MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S

10/12/2012 @ 2:45 pm, by Jensen Beeler37 COMMENTS

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 06 635x421

When it comes to electric motorcycles, I am not interested in saving the manatees. I don’t stand around in Starbucks parking lots debating the finer points of offsetting my carbon footprint. It is perfectly fine if that is your calling in life, but when it comes to motorcycles, I am really only interested in one thing: going fast. I am not going to berate someone for wanting to save the environment, or decrease our dependency on foreign energy reserves — those are both worthy and important sentiments that I share as well, just not when it comes to my two-wheel decadence.

The only political debate I am interested in hearing during a discussion about motorcycles is the politics of the apex. If you want to talk about “the green movement” on a ride with me, it better be in regards to your Kawasaki, which is why I have a love/hate relationship with the electric motorcycle community. There are two types of operators in this space, and they are seemingly at odds with each other. One group is convinced that petroleum is an imperfect fuel source, while the other thinks that petroleum-burning motorcycles are imperfect machines.

We can reconcile both these factions with the notion that they are both correct in the big picture, but when it comes to adoption of electric vehicles, only the Steve Austin principle applies: better, stronger, and most importantly faster. The modern sport bike is an analog machine, and the electric superbike is its digital successor.

Over one hundred years of riding on the vinyl scratches and distortions of gasoline motors has blinded us to the future. We use words like warmth and character to justify our resistance to the inevitable change coming, but make no mistake that the mainstream will readily adopt the MP3 riding movement once it hits its critical moments in price and performance parity. This does not mean the death of internal combustion, after all you can still find audiophiles with tube amps and vast LP collections — a certain amount of the demographic has to be frozen in time, right Harley-Davidson?

There is this idea though that motorcycles can be better than they currently are now. They can be integrated machines, from fuel source to wheel-spin. Road inputs don’t have to be muted by engine vibrations, throttle adjustments can happen at the speed of light, and fine…we can also save the manatees in the process. The concept being discussed here is the Digital Superbike, and the man who coined the term is Michael Czysz.

Traveling to Portland, Oregon to see Czysz’s latest creation, I got see first-hand how the MotoCzysz E1pc was progressing with its digital revolution. Read-on for that account.

Digital vs. Analog:

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 17 635x421

Our venue is Portland International Raceway, which is conveniently nestled across the highway from the airport. Five miles from the city center, the “roll out of bed” proximity of PIR to Portland more than makes up for the fact that the track has really only one left-hand turn to speak of, and let’s not get started about the provisions regarding the local fauna and their mating seasons within the track’s premises.

Tongue out of cheek, Portland is sort of a motorcyclist’s dream, hosting a fun race circuit in such close proximity to the city’s limits, and several other more technical courses within a few hours’ drive. It makes sense then that Michael Czysz would start his MotoGP program in this area, and continue his electric motorcycle project in this very eco-conscious area. Of course, the idea behind the MotoCzysz E1pc isn’t to save the planet — it is to find the pinnacle of what motorcycles can offer enthusiasts.

It should make sense then that development of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc can trace its roots back to the MotoCzysz C1 MotoGP project. A conventionally powered motorcycle that was anything but conventional, MotoCzysz challenged a number of status quo conceptions in motorcycling with the C1’s design, and developed a number of innovations in the progress. While you won’t find any technology from the C1’s 990cc 15° V4 engine in the E1pc, a number of the GP bike’s chassis components remain, and have been further improved upon.

Looping back and framing the conversation correctly, Czysz and his crew are striving to build an electric race bike that provides performance parity with gas bikes, and then exceeds those benchmarks — just as the group strived to do with its MotoGP project. The idea isn’t to build a motorcycle that meets the high-water mark currently set by modern sport bikes, but the hope is to be the flood tide that raises that mark to a new level.

Until now, that progress has been measured by the stopwatches held by the racing stewards at the Isle of Man TT.

Helping us here assess the progress of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc is the latest bullet from Bologna, the Ducati 1199 Panigale S, which was kindly lent to us by the good folk at MotoCorsa, Portland’s go-to Ducati shop. Our hosts for the track time are the fine men and women of Pacific Super Sport Riders (PSSR), who were more than accommodating to our needs, even when I broke the passing rules through the final chicane (I missed the riders’ meeting).

It seems only natural then, that in order to talk about where the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc stands, we must first start with the Ducati.

