According to its designer, Michael Czysz, the bike you see here is, “Possibly the most aerodynamic road racing motorcycle to date.” If everything goes well, on Wednesday June 6 it could become the first electric motorcycle to set a 100mph average lap around the Isle of Man’s 37.7-mile Mountain Course.
Photos: Michael Czysz
“In 2009 the goal was simple — build an electric bike…and we barely accomplished that,” explains Michael. “Although we had the most energy and torque, we had the least knowledge.” The 2009 E1pc looked amazing, but broke down early on in the race.
“In 2010 we focused on an integrated electric drive system; we debuted the MotoCzysz D1g1tal Dr1ve.” That bike won the TT Zero and the Laguna Seca round of the TTXGP.
“In 2011 we focused on better handling dynamics and very purposefully, suspension; we debuted a twin spar CF frame (with flex), CF oval front forks and a F1 style push rod suspension.” Riding that bike, Michael Rutter missed the 100mph average by just .4mph.
This year, MotoCzysz will face stiffer competition than ever. Honda is, for the first time, making an entry in the electric racing arena, doing so under the “Team Mugen” disguise. Lightning, holder of the 215.960mph electric motorcycle land speed record will be there too.
How will Czysz meet those threats? “We’re capable of building an eGrand Prix machine with sufficient torque/HP, handling and reliability, so what was next?” Asks Michael. “More, for longer. Adding range is simple, add more batteries or…do more with less! Racing, the automotive industry and the world in general desperately need to recalibrate from using more to using less, more efficiently. Nowhere is this more critical than when creating an electric racing machine.”
“More than 80% of the energy on the E1pc is used simply to push air and the faster you go the more energy it takes, a lot more,” continues Michael. “If your latest eGP bike just completed a 100mph run and you wanted to design one to achieve 125mph, you would have to double the size of your battery. To double is a huge number, add another box 2′x2′x1.5′ in size and +200lbs in weight or, you could try to move less air. If we could achieve 25% less drag (a very, very difficult achievement) we could reach our 125mph target with no extra battery.”
So why not just fit a dustbin? They’re legal in TT Zero. “Dustbin design is regressive, dangerous and primarily deals with the wrong end of the problem,” explains Czysz. “What is needed to create an aerodynamic motorcycle is in direct contrast with the current fashion trend of motorcycle design. Think less RC8/RSV4 tail and more…well every bad ‘futuristic’ concept bike you saw in the ‘80s tail. Think less Olsen twins tail and more Kim and Khloe Kardashian tail. Want more speed? Add some Kris Jenner tail in too.”
Michael has long explained to us that it’s closing the airstream behind the motorcycle, not pushing it out of the way, that’s the major challenge for bikes.
“Free of extraneous conflicts like exhaust pipes, large radiators, etc, electric motorcycles could deliver on that like no bike before, the disappointment is that they don’t.”
“A GP motorcycle with its significant travel/pitch, roll angles and constantly moving rider is a very dynamic vehicle and far more difficult to apply aerodynamic aids to than, say, a formula car. Unlike in Formula One, our pursuit is simply focused on drag and does not need to also include down force.”
“It is the intent of our design that all the aero manipulation result in no significant force applied to the chassis; practically this is impossible. By accelerating air past the skin of the bike we also create low pressure. If the same amount of air can pass an opposing but equal cross-section of surface area at the same speed then the added forces are counteracted and neutralized. Thus, riding directly parallel to the direction of wind – everything is perfect, however if the wind shifts or the road bends, an imbalance will occur and a side force will be imposed. This is the risk of streamlining and the real danger of the dustbin.”
We’ll bring you more details of the E1pc and full race coverage over the next week.