On January 9, 2011, Chip Yates rode the SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing Electric Superbike to a second and a third place finish in WERA competition. Yates ran in the Heavyweight Twins class, so he was up against bikes like the Ducati 848 and 1000, the KTM 1195 and the Suzuki SV 650. The event marks the first time that an electric bike has competed against gas powered bikes, and it’s a clear indication that battery powered bikes can be very competitive against their fermented-dinosaur fueled counterparts. Video below.
Yates starts off tentative in the video, since he’s never run the bike in competition and sat out the warm-up lap to preserve the batteries. At about 1:50 in the video, he rolls on (the rheostat?) and absolutely walks the guy next to him, which goes to show that a flat torque curve is a good thing. Yates had a hard time keeping the front end down, which made getting on the power out of corners a tricky negotiation between power and traction. Given that this was the bike’s first competition outing, two podium finishes are an impressive way to kick off the season.
Ironically, Yates built the bike, which puts out an estimated 194 horsepower, to run against other electric motorcycles. When the TTXGP and the FIM lowered electric bike weight limits to 550 pounds in the Open Class, Yates’ bike was suddenly ineligible. His choices were to run the Heavyweight Twin class in WERA, or not race at all. Clearly, Yates made the right call.
Source: Motorcycle USA