Ducati 1199 Panigale – Long Play Microgroove:

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 15 635x421

Highly anticipated and well-received, the the Ducati 1199 Panigale S is the lightest mass-production superbike on the market according to Italian brand, and tips the scales at 414.5 lbs when fully fueled. Add to the mix that the all-new Superquadro engine puts out 195 peak horsepower, and that the Panigale comes with a venerable alphabet soup of systems and rider aids, and it is easy to see why the Ducati 1199 Panigale has become the superbike of the 2012 model year. Ducati has struck all the right chords for the fan boys and spec-sheet racers, and with good reason — the Panigale is a superb machine.

Former Ducati Supebike owners might have a tough time adapting to the Panigale though, as in the company’s quest for outright maximum horsepower, the Panigale loses some of that mid-range grunt that is such an integral characteristic of Ducati’s machines. When I rode the Ducati 1199 Panigale S when it first came out, I was able to do so with a Ducati Superbike 1198 available for comparison. Two bikes cut from the same cloth, but very different in character.

On the 1198, there is a meaty bit of torque waiting for you in the middle of the rev-range, which not only gives you a nice broad powerband to work with, but also it effectively connects the rider to the machine. While the 1198 might not be as potent up top as an inline-four, the outgoing Superbike had plenty of pep, and could more than make up for the deficit with its superior drive out of the corners. Conversely, the Ducati 1199 Panigale acts in many ways like the machines it is not.

Though it spools up quickly, both times riding the Ducati 1199 Panigale S it was noticeable how little room one has to work with when it comes to getting the power down. Living in the top of the tachometer, riding a Panigale is a lot like riding any modern four-stroke four-cylinder liter bike. Producing smooth power delivery all the way to its redline, it is easy to get lost with the Ducati 1199 Panigale’s gearing, as you don’t get the same feedback from the revs and torque as you would on the Ducati Superbike 1198.

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 02 635x421

That being said, rolling out onto PIR for the first time in my career, I probably couldn’t have asked for a better machine on which to learn the Oregonian track. Light, nimble, and still plenty powerful, riding the Panigale on a race course is a very effortless experience, which afforded me the extra mental bandwidth to learn the turns of PIR, and to correct my bevy of mistakes in the opening session.

Home of a three-quarter-mile long front straightaway that dumps you into a double-apex right-hander, PIR’s faster corners at Turns 1, 2, & 3 flowed well on the Panigale, but the Italian bike’s frankly anorexic design brilliantly shined on the two chicanes that bookended the sweeping back straight that truly starts at Turn 4. While catching riders down the 155 mph+ drag strip at PIR highlights the superquadro motor, it is when you are leaned over going through the 140 mph back straightaway section showcases the “frameless” chassis on the Panigale.

Hard on the brakes into Turn 7 and the start of second chicane, a quick flick left-to-right brings you onto Turn 9, and back onto the drag strip for another go of things. Since we rolled the Ducati 1199 Panigale S right out of MotoCorsa and onto the track, the suspension settings we used were stock to whatever they were when the bike left the showroom floor. Using the Panigale firstly to learn the track, and secondly to set at least a basic benchmark for a comparable ICE machine, we didn’t develop the Panigale beyond the way it arrived, street tires and all. Even so, the Panigale abides.

My best lap on the Ducati was a 1’21 which isn’t going to do anything for my amateur racing career, but for three morning sessions on an unfamiliar track, I was reasonably happy with the pace the Panigale afforded, while maintaining a comfortable safety margin that meant no $23,000 checks would have to be written that day. Maybe I could have broken into the teens had I rode the whole day on the Ducati, but that is just backseat lap-timing, with an excuses garnish. With three sessions on the Panigale in the can, onward I went to see what the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc could offer in response.

2012 MotoCzysz E1pc – 0100010101010110:

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 07 635x421

With the morning sessions over, the good folks at PSSR let us run the MotoCzysz E1pc during the lunch break, giving the entire track over to the electric superbike. Essentially the same bike Michael Rutter rode to victory at the Isle of Man TT, MotoCzysz has made some strides on the E1pc’s suspension since that June race. While the chassis was an improvement over its TT form, the battery pack had not aged as gracefully, and as such the E1pc’s regenerative braking was turned down (read: off) to spare the pack the unnecessary stresses and added heat from recapturing the kinetic energy from the rear wheel.

