Tucson has beaten its goal of creating a 100kg, 550cc Aprilia v-twin-powered sportsbike. In an independent weigh-in conducted by French magazine Moto Journal, using a calibrated scale, the Tucson BT550 came in at just 97kg (214lbs). That figure includes oil in the engine and water in the radiator, but not fuel. For some perspective, the road-going two-stroke Aprilia RS250 weighed 141kg (dry). Had Tucson decided to use the Strawber solid carbon fiber wheels that it had originally planned, instead of these forged aluminum items, it reckons that weight would be 2.5kg less. But this isn't the end for project BT550.
The French custom firm now plans to have the engine converted to run on
E85 and to have body panels produced from organic (rather than carbon)
fiber. Both should combine to reduce the BT550's impact on the
environment when it's raced next year. That E85 should bring another
benefit: more power. Already rated at 70bhp, Tucson's engine uses a
custom cam for more peak power, while the E85 fuel should increase that
figure by a further 10%.
We're seriously impressed by the end result of this project. Check out
the size of the BT550 as it sits in front of its creators, Bako and
Jeff; bikes of this size simply aren't produced any more. In fact, we'd
like to see a picture of it next to a 125GP racer to see which is
smaller. Using that 70bhp figure, it achieves a power to weight ratio
of .7:1, in comparison, a CBR600RR is around .6:1.