Lightning Motorcycles sets 173mph electric speed record, MotoCzysz close behind

Dailies -



Lightning Motorcycles, which won the 2010 North American TTXGP series, has just defeated its own land speed record, reaching 173mph at Bonneville yesterday. The 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc, which is also racing, managed 163mph.

Update: more from Czysz.

“On target…goal 165, actual 163, decent first attempt for roadracer. Lightning a strong 174, then broke/cut out. Bummed, will do better,” Michael Czysz told us in a text message from the salt yesterday.

Czysz texted me again this morning, saying, “On an electric [the salt] was another world. A pure zen, white experience. Simply awesome.”

Lightning set a new record of 162mph on Tuesday, 166.3mph on Wednesday, then took its bike, powered by a motor from the ill-fated GM EV1 electric car, to a dyno in Salt Lake City for tuning. Yesterday they reached 170mph into an 11mph headwind, hitting 176mph on the wind-free return run; that gave them an average speed of 173mph and a new record.

Lightning intends to offer a street-legal motorcycle for sale at some point in the future, although it remains unclear if they have an unlimited supply of EV1 motors that just happened to fall off the back of a truck before GM could destroy them.

The BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials ended yesterday.

  • Mark D

    Great to see electrics at the fabled salt-flats! 173 is a major accomplishment, and hopefully Czysz’s pride is wounded enough for him to work even harder to one-up Lightning!

    Obviously, there isn’t a direct line between Bonneville records and better electric street bikes, but it sure is fun to follow.

    • Beast Incarnate

      If you live here in Dallas, there’s an undeniable link between straight line performance and street bikes.

      C’mon, embedded images. C’mooooooon.

      • Beast Incarnate

        Double damn. Basic HTML does not include embedding pictures of stretched Busas.

        • Wes Siler

          Sorry, he have an auto-delete widget set up for crimes of bad taste.

          In all seriousness, no embedded image function, sorry. I’m sure you can see how that would become a problem

          Just link to them.

          • Beast Incarnate

            I hear ya, Wes. Sometimes, great entertainment takes second place.

            I had a pretty bad one before, but if I have to link to it, I’m going to find something worse. Here are some Texas classics:

            Hayabusa 1
            Hayabusa 2
            The Crown Jewel

        • Wes Siler

          Ha! Always thought Katana’s needed a longer swingarm, all that power really makes keeping the front end down a nightmare.

  • robotribe

    The EV1 lives! Albeit with one-less seat and on 2 wheels.

    • chili sv


  • michael uhlarik

    Impressive results, and a clear, significant improvement over Lightning’s last record. Bravo!

    The World’s Fastest Electric Production Motorcycle is still the 60mph Brammo Inertia, as neither of these machines are in production in any way. The lowest figure accepted as a homologated production run by a governing body was 75 (Fogarty-Petronas FP1 in 2003).

  • rohorn

    As long as AC Propulsion is in business, getting “EV1″ motors shouldn’t be a problem.

  • richard gozinya

    Seems like in the electric world, motorcycles is where all the real action is happening. Impressive work on Lightning’s part, it’ll be interesting to see how long the record holds.

  • rohorn

    Oh yes – did these bikes run themselves down the salt or did they have riders?