On a short track like PIR, the system gains from the re-gen would have been negligible anyways, but the lack of “engine braking” was noticed as I barreled down the front straight and into the apex of Turn 1. Giving what I thought was a comfortable amount of stopping distance into the first Turn 1, the free-wheeling nature of E1pc was readily apparent. Calibrated to the copious amounts of engine-braking on the Panigale, something that suits my riding style greatly, it was a stark contrast to hop onto the E1pc and contend with the complete lack of deceleration when you close the throttle.

Trailing the brakes deep into the first apex, two things were readily apparent with the MotoCzysz E1pc: despite its considerable weight over the Panigale, it has tremendous braking potential (slicks + top-shelf Brembo race kit), and the chassis was extremely well-sorted for weight transfer. Riding through the bumpy fast sweepers of T1, T2, and T3, the MotoCzysz E1pc was astonishingly supple, and provided heaps of feedback.

It is worth noting that it is next to impossible to coax a wheelie out of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc, not because of any sort imbalance fore to aft in the bike’s mass, but because of the extensive work MotoCzysz has put into the E1pc’s chassis and its anti-squatting characteristics. Transferring weight seamlessly left to right, as well as front to rear, it is the E1pc’s overall balance that is its most defining feature, though 200+ hp doesn’t hurt much either.

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 05 635x421

Riders don’t realize how much feedback from a motorcycle is lost through the combination of an internal combustion motor and transmission system, but on a vibration free electric motorcycle with an electric throttle, the link between your right hand and the rear tire is seamless — and the MotoCzysz E1pc brings an added level of sophistication to this process. Benefiting from the gains first made on the MotoCzysz C1, it is clear the MotoCzysz team has refined that basic design, and only made further enhancements to it with the latest iteration of the MotoCzysz E1pc.

Where it took several sessions to begin to crack the code on Panigale, and to begin to feel comfortable on the 1199cc machine, the E1pc spoke a language that translated into my native tongue in just a lap or two. If I entered the first turns of my out-lap short on confidence, I left them with a refined trust in what the MotoCzysz E1pc could accomplish.

Certainly, part of the difference is due to the fact that while I was on the Panigale, I was learning both the bike and the course, whereas on the E1pc the track at that point was a known entity, and only the bike provided riding intrigue. However, spooling down the back section of PIR, and into the final turns, the MotoCzysz E1pc felt like a very familiar machine, sans the lack of engine braking of course.

There is no traction control on the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc, which is interesting considering the digital superbike platform that we discussed earlier. Traditional riders, who are trained to feel the level of grip between the bike and the road, would find such a system to be superfluous, and as such would welcome the clear signals that the E1pc sends as you reach its limits.

If there is one thing that the MotoCzysz E1pc exudes, it is rider confidence in the machine. However, it cannot be denied that when there is so much power and torque available from a machine, extracting every last ounce of potential from the E1pc likely means some sort of addition of rider aides, like traction control, for the future.

Slipping across the drag strip slag as I exited Turn 9, my first proper go down the drag strip / front straight ensued. It is worth mentioning that MotoCzysz designed the E1pc to be ridden in a very “Moto3/GP125″ style when tucked into the machine. Ass all the way to the back of the seat, knees and elbows in, the E1pc’s areo fins do the rest of the work while you grin and pray. Almost instantly forgetting the proper posture I was shown in the pit lane for the front straight, blasts of wind on my elbows reminded me where to stick my arms, and I was rewarded with an almost instant loss of pressure against my body.

I am an educated man. I hold four degrees in social science. Accordingly, this means that when it comes to complex concepts of aerodynamics, I just nod my head and agree. The MotoCzysz E1pc’s aero package comes from a bevy of detailed computational fluid dynamics simulations (CFD) in SolidWorks, which minimizes the air pressure on the front of the motorcycle, while maximizing the air pressure behind it. Or so I’m told.

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 13 635x421

The result of all this work is that the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc, with all its fins and ducts, looks like something similar to the bastard child that was consummated when the art deco movement got drunk late one Thursday night and made sweet love to a neon-clad Buck Rogers.

Talking to Michael about his design, he readily admits that visually it is a bit much, but in order to ensure that his team broke the 100 mph barrier this year, and took home the £10,000 check from the Isle of Man, function had to come ahead of form for the 2012 bike. For next year, he promises something a bit more visually appealing for fans, though it will retain many of the gains the team found this year.

