Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sarolea Racing unveils carbon fiber electric superbike for 2014 TT ZERO

Legendary Belgian motorcycle brand, Saroléa Motorcycles, is returning to racing by entering an electric motorcycle in the 2014 TT ZERO.  The bike, the Saroléa SP7 (see below), is a real head-turner, is built with a carbon-fibre frame with an electric motor giving 400 Nm (294.8 lb-ft) and 180 horsepower, for a top speed of around 155 miles/hr and a 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds.  

Saroléa Motorcycles' history dates back to 1850, and was Belgium's first motorcycle brand.  Their entry in the TT ZERO marks not only Saroléa's return to motorcycle racing, but a return to existence.  The manufacturer went out of business in 1963.

The team is being led by Torsten Robbens.  For the TT ZERO, Scotland's Robert Wilson will be riding.  The drive train was developed by Thijs De Ridder, a veteran of Europe's electric motorcycle racing scene.  He raced in the FIM e-Power series under the Crystalyte Europe name for a couple years. According to a press release from January, De Ridder will be riding for the team in the eRoadRacing series. 

I find mention of eRoadRacing very curious, because eRoadRacing appears to be dead (their website now throws up an error, and the eGrandPrix site has shown no update since last summer).  The Saroléa Racing website says that eRoadRacing dates and locations are yet to be determined. 

According to the team website, Torsten Robbens comes with 10 years experience in Formula 1 racing, and was the youngest team manager to ever win the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  About Thijs De Ridder, he built the first electric motorcycle in Belgium, developed the SP7's drive train, and has 17 years of motorsports experience.  The site shows the Crystalyte Europe logo, as well as one for Bravotech.  That logo is associated with Bram Vergote, whose expertise is CNC machines and parts fabrication.

Today's press release through the TT ZERO quoted Robbens saying:  "The Isle of Man TT is the most prestigious motorcycle race in the world. Its 37.73 Mile laps (approximately 60km) also make it the most challenging event for both rider and machine. The TT zero testing programme will focus on optimising the race strategy and aerodynamic efficiency. The combination of the TT Zero challenge and the FIM world cup represents a really ambitious racing programme for us."

  • Saroléa monotube carbon fibre frame
  • Carbon fibre monocoque rear swingarm
  • Regenerative braking
  • Single speed
  • No clutch
  • Direct chain-driven
  • Top speed: 250 km/h
  • 130 kW (180 Hp) - 400 Nm
  • 0 - 100 km/h: 2,8 sec.
  • Weight: 200 kg

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