Motoczysz Pushes the Electric-Bike Envelope

Charging Forward

It’s not unusual for motorcycle races to be decided by fractions of a second. Still, it seems especially cruel that MotoCzysz fell just .396-mph short of becoming the first electric motorcycle to lap the Isle of Man TT course at over 100 mph—and secure the £10,000 ($16,000) prize from the Isle of Man government. Yet that was the result when MotoCzysz rider Michael Rutter won this year’s one-lap TT Zero electric motorcycle race at an average speed of 99.604 mph.

This winning result only seems cruel after you consider the extreme lengths designer Michael Czysz went to in preparing for this event. Rather than upgrade the already radical MotoCzysz E1pc that won last year, Czysz started over with a clean-sheet design that is 50 lbs. lighter (bringing total bike weight to just under 500 lbs.) and almost 50 percent more powerful. Featuring a more compact, single-battery design and an innovative “inboard” suspension configuration inspired by Formula 1 racecars, this third-generation E1pc cements Czysz’s standing as the most creative motorcycle designer working today.

Even if those improvements weren’t immediately obvious on the public roads that make up the demanding, 37.73-mile Mountain Circuit, performance has increased substantially. Rutter was officially clocked at 142 mph through the Sulby Straight speed trap, and onboard GPS data revealed top speeds exceeding 150 mph in other places—a far cry from the 200-mph internal-combustion Superbikes, but fast enough to earn the begrudging respect of most mainstream racing enthusiasts.

More importantly, Czysz’s engineering adventures show there are still new technological avenues to explore in the world of motorcycle design. The almost unlimited packaging options afforded by electric proto-types especially encourages experimentation. The technology developed on the latest E1pc could alter the future of motorcycle performance, electric-powered or otherwise. We should all be excited about that!

Carbon-fiber monocoque is lighter, stiffer and narrower than the previous aluminum frame. More conventional full-fairing delivers a claimed 20 percent increase in aerodynamic efficiency. Sponsorship from Segway and Dow Kokam Batteries contributed to this complete redesign.
The new fork is ovalized, including sliding pieces that were round on the previous bike, reducing frontal area even further for improved aero-dynamics The front shock is identical to the rear, located in the same undertank “shock tray.” There are no springs or damping circuits inside the fork tubes.
Carbon-fiber monocoque is lighter, stiffer and narrower than the previous aluminum frame. More conventional full-fairing delivers a claimed 20 percent increase in aerodynamic efficiency. Sponsorship from Segway and Dow Kokam Batteries contributed to this complete redesign.
Since the TT Zero is a one-lap race with no pit stops, Czysz replaced the 10 individual, hot-swappable battery packs on last year’s E1pc with a single, large-format, lithium-polymer battery pack that carries more energy in less space. LED indicators communicate vital information about charge levels and cell health.
The rear shock has been relocated under the “tank,” where it’s activated by a carbon-fiber pushrod and bell crank. This design redirects suspension forces to the strongest, stiffest part of the frame. An aluminum swingarm pivots around the liquid-cooled, 200-bhp, MotoCzysz D1g1tal Dr1ve electric motor.