Amarok P1 unmasked

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Two weeks ago, HFL contributor and motorcycle designer Michael Uhlarik showed you the first images of his new motorcycle, the Amarok P1 TTXGP competitor. Unlike most other electric racers, it’s pursuing a radically reduced weight over high power output and huge battery capacity, something Michael hopes will endow it with 250GP-like performance and handling. Now, here’s an in depth look at the finished product.

Built in the 140-year old garage behind Michael’s Sherbrooke, Quebec home and designed by hand on his coffee table, the P1 weighs just 147kgs/325lbs ready to race. The next lightest competitor, the eCRP 1.4, weighs 160kgs/353lbs.

But, where that bike adapts a conventional ICE frame to the job of housing batteries and twin Agnis, Michael has taken an all-new approach, designing an integrated monocoque that’s at once the battery pack, frame and aerodynamic body.

“Since the 1930′s, airplanes have relied on all-stressed skin, aluminum monocoques for superior strength, lower weight and packaging efficiency,” explains Michael. “Batteries already have strong and bulky structures, so why not design them into shapes that give them enough strength to support the entire motorcycle and rider vehicle system, while sculpting them into an aerodynamic package?”

With the help of his partner and chief fabricator, Kevin O’Neil, Michael designed the P1 by hand rather than employing contemporary (and expensive) CAD/CAM tools. “The DeHavilland Mosquito was made of plywood and glue, using (by today’s standards) low precision tools, and resulted in one of the highest performance fighter/bombers of the Second World War,” says Michael. “The DeHavilland Beaver and Twin Otter bush planes are legends of durability, handling and simple construction, that have plied the north country for decades. Like so many products of Canada, their strength is in intelligent application of the simplest technology necessary to achieve design targets.”

But Amarok has departed from convention in more than just the monocoque battery/frame/body. check out the Hossack-style front suspension and the lack of a conventional rear brake disc.

Michael explains, “The Hossack front suspension system is a solution that mates perfectly with a fuselage type chassis, because it allows forces to be distributed more evenly across a wider load area. Basically, traditional forks, as amazing as they have evolved to be, act like a very long vertical lever, which puts tremendous strain on the head tube area of a conventional frame. Compensating for this means structural reenforcement, which adds weight.  Our solution spreads the work in a manner that is less stressful on the fuselage, thus allowing for less materials to do the same job, saving weight.”

“Our rear brake solution was to place it on the drive shaft that connects the two motors.  This way, it moves mass towards the centre of the rolling axis (for better cornering), eliminates some unsprung weight on the rear wheel system (something that radically improves suspension performance) and because the brake rotor is spinning the same high speed as the motors, we can use a much smaller diameter disc to get the same braking performance.  Its a clean, aerodynamically neat solution that does many things at once.”

“In the end, we are all about radical weight savings, by playing with component architecture, and making parts do as many tasks as possible.”

Michael’s being cagey about performance figures, but the P1 appears to stack up well to existing competitors. It carries the same amount of batteries (7.5kWh) and same twin-Agni 95 motors as the Mavizen TTX02, yet that bike weighs 170kg/375lbs. The Mavizen claims 100bhp and 77lb/ft of torque.

It’s bikes like that one, in the 7.5kWh class, with which Amarok hopes to be competitive in this year’s North American TTXGP series. Behemoths like the the MotoCzysz E1pc, Mission R and Brammo Empulse RR weigh 500lbs+, are much more powerful and carry 12kWh of batteries or more, plus liquid-cooled motors. Perhaps tellingly, Amarok is the only team that’s been able to adapt a ground-up design to the cheaper class.

Michael realizes where he sits in the field. “ This season, we are being realistic about our competitive expectations. After all, we have an all new vehicle system, and have taken some bold decisions on the design. By the end of the year, I expect to be among the best performing AGNI powered bikes, and hopefully best-in-class in the 7.5 kWh category. We won’t be the fastest down any straights, but it is our goal to be the fastest in and out of the corners.”

The P1 is only the start of Amarok’s racing program. Next year they hope to achieve full 250GP power-to-weight parity with the P2, which will weigh in at just 275lbs.


You can read more about the Amarok P1 at Wired.com, in Michael’s original Amarok manifesto and at the Amarok Racing website.