Be that as it may, a quick 160 mph pass affirms all the hard work that went into the E1pc’s fairings and design — the bike seems to effortlessly cut through the wind. Now, there has been plenty said about how quiet these machines are at speed, and you can easily spot the antagonists who have never seen a proper electric motorcycle by their use of the word “silent” when referencing a bike like the MotoCzysz E1pc.

There is nothing “silent” about the jet turbine-like, Tie Fighter-esque, turbo-spooling electric motor’s whine as it shoots past you at triple-digit speeds.

I have been on several of these high-power electric motorcycles now, and they all sound roughly the same as they scream past you, but only the E1pc has a unique sound when you are crouched-in and riding it. The experience is like sticking your head inside a waterfall — there is so much wind rushing effortlessly past you as you break 100 mph and go onward — it is like the motorcycle is tuned to a dead channel on a television, with the volume turned up all the way.

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 04 635x421

Breaking from the bubble as I return to the first turn of PIR, my body is like a giant air brake as it liberates itself from the protection against the aerodynamic forces at play on the machine. Maybe there is something to this madness after all? Heading back into my first of six right-hand turns, there is little time to contemplate the merits of Czysz’s trade-off in aesthetics, but each corner confirms the resolute chassis I am attached to on this ride.

Where the Panigale needs a more flowing corner entry in order to keep the bike’s speed going through the apex and out of the corner exit, the MotoCzysz E1pc lends itself to a more point-and-shoot riding style, where the electric motor’s tugboat amount of torque can be used to rocket out of each corner. The chassis seems to be of a different mind though, and begs to be ridden hard into the corner’s entry. With the major rotating masses being the wheels and chain, the E1pc, like other electrics, benefits from having less force to overcome when making a mid-turn correction.

Combine that fact with the benefits of a motor that pulls like a freight train and a chassis that moves like a ballerina, and the MotoCzysz E1pc proves how competent of a race bike it can be on a closed circuit. Moving through traffic and dicing with opponents, often times the optimal line is not an available option, which is where a bike like the E1pc has the advantage. Equally adaptable to favoring either side of the apex, a rider has multiple options when it comes to making a passing move through a turn.

One of the big drawbacks to the MotoCzysz E1pc is understanding at a glance what is going on with the machine’s systems. With battery voltage and amperage playing such an important role in the E1pc’s abilities, the amount of information streamed to the rider, in addition to the usual bits of information like engine speed, machine velocity, lap time, etc., is overwhelming. During our test, I had to stop twice in order for the MotoCzysz crew to assess the E1pc’s state, and to confirm all systems were go for another set of laps.

Needing to pre-plan the use of every electron for the 37+ mile course at the Isle of Man, it is easy for TT racers to go outside of the bounds of their energy consumption plan, and while staring at the columns of numbers on the MotoCzysz E1pc’s dash as I headed down PIR’s front straight, I can understand why — the most useful piece of information, how many more laps can I do, is not displayed.

At the Isle of Man TT, there is no pit crew with a waiting laptop, and the riders have to read the bevy of information on the dash — all while lapping at triple-digit speeds — on city streets. One of the big gains the MotoCzysz team will be working on over the winter break is how it conveys information to the rider, and in what manner that information is provided. This is what the whole “digital superbike” thing is about.

DAT vs. Compact Cassette?

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 19 635x421

Coming back into the pits and reviewing my laps, it is clear that with each pass I was getting faster and faster, and my best lap in my single-session ride on the MotoCzysz E1pc was a 1’24 — noticeably slower than my time on the Ducati 1199 Panigale S, but not by an overwhelming amount. I would hazard a guess that a good part of the difference in pace is surely due to the considerably less seat-time I had on the E1pc, when compared to the Panigale, but one has to also factor in the obvious differences between the two bikes.

The MotoCzysz E1pc has well over 100 lbs of extra heft than the Ducati 1199 Panigale S, and while the monstrous amounts of torque on the E1pc helps the bike overcome that deficit, the amount you can twist the throttle on a bike without traction control is limited. Also, for as good as the MotoCzysz E1pc’s chassis is, the Panigale’s is no slouch either. Coupled to a considerably powerful motor, a Christmas tree of rider aids, and the E1pc has some stiff competition…but we already knew that.

