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Electric Superbike Beats Gas Bikes in WERA

Monday, January 10, 2011
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.

AMA Superbike Rider Bios
Josh Hayes
Josh Hayes is a dedicated road racer who started in 1994 and won the AMA Superbike Championship in 2010. Read more about Hayes' racing career on the Josh Hayes bio page.
Blake Young
Riding since the age of four, Blake Young has become an important fixture in the AMA Pro Road Racing Series and is still searching for his first title after coming just shy in 2011.
Roger Hayden
Learn more about Roger Hayden on Motorcycle USA's Roger Hayden bio page for career highlights, pictures, and news.
Josh Herrin
Josh Herrin is one of the young stars in the AMA paddock looking for his first AMA title. His name will be one to watch in upcoming seasons as his skills fully develop. Read more about Herrin's racing career on the Josh Herrin bio page.
Steve Rapp
Known for his aggressive riding style and numerous crashes, Steve Rapp has amassed a long history with AMA racing as he still searches for his first title.

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dn2dbn -music to my ears  January 16, 2011 09:16 PM
as to the "sound" run some speakers w/ your favorite music or motor sounds....just for fun....
GhostR1der -the secret of the electric bike  January 12, 2011 03:06 AM
is a flat torque line from 0-max and no gears to miss and loose energy with. ultimate way to do it would be a free energy source supplementing less batteries and capacitors for peak load ;)
bikerrandy -electric road racer  January 11, 2011 11:39 AM
For the 1st time so far I'm inmpressed with an elec. road race bike as far as its real world speed capabilites. Also for the first time I liked the whine sound of the motor.

I saw the AMA electric bike race @ Sears Point last May. This bike would blow them all off if it's allowed to run with them. I don't want an elect. bike but I'm really impressed now.
Superlight -Electric Race Bikes  January 11, 2011 10:38 AM
This reminds me of gas turbines in Indy cars many years ago. At first they didn't have many rules for the new powertrain, but after it proved to be fast, the rules came out. It won't be long before the electrics have rules as well. I'll never get used to the silence of electrics (and don't want to).
Maxx -nice start  January 10, 2011 08:22 PM
I am not getting my hopes up, but I think it is a nice start.
Oliver -Tip of the Iceberg  January 10, 2011 08:03 PM
As battery capacity increases, the weight will decrease, and performance will increase. Now for the sound...can we do it like when we were kids with playing cards in the spokes/wheels?
Later Gaters -I love how quiet it is in here!  January 10, 2011 05:39 PM
This is a 1st gen EV racing bike, maybe 2nd gen at most. And here it is beating gas bikes that have had decades to improve. This is the tip of the iceberg folks. Add direct photovoltaic conversion to electrical energy plus better batteries and the bike will become lighter. By the way, the White Zombie electric car does the same thing--beats gas cars in races. Every time.
Buell9R -Looks like a ...  January 10, 2011 05:38 PM
It's a shame they had to stick that huge thing on the rear end. It was really sexy looking at the trade show a few months ago, but now? What's he carrying on the back of the bike, his camping gear? This is super awesome for the racing world, where cosmetics come in second to function (see Ducati MotoGP bike winglets), but for electrics to have any viability, they need to start worrying about cosmetics. See the Brammo Empulse for the ONLY attractive, available for purchase electric bike on the market (the MotoCycz bike is beautiful, but doesn't count).
Racer1 -You'd have to be sticking your head in the sand...  January 10, 2011 05:09 PM
... to not see the future here. Electric vehicles aren't even in their infancy yet, their are newborns compared to combustion engines. There are issues to sort out - weight, range, disposal, charging, replacement, price, etc. But even five years ago it would have been impossible to imagine a freaking electric bike could beat an 848 over race distance at the track. WERA or not, it's damn impressive.
Orange Sunshine -yea but it was WERA...  January 10, 2011 12:13 PM
...'nuff said!
Oliver -Wow!  January 10, 2011 11:11 AM
Very impressive.