Electric bikes turning laps at speeds over 100 mph at the Isle of Man TT is not new; Michael Rutter won the e-bike event and put down an average speed of 104.056 mph in 2012.
What is new is Victory Racing doing it in their first IOM TT Zero practice laps on Friday. Victory Racing team riders William Dunlop and Lee Johnston rode one lap of the course, achieving average lap speeds of 104.185mph and 105.185mph respectively. Dunlop completed his lap in 21:43.717 minutes while Johnston was 12 seconds faster, crossing the line after 21:31.322 minutes.
Both riders also achieved 140mph through the Sulby speed trap – powered by the GVM Parker electric motor installed in the machine. This makes Victory the third electric bike team to exceed and average speed of 100mph on a lap on their first time around the course.
Following the TT Zero practice session, William Dunlop and Lee Johnston both said the bikes were extremely stable on the rough sections of the TT course, something they hadn’t encountered in testing.
Lee Johnston said, “That was just mint. It feels so stable, it’s unbelievable. It’s just so peaceful. No revving.” Asked what the stand out memory from his lap was, he said: “I think just the peace and quiet and riding over the mountain, no noise and seeing the sunset. Everything’s just mint on the bike and I’m ready to go and do more.” Lee also joked: “There were load of people waving iPhones at me when I was out on the course – I wondered if they wanted me to recharge them.”
William Dunlop was equally happy with the bike saying that: “It was surprisingly good, it really was, and I’m not just saying that. It was good to just go out and not have wrestle something with 200hp around.”
Team manager Brian Wismann (also head of Brammo product development) said this first-ever ride of the course by Victory Racing follows a trouble-free week of testing at Jurby. “We are really pleased with our first lap of the TT course,” he said. “Both riders executed clean laps to bring a pair of 100mph+ laps on our first attempt. The reliability of the bikes has been a strong suit for us so far at the TT, with very few technical problems arising. I think this will continue to be a key to being able to translate practice results to race results when it counts.”
The bikes have two Brammo batteries mounted one atop the other, and they are stressed members of the chassis. These batteries sit within a twin-spar aluminum frame with Ohlins suspension connecting the swingarm to the top of the batteries. Brammo created the batteries and the electric motor is made by Parker, joining Victory Racing’s TT effort under the name of Parker Racing.
The configuration of the Parker GVM motor and the swingarm is unique. Unlike a conventional gas-fueled bike where the swingarm pivot point is behind the engine, the Victory electric bikes' swingarm pivot point is in front of the motor. The bikes have chains and sprockets, but drive chain tension is set tighter than on conventional motorcycles because there is so much torque from the Parker GVM motor.
The wheels are forged magnesium, made by OZ Racing and mounted onto Ohlins forks with World Superbike-spec Brembo brakes. The rider’s display is a Motech ADL3, which also records all of the data from the electrical system.
Victory Racing says that the bikes have a built-in configurable energy recovery system. Reportedly, Lee Johnston likes to run his recovery setting some 30% less than Dunlop’s. Brian Wismann explains: “This is all down to riding style and how each rider prefers to get the chassis set for the entry to the corner. William prefers the regenerative braking to be higher to help slow his entry speed.”
Victory Racing has also announced that the electric bike has actually been developed for short circuit racing, so the longer 37-mile length of the TT course poses a greater challenge for setting the bike up for the race. While there are the two Brammo batteries linked to the Parker GVM electric motor, extra ‘boost modules’ can be added or taken away from the bike.
Wismann explains: “Here at the TT we are running the highest number of boost modules that we can carry. With these on board we can make 165bhp at the rear wheel. The bike in its TT configuration weighs around 220kg, but in its short circuit configuration drops to 209kg.”
Part of the challenge, says Wismann, is to get the maximum amount of power from the batteries and boost modules while making sure the bike has enough electrical energy to get around the course.
Learn more at: www.victorymotorcycles.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/VictoryMotorcycles.
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