Since 2011, the UK's Agility Motors has been promising to deliver on its highly anticipated electric motorbike. Promoted as the firm's "next generation electric urban sport motorcycle" the new 96.5 hp Saietta R, with its 3.9 second 0-60 mph (96 km/h) time and unique visual statement, is now set to hit US shores in 2014.

Marketed as an urban guerrilla street bike, the Saietta, whose name translates from Italian as "thunderbolt," is most certainly not the world’s first performance electric motorcycle (Lightning’s Electric Superbike won the legendary Pike’s Peak Challenge this year, beating both gas and electric bikes). But Agility, which has been working with racing partner Agni Racing on EV racers for years, hopes to show that its track experience can successfully translate over into the Saietta R.

First introduced to much fanfare in 2011, the new Saietta R features an Advanced Axial flux Permanent Magnet DC electric motor capable of producing 72 kW (96.5 hp) and impressive torque figures of 127 Nm (93.7 lb ft) to the rear wheel. Although the bike weighs a hefty 485 lb (220 kg), the electric torque availability is there from zero rpm, giving the bike impressive low end power.

In comparison to, say, Ducati’s 899 Panigale, which weighs in at 425 lb (193 kg), 65 lb (29 kg) lighter than the Saietta, the Agility bike delivers 20 lb ft (27 Nm) more torque than the Italian superbike, giving some perspective to its performance. While the Saietta R offers impressive torque, it can’t compete against the Ducati’s pure aural rawness; a very tangible element which could prove to be a drawback to any old-school clientele.

The Saietta R’s top speed of only 80 mph (129 km/h) would also prove problematic in a fight against the Ducati, but that the all-electric has a range of 112 miles (182 km) in the city and a combined range of 74 miles (120 km) on a single charge should help compensate for the reduced top speed. Another interesting electric option is the "Personalized Throttle Response" system that essentially allows riders to configure the bike’s power to suit their preferences.

According to Agility, the bike’s battery will withstand 1,000 recharge cycles to 80 percent capacity or 80,000 miles (129,000 km), with power supplied through an 1.5 kW onboard charger that can provide a full charge in 3.5 to 8 hours. An optional Fast Charge Pack is also available, doubling the charge capabilities to 3 kW.

Stylistically, the Saietta R is certainly like no other electric or ICE bike on the road. The bike’s unique architectural configuration is a direct result of its electric powerpack arrangement. The bike’s over-arching cowl is more than aesthetic as it covers up the diagonally-mounted battery pack. Where the gas tank would normally go on traditional bikes sits an Advanced Agility lithium-Ion battery with a maximum capacity of 11.0 kWh. The big arch carries over the handlebars giving the bike a Tron, Judge Dredd, or Star Wars type finishing treatment.

According to Agility, the Saietta R is the world's first production motorcycle to use a composite monocoque chassis. The battery envelope, similar to an F1 monocoque, is actually a structural component, designed to reduce overall weight while increasing rigidity and strength. This utilitarian design explains the Saietta’s gigantic power hump emanating from the middle of the bike.

Slowing the bike is the job of 320 mm floating disc brakes shod with 4-piston brake calipers up front, and 240 mm discs out back with dual-piston calipers. The bike's suspension is what Agility refers to as a "Wide-Base Variable-Geometry" setup. On the front, unequal length front double-wishbone shocks with adjustable damping and pre-load keep the corners and bumps in check, while to the rear a propriety integrated transmission and suspension setup called the "Drive-Torque Geometry Control" system deals with power delivery and damping responsibilities.

The Saietta R is expected to hit US streets next year with a price around the US$22,600 mark. People can see the bike first-hand at the “Clean and Cool Mission” in Colorado this month.

Source: Agility Motors