  • HammSammich

    I read your write up on Wired Autopia earlier this morning and was wondering when it would show up here. Great bike and glad to see yet another HFL insider making waves in the industry.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Well Michael talks about it a little in one of the quotes above and it’s the same that you see on the BMW K1200/K1300/K1600s

      Tons of info from the original designer here http://www.hossack-design.co.uk/

      • HammSammich

        Thanks Wes. Reading on my iPhone and the stupid thing skipped down to the last paragraph. I didn’t realize there was more info above until after I posted my comment. D’oh!

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      I wondered about this, too:

      https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Motorcycle_fork#Hossack.2FFior_.28Duolever.29

      “The Hossack/Fior (marketed as Duolever by BMW) separates completely the suspension from steering forces. It was developed by Norman Hossack though used by Claude Fior and John Britten on racebikes. Hossack himself described the system as a ‘steered upright’. In 2004 BMW announced the K1200S with a new front suspension that appears to be based upon the design. As of 2006, the Duolever is on the K1200S, K1200R, and K1200GT.”

      Wes’ link above trumps this piddly info.

      • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

        Out of curiosity – given the cited benefits of the Hossack system, why isn’t it more widely implemented? I’d think that the opportunity to reduce weight would be jumped on by any of the manufacturers out there unless there’s a significant drawback.

        • HammSammich

          If I was to hazard a guess it would be a cost/maintenence issue. These look to be significantly more complicated than a telescopic fork setup, and with as good as modern cartridge forks have become, the imporved performance of this design doesn’t likely overcome the increased maintenance and construction costs for a typical street bike. This would certainly fit with BMW, offering the system since they have never been overly concerned with their patron’s maintenance costs.

          • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

            I don’t think it’s that. A single monoshock should require less service than two oil-filled telescopes.

            It’s more that Hossack requires a ground up design that’s different from conventional geometry. Telescopes require a high center of gravity and very steep geometry. Hossack works better with a longer wheelbase and lower center of gravity and can turn just as quick with that. Look at the BMW K bikes for an example.

            • http://www.amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

              The Hossack type has the potential to be lighter, stiffer and considerably cheaper than a telescopic. A high quality teles requires a tremendous amount of precision machining, ground surfaces and exotic post production treatments. After 60 years of mass production development, it is naturally a very mature technology, both reliable and cost effective, which is why the mainstream industry uses it.

              The motorcycle consumer is also notoriously conservative and doubtful of anything not immediately recognizable. I know Yamaha platform engineers with 4 decades of experience who still cower at the merest mention of “GTS1000″. A bike which, by the way, failed for reasons that had NOTHING to do with the RADD front end. The teles is a sloppy solution that has been band-aided by clobbering it with high technology to sure symptoms instead of its inherent engineering failings.

              • gt1

                Interesting discussion. I found it curious that BMW dropped their ubiquitous Duolever and Paralever in S1000RR.

                • David

                  I think this had a lot to do with race teams being familiar with the telescopic forks, and the availability of mods, tuning, etc. for a sports bike. If you’re a one-off, prototype, or are willing to do all the development yourself and convince others, then you can try other things…

              • HammSammich

                Thanks for the info guys (and the gentle correction of my uninformed guessing).
                Wes – you’ve got a great thing going here, and Michael thanks for your contribution to HFL. As a motorcycle layman, I am blown away by the ability to discuss and learn about design and engineering features on a bike, first hand with it’s designer…well worth the price of a subscription.

              • Chris

                From what I gather, it’s not just the consumer/road user. Obviously, racers have masses of experience with teles, and feel cautious about pushing the limits of a Funny Front End. Therefore they tend to run slower lap times, whereupon the design is dismissed as inherently worse. Manufacturers worry about losing credibility, and the riders never have enough time to build up an instinctual understanding of the set-up before it’s withdrawn.

                Perhaps if Vyrus wins a Moto2 race with their hub-centre design … in the meantime, here’s where electric bikes present another opportunity. Because so many of the variables on electric bikes are different anyway, it’s a chance for chassis designers to challenge received wisdom. If you’ve made that initial leap of buying/racing an electric bike, why not let your freak flag fly on every part of the design? :-)

                For a bunch of (often) self-confessed rebels and outsiders, a lot of bikers seem depressingly averse to genuine difference and experimentation – and prone to teeth-sucking / laughing up their sleeve at the early stages of anything outside the norm.

                In contrast to which, this is brave, original, and very much in the spirit of the F75 concept. Nice one, Michael.

