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Roehr Motorcycles Goes Electric

Monday, January 4, 2010
American sportbike builder Roehr Motorcycles has announced the addition of two electric-powered sportbikes to its 2010 lineup. The Gurnee, Illinois-based company promises the new bikes, dubbed the eSuperbike and eSupersport, will debut this Spring. The higher-spec eSuperbike will also compete in the North American championship of the electric-racing TTXGP series.

2010 Roehr 1250sc First Ride
The new e-Superbike from Roehr Motorcycles will compete in the upcoming 2010 TTXGP series and join the American builder's lineup alongside the 1250SC superbike (pictured).
Details are sparse, but a press release announcing the move reveals both bikes house AC induction motors powered by “high-energy lithium-ion” battery packs. The two rides will also source “premium suspension and brake components.”

The eSuperbike is geared for high top speeds (though none specifically listed for the superbike), with power claims of 96 horsepower and 210 lb-ft or torque. The eSuperbike will be the version campaigned in the upcoming TTXGP series, with Roehr not only supporting its own entry but also offering “race prepared versions of the eSuperbike for teams or individuals competing in the upcoming TTXGP, and FIM e-Power racing series'.” The e-Power series being the FIM’s rival electric-roadracing series to the TTXGP (to read more about the TTXGP and FIM split read our Electric Motorcycle Racing Grows for 2010).

The eSupersport will feature an AC mill with half the power of the superbike at 48 hp and 105 lb-ft torque. Roehr sees this unit as the “entry level of electric sportbike performance.” It will feature a top speed of 100 mph.

The Roehr electric models will join the current 1250SC superbike in the 2010 lineup, which is powered by Harley-Davidson’s liquid-cooled 60-degree V-Twin engine. Roehr promises more details on the two new electric models, including price, will be made available in the weeks to come.

With the inclusion of the new Roehr eSuperbike, the tally of options for the upcoming 2010 electric motorcycle season grows. TTXGP founder Azhar Hussain has announced the debut of the Mavizen TTX02 bike. Mission Motors will campaign the TTXGP and Roehr’s decision to go electric future mirrors the decision of another American Superbike start-up, MotoCzysz, which abandoned its internal combustion C1 project for the electric-powered E1pc.

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Comments
Speedy D -horsepower  January 10, 2010 09:26 AM
with infernal combustion horsepower is directly proportional to the engine's ability to process air i.e. the winner has polluted the most I like racing I like motorcycles I like the planet I share with others I like quiet sports electric powered vehicles are actually fun and easy to use Good on Roehr for their efforts
The Steve -another Roehr. Yawn.  January 8, 2010 01:39 PM
OK, he sold exactly ZERO of the first abortion, so now its time for something even less desirable. Perfect!
Ron G. -re: galpert  January 6, 2010 05:04 PM
I agree with you, their is almost nothing more special than what you described, right now. But, I see no reason why an electric powered bike in the future will not be able to outperform a gas engined bike. The only reason why electrics are so limited right now is that the industry is in it's infancy. Most of the components being used are from the golf cart and fork lift realm. Once these components are optimized and designed for much higher power, the electric bike will take a substantial leap.
Galpert -Ron G.  January 6, 2010 10:23 AM
I respect your opinion Ron G., I really do and I’m glad the E bikes work for you but myself and many riders like me enjoy the powerband of an R1. If I want to smoke the rear tire effortlessly I will do it with a Camaro or Mustang. There is nothing in the world, to me, that compares to braking hard into a corner picking the right gear hearing and feeling the engine and rear end protest then pitch it into the turn crack the throttle and roll on the gas and explode out of the corner as the engine revs up and hits its peak then grab another gear and do it all over again.

Watching the tachometer, picking the right gear, surfing the engines torque curve and HP peak is really fun and it’s motorcycling, to me. There is a mega million dollar industry for making stock motorcycles sound better or louder because people like the sound and feel of an engine. Electric cars for short distance mundane commuting might be okay but motorcycling is something different and special.
Ron G. -Galpert  January 5, 2010 09:21 PM
Look, If ever there was a guy who resisted the electric thing it was me. Your words are the exact words what came out of my mouth up until a year ago when I sampled a friend of mine's R1 electric conversion. It was like opening a door into a whole new world. No it wasn't faster than an R1, nor did it accelerate as fast as a wide open R1. What it did do was smoke the rear tire from a standing start at will with just a twist of the wrist. It would accelerate effortlessly and seamlessly, the kind of powerband that manufacturers spend millions on EFI, variable valve timing and combustion chamber design to try to achieve. The fact that it was quite allowed you to get on it hard without worrying about attracting attention to yourself. It was just a great ride and a whole new experience. Since then I built my own and have just as much fun on it as any of my other gas engined bikes. In fact most of the time even more. Electric bikes don't claim to be the equal or the better of a gas bike, they can coexist peacefully together each having their own distinctive character.
Galpert -@ Jon, Alex Alegado, Ron G.  January 5, 2010 07:23 PM
“The younger generation doesn't want a loud/rumbling V twin, Hareley-sounding motorcycle”. Harleys aren’t the only bikes that make noise and every young person I see on a motorcycle has a loud pipe on their bike including cruisers, sportbikes and standards.
“So why haven't the big Jap 3 mfg's made an electric”? Because they are smart and know it is a dumb idea that hasn’t worked and won’t work for years. Roehr is doing it because he can’t build his own engine so this is just some micro niche market he thinks he can enter. And there are FOUR big Japanese mfg’s not three.

“Couple that with a speaker-like device designed to induce vibration into the chassis and a high-power sound system for the simulated motor/transmission sounds and you can electronically recreate the "soul" of a conventional bike by simulating all of it's human-detectable aspects, i.e. noise, vibration, and harshness” That sounds like some computer geeks wet dream. Just reading this makes me wonder if you guys even ride.

