Electric Superbike Beats Gas Bikes in WERA

January 10, 2011
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Chip Yates and the SWIGZ.com Pro Racing Team made history yesterday, riding what is touted as the most powerful and technically advanced electric superbike to second and third place finishes against gas-powered competitors in the WERA Heavyweight Twins classes yesterday at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

In the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superbike Expert race, Yates and his electric superbike beat the likes of Ducati’s 848 and NCR1000 and dispatched of the Suzuki SV 650 on his way to a third-place finish. The SWIGZ.com team’s results in the WERA Heavyweight Twins Superstock Expert race was even more impressive as Yates captured second place, beating out a Honda 1000 in addition to several more Suzuki SV 650s.

According to the YouTube postrace interview with Susan Schick, Yates took the start tentatively because he had never started a race on the bike and hadn’t taken a warm up lap for battery-conserving reasons. But it didn’t take him long to get the tires warmed up and get the feel of the bike at speed and soon he was disposing of standard combustion-engine powered motorcycles on the back straight as the SWIGZ.com electric superbike spooled up and zinged by. In Schick’s video, Yates stated that he experienced a bit of high-speed instability in the front end and had issues with wheelieing but feels the bike’s full potential has yet to be displayed.

It was a historic event, marking the first time an electric superbike has competed head-to-head against standard gas-powered motorcycles, answering lingering doubts whether the electric platform can be competitive. The electric superbike was placed in the WERA Heavyweight Twins group because of its power-to-weight ratio, which places it about mid-pack. The SWIGZ.com bike was initially designed to race in electric bike races until the TTXGP and FIM lowered weight limits in the Open Classes to 250 kg, ruling out Yates’ electric superbike. Now the team is breaking down barriers, competing directly against its gas-powered counterparts.

Yates, who has honed his motorcycle road racing skills in the AMA ranks, is the owner and chief designer of the SWIGZ.com electric superbike. Sourcing a massive set of battery cells to propel the e-superbike race-distance, the SWIGZ.com machine is claimed to put 194 hp to the rear wheel. Its powerful electric motor is housed in a Suzuki GSX-R750 frame with top-shelf Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes completing its racing pedigree.

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