Whether you measure the results by the stopwatch, or by the fact that after 20+ minutes on the MotoCzysz E1pc, my torrid track day affair was over, and the Ducati surely comes out ahead, if you so insist on declaring a winner. However, I think the better take home message here is how competitive the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc is as a package, despite being made by only a handful of people in a small Portland facility.

While the MotoCzysz crew might be operating on a larger budget than most of its competition in electric motorcycle racing, the amount of money and resources put into the E1pc pales in comparison to what Ducati has in the Panigale, and yet MotoCzysz has built a machine that is as compelling to ride, if not more so. As such, the time is rapidly approaching when track day enthusiasts will have an intriguing decision to make between electric and conventional motorcycles.

Is the digital revolution here? Not quite. The 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc is not yet disruptive enough to supplant its analog predecessors, at least not in the way CDs and MP3s were to tape and vinyl. Instead, I liken the E1pc more to digital audio tape (DAT), clearly superior to what is available at the consumer level, but still lacking the criteria necessary for mainstream adoption. Though, just as DAT showed what was capable with digital audio recording, the MotoCzysz E1pc paints a clear picture of what we can expect from its progeny, and from a true digital superbike.

Interestingly enough, this month marks the 30th anniversary of the compact disk (CD), and the start of the digital music dynasty. So, where do you think motorcycling will be in thirty years?

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 01 635x421

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 12 635x421

MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S MotoCzysz E1pc test PIR 09 635x421

Photos: © 2012 Ryan Phillips / 360° Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. Michael says:

    So jealous

  2. Chris says:

    Your vinyl-mp3 comparison is a more appropriate than you realize as any digitial representation of music requires a loss of information. A good Lp on a good record player and amp will always sound much better than any MP3 because the analog original contains a lot more ‘information’ than the sampled digital copy. An MP3 is definitely more convienent but the convienence has a price: loss of quality/fidelity.

    And 3 sec a lap is a huge gap on a track like PIR.

    >>and while the monstrous amounts of torque on the E1pc……..

    Please read up on the concept of power and torque. You (and the rest of the EV crowd) only sound uninformed when you go on about the gobs of torque the electric motor produces compated to an ICE.

  3. Nice article, Jensen.

  4. Richard Gozinya says:

    @Chris

    You really don’t know anything about audio do you? Digital offers drastically more bandwidth than analog, it always has. Why analog sounds better to old people, is they’re used to the artifacts within an analog recording. Comparing an LP with an MP3 is an admittedly poor comparison, FLAC, or another lossless format would be more accurate.

    And sorry to break it to you, but the ICE, specifically piston driven ICEs, are actually really terrible at converting energy into motion. A typical motorcycle has, optimistically, a 15% efficiency. Electric motors have over 90%, some well over 95%. They, unlike their ICE cousin, make full torque from zero RPM, if you think that doesn’t mean anything, you’ve never operated a high torque vehicle.

    In truth, an ICE’s only actual advantage over an electric is the energy source, as well as the emotional attachment some people have for vibrations and exhaust notes.

  5. Chris says:

    Richard,

    Calm down, re-read the post. The statment I made was very specific:

    A good Lp on a good record player and amp will always sound much better than any MP3 because the analog original contains a lot more ‘information’ than the sampled digital copy. An MP3 is definitely more convienent but the convienence has a price: loss of quality/fidelity.

    I specifically said MP3 as it what was mentioned in the article although the same still is true for a CD. And if you talk with anyone who developed ‘lossless’ sampling codecs, or any codecs for that matter, it is very difficult to sample an analog signal with any decent compression and be sure you have gotten all the information.

    Efficiencies are what they are, ICE are somewhat higher thay you say and electrics less when you take charging and motor controller into account. There is no argument that overall the electric is more efficient but has serious range, weight, cost, and recharge issues.

    Any 1000cc motorcycle can be considered a high torque vehicle. I feel so pedantic but I’ll still spell it out for you. The 200+Hp for an ICE or electric bike is not affected by gearing but the torque rating is. The electric motor has 220Nm of torque from the website, that’s 160+ ft-lb of torque. At the ‘countershaft’ sprocket. Output and rear wheel sprocket sizes seem to be close so these calcs should be within 10-15%. Any modern 1000+cc sportbike has 50+ ft-lbf from 4000-11000+rpm. That’s 50 at the crank. And 75 at the trans input shaft. And in 1st gear that’s 210 ft-lbf at the output sprocket. At the torque peak, easily achievable by feathering the throttle, that’s 310. Nearly double. Most bikes can easily be wheelied on the track. 160 ft-lbf and 520 lbs vs 310 and 410 is the reason why 1000s need wheelie control and this bike doesn’t, not any anti-squat characteristics.

