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Basem Wasef

Electric Motorcycle Is Fastest Bike at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

By June 30, 2013

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Carlin Dunne

If you're an electric bike skeptic (and I know y'all are out there in droves), Carlin Dunne and Lightning Motorcycles just gave you one less reason to hate EVs. The Santa Barbara, California resident beat every two-wheeled internal combustion competitor at this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, topping the 14,115-foot peak in 10:00.694. That time made him the fastest bike and the ninth place finisher, overall. The next fastest motorcycle was a Ducati Multistrada 1200 S piloted by Bruno Langlois, which campaigned in the Pikes Peak 1205 class and finished in 10:21.353.

Dunne's victory is stunning for the obvious, electron-driven reasons, but also comes with an interesting back story: no stranger to fast, gas powered bikes, the lifelong racer already had two Pikes Peak titles under his belt, and beat his own qualifying time this time around aboard the electric-powered Lightning. According to The Gazette, Dunne starting looking at EVs differently after he claimed his second title last August aboard a Ducati, and returned to Santa Barbara only to learn that a nearby motorcycle track was shut down due to noise complaints.

"That made it personal," he said, "It makes you think this is the way things are going, and I want to preserve what I like to do. I grew up with gas and gears, and I still love it. This is the reason I took this project on."


Photo Jensen Beeler/Asphalt & Rubber

July 1, 2013 at 10:25 am
(1) Scottie says:

Impressive and this is an ideal venue for electric. Maximum torque throughout the bandwidth and short distance.

I think real life is a lot different.

July 1, 2013 at 12:56 pm
(2) Pete says:

I think Scottie is right. While this is absolutely very impressive – and – their time is a lot closer now than a few years ago – they may not be ready for the every day, real world – yet.

July 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm
(3) woomanchu says:

Bikes are in principle closer than cars to being everyday electric vehicles purely due to having to carry less chassis around. When the battery management systems from tesla are reapplied to bikes, there should be a massive improvement in range and charging times.

Also, given the amount of improvement in battery technology that is proven but still lab bound and waiting for scaling up to mass manufacture, I do not have too many worries about future battery development. And storage technology is the only thing stopping electric vehicles from wiping the field.

July 3, 2013 at 11:41 am
(4) ryde4ever says:

“The more people that use EV’s the more gas that is left for us to use! ”
Quote from an episode of Roadkill that I agree with. :-) Has anybody ever rode or driven across Kansas? We just did this past week. I wouldn’t even consider it with a pure electric vehicle. An electric bike/car will not be practical until they figure out a way to recharge it in about 5 minutes so that you can continue your journey. This pretty much limits them to an expensive commuter vehicle.

July 3, 2013 at 4:54 pm
(5) Speed says:

I have to wonder why people buy/build homes close to racing facilities then want the facilities closed because of the noise. If noise is such an issue,maybe they should NOT move close to the “noise”. We’re going through the very same thing here. We secured a 99 year lease from the BLM for some land,and built a racing complex out in the hills,at the top end of a draw,a few miles from town where it wouldn’t be a problem for the residents. After about 20 years of successful racing events,someone built a HOSPITAL at the entrance of the draw. NOW they want us to close the racing complex because the noise bothers the patients. (I’m relatively sure this particular location for the Hospital was chosen because a City Council member owned the land,nudge,nudge,wink,wink…) On the PLUS side,we’re getting a NEW racing complex,bigger and better than the old one,on something like 240 acres. At least,until some idiot decides to build a home beside it and make us move again….

July 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm
(6) Speed says:

If they can improve the technology with solar power,and electrical storage,it’ll work out fine. Why don’t the electric bike makers use the solar panel tech that’s currently out there. I saw where someone has been working on a multi-layer paint that makes electricity just like a regular solar panel. The great thing is that you can paint almost ANYTHING with these layers of paint and make the whole surface a solar panel. It’s not hard to picture a motorcycle or car painted with this stuff making enough power to at least extend its range by miles. Hope someone with more resources than I will pursue this idea. (Just think-a mini van that makes enough electricity to go forever,until somebody turns the radio on….)

July 4, 2013 at 1:38 am
(7) David Sidorski says:

Living in a mountainous region myself the power drop is noticeable riding over 5000 feet up into 10,000 feet. With the electric it would make sense to have that consistent power and no atmospheric conditions affecting the bikes performance. I hope to try out an electric bike soon and see how it really feels.

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