John McGuinness is a poet like no other. Invoking passion like Neruda using only the twisty, timeworn vocabulary of the Snaefell Mountain Course, the Morecambe Missile can best be heard crafting his boisterous verse during the annual TT races when standing alongside the 37.7-mile asphalt ribbon that weaves its way through the towns and villages of the Isle of Man.

Luckily for us, his latest ode to speed doesn't require us to board planes or ferries. Penned whilst aboard the Mugen Shinden San during the willful destruction of the TT Zero record, the artistry of his curvaceous calligraphy was captured by a tiny camera tucked behind the windscreen and impatiently awaits to assault your senses.

Now, we normally like this sort of footage to feature figures relating to speed and power overlaid on the screen. This recording doesn't have that. Instead, you'll just have to bear in mind that this battery-powered bike is hitting 154.3 miles per hour as it charges down the Sulby Straight in full song. Certainly, no numbers are needed to enjoy the quickness with which it turns the lullaby of a slow corner back into blistering chorus. Indeed, the show we have for you below is poetry in motion. Enjoy!



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  • 30 Comments
      jthomas35712
      • 11 Months Ago
      That is just INSANELY fast. Hard to believe that the guy's brain can process things when he's going that fast. I'd have to inspect every square inch of that track before I even thought of going half that speed. If you hit one little dip in the road, a coke can or loose gravel you'd be dead in a nanosecond. Videos like these definitely prove that electric bikes and electric cars have all the power that IC engine ones do. EVs just need RANGE, super fast charging and lower prices. Then they'll take over the world for good.
      DarylMc
      • 11 Months Ago
      I think the bike sounds great but I was looking forward to an actual poem:)
      Rotation
      • 11 Months Ago
      Amazingly fast. How green is it? How long do the cells last when you're running them down at 3C? 50 cycles? 30?
        raktmn
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        Rotation -- The thing that is green about racing electric vehicles is that it brings mainstream acceptance for electric vehicles. And selling more electric vehicles to a larger audience is where the green comes in. It is a sad, but real fact that there is a significant sector of the market that base their brand loyalty upon perceived performance/racing abilities of that brand. Just like sadly, there are a whole lot of people who form their perceptions about Colleges and Universities based upon the performance of their Football and Basketball teams. If you brought up EV motorcycles at a race track a few years ago, you'd get lots of laughs. But now, most gas riders will recognize a company with race results like Brammo, and go "Brammo? Yea, those guys are cool" Even if the next thing they say is something about the range, or price, Brammo's race results has at least given them positive brand credibility.
        DarylMc
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        It's hard for me to think of any form of motor racing as a green endeavour. Don't forget there was a helicopter following him around the circuit. If there is anything green about it is that it displays that it is possible to use battery electric instead of gas engines. Interesting to note that they achieved the excellent performance without a multi speed gearbox. I definitely want to read more about the nuts and bolts of that drivetrain.
          DarylMc
          • 11 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          Hi Rotation As someone who spent a bit of time as an apprentice working on brushes in train motors, I will be happy to never hear of them again. Maybe some day an electric drivetrain with multiple gears will make a lot of sense but I'm hoping not. It would be very interesting to get some feedback from a rider like John McGuinness about the machine and also how the lack of gear changes affects the riding experience.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          I don't think that's much of a gearbox track. With a vehicle that light and so much open running, you just gear the bike high and give up some acceleration out of the few corners you have to significantly slow for. Did you see Charge? The movie about the Isle of Man TT electric bikes? I swear all those bike were running commutated motors. Bizarre.
          Gildas Dubois
          • 11 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          Reply to "Rotation" If asynchronous motors are used.: You can couple and un-couple the stator magnets, in effect giving you "gears" without having to move the input frequency.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 11 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          I bet he has more than enough power at all times. You don't think he could fog the tires coming out of some of those slow corners? He probably rolls on the power out of the corners just to stay in control. Most batteries don't break a sweat over a 3C discharge. They may size the pack and utilize different chemistry depending on the demands of the particular race/track they are competing in. No doubt they want the smallest lightest pack they can get away with and still finish the race at full performance. This puts the batteries in a bad place as I am sure they are willing to sacrifice a few cells if it means winning the race, as a result some cells may only last one race. Heck lets just ask the question of how many cells in my Tesla actually made it past the first week of driving. Only Tesla knows.
          DarylMc
          • 11 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          I will try and watch that video.
          Rotation
          • 11 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          EVSUPERHERO: That's not true. Lithium-Ion batteries significantly sweat over a 3C discharge that is not short. Sure maybe you can go to 10C for a short period even, but discharging the entire pack in 20 minutes is quite wearing. I'm sure they have to use very careful charging, since at these high (and deep) discharge rates the cells become rather unleveled. Charge is about the first couple years of the Isle of Man TT electric competition. You can see it on Netflix. Most of the teams were running a motor from a guy who invented it back in the late 70s I think. No way that wasn't commutated, and I think one of them even talks about burning up brushes. I only have experience with this stuff in RC cars and brushes/comms are just too much maintenance. I can't imagine how bad it is at the currents they were shoving in. The bikes were all very homebrew and rudimentary at that time, even the few teams that were well funded.
