For the first time since 1957, a dustbin fairing will be employed in a major motorcycle race. The 2010 Agni E1 is using a 1950s-style all-encompassing aerodynamic fairing in order to make maximum use of its limited power and range.
Update: video showing this Agni, the MotoCzysz and a couple other TT Zero bikes in action is now embedded below. The Agni is using a stock GSX-R tail, what the hell is the point of a dustbin fairing if all you're doing is creating a huge low pressure area behind the bike?! Also, the side-mounted Agni motors require air cooling, which the fairing blocks.
This photo was snapped during today's second and last practice for the
all-electric TT Zero race taking place on Wednesday.
Fairings like this were controversially banned in 1957 officially due to
safety concerns over instability at speed, but, according to some,
marketing also played a role in that ban. According to that theory,
manufacturers didn't want to race bikes that didn't look like production
Dustbins remain banned in all mainstream motorcycle racing, but were
brought back to the rule books of the TTXGP and FIM e-Power series (the FIM stole the TTXGP's rules). TT Zero is employing the FIM rule book.
Craig Vetter is a huge proponent of streamlining, arguing that the
design could drastically increase fuel economy and allow the use of
smaller engines both on the road and in racing. Michael Czysz argues that dustbins are old hat, and similar effects can be achieved
through more advanced solutions, he also believes that streamlined bikes
could be dangerous because they shift the center of aerodynamic
pressure in ways that impact stability.
It's notable that the enclosed Agni is hitting speeds 30mph below that
of the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc, which employs radical solutions to
aerodynamic efficiency all its own.
Compared to this 1957 125cc Mondial, you can clearly see where Agni has
found inspiration for the shape of its fairing. Unfortunately, it
doesn't appear that the bike is currently employing any means to
efficiently close the airflow being pushed aside by the fairing. This
creates a large area of low pressure behind the bike, which acts to pull
the machine backwards even as its electric powertrain tries to
accelerate it. Low pressure is incredibly powerful, it's the force that
lifts planes off the ground. Should Agni wish to derive the full
benefits of streamlining, they'll need to finish the teardrop shape with
a dramatically elongated tail section, as visible on the Mondial.
Video via Amadeus Photography