Excursion: TTXGP Infineon

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TTXGPinf.jpgThis photo of the empty grandstands was taken from the roof of our RV during the Saturday qualifying for the first TTXGP race to take place on American soil. The Infineon event was odd, not least because we were thrown out halfway through the weekend. Here’s our take on the current state of electric road racing. 

Click below for the feature.

Excursion: TTXGP Infineon

  • Jonathan

    I’d have to agree with you on all points Wes. I tried to bring a few of my gear-head buddies to the race weekend, but all flaked out last minute.

    I got to the track and was surprised by all the AMA action and I became a little depressed when I saw the small field that had been assembled for the TTXGP.

    The series has a long way to go, and we’ll only see fan participation once the speeds can get up to / surpass ICE bikes. That will only happen once we get the power density that these bikes need from their batteries and power management systems.

    But seeing the race motivated me enough to start getting together guys that will help me put a bike out on the track for next year’s race.

    When I saw the Zero guys out there, I was a bit miffed. They seemed like every other company trying to make a quick buck off what they call “innovation”.

    They seemed to just be trying to slang a quick product to the masses who think of it as more of a novelty than a means to replace their current steeds.

    Racing is a passion for the technology and the bikes, not the pursuit of profit. It’s the pursuit of winning.

    But going back to the race… It was frustrating listening to the announcer ramble on about the technology and missing a lot of key points about the technology and innovation that these bikes are trying to demonstrate.

    I really want to get a bike together for next year’s race and show the big guys what garage tinkering can really do. cough*Apple computers*cough.

    - Jonathan

  • Brian

    I managed to make it out Saturday, and though I didn’t expect everyone to stick around for it I was amazed that just about everyone left. I convinced the guys I was there with to stay, but even being semi interested in it I have to say as a spectator it was incredibly dull!

    The only way I see any future in this is if they drop down the number of laps even further. That way the power to weight will be improved which to me would seem to be the biggest issue.

    Though that would totally destroy the idea that these bikes will translate into usable sportbikes. Then again anyone who understands the energy/lb difference between batteries and gas should realize (unless hampered by extremely limited range/constant battery swaps) electric bikes are not going to be anywhere near competitive until a revolutionary battery type is developed. My fingers are crossed for that day coming soon!

  • DC

    Is that an electric Norton Featherbed? Kick ass.

  • matt

    Is anyone else disappointed by the lack of in hub electric motors? I mean you go to all this trobel to replace the motor and gas tank with batteries, you’d think that someone would have tried in hub motors, they are all the rage in cars since I don’t know, maybe 2005? admitedly unsprung wieght would suffer, but would it be enough to offset te bennifits of no cain dirve? we won’t know untill someone tries.

    • brettvegas

      Matt,

      Hub motors have alot of problems. Low revs is the first, it is difficult to develop good power-to-weight. About half, or less, than a ‘standard’
      motor. They tend to work OK in scaled up applications, cars, trucks, that kind of thing.
      http://www.liebherr.com/me/en/products_me.asp?menuID=106220!2044-0

      Read the specs on that monster. 3000hp engine, 6000hp motor. Geared hub motors, I think.
      Runs off the engine getting to and from work, hooks up to overhead lines when hawling load.
      600tons,40mph!

      Shorter courses have to be raced for electrics to shine. I am not surprised at all that the race was disappointing. The race promoters need to get their shit together. Zero gets a thumbs down for racing somebody else’s bike. Boooo!

      Good read, good pics.

      Brettsky

      • AadmanZ

        Don’t forget adding a lot of unsprung weight to the wheels, not something you want on race bike..

  • chunky

    How dare they use the word GP for this turtle vs. tortoise “race”? Electric bikes can’t even do 193 mph on public road, yet they take it to a circuit?

  • Scott

    Maybe AFM & WERA embrace/nurture TTXGP racers in cross-country series?

  • http://www.1977mopeds.com Dan

    I tend to agree on what you are saying. I am curious if the the grassroots racing will keep at it for the next few years, get pretty good, and then have factory teams come in and dominate. I know that Zero is technically a factory team, and they did a really good job, but they would be no match for the budgets and racing experience of a Honda, or a Yamaha.

    Or maybe this grassroots effort will actually develop some technologies that will put them squarely in the drivers seat of the new paradigm of motorcycle racing. Or maybe, one of the Old Boys network cycle companies will just buy them up. Whatever the outcome, Electric racing is the future. It is clumsy, young, and slow now, but at the rate it is advancing, and the potential it has technology wise, we will all look back at ICE racing like we do with 2-Stroke, or even Steam.

    The best part is all of this tech will trickle down to the consumer. We will have affordable electric two wheelers. They will be fast, have a good range, and be pretty rad. How can we support this racing effort, without actually building a bike and getting on the track?

  • rohorn

    Does anybody here remember/know anything about AMA’s old BOTT class? It had very humble beginnings that eventually resulted in some amazing efforts – Britten being one of them.

    But it took quite a few years for that to happen. Give this class some time and it will grow into something far more interesting than any of the consumer product classes.

    Yes, TTXGP will become dominated by one company eventually and get terminally boring – just as the Ducati 851/888/etc killed off BOTT.

    PS: The above is from a guy in his late 40′s – so the hipsters won’t know what I’m talking about and will claim it doesn’t mean anything. Yet the hipsters feel that neo70′s crap is both original and cool somehow – so Hipster Juniors will rebel against their squaresville “parents” by going like so totally BOTT with TTXGP. Just a generational heads up.

  • rohorn

    So where are the 3 “Too good to be seen with the likes of this” teams going to find competition at their level? The FIM? Or can we look forwards to even more “Pretty pictures & test results” press releases from them? After all, they generate more media exposure than actually doing something.

    Oh let me guess – those who actually finish building their bikes and enter the races need to raise their performance to the allegedly superior level of the non-entrants/non-competitors?

    Sounds to me that if those 3 teams were less into vanity and more into results, self promotion would require a whole lot less effort and money.

    • AadmanZ

      Amen..

  • the other larry

    Ultimately as a bunch of guys generally living with a case of extended adolescence, we like things that go “WHOOMBAAHH! WHOOMBAAHH!” not “bzzzzz huummmmm” so lets make a case for using up the worlds oil/gasoline as quickly as we can and then the electric stuff will take over. World’s gonna end in 2012 anyway.