We've long argued that electric motorbikes make sense
- low-emissions, quiet operation, instant torque and hardly any maintenance compared with their gas-guzzling cousins. The sluggish reaction of the established industry players to this e-revolution has created an opportunity for names like Brammo
to try their hand, and now a brand that dares to put the words "electric" and "superbike" in the same sentence. Launched last week in Las Vegas, the 130+ mph, GBP25,000 Mavizen TTX02 is based around a KTM RC8 frame, ships with two Agni motors and boasts a hot-swappable battery and drivetrain architecture. Born from, and bred for, the world's first electric GP
, the bike is a "laptop on wheels" that runs on the Linux OS, comes with with integrated IP connectivity and a USB based system bus for open source engine management, and although it's not being sold as a street legal machine, TTXGP founder Azhar Hussain says the package can still provide a pathway from the racetrack to the road.
A new era of motor sport began in June this year with the running of the world's first zero-emissions GP
at the famous Isle of Man circuit. Now the TTXGP’s manufacturing arm is set to unveil a factory production electric superbike. Billed as "a computer on wheels", the Mavizen TTX02 is designed to deliver racing performance in a versatile package that will serve as a development platform for would-be competitors in the fledgling world of the e-GP... and it even comes with its own dedicated IP access and connectivity to the network.
The oddball styling of Honda's forthcoming VFR1200T tourer isn't just the result of a designer's whim; the shape is designed to radically reduce rider injuries in the most common sorts of accidents. The appearance of the touring version of Honda's fourthcoming V4 has already been revealed in design patents which copyright the bike's styling, but for the first time we've managed to dig beneath the skin and discover that the looks aren't simply there to catch buyers' eyes. In fact, they've been dictated by the technology underneath.
Electric motorcycles, while economical, technologically fascinating and environmentally friendly, are unlikely to light a fire under the average petrolhead until they start tickling our inner hooligans... Which is why we're hanging out to throw a leg over the Mission One electric superbike
. Fresh from its first run at the Isle of Man TTXGP, this battery-powered beast pulls power wheelies from faster than freeway speeds, handles like a dream and can top 150 miles on a battery charge. And the latest feather in the Mission One team's cap is a national AMA land-speed record for electric motorcycles. Product Manager and test rider Jeremy Cleland pushed a production prototype - with the same powertrain that customers will get off the shelf in late 2010 - to a top speed of 161mph (259kph) and a two-way land speed record of 150.059mph (241.5kph) in poor conditions and high winds at Utah's Bonneville salt flats. Excellent.
BMW's S1000RR 1000cc superbike might not be making big waves in World Superbike competition just yet, but today's release of photos, specifications and a hugely detailed press pack leaves us in no doubt that the new Beemer flagship will be an absolute monster on the road. A massive 193 horsepower is just the beginning - the S1000RR packs a combined ABS that's lighter and smarter than Honda's, variable intake tracts and exhaust butterflies that outdo the Yamaha and MV Agusta systems, a 4-mode variable engine mapping system that seems a lot better thought-out than Suzuki's, and a very clever traction control system that's integrated into the mind-boggling fly-by-wire engine management system in a way that seems much more logical than Ducati's. Brand new in every way, this purpose-built German superbike is set to hit showroom floors well before the end of the year.
Japan’s Nitro Noriyuki Haga and American newcomer Ben Spies were victorious in round one of the WSKB held today at Australia's Phillip Island Circuit in front of a record crowd of 63,250. Haga took the podium in race one
after an enthralling battle with German Max Neukirchner which saw Haga's Ducati 1098R cross the line just 32/1000ths of a second ahead of the Suzuki.
The 2009 World Superbikes season is off to a cracking start, with an action-packed qualifying stage and Superpole now decided. Boasting a huge grid of superstar riders, some ominous new faces, a raft of new bikes and brand new teams from BMW and Aprilia, we've tipped WSBK 2009 as the one to watch over MotoGP in our detailed season preview
a few weeks ago. And what a start! Texan Ben Spies has taken an astonishing Superpole victory on his international debut for Yamaha, ahead of veteran Max Biaggi on the brand new Aprilia RSV4
and newcomer Jonny Rea on his Hannspree Honda CBR1000RR. The new Superpole format has proven itself to be pure cut-throat desperation and a great spectacle - and the races tomorrow should be absolutely stunning. Check TheBikerGene
for full coverage of Round 1 of the 2009 World Superbike Championship.
The global financial crisis has clearly hammered the highest echelons of prototype racing, with established teams like Honda and Kawasaki pulling out of F1 and MotoGP respectively in the last couple of months. But for the production-based (and much cheaper) World Superbike series, things have never looked better than they do at the start of 2009. Despite the retirement of beloved champion Troy Bayliss, the 2009 WSBK grid will field a record 32 bikes from a record 7 manufacturers as BMW and Aprilia join the fray with exotic new machinery. There's also an influx of phenomenally talented riders - including AMA champ Ben Spies, BSB champ and ex-GP god Shakey Byrne, and precocious youngsters Tom Sykes and Leon Haslam to do battle with battle-hardened veterans like Nitro Nori Haga, Biaggi, Corser and Kagayama. The first pre-season test has been run, giving us a glimpse at who's fast and who's faster, so it's time for a WSBK season preview, looking at the class, the teams, the bikes and the personalities that make SBK the race series to watch in 2009.
MotoGP fans can argue all they like about whether Casey Stoner's 2007 World Championship was a triumph of Ducati electronics over rider skill - but the fact remains that traction control technology is certainly relevant to us lesser riders, particularly in an age where half the price of a family car can buy you a 180-horsepower, featherlight superbike missile at any dealership. Ducati's 2009 1198S packs a 170-horsepower, 97lb-ft L-twin, top-rate Öhlins suspension front and rear, 7-spoke Marsechini wheels, an upgraded data acquisition and downloading system - and the same 8-stage traction control system you'd find on Stoner's GP8 or Bayliss's 1098R. Oh, and if you paid USD$40K for the 1098R last year, you might be annoyed to find out that this year's 1198S, a virtually identical bike with just 10 less horsepower in stock trim, is going to sell for less than USD$22K. Ouch.