MotoCzysz wins TT Zero, doesn’t break 100mph barrier

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Riding the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc, Michael Rutter has won the Isle of Man’s TT Zero electric motorcycle race. But, even though teammate Mark Miller placed a close second, the victory is somewhat qualified. MotoCzysz was widely expected to break the 100mph average lap barrier this year, something Rutter missed by just .4mph.

“Another couple laps and i could have done it just right,” said Rutter just seconds after finishing. The disappointment was palpable in his voice as he went on the describe how difficult it was to predict the speed/battery capacity conundrum with only a couple practice laps under his belt.

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  • Ben Incarnate


  • Peter

    Cheers to MotoCzysz and Rutter. A win is a win.

  • slowtire

    Still very impressive. Congrats!

  • Tucker

    That’s heartbreaking to miss the mark by so little!! Still very exciting to see EV innovation in something as exciting as a race bike instead of a fucking dildo-mobile from Toyota

  • the_doctor

    So close.

  • Brammofan
  • Gene

    Plus they’re both 10mph up on the rest, and 30mph up on #5. So any thumbnail info on the rest? I’m particularly interested in what BMW’s money brought to the table, other than probably the biggest batteries.

    • Wes Siler

      BMW didn’t participate that was an MIT bike based on an S1000RR chassis.

  • Jeff

    Congrats. I have been following Czysz since the discovery channel motogp documentary. Its great to see a dream in engineering & manufacturing become a reality before our eyes. The progress jumps that they are making each year is really awesome.

  • Sean Smith

    100mph or not, a 1-2 finish is impressive. The speed is just a number. We already know the bikes are severely limited by battery capacity. I’m curious as to what will happen when energy is no longer an issue. How does a 200 hp electric stack up against a 200 hp fire breathing monster?

    I get the feeling that we have yet to see just how dramatically changing from a clunky lump of metal, oil and volatile fuel that pumps out barely-controlled lumpy pulses of power, to a simple and effective motor that lets you dial in exactly what you need. High-performance internal combustion engines need all manner of tricks and devices to smooth them out and make them into useful tools for acceleration. Yamaha and went so far as to throw up their hands in frustration, sacrifice peak power and build cross-plane motors inspired by bubbas ol’ stump puller.

    How will chassis design, racing lines, tire design and construction and ultimately, lap times change when the electric racing motorcycle comes of age?

    I get the feeling that this will be the next big thing in racing. Not because fossil fuels are evil or because we need to be environmentally responsible, but because they’ll likely blow past the bikes of yesteryear like they’re standing still.

    I can’t wait to see what the grids look like in 30 years.

    • Tucker

      Ditto. Every time someone trots out a new huge displacement high horsepower ICE I can’t help but think about how it’s a technology that is basically well over 100 years old and based on containing explosions with huge inefficiencies. While I don’t particularly care as much as others about the green side of things, perhaps it is the green push that is needed for us to drop our 1800′s technology and truly innovate and create some awesome new toys.

  • 85gripen

    Didn’t 1st or 2nd place go to the 2010.5 bike? They’re both listed as the 2011 in the chart above.

    • Wes Siler

      Mark Miller was on the 2010.5, in 2nd place.

      • 85gripen

        Thanks. I figured so much. I’d be surprised if the 2010.5 beat the 2011. What’s surprising to me is that the 2011 with all its whiz-bang suspension and other improvements only won by 18 seconds and averaged 1.4 mph faster).

        Another odd thing to me is that Czysz has a Briton riding the 2011 bike. In the documentary “Charge” Michael Czysz was making a big deal about wanting to win the TT with an American bike ridden by an American rider, which he did last year. Czysz started building bikes with the goal of making an American MotoGP bike, which he was of course not successful in doing before refocusing efforts on electric bikes.

        • Sean Smith

          18 seconds is a pretty gigantic number in racing.

          • HammSammich

            Seriously huge, even over a 4 mile course…I’d be interested to see the time difference between the first and second place ICE Bikes…probably measured in 10ths…

  • Allan

    I just don’t know. I admire the effort and engineering but.. . A 500cc single did a 100 mph lap 50+ years ago and 125′s were averaging a 100+ nearly 45 years ago.

    • Peter88

      Good Lord man! With the current leaders of our planet creating an economic climate that is not at all conducive to innovation and more than likely putting constraints on certain technologies what Czysz and his team have done is awesome.

    • Ceolwulf

      And that 500 single had fifty years of development behind it.

    • michael uhlarik

      > I just don’t know. I admire the effort and engineering but.. . A 500cc single did a 100 mph lap 50+ years ago and 125′s were averaging a 100+ nearly 45 years ago.