    Michael Czysz has made a great electric bike but can’t overcome the inherent weight, range and charging issues with today’s batteries. The one advantage you mention is unfortunately the one that really matters. Once batteris or fuel cells improve enough in 10-15 years then you will see me riding one.

  6. Gutterslob says:

    I smiled @ ‘politics of the apex’. Nice one.

  7. MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S – http://t.co/enZepKH6 #motorcycle

  8. MikeD says:

    Yes, yes….very nice and romantic.

    Let the Electron Nazis burn their precious dollars and be the lab rats and perfect the technology for us late………..VERY LATE adopters.
    I’ll be more than happy to take those “dangerous, vibrating, noise making, detracting, ineficient ICE powered” Motorcycles off your hands for a lot less than what you paid when your “inner tree hugger” gets the best of you.
    Not interested on following the electron powered route/herd….their EDEN is far from being near and real…..YET.

    Im not saying i won’t ride/own one some day…i do say they are still nothing to rave about and account for less than a drop on a bucket compared to “realistic”(ICE powered) motorcycles.

    I’m ok with being the Cave Man on this one…lol.

  9. Lloyd Reeves says:

    I got my first bike in 1968 and have been riding ever since. This past year I picked up a Zero S and have had more fun with it than my sportbike. I find it faster in the corners and feel more in touch with the handling. I am looking forward to their new 68 lb torque motor next year. I am very lucky that I can afford 2 bikes which allows me to keep my XB12 for all day rides. I can fully understand why if you could only have one bike it would be gas. But if you have the bucks for more than one, these electric bikes are a hoot! A lot of the negativity I hear in other forums reminds me of the 2 stroke vs 4 stroke. I say if it’s fun ride it! Great article!

  10. Electric vs gasoline superbike RT @Asphalt_Rubber: MotoCzysz E1pc vs. Ducati 1199 Panigale S – http://t.co/fWLzbD3v #motorcycle

  11. Jes says:

    YEAH i enjoyed this article. Cheers :)

  12. whiskthecat says:

    “0100010101010110”

    I see what you did there.

  13. Count me among the still-skeptical. It’s hard to say what you might have cut, time-wise, with more practice on the EV. But as ‘Chris’ (above) points out, 3s/lap is a lot at PIR. What I see here is a stock-looking Ducati (still has headlights) vs. a bike running slicks and a $$,$$$ full-race suspension.

    While I’m sure that a stock Panigale is not a dog by any means, it’s also misguided to suggest that the development curve of ICE motorcycles has leveled out.

    Rather, it would be more accurate to say that the design of contemporary superbikes is stagnant. By going down the outdated-front-fork-200+hp-but-need-TC road, all the manufacturers are making it (relatively) easy for guys like Czysz(sp?) to at least imagine the day that EVs will challenge the ‘best’ ICE motorcycles.

    If only one of the current OEMs was really committed to a clean sheet design that uses the best available ICE tech to produce a motorcycle that played to the single-person/single-track concept’s strengths, we could make leaps and bounds in real-world/on-track performance.

    Nothing needs to be invented to create a 80-100 hp twin or triple in a ‘frameless’ rolling chassis with a Parker (or similar) front end that separates braking and suspension duties — such a motorcycle could easily weigh less than 300# fully fueled.

    Trust me on this: Lapping PIR on a well set-up, ten year-old, Honda RS250 would make riding the Czysz feel like running in gumboots. Let the ICE OEMs decide they want to give riders *that* feeling again, and the EV guys will be set back another decade.

  14. WetMan says:

    Richard is very happy with his 95% efficient electric bike when the time comes to fill up at the electron station…
    Oh wait… right…
    95% of 50% of 50%…

    And claiming that electric engines are the newest latest thing is a gross distortion of history.

  15. Andrew says:

    Wasn’t the C1 a longitudinal I4?

