News: Belgian TT Challenger Sarolea SP7 Unveiled

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Belgian TT Challenger Sarolea SP7 Unveiled

One of the oldest names in European motorcycling – Sarolea – is back after a 50 year absence with the Belgian company unveiling last weekend its electric 2014 Sarolea SP7 that it will take to this year’s Isle of Man TT races.

Established in 1850 as an arms and munitions company in Belgium, Sarolea began making bicycles at the end of the 19th century before moving into motorcycle production. It became well known for making small capacity, light bikes and in 1952 one of its bikes, ridden by Victor Leloup, won the FIM European Motocross Championship. In 1963, the Sarolea name disappeared altogether after being merged with Gillet Motorcycles.

Belgian TT Challenger Sarolea SP7 Unveiled

However a small Belgian consortium has resurrected Sarolea and is bringing the brand back to life beginning with the electric SP7, which will compete in this year’s Zero class of the Isle Man TT races.

At the weekend, Sarolea unveiled the all-carbon fiber SP7 and announced that Scotsman Robert Wilson has been signed to race the bike in the TT’s Zero Challenge class.

Belgian TT Challenger Sarolea SP7 Unveiled

Wilson, who managed a 120mph lap on his debut year of the TT in 2011, will be up against Team Mugen that has already confirmed its TT Zero Class entry with its Shinden San electric motorcycle. The Mugen bike weighs in at 529lbs and has a 100 Kw (134hp) motor and will be raced by TT regulars John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey.

The Sarolea entry could bring a new dimension to the Zero class as, according to the company, the SP7 weighs in at 440lbs, the 130 kW axial flux motor develops 180 hp and produces around 295 lb ft of torque. Sarolea also claims the SP7 has a top speed of 155mph and can accelerate 0-60 in under 2.8 seconds.

Belgian TT Challenger Sarolea SP7 Unveiled

However, Sarolea says it will treat its debut year at the Isle of Man TT, held this year from May 24 – June 6, as a learning exercise to help the company gather data to further develop the SP7.

Belgian TT Challenger Sarolea SP7 Unveiled

 

Belgian TT Challenger Sarolea SP7 Unveiled

  • Dan

    That’s a very impressive race weight for an electric bike. Its about a hundred pounds less than the Mission RS! Did they give a kilowatt-hour figure for the battery? The moutain course is only about 36 miles (TT Zero is only 1 lap), but given the race pace and elevation changes, i suspect its incredibly demanding on the batteries.

    • Tim Watson

      That’s the one number I couldn’t find Dan – they are not giving out any info on the battery.

      • Dan

        Now that I think about it, I’m not surprised that they’re withholding that information. Given the significant weight penalty (but greater energy) that comes from bigger packs, I think that choice of battery size is a key piece of race strategy. It’s just like fuel load in (sprint) race bike — carry too much and you’re slow, too little and you have to push your way across the finish line.

        • Dan

          Speaking of the TT, given the recent changes in the spectator layout for Pike’s Peak, it might be interesting to do a “how-to” on chosing a safe spectating location when attending road races like PP, TT, NW200, etc. I was at the TT last year, and sat on the outside corner at the bottom of Bray Hill against my better judgement. Jonathan Howraith lost control during the Senior and his bike slammed into the stand only about 6 feet from where we were sitting, injuring a number of spectators. Incidents like this are avoidable if you take a minute and think about where not to sit.

          • Guest

            Watching it on TV is safer.

  • William Connor

    Beyond the raw numbers I also appreciate the old school styling of this motorcycle. Makes me feel an old Norton kind of vibe. The more companies start to develop electric bikes the faster they will become extremely viable options for everyday all day use.

    • Reid

      I’m a fan of the look as well. I love that hollowed-out swing-arm.

    • Mister X

      I was totally thinking old school Norton as well, nice!

  • zedro

    Was trying to figure out how the chain length is adjusted (no tensioner or eccentric on the axle) until spotted the tensioner on the swingarm pivot side. Wish their engineers could say why. Also noted the 1:1 final drive on concentric pivot/drive, guess they really wanted theoretically perfect rear suspensionwheel movement (?)

    • Mister X

      Zedro, there definitely are tensioner’s on both sides, look closely at the drive side and see it behind the counter-shaft sprocket.

      • zedro

        Yeah I know, meant its strange that its not at the axle as usual, even as an eccentric bushing which would allow it the same basic swingarm structure at the rear axle. Seems more complicated being located at the front end. Very cool tho.

  • randybsinger

    Is that water cooling plumbing to the battery pack in the last photo? If it is, I don’t see a radiator at the front of the bike. Side-mounted radiators? There are side air intakes that could feed small radiators.

  • Jono

    firstly, that thing is seriously pretty. Secondly, it looks like it has a very similar coaxial front sprocket set up to my husky… I’ve always wondered how that would go on a super bike. would be very interesting to hear Wilson talk about handling…