  • JaySD

    Good stuff. Keep with it Michael I think we need some more fresh ideas in the space.

  • Felix

    They really need to build a street legal version of this. Say 250-260 lbs in street trim?

    • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

      Just please, please add sliders.

      This looks great, really excellent work.

      • http://www.amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

        Frame slider supports are incorporated into the fuse(elage), but not visible in the studio photos. After all, there is no point in destroying a year’s investment in some dumb low side.

        • http://www.facebook.com/beastincarnate BeastIncarnate

          Great news, and not at all surprising that you already had that planned.

    • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

      What’s the actual weight of this bike, 147kg or 235lbs? Can’t be both.

      • Dylan

        Agreed I was wondering this as well

      • protomech

        Looks like the 235 was a typo – 325 is the correct number.

        • Felix

          Yeah, but still- 350 in street trim?

          I’d buy that for a dollar!

  • guy

    Beautiful well thought out design and aesthetic. Using tried and proven construction (monocoque) and innovative weight saving elements (brake disc on the motor shaft). This bike if its well integrated concepts prove right will be a contender.

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    Cool to see the implementation of the hossack suspension in a race bike like this. Are these real photographs or renderings? I can’t seem to tell anymore.

    • http://www.amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

      The photos are real, Harry, and if you look at our website, you will see some outdoor images as well.

      amarokracing.ca

      We’ll be getting outside for some video and trackside images soon.

      • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

        Just saw them. Awesome work, Mr. U.

  • Gregory

    Wow. Congratulations to Michael. I can only admire people who have the incredible vision to design things properly from the ground up.

    This is so much better a way forward than Chip Yates’s “let’s just throw more power at the problem” approach (hope that doesn’t sound like a cheap shot- huge respect for Chip’s balls…)

    • Liquidogged

      I think there’s probably room for both approaches, and at this stage of the game I’m glad to see multiple takes on competitive electric bike design. And with respect to Michael and what looks to be an incredible design, it makes sense to reserve judgement until we see how the bike performs. Very intriguing design and definitely putting his money where his mouth is in regards to his articles here on HFL. Be that as it may, Chip is out there competing with the pizza bike, and the results speak louder than the visual design on his bike, which is saying something.

      All that said, I really do love this approach and I can’t wait to see how things work out this season for Amarok.

  • Paul

    Was there some kind of collaboration with U de Sherbrooke involved in the development of this motorcycle? I know they have a team working on a TTX75 bike…

    • http://www.amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

      No collaboration, although we met with those guys at the Montreal motorcycle show. They recently received a Yamaha R6 for their conversion, and we wish them all the luck in the world. For a bunch of mechanical graduates it presents a wonderful opportunity.

      Their site is : http://www.projetemus.com/index.php/en/

  • Glenngineer

    I really want to see it naked from the left side.

  • Dani Peral

    It looks so simple that makes you think why hasnt anyone done it yet :O

    Great job! Im willing to see what this thing is capable of.

  • Devin

    Model: P1SHORT
    Serial: P1000000-RL207
    NAME: “SUDBURY SATURDAY NIGHT”

    Fantastic name. Bring it on over.

    best of luck with this.

  • JRl

    That looks like some promising old school tech! I look forward to checking it out at the Infineon race.

  • http://www.cdavisdesigns.com Chris Davis

    Fantastic integration, Michael. Way to take a few steps back and take an unbiased look at the problem, then taking the initiative to prove it out. Hats off, can’t wait to see it in action. It’s an exciting time for the industry.

  • BrammoBrian

    Nice work, Michael. Very impressive. Will the bike make it’s race debut at Infineon? BTW – The Empulse RR does NOT weigh over 500 lbs!

    • http://www.amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

      Sadly, we are not going to be at Infineon. The snow melted here less than two weeks ago (I’m not kidding-it sucked) and budgetary restrictions didn’t allow for earlier test trips to sunnier climes.

      We’ll see you at Portland.

  • ursus

    Wow. I really like the front suspension and transition to the monocoque shell. Very clean and direct.

  • http://www.urbanrider.co.uk UrbanRider

    Congratulations Michael from a fellow RCA grad.

  • T Diver

    Thanks Canadians. You folks are awesome. The bike is awesome. Keep it up. Thanks HFL.

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    Are you using a K model trapezoidal shear joint? Do you have any close up pictures of your front end? I’m in love with this motorcycle.