  16. Casey says:

    Everyone is talking like they know something about electric bikes. Idk where you guys are getting ur info about all the problems. Obviously people believe anything these days. Unless you know the facts I wouldn’t say anything.

  17. Matt Hubbell says:

    What did MC think about the 1199. From your pics here, it looks like he did not ride his own creation. Not one shot of MC riding the E1. Is this an add for Ducati?

  18. RJ says:

    The problem is trying to “store” energy when we should be thinking of ways to “Generate” energy. Trying to overcome weight and storage issues of batteries with things such as advanced aerodynamics is really the problem. You’re starting off by planning a machine against an inherent design flaw (the batteries not being good enough). The immediate problem isn’t the internal combustion engine, but what’s being internally combusted. If there was an alternative fuel that worked with existing ICE technology and was clean, then electric bikes would generate no interest whatsoever.

    But like any good reporter if you follow the money you realize that to get clean bikes you need clean fuels. So all Michael C has to do is convince big oil to stop making petroleum based fuels. Then he can finally run his C1 with no excuses.

    MotoGP is back to 1000cc’s by the way Mr. Czysz. Your C1 qualifies again, so what’s the problem now??

  19. MikeD says:

    RJ said:

    MotoGP is back to 1000cc’s by the way Mr. Czysz. Your C1 qualifies again, so what’s the problem now??
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Xactly….so ? MotoGP not a big deal anymore for him ? Did his “OH SO AWESOME & FUTURISTIC” motorcycle can’t cut it against the current hardware ?

  20. Dr. Gellar says:

    Despite Czysz’s initial MotoGP ambitions and subsequent disappointments, I think it is safe to say that he and his team have moved on to pursue other related interests. Get over it…

  21. MikeD says:

    @Gellar:

    Indeed, the next dig fade also known as electric motorcycles. It seems everybody and their buddys can pull one of those lately. LOL. Or pretend at least.

  22. Marc F says:

    The fact is that power and weight being equal the faster motorcycle is the one that gives you more feedback and control over what the front and rear tires are doing. It’s just that power and weight are not yet equal for liter bikes vs electric. Jensen ran that same 3 second deficit when he tested our RedShift SM against it’s KTM equivalent, except it was 3 seconds (1:08 vs. 1:11) in favor of the electric, even though the KTM was on slicks and the RedShift on street tires, and even though we had a top speed limit on the RedShift at that time that lost us a full second on the front straight. Folks can argue analogies all day long (and I should point out that I love analog audio), but anyone who has been in the saddle of a real, performance electric has felt the rear tire in ways a gas rider can only dream of.

  23. alex says:

    At the end of the day the Pagi can be bought right now and used everyday. That’s all that matters. Not the future with micro turbines running off fuel made from wood scraps.

    I love what MC is doing but any “serious” comparison with a completely unavailable electric race bike and a currently available street bike are tenuous at best.

    Also I think alot of people that comment on electric bikes are perhaps also considering the zero bikes which I swear to god seem dead silent watching them pull away and approach. I could only hear the chain actually as they passed.

    Sadly I doubt there is a day in the next 3 years when you can buy a production EPC for road use so hopefully other production companies step up there game to match this level – perhaps Honda as they were that far off him this year in overall speed.

  24. ttxgpfan says:

    What I don’t get is a lot of people’s constant need comment that the emotos aren’t as fast and can’t go as far as gas bikes yet. No shit Sherlock. Like everyone and their uncle doesn’t know that. The point of articles like this are not to say, “Emotos are here, now hand over your Yamhonkawtuci.” It is simply to document the progress they are making and some characteristics they we may have to look forward to should you ever want to consider buying one. That’s it. It is history being made, whether it is good or bad, successful or not.

    Now excuse me while I take part in documenting the first ever electric race at Daytona. Clearly it’s going to be a shit race (because everyone who’s not going to be there has said so), but I am going to take great pride in making damn sure people have a place to go to read, hear, and watch actual accounts years from now. And not have to read 3rd hand accounts on a forum somewhere.

  25. Tom says:

    Mark,

    You touch on a point that I have advocated for years, WSK and MotoGP both retard motorcycle development because manufacturers get tunnel vision in creating the best bike FOR THE CURRENT RULES not the best motorcycle period.

  26. “WSK and MotoGP both retard motorcycle development because manufacturers get tunnel vision in creating the best bike FOR THE CURRENT RULES not the best motorcycle period.”

