To many the idea of an electric motorbike is blasphemous. The mere mention of a motorbike lacking an internal combustion power plant can cause grown men to writhe in disgust. I’ve seen it, and it’s not a pretty sight. Luckily I’m not one of those and I’m willing to bet that the mere sight of Victory’s 2016 entry to the Isle of Man TT will make many question that derision towards electric bikes.
The 2016 Victory RR will follow on from the American firm’s 2015 entry that took third place in the increasingly contested TT Zero Challenge, with a lap of just over 111mph. Victory will be gunning for the TT Zero winners, Honda’s Mugen Shinden, whose bikes took out last year’s event with a lap of almost 120mph.
The 2016 RR’s electric motor produces 174hp and 240Nm of torque, which is impressive when you consider a BMW S1000RR’s peak torque is pegged at around 110Nm. This power and torque is produced from a package that is only eight inches in diameter and five inches long – it’s the batteries that take up the rest of the real estate.
Victory Racing’s team manager, Brian Wismann, said ‘The battery is a ground-up new design with the help of our technical partners at Brammo’.
‘The biggest difference in the battery itself is an improvement in both the overall energy/capacity we’re carrying on board the bike, as well as a marked improvement in the energy density of the battery itself’ Wismann said.
All this means that riders will have access to more of the power from the electric motor and Lithium Ion batteries, for more of the time. The revised batteries have also meant a change in the frame design, from an extruded aluminum twin spar frame, to a steel trellis frame.
William Dunlop, a member of Irish road racing royalty and nephew of legendary TT racer Joey Dunlop, will pilot the new bike in this year’s TT Zero Challenge. The Mugen bikes have dominated the event since 2014 thanks a ‘blank cheque’ policy that has effectively steam rolled the competition. But, with Victory having the financial backing of Polaris and a new found dedication to motorsport programs, 2016 might be the year. No matter what the outcome is, let’s hope this year’s bike isn’t stolen when they get home like 2015’s bike was…