Chip Yates hasn't yet run a single race with his new Swigz superbike but he's confident that when he does, the KERS – the kinetic energy recovery system – will make it a competition-shattering machine. While other electric motorcycles with AC motors may have regenerative braking, theirs is tied only to the back wheel. There's a lot more energy to recoup from the front wheels of a vehicle because that is where most of the braking force is generated. The system Chip's team has created works with the front wheel and he's been kind enough to explain to us (almost) exactly how it works. It's ingenious.
But before we get into that, we should say a bit more about what they think the KERS will do for their performance. To put it simply, they may have as much as twice the power of current bikes. Were they to run their bike without the system, they would have to restrict output to about 69 horse power in order to reserve enough juice to last a 25 lap race. With KERS engaged, they can conserve enough energy to accelerate with most of the force the 194 hp bike can send to the rear wheel. To put it another way, they reckon they could have a 10-second advantage over lap times done by electrics at Laguna Seca this year.
The short explanation of their set up is this: There are one-way clutches inside the front wheel hub that gather the braking forces and transmits them to twin counter-rotating shafts that run perpendicular alongside the shocks. This spinning energy is sent to sprockets and chains inside the triple clamp. From there, the force spins counter-rotating inner and outer shafts up to the steering head. Those are linked to two counter-rotating bevel gears in the head that connect to
For a more complete explanation (yes, there's more), hit the jump for Chip's own explanation of the system as well as a bonus video they put together for the bike's recent unveiling. We look forward to seeing what this monster can do on a track.