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
After a 50 year hiatus, Belgium’s oldest motorcycle brand Saroléa is making a triumphant return with an electric cafe racer made from carbon fiber. Light, powerful, and sexy in an industria cafe racer sorta way, the Saroléa SP7 introduced itself to the world this past Saturday, and will make its racing debut at the Isle of Man TT Zero later this year.
The unpainted monotube frame is made entirely from carbon fiber, though the SP7 still comes in at 400 pounds. That’s due to a presumably-large battery pack that makes up most of the motorcycle’s body and an electric motor churning out 180 horsepower and 295 ft-lbs of torque. That’s more get-up-and-go than the Mercedes B-Class Electric, which tips the scales at over 3,800 pounds. This setup allows the SP7 to accelerate from 0 to 62 MPH in 2.8 seconds, less time than it probably took you to read this sentence that I deliberately drew out, but you get the picture.
Saroléa ain’t messin’ around, and they’re ready to prove it at the Isle of Man TT Zero in a little over a month’s time. They’ll have plenty of competition from an elite group of electric motorcycle pioneers, and the 2014 edition of the TT Zero already has plenty to recommend it.
The revival of an iconic motorcycle recalling the popular look of cafe racers makes it that much better.
Source: Sarolea via Autoblog Green
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!
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
Electric motorcycles have taken the motoring world by storm while electric cars languish on dealership lots. Is it the affordability of electric motorcycles, or is it the emphasis on performance and motorsports that has made them a success? Regardless, the FIM has announced the E-MX, a serious motocross event for serious electric motorcycle riding enthusiasts.
While the all-electric TTXGP (now known as the TT Zero) has garnered a lion’s share of the attention, the new E-MX event forgoes road courses in favor of big jumps and loose dirt. The season began last week in Belgium, where big name riders like Stefan Everts will be riding the KTM Freeride-E electric motorcycle.
This electric motorcycle, which pro-rider Ronnie Renner recently flogged about Austria, is not yet available for public purchase, though it has received rave reviews from those who have ridden it. As manufacturers, including Zero Motorcycles, will be on hand, though the initial competition is limited to the KTM bikes.
We love to see the enthusiasm with which the motorcycle community has embraced electric vehicles, and this looks like the start of a fun racing series that should garner fans from every corner of the world.
Source: Autoblog Green
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.
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.