Friday, December 31, 2010

Solomoto’s Motoczysz E1pc riding impression

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The Motoczysz E1pc just might be the future of high-performance motorcycles...
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‘I've got this thing I do to relax. I imagine I'm on my bike, and I just shift gears in my head. I did it just this morning in the shower. Then I caught myself – my bike doesn't do that anymore! It doesn't have gears. It doesn't even make noise. So I'm not dreaming in electric yet. I'm still dreaming in gas,’ said Michael Czysz, speaking to Motorcyclist magazine, when they interviewed Czysz for their November issue this year.

About five years ago, Czysz was working on the C1-990, a 990cc MotoGP prototype, which ultimately didn’t get a chance to get off the ground given MotoGP’s move to 800cc machines in 2007. The move also happened to coincide with a gradual, but steady, build-up of interest in electric bikes and electric bike racing. And Czysz decided to change tracks and build an electric racebike – the E1pc. ‘The change to electric was more about inevitability than opportunity. I realized almost immediately that everything we were trying to accomplish with the C1 project, we could do better with an electric bike,’ says Czysz, in the Motorcyclist magazine interview.

And indeed, Motoczysz did do very well with their electric racebike, with the E1pc winning the 2010 TTXGP at the Isle of Man. The Motoczysz E1pc is an impressive motorcycle all right. It is fitted with a DC, brushless, oil-cooled electric motor from Remy, which is fed by a pack of five lithium-polymer batteries and which produces 125 horsepower and a constant 343Nm of torque. The chassis is made of carbonfibre and the suspension comprises of a fully adjustable Öhlins shock at the rear and Czysz’s proprietary ‘6X Flex’ fork at the front. The bike rides on magnesium wheels made by Marchesini and the top-notch race-spec Brembo brakes (with monobloc radial-mount callipers at the front) provide impressive stopping performance – important for a bike that weighs 238kg, that can hit a top speed that’s in excess of 260km/h, and the price for which is estimated to be more than US$250,000.

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You want fast? The Motoczysz is fast. The battery-powered bike hit a top speed of 261.82km/h at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August this year...!

Spanish magazine Solomoto recently had the opportunity to test ride the E1pc, and here are some brief excerpts from what they have to say about this digital racer.

Visually, the E1Pc looks like a shark, with a genetic code that’s deeply rooted in racing. In the place where you’d normally find an engine, there’s the bike’s removable D1g1tal Dr1ve battery pack. You have to get used to switching it on. There’s no noise or vibration – just a green light on the digital instrumentation that tells you the bike is ready to go. Twist the throttle and the E1pc lunges forward like a compact 600cc supersports machine. The riding position is very sporty, with high footpegs and low bars. Just like a proper racebike, of course.

On the move, the E1pc’s power delivery is straightforward, clean and uninterrupted. Acceleration is similar to that of a 600cc supersports bike’s, and spinning at 16,000rpm, the E1pc’s electric motor makes a Star Wars-esque whistling noise that’s strangely pleasant. However, the bike’s weight – all of 238 kilos – makes it a bit awkward and saps the rider’s confidence at high speeds. The bike has tight, aggressive steering geometry, but the weight – most of which is due to the batteries – stops the E1pc from being very agile.

Electric propulsion has some undeniable advantages – it allows you to concentrate fully on your lines and lets you open the throttle while exiting corners, without the added complications of having to worry about shifting gears. Just open the throttle and go!

Michael Czysz is now working on the 2011 E1pc, which will be lighter and more powerful than the 2010 version, and will also have better software controlling the bike’s D1g1tal powertrain. As it exists now, the E1pc is a bit heavy, very expensive and as yet unapproved for street use. It’s also very quiet, smooth, does not require any maintenance, does not pollute and offers performance that’s actually very impressive.

Coming back to the Motorcyclist magazine interview, ‘The work I'm doing with this motorcycle might someday actually make the world a better place,’ says Michael Czysz. Hmm..., you know what, it just might!

For the full feature, please visit Solomoto
Pics: Motorcyclist
Watch videos of the E1pc in action here
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