in 2012 and fending off a solid attack from the Honda squad at the 2013 event. Darvill Racing, however, is going with Brammo’s eSuperStock and TTXP2 machine at the “other” Manx road race, the Southern 100.
“We are extremely pleased to be given the opportunity to be the first team to compete with ICE machines in a pure road race event anywhere in the world,” said Alex Aitchison – Darvill Racing Team Principal. “We are looking forward to working with the ACU and Southern 100 club … are committed to being the leading light in the field.”
That’s big talk from Darvill, but maybe they’ll be able to pull off a surprise win? We’ll be watching this year’s Isle of Man race pretty closely, then. What about you? Do you think the electric contingent has a shot at the overall win, or should Brammo stick to TT Zero? Let us know what you think!
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
Docurama Films is presenting Charge as part of their series opening in theaters across the country next week, for a limited engagement. Read our review here, and watch our interview with the director here. You can possibly win free tickets by liking Docurama on Facebook. It’s part of the Docurama Festival, sponsored by GE. Yes, you can rent it too.
But this is TT racing footage, and director Mark Neale actually makes better use of on-board footage (the best thing about racing films) than other TT films I’ve seen. Plus it’s a great story of triumph over the odds. I’m very excited about seeing it on the big screen, as it should be riveting. Of course the potential side effect of this is I may suddenly find myself opening up a credit card to buy a last-minute ticket to the TT…
Last week, I was granted a rare visit to MotoCzysz headquarters in Portland, OR. I met with their General Manager Ray Crepeau, to discuss where the company is at both commercially and in racing for the 2013 season. Last week they announced their 2013 rider lineup, making it clear that they would like to race the full US season of the eRoadRacing series but for now are targeting IOM TT Zero and the Laguna Seca round of eRoadRacing.
The studio is in an unassuming section of NE Portland, much more centrally located than I expected, having visiting CRP’s headquarters well beyond the nearest city center, in Italy. It was a shorter ride on my rental bicycle than many of the destinations I’d hit in days prior.
Crepeau explained that this year their strategy is to have more energy at IOM and more power at the short circuits. They’re still interested in optimal aerodynamics, but have also made the bike smaller, lighter, and more powerful. Of course we didn’t go into the details of all this, that remains to be seen in June when Rutter and Miller cross the finish line on the 2013 bikes next month in the TT Zero, and likely earn more laurels to decorate the workroom.
What Crepeau would show me was the new triple clamps, which work with off-the-shelf Ohlins forks. These MotoCzysz-designed triple clamps reduce front-end chatter and add a tunable second dimension of flex, something any rider on any bike can appreciate. They are currently taking orders from Professional roadrace teams and are looking to have first run units available later this summer.
Crepeau told me that Michael Czysz and team had taken one of the 2013 bikes out to a track day at PIR last week and discovered that the bike handled so well Czysz was dragging elbows. This means the suspension was so well sorted he was able to achieve exceptional lean angles with tremendous confidence. Ray then told me their patented cooling system worked great, even though the bike Czysz rode was unfaired. They’re in the final throes of prepping the bikes for the TT, and the new fairings were nowhere in sight. The bikes were there, though. It was really exciting to watch Michael’s father and lead mechanic Terry Czysz hard at work on one bike while lead engineer Nick Schoeps took a moment to stop measuring the other bike’s power delivery on the dyno to answer my questions.
The Business of MotoCzysz
RC: Our primary business goal has always been to sell our digital electric drive systems to automakers and the like. We’re in conversations with a few OEM’s, just ironing out the paperwork. Our bikes are just a test bed, a way to show off what our powertrains are capable of.
SS: Last year at the Silicon Valley EV Symposium, I asked Ray Lane from Kleiner Perkins what he thought of your business model; selling powertrains to OEM’s. He said he felt it would be hard to succeed since the main competitive advantage for an OEM is their powertrain. It’s what sets them apart from their competition. Isn’t it hard to work with them so they get exactly what they want? Is there a lot of customization?
RC: I think that’s a valid statement, but electric drive systems are still so new, we actually have a lot of customers come to us, asking us “How do you solve this problem?” They sometimes ask us to evaluate their current systems to see what we think, or what we think of different components, if they’ll work together well.
SS: So you also provide consulting services?
RC: Yes, we’ve had that opportunity a few times. We had to go through the same process as anyone would with the first bike we built. We bought a lot of components off the shelf, tried them, scrapped them, and eventually found the ones that work best for us and ultimately designed an integrated solution, the MotoCzysz D1g1tal Dr1ve.
One thing Ray teased me with was a rather large D9 motor with a humble 3,790 ft/lbs of torque. Good thing it’s too big to fit on a motorcycle, or I’d really be in trouble. Wanna see one? Order some for your commercial vehicles, like their current client has. The interview continues, on the topic of racing…
After the SES TT Zero race at the Isle of Man, I sat down with Michael Czysz to talk about the future of MotoCzysz. Winning the world’s most challenging race (electric or otherwise) three years in a row must have its advantages…
SS: I hear rumors that even though you’re not in the business of manufacturing motorcycles, you’d build a customer bike for the right price. Is that true?
