85mph electric lap of TT

Bikerbob

Pedelecer
May 10, 2007
215
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Isle of Man
Just a quick update on the first practice lap for the TTXGP for electric bikes at the Isle of Man TT. The fastest 37 mile lap was by Robbie Barber on the Team Agni bike - an 84.8mph lap which includes a big climb up the mountain. For an (unfair) comparison the first man in the 6 lap 1000cc Superbike race averaged 127.9mph and the 50th placed man 106.1mph.

The less good news was that the next seven bikes averaged between 71 and 62mph and some of the others are still trailing slowly in or have expired.

Most of the teams have only had a few months to prepare and this was their first practice lap. They are saying that they will learn from this and will be better by the next practice and the race on Friday. Details of all the races can be found on the tt 2009 website.
 
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flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
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Shown after the Supersport bikes on ITV, they tended to look tame on camera, not really doing them justice.

If it becomes an annual feature the performance standards could rise rapidly as riders get more used to the very different power delivery and weight.
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Bikerbob

Pedelecer
May 10, 2007
215
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Isle of Man
I have to say that these bikes have been a bit of a disappointment this year. After the best few there have been some pretty lame entries. One rider was saying that he could hear the spectators laughing as he laboured up the mountain. I know it is early days, but at the moment the event is illustrating the very limited performance of battery power compared to the internal combustion engine.

The organizers say that they are treating this as 'year zero' and with proper sponsership and a year of development things will be different next year. Maybe, but I'm yet to be convinced progress will be that quick.

This event could well be part of Grand Prix week next year rather than TT, if only because of the pressure on practice time. In the TT solos and sidecar outfits have to have separate practice sessions and the 'zero emmission' bikes add a third and time consuming category. There are no sidecar races in the Grand Prix so that might be the better option.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,479
23,296
That shift certainly seems to make sense Bob, the e-versions shouldn't be allowed to impede the real events and practice.

Battery electric vehicles have never been any good on hills, the battery weight/adequate power balance is self defeating in nature. Electric otherwise is fine of course, seeing the modern trams in my area hurtling uphill at nearly 50 mph, 36 tons plus up to 150 passengers on board, really illustrates that.

A race route shorter than 37 miles and much flatter as well would do the electric motorbikes a big favour.
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Bikerbob

Pedelecer
May 10, 2007
215
0
Isle of Man
You may have seen that the race was won by Team Agni in a lap speed of 87.4mph. There were another five or six bikes not too far behind then it tailed off a bit.

I was at the Grandstand during the race and I must say that there was a lot of interest and enthusiasm. The driving force behind the project was Mr Azhar Hussein and there was quite a big Indian presence. The Indian High Commissioner to the UK attended. The race commentators took it very seriously, describing the bikes as being 'the future'.

Flecc is, of course, correct in saying that a shorter circuit and particularly one without a mountain climb would be kinder on the bikes. On the other hand Mr Hussein saw that the prestige of the TT would attract teams and publicity, and would present a challenge. He argues that this is 'year zero' and that the purpose of the event is to drive the technology forward.

The first senior 500cc TT on the mountain course was in 1911 and was won at an average speed of 47.63mph. It was 1937 before the winner's average speed reached 88mph. The first 250cc bike to average over 87mph was in 1954. My point is that the internal combustion engine took many years to reach this stage and maybe I was being a bit harsh to say that the electric bikes were disappointing. The downside of being at the TT is that they suffer from very direct comparison with very fast 'state of the art' conventional racing bikes.

This years bikes were all battery powered and it may be that some lateral thinking into other zero emission technologies may bear fruit in future years - hydrogen, fuel cells, compressed air? I would like to think that the event will attract more people with development budgets and will continue in some form in the future.
 

flecc

Member
Oct 25, 2006
46,479
23,296
That's true Bob, the ic engine has had over a century of development. It's often forgotten though that battery electric vehicles and steam vehicles were equal competitors with the ic engine a century ago, but it was the ic engine that outclassed the others.

So the timespan has been there for battery electric, but the progress has been at a much slower rate. We had battery vans delivering for Harrods from the 1030s on, and post war they were joined by some delivering for John Lewis in London, and of course pre and post war we've had the ubiquitous milk floats.

Clean and economical yes, but their performances never sparkled. The technology of any sort to produce electricity in the required quantities has to be bulky and relatively heavy. The physical laws are always likely to limit self powered electric methods since it's inefficient energy conversion involved rather than using the direct energy of an energy dense fuel.

I agree though that these races should continue since they can still be a useful development tool. It's interesting that India is involved since they've had a long involvement in electric propulsion for road use in the Riva car which we know as the G-Wiz in Britain. That possibly results from their huge reserves of thorium and their research into nuclear generation using thorium reactors instead of uranium ones. If they crack that one, they'll have electricity in abundance.
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