      What an incredibly obtuse comment.

      It also took 50 years for that 500cc single to do that, and more for the 125. Think, man.

      When was the last time we saw 20% improvements year on year in the automotive industry? I’ll tell, not since the 50′s.

      • Paul_55

        To be completely fair about the comparison, the Czysz has all the newest tire, frame and suspension technology to run a 130 mph lap whereas the 500 single had to do with subpar tires, frame and suspension. I would think that the fact the 500 did it with the craptacular tires they had back then is quite the accomplishment.

        If the Czysz bike has 200 hp potential and it’s just the batteries that are preventing the speed, then it seems like putting more batteries on like Chip Yates has done would be the obvious solution. Keep adding batteries until it’s not rideable and then remove a few to make the most amount of power and really show the potential of electrics.

        • Wes Siler

          Czysz is carrying more battery capacity than Yates.

        • Rick

          IoM TT’s first 100mph lap was by Bob McIntyre on a skinny-tired, drum-braked Gilera (his lap averaged > 101, actually) and he did several in 1957′s race. Yes, it took over fifty years for that first lap over “the ton”, for motorcycles to evolve sufficiently from their bicycle-like beginnings. Fair enough.

          It’s also safe to say that motorcycle technology in general has evolved tremendously more in the 54 years since that first 100mph lap than in the 50 preceding it.

          Given today’s chassis, tire, and brake advancements and that 200hp-capable e-motor…well, good on ya Bob Mac!

        • Chris Davis

          So you’d like Czysz to get to 100 with 1957 chassis technology? What’s the point of this argument? You’ll never have your apples-to-apples comparison.

          • Xenophya

            It’s also worth bearing in mind the TT course has changed quite a lot over the years which has effected lap times.

  • BrammoBrian

    Great work and congratulations to the MotoCzysz team! A 1-2 at a course at challenging as the TT = total domination of the competition. Now please get the bikes back to the States in time for Laguna! My prediction – Laguna will be the largest grid of electric racing bikes ever.

    • Dr. Gellar

      I very much hope your prediction comes true. The FIM e-Power\TTXGP race at Laguna Seca is, in my opinion, second (and a very close second at that) only to the TT Zero in importance in electric motorcycle roadracing, and in North America THE most important race…by far. To me there is no excuse that for any of the American big names (MotoCzysz, Brammo, Lightning and Mission) to be absent. Hopefully many of the smaller teams from North America and teams from the rest of the world will also be competing. Perhaps we might see a grid with 10-12 machines, hopefully more.

      Congratulations MotoCzysz on your TT Zero victory. You’re machines (both ICE and electric) and team effort over the years continue to impress me.

  • Myles

    I love electric bikes, I’m fucking amped (PUNTENDED!) about the future. But there is a dumb-ass argument that is always used for electric vehicles:

    “Gasoline engines had xxx years of development and electric motors have grown so much in only x years! Imagine what electric vehicles wil be like in xxx years!”

    That’s fucking stupid. Electric motors (and batteries) have been in development forever. There were electric cars in the 1800′s. We all had r/c cars with rechargeable batteries when we were kids. It’s not like we’re dealing with a brand new technology here. We didn’t find some new secret element to power vehicles. This isn’t a “Transformers” situation.

    • Chris Davis

      And in 1816 we had external combustion engines that have about as much in common with modern internal combustion engines as your RC car’s battery pack has with the MotoCzysz batteries.

      If the technology has “been in development forever” shouldn’t you be *more* impressed with a 20% gain?

  • Steve

    The lap record on the TT course for 125cc singles was 110 mph, back in 2004! If 50cc bikes were raced on the course today on modern tires (they went 87 mph average decades ago) they would probably be lapping faster than the MotoCzysz. What the E1PC demonstrates is how far electrics are from being competitive, and how the energy problem will rule out a practical street version of the E1PC for at least a decade, probably two or more. If you plot the energy capacity of the ubiquitous 18650 lithium-ion cell, it’s grown in a straight line from its introduction in the early 1990s through the latest announcements of 2012 & 2013 production cells — and the growth is not rapid. As someone recently pointed out, Ferdinand Porsche introduced an electric car at the Paris Exposition in — get this — 1900!! It had energy capacity of 24 kWh and a range of 30 miles. Progress has been made with electrics since then, but not enough, and pure electrics, either automotive or motorcycle, are doomed to be niche vehicles until battery energy capacity very significantly improves and battery price falls further. If you’re expecting the first to happen quickly, I have some Groupon IPO shares to sell you.