    What an odd statement. Of course the bikes are built to accommodate the rules; the rules define the function and, therefore, the form. Now, if the rules were to state that riders must carry all spares for the season onboard and use a single set of tires for the season, you’d likely have a grid full of Gold Wings. The rules, by definition, define the nature of development.

    “The best motorcycle, period” is a nebulous and entirely subjective animal. Put 10 people in a room and you’ll get 10 different definitions of best. So, good luck with that.

  27. Echo says:

    It should be a requirement, A REQUIREMENT, that the first time the *cough* Czysz is mentioned in any article, the phonetic pronunciation is directly behind it in parenthesis. It is my favorite electric bike by far and I’ve been rooting for them to succeed for years now, but I can never remember how that goddamn name is pronounced. Ever.

  28. Leo says:

    @echo. It’s like the first syllable in scissors.

  29. Tom says:

    Trane,

    There is nothing whatsoever odd about my statement….if you actually think about it. The rules change in order to theoretically at least, promote competition in a particular racing series. They do not exist to promote maximum performance. Do you really think that the cans on motorcycles out of the factory are the best? No. They are there to meet the rules (laws). If motorcycle manufacturers made the best bikes period, then there would not exist an aftermarket except for older bikes.

    You can get 1o people to get you 10 different answers, but people are stupid in general anyway. People don’t dictate what is best, a rubric does. Do not confuse subjectivity with objectivity.

  30. Tom,

    I gotta say, we sure do disagree. Which is fine. :)

    “The rules change in order to theoretically at least, promote competition in a particular racing series. They do not exist to promote maximum performance.”

    Maximum performance is relative to the environment in which the competition takes place. Maximum performance of a bike in a trials competition is defined by entirely different criteria than those defined on a closed-course road circuit, which is then again different on a dirt oval and again changed by a high-banked paved oval. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Your comment seems to imply that there is an objective “maximum performance” that stands true regardless of the regulations, but it just doesn’t pass muster by a long shot.

    Again, the regulations and/or of the venue define the performance goals. The cans out of the factory are the best for the given operational parameters (meeting various pollution and noise regulations for a given power output and delivery within a particular cost range). Yes, I know I can buy an EC-approved Akrapovic for such-and-such a bike and it’ll make more power than stock even with the same dB noise output, but the cost is far higher.

    “If motorcycle manufacturers made the best bikes period, then there would not exist an aftermarket except for older bikes.”

    That’s just nonsense. I worked as Parts and Accessories Manager for Gran Prix Cycle in Toronto back in the ’80s and I assure you that an accessories department operates for far more reason than “my bike isn’t the best it can be”. For many, if not most riders, it’s about personalization, not outright, balls-to-the-wall output and performance. A bike that goes Mach 9 with your hair on fire (to loosely paraphrase from Top Gun) might very well be a razor sharp tool on certain race tracks, but I betcha it’d be a total bitch to ride for 6 hours on the interstate. Same goes for trying to wallow a Gold Wing through the Corkscrew at Laguna Seca. You might survive to tell the tale, but I bet it would leave an emotional scar or two.

    There’s just no such thing as a bike that just happens to be the best at everything you can throw at it. Specialization in nature exists because of adaptations to environmental stresses. The exact same paradigm exists for exactly the same reason in technological development.

  31. Tom says:

    Trane,

    I thought this story was about high performance superbikes. You should be aware that manufacturers work the refs of every racing series and some have the clout to get rules changed to benefit themselves at the expense of some other company. There is an objective standard for each type of motorcycling to make the best and the myopic focus on a particular racing series retards development. If motorcycles as we have known them did not exist, do you really think that one would create what we have if a young engineer had a blank piece of paper? No, FIM has dictated designs for decades.

  32. Tom,

    You seem to be entirely missing the point: Technology transfers from one domain to another. As an example, I’ll cite the many technological advancements heralded by NASA research. If you visit the NASA Technology Transfer Portal, you’ll find a very large database of information and technologies that are available to license/spinoff into “alternative” sectors (those outside of aerospace).

    So, I’m sorry. Your view that the FIM regs are myopic and stunting overall motorcycle development is just plain silly. The factories have long used the premier classes of WSBK and MotoGP to develop top drawer advancements in traction control, anti-wheelie control and ABS among many others. These technologies DO