MC: No! People say a lot of things on forums based on hearsay, and they just aren’t true. We’re in the business of selling powertrains.
SS: So who are your customers? Tell me more about the Czysz business model.
MC: We use the bike as a test bed for our commercialized electric drive systems. We have two out right now, one of which is with the Department of Defense, which has been running fabulously. They’re using our powertrains in some vehicles.
SS: What type of vehicle is it? Are you allowed to say?
MC: No, but suffice to say it’s for transporting troops. I feel very honored to be involved with that, and they’ve been brutalizing the drivetrain. Their tests are incredible- even worse than the Isle of Man. Having that motorsports experience gives the DoD confidence that we will be able to perform at the level they require. Not that motorsports is defense, but it’s similar in that they’re both extremely demanding. Performance, efficiency, weight- all the things we care about in racing, the DoD is starting to care about. The races also give excitement to the EV industry, which needs to be sexier.
SS: True, the EV Symposium didn’t have much to offer the general public, and most EV’s are quite geeky. Or as Mark Miller said at the awards ceremony, “…they’re especially great for tree-hugging gadget freaks.”
MC: As important as this is for the environment, I really see the utilitarian benefits of electric powertrains being what drives the market. The massive efficiency gains, the torque, the power, and the low maintenance all combine to make a superior machine.
Mark Miller got off the bike and while we were looking at the data, he couldn’t believe how much faster he was able to go in certain sections. Going up the mountain he spent 1.5 minutes at over 120 mph, and went 132.6mph through the Sulby speed trap. (which was the highest recorded speed of any contestant in the race.) Miller told Czysz “I actually forgot I was on an electric bike, it was that much fun, it felt that good!”
SS: I’ve even noticed just in testing the Zero S, is that it feels better and better each year. With the 2012 ZF9, I finally felt there was an electric bike I felt was safe for riding in LA, where traffic moves very fast.
However, it seems there’s a lot of cars going electric, but not enough motorcycles. There’s much higher volume sales in the car industry, but not so much in motorcycles, especially in the US. Sure, in China there’s a massive market for electric scooters, but do you see the motorcycle OEM’s getting more interested in going electric?
MC: Electrics will grow in the motorcycle industry and will become more important every year to the point where all new bikes could eventually be electric. ICE manufacturers have been layering on all these (engine management) electronics to attempt to improve the efficiency of the internal combustion engine, when here is a motor which is already capable of operating at near 100% efficiency. So you would think that at some point in the natural evolution, we would stop trying to band-aid all that and just switch to electric motors.
But at no time in the future will there be a strong enough consumer market for electric motorcycles to be interesting to the major OEM’s.
But the technology will interest them. We’re at the very early days, so it’s a race for intellectual property, it’s a race for market leadership, for those with a long-term vision. But I wouldn’t raise any money to build electric motorcycles, the market’s just not there.
SS: But do you think the OEM’s aren’t interested because it’s so different than their current business model? With the current business model, dealerships make most of their money in maintenance, so vehicles which require less service may not interest the manufacturers as much.
MC: I don’t want to guess what they’re doing, but I think the legacy business model is potentially an issue in the bigger OEM’s which may be slower to change. I don’t think it’s as much of a problem for the smaller ones like Aprilia, Kawasaki, KTM, etc. who need to do something different to compete, I think they would be attracted to this. I don’t think they’re as entrenched in service as part of their business model.
SS: Exactly. If you look at Hollywood Electrics, they sell customization. Customers can buy a fully customized bike or one that’s straight from the factory.
MC: Just look at entertainment- people used to buy music, movies, magazines, etc. and now they’re giving it away. The market evolves and people figure out how to make money in the new market. But what I think the OEM’s are asking themselves is “Who’s going to buy an electric motorcycle?”
SS: It depends on gas prices, though, and the total cost of ownership. When I look at the monthly cost of ownership on a Brammo Empulse, it’s considerably lower than for the 20mpg R1 I ride around LA.
MC: But how expensive does gas need to be? And what about the resale price? Also, you can’t compare a 170HP R1 to a 54HP Empulse, compare like to like.
SS: I don’t calculate resale price, because I assume I’d take a loss on any vehicle, plus it’s impossible to predict accurately. Although the Empulse is considerably less powerful, I’d be using it for 90% the same rides I take on the R1. If it really can go 100 miles on a charge the way I ride around LA, and in the canyons, then it would be a direct replacement for the R1. Which should really be done on a smaller bike, as the R1 is complete overkill anyway.
MC: All I can say is that I don’t think there’s enough of a market for electric superbikes at this time. Until people put down non-refundable deposits, you’ll never know the true size of the market. However, I don’t want to be discouraging, I like almost every motorcycle, I have not met a motorcycle I don’t want to ride.
What we want to do is use the motorcycle to cultivate interest in our powertrain technology. Racing, especially at the TT, is a lot more exciting than just posting white papers. We get a lot of clients who hear about us through our racing success, so we certainly plan to continue racing both here and in some TTXGP races.
SS: Who will you have racing at Laguna Seca this year?
MC: That remains to be determined….
For more details and gorgeous photos of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc, check out this article on Asphalt & Rubber.
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.
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.