Print 23 comment(s) - last by rlandess.. on Oct 23 at 8:04 PM

The KillaCycle

Preproduction motorcycle from Lightning Motorcycles

BUB Seven Streamliner
Stress testing helps battery development by A123 Systems

The concept of electric vehicles has been steadily embraced by car manufacturers over the last several years. Tesla Motors has delivered over 900 of their Roadster electric sports cars, while Nissan will start selling the LEAF EV next year. GM is betting the future of the company on the Volt.

Although the focus has been on cars, the quick acceleration and efficiency afforded by electric motors has been noticed by motorcycle enthusiasts. The KillaCycle, built by Bill Dube, has been setting records since 1999. It uses batteries made by A123 Systems, which is working with Chrysler on their EV projects.

Lightning Motors is a new player in the niche market. They are claiming a new world record for production electric motorcycles at a top speed of 166.388 MPH (267.78 KM/h). They've been testing their preproduction bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats of the Great Salt Lake Desert in northwestern Utah.

Unfortunately for them, the KillaCycle set a new world record for electric motorcycles late last month. The official speed as recorded by the National Electric Drag Racing Association (NEDRA) was 169MPH (271.98 KM/h).

The KillaCycle has undergone a program of continuous improvement, and there are plans for more. The racing team is already using the latest nano-phosphate based lithium ion cells from A123 Systems, and is planning a 150 pound weight reduction to take the bike down to around 500 pounds. A 60HP increase to 560HP should help lead to more records.

Electric motorcycles still have a large gap with motorcycles using the internal combustion engine.  The MV Agusta F4-1000R tops out at 187.726 MPH (302.116 KPH), while the BUB Streamliner Seven set a new overall motorcycle land speed record last month at 367.382 MPH (591.24 KM/h). It is powered by a turbocharged 3 liter V4 engine producing 500 HP and 400 lb-ft of torque @ 8500 RPM.

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RE: Thanks
By artemicion on 10/22/2009 1:51:05 PM , Rating: 2
That's actually the first thing I thought of when I read this article--whether there's a market for affordable electric commuter bikes. If they could make a bike that had ~30 mile range and a top speed of 60-65 that costs around 4-5k, I'd seriously consider it for work commutes.

The sound factor is pretty important though. Loud, obnoxious engines on motorcycles are actually an important safety feature so that idiot drivers don't change lanes into you and whatnot.

RE: Thanks
By callmeroy on 10/22/09, Rating: 0
RE: Thanks
By artemicion on 10/22/2009 2:59:14 PM , Rating: 4
I never said that there aren't any idiot motorcycle drivers, sheesh. My post was in no way meant to be an exhaustive list of every permutation of idiot + vehicle possible.

RE: Thanks
By headbox on 10/22/2009 3:47:32 PM , Rating: 5
In CA it's 100% legal to split lanes. I can get across LA in 15 minutes, while it would take 2+ hours in a car. I also get about 45-50 mpg while doing it. My bike was only $5k used (CRB1000RR) can go 0-100 faster than most "sports cars" can do 0-60, and my insurance is $15/month. The real idiots are you and your friends parked bumper to bumper on the freeway.

RE: Thanks
By Spuke on 10/22/2009 4:11:23 PM , Rating: 2
The real idiots are you and your friends parked bumper to bumper on the freeway.
I agreed with you until this line. You could have left this out. You made your point and it's a good one. You do realize that if all of us "idiots" rode bikes then it would take just as long to "get across LA" as it does now in a car. I like bikes, would LOVE a Ducati Streetfighter, but there's no way in hell I ride anywhere near LA traffic on one. I'd rather "arrive alive" late in my car then be "spread out" over the 405. But hey you got there fast, right?

RE: Thanks
By artemicion on 10/22/2009 5:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, I don't know you, but I implore you to not coast past bumper to bumper traffic in LA on your bike--for your own safety. You could be the most skillful rider in the world, and some other dude's mistake in, say, opening their car door in rush hour traffic will end you. IMO (and especially in LA), you gotta drive with the assumption that everybody else on the road is an idiot. Even if they aren't idiots, there are some squirrely highway configurations in Cali that can only be characterized as deathtraps.

I'm in central cali now, but there's one stretch of the highway I take from work where two INTERIOR lanes merge to form one lane. I'm not lying, it's the stupidest design I've ever seen. Instead of the far right lane ending like in a logical design, the 5 lane highway goes to 4 lanes by having the middle and right-middle lanes merge to form one lane. Hell, I've seen two cars merge into each other and temporarily drive side-by-side in a single lane, let alone the case of a car and motorcycle converging, which would be instant death.

California highway design is a giant facepalm.

RE: Thanks
By Headfoot on 10/22/2009 9:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
I need to move somewhere warmer....

Minnesota isn't the best for motorcycles in the winter

RE: Thanks
By rlandess on 10/23/2009 8:04:43 PM , Rating: 2
I recently had a chance to experience LA traffic for the first time. I have to say I was impressed by how many motorcycles go screaming between the lanes with six inches of clearance on either side, and by "impressed" I mean, next time I go to LA and see a bike coming up behind me in the mirror I'm going to open my door and hope it's you.

Nah, I'm just kidding. You're alright.

But seriously, get ready for it.

RE: Thanks
By xmichaelx on 10/22/2009 4:30:05 PM , Rating: 2
Wow. There are lots of morons on the road driving all sorts of vehicles, film at 11!

Did a motorcyclist nail your girlfriend or something to get you all hot and bothered over a comment that no one made?

RE: Thanks
By jjmcubed on 10/22/2009 9:51:33 PM , Rating: 1
Ever heard of the Doppler effect? You can hear the loud, obnoxious engines after they have passed you, but not when they are behind you... Helpful huh?

RE: Thanks
By XGene on 10/23/2009 8:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
Only if you are going 500mph +... Sure you may not hear someone for AS LONG comming up behind you as after they pass but you will still get a heads up before they get to you.. Still, I don't ride because it's unsafe. I just fly planes :) ..

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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