“This and creative control of a CVT transmission could be used to simulate the non-linear feel of a conventional engine for purists who demand a "traditional" feel”. Well now I know you don’t ride because what you are confusing a purist with is a motorcyclist. There is nothing traditional about a combustion engine it’s a high tech machine besides the electric motor was in existence way before the gasoline combustion engine.

“however I'm sure the same argument was made when the gas engine replaced the steam engine,or when jet engines replaced piston engines in large aircraft”, These are all still engines and not electric motors. Plus, those examples are an evolution moving towards more efficiency and better performance. I saw how the electric bikes performed in the Isle of man TT this past season and let me tell ya the gas bikes blew the E bikes away in both lap times, speed, and distance it could go on a single tank of gas vs the E bikes single charge…it wasn’t even close. What I saw wasn’t an evolution it was regression.

“The fact is a motor or engines job is to move a bike from point A to point B”. No that is what public transportation is for, a motorcycle is for commuting, having a kick ass time, and a hobby.

“A lot is happening in that field right now and as batteries get better, our electric vehicles will benefit and so will we”. Fine then you guys keep holding your breath and I’m going for a ride. When the gas runs out in the tank I will just refill it and continue to ride.
Ron G. -Re; Pavster-problem with electrics  January 5, 2010 05:15 PM
I hear you, I used to think the same way about the romantic appeal of the intricacies of the internal combustion engine, however I'm sure the same argument was made when the gas engine replaced the steam engine,or when jet engines replaced piston engines in large aircraft, or when the push buttons replaced the telephone dial, or the biggest ever, when Porsche replaced it's aircooled engine with liquid cooling. The fact is a motor or engines job is to move a bike from point A to point B. There will be many nuances and unique characteristics of an electric vehicle that will replace the old familiar ones we know and love now that we will learn and grow to love as well. Yes you can keep pumping more voltage into a motor and get more power until it melts, but the challenge would be to cool the motor enough and also provide a battery that can do this given the space and weight constraints. Cooling is no problem (liquid cool) but creating batteries that can store and discharge more energy in the same volume and weight is the key to the whole equation. A lot is happening in that field right now and as batteries get better, our electric vehicles will benefit and so will we.
Pavster -problem with electrics  January 5, 2010 12:40 PM
I have a major problem with electrics. Electric motors are just giant coils of wire, which are limited in their power production only by heat dissipation. This means the more voltage/current you push through them, the more power you will get. This makes it TRIVIAL to increase power, up to the melting point. But therein lies the dilemma, if I can have 1000 hp, why not do that, 2000, ok, let's do it. I would never be content with the amount of power I have. In a gas engine, especially naturally aspirated, I am limited by the displacement and flow properties of the various components, so I cannot just easily increase power. So the engines end up having some sort of a compromise, either lots of power at high revs, but nothing at idle, or a flat torque curve, but not much power. Even a turbo, gives you a boost, but you get turbo lag. So a gas engine is inherently more tricky and requires more skill to operate (hence fun). With electrics the challenge lies in a different domain -- making the battery last as long as possible. But that is boring (The best way to do that is to avoid riding altogether). And no matter how well you design your controller, your top power will roll-off as a function of battery discharge, so each time you get on the throttle, it will get less and less satisfying. Finally regarding the loud twin argument... ha around here (Boston), a good 50% of bikes are twins. Maybe 25% cruisers, and the rest sport bikes like ducatis or my TL1000R. People love them for their looks, sound, powerful power pulses, and maybe even a certain lack of refinement. Simulating a gas engine with speakers... why bother -- just go play a video game or something. -p
Alex Alegado -Interesting Possibilities  January 5, 2010 12:17 PM
The ECU on an electric bike could be programmed to cause the motor(s) to deliver varying levels of torque by varying the duty-cycle and attack/decay rates of the applied current. This and creative control of a CVT transmission could be used to simulate the non-linear feel of a conventional engine for purists who demand a "traditional" feel. Couple that with a speaker-like device designed to induce vibration into the chassis and a high-power sound system for the simulated motor/transmission sounds and you can electronically recreate the "soul" of a conventional bike by simulating all of it's human-detectable aspects, i.e. noise, vibration, and harshness. Imagine that, a bike where you can dial your ride: What do I want it to feel/ride like today? A cruiser or a sportbike?
Jon -Tim B has is wrong  January 5, 2010 11:54 AM
@Tim B The younger generation doesn't want a loud/rumbling V twin, Hareley-sounding motorcycle. Why do you think Buell just kicked the bucket with Harely about to do the same? Nobody wants those relics and sales prove it. I'm afraid it will be you and your old loud motorcycle that'll be fading out of existence. So why haven't the big Jap 3 mfg's made an electric? They can easily wait electrics gain traction. And when they do (not if) they have enough engineers/resources/money to put one on market asap, which will then crush a lot of the smaller companies.
Tim B -No Thank You, Roehr  January 5, 2010 12:20 AM
If there is a motogod this and all other electric motorcycles will fail miserably and fade into oblivion. There is nothing as souless as an electric motor. Yes, they can make a lot of nearly instantaneous torque, but they're boring.

It's funny how the American startups are jumping on electric, but we still haven't seen the Japanese manufacturers jumping on it. Some people dog the Japanese sport bikes for having no edge or no soul, but at this point even the Japanese refuse to go to this boring with their sportbikes!
Gil -E_lectric  January 4, 2010 06:49 PM
Oh boy and I thought the 1250 SC was a dumb idea that wouldn’t sell. Where will Roehr go after this idea tanks…bio-diesel supercharged golf carts?