        protomech
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Rotation
        On a seven-figure race bike? 1 season, because the pack gets rebuilt each year. On a street bike? Probably would have very little impact on durability. So somewhere between a few hundred to a few thousand cycles, depending on chemistry.
      Jesse Gurr
      • 11 Months Ago
      Oh man that is fast! The concentration one has to have to be able to pull something like this off. Making me tired just watching it, don't know how he does it. Lots of adrenaline probably. One teeny tiny mistake and he goes flying at over 100MPH
        DarylMc
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        One other thing. The confidence in and reliability of the throttle control is critical in this environment where a mistake could be catastrophic. Full credit to everyone involved.
      CoolWaters
      • 11 Months Ago
      That was fast, looks like he's doing 100+ mph almost the whole circuit. Must have balls of steel to do this run. - I don't think turns were well marked. I'd want MUCH better marking of upcoming turns. - Turning into a corner, and if you cut it too short, your head brushes up against a wall. First time I've seen a vehicle outrun a helicopter.
      porosavuporo
      • 11 Months Ago
      What will happen if you run a bike like this off of primary, non rechargeable cells of equivalent weight and voltage ? And gearbox is still an intriguing thing. No matter how much torque you have, you can always ask for more, and same goes for top end speed. Empulse went for 6-speed with a clutch, which i think is cool, but insane. There _has_ to be an magic electromagnetic arrangement that will avoid mechanical gearing and provide both torque and speed.
        DarylMc
        • 5 Months Ago
        @porosavuporo
        It wouldn't seem right to me to have a primary battery ie not rechargeable in these machines but it would certainly be interesting to see if the aluminium-air battery was up to the task. http://green.autoblog.com/2014/06/03/phinergy-alcoa-1000-mile-ev-for-real-video/
        Rotation
        • 5 Months Ago
        @porosavuporo
        No primary cell has enough power capacity to run this this well. If you only spend 10 seconds of the lap at low revs, then having a gear for those 10 seconds is of limited value. AC induction motors already are a electromagnetic arrangements and they already produce more torque at low speeds than high.
        DarylMc
        • 5 Months Ago
        @porosavuporo
        That's why it would be interesting to hear from the riders. I don't think that motor is lacking in torque.
        Jesse Gurr
        • 5 Months Ago
        @porosavuporo
        What kind of cells did you have in mind? When I hear "primary cells" I think alkaline batteries. Or maybe you could get a bunch of those energizer lithium batteries off the shelf. That wouldn't make sense anyway. You buy $5,000 worth of batteries and you only get to use them once? Why would you do that?
          protomech
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          The Energizer lithium primary cells (L91) are pretty high power for a primary cell (3 amp continuous, 5 amp pulse). That works out to about 500W/kg pulse, 300W/kg continuous. Energy density is very good at 300 Wh/kg, though at lower discharge rates. In comparison, the best lithium-ion secondary cells are around 1000-2000 W/kg, 180-240 Wh/kg. Somewhat lower energy density, but much higher specific power. Mugen is likely running a battery pack in the 15-18 kWh range, which probably is finishing the race at just over the lower cutoff voltage (say 90% consumed). Continuous discharge is likely around 45 kW, peak discharge around 110 kW. 110 kW peak means a minimum battery (cells only) weight of 50-70 kg if secondary, or 220 kg if primary cells. Simply too heavy. Primary cells might be useful for a longer endurance race; 3 laps of the mountain track at 2009-era speeds would be possible with a larger battery pack. But I'd rather see 1 lap at 2014 speeds.
          porosavuporo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Because science ! Primary cells have generally higher energy density, so for the same weight you can go longer - but specific power probably wont be enough for speeds like that.
      EVSUPERHERO
      • 11 Months Ago
      I god Woodrow! Looks like he slowed way down at the 9 min mark and still got air. I am going to chop the back end of the body of my Tesla off so I can hear the motor better, I like that sound. I will put a flat bed on the back, it will be so original. : ) The first Tesla PU.
      Smoking_dude
      • 11 Months Ago
      HOLY MOLY that is fast. it is INSANELY fast. This is the future today. no longer rattling and exhaust belching engines. awesome bike. roar one last time dear ICE we had a good time.
      Dave D
      • 11 Months Ago
      ARE THESE GUYS FREAKING NUTS???? That scared the hell out of me just to watch the video. I'm incredibly impressed and it's clear that electrics will soon take the overall win and lap record, but again....ARE THESE GUYS FREAKING NUTS????
        DarylMc
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dave D
        It scares me just to watch it too.
          DarylMc
          • 5 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          It's not just some game on the PlayStation they are playing.
          Dave D
          • 5 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          That is exactly right. It looks like a really out of control video game, and then you realize this is real and someone is going to die if they make a mistake. These guys are nuts. Hey, it's their right and I admire what they can do....but they're nuts.
          porosavuporo
          • 5 Months Ago
          @DarylMc
          Fortunately we still have enough personal freedom in the world to be nuts like that, if we choose to.
        Rotation
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Dave D
        Yes. In a way they are. Two riders have died already this year in the Isle of Man TT.
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