Monday, May 12, 2014

Fastest production motorcycle in the world - Electric - Lightning Motorcycles - Debut is this weekend

Lightning Motorcycles is making good this weekend on a promise - that they would go into production of the "race bike" with which the company has won races in the TTXGP, at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, and land speed records.  This weekend at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, Lightning Motorcycles is debuting what they call the "most technologically advanced and highest performing street-legal production motorcycle in the world" - the Lightning Superbike LS-218.

Why LS-218?  Well, the clue to that might be Lightning's land speed record in 2011 where they hit 218 miles/hr in one run.  The average over those two runs worked out to 215 miles/hr, making the actual record 215 miles/hr. Last fall the team returned to Bonneville to attempt to beat that record, but bad weather (an epic rainstorm) cut those plans when the whole event was canceled.  They did manage a 203 miles/hr pair of runs.

The LS-218 is a motorcycle that's been proven to be capable of hitting 218 miles/hr, from a dead stop, without changing the gear ratio.

With that same motorcycle, Lightning Motorcycles has won numerous road and track races.  The hottest race they've won was the 2013 Pikes Peak Hill Climb challenge, where their rider beat the entire field of every motorcycle by over 20 seconds.  That meant beating top motorcycle riders riding top monster machines like customized/tuned Ducati 1200cc superbikes.  By 20 seconds.

Lightning's CEO Richard Hatfield boasts that the LS-218 is the fastest production motorcycle in the world, based on this record.  That claim has been a little unclear until now, because of uncertainty that they've sold any bikes, yet.  LS-218 VIN# 001 is available for sale, now.

What's the specs?  How about: liquid cooled 10,500 rpm electric motor can produce in excess of 200 hp and 168 ft/lbs of torque.  At "highway speed" the riding range is said to be 100 miles, but I imagine that a bike this speedy would be difficult to keep as slow as "highway speed".

Charging can be done through a regular power outlet, and according to Lightning it is fast charging capable in under 30 minutes.  Their press release did not say anything other than "public charging stations" so one wonders whether that's CHAdeMO or Combined Charging System?  Will have to check with Richard about this over the weekend.

The dashboard is a fully customizable Android display.  It can be customized in various ways including a carbon-fiber swing arm, or custom wraps.

“Since 2006 the Lightning team has been dedicated to developing electric motorcycles that meet and exceed the performance of the best ICE (Induction Combustion Engine) alternatives”, said Richard Hatfield, CEO of Lightning Motorcycle.“ To have broad acceptance from the motorcyclist community,we need to provide design, performance and value that competes head to head with the best gasoline motorcycles on the market. Lightning’s R&D team has developed electric vehicle technology through years of competition at racing events around the world. We believe that the LS-218 offers consumers the best of design, performance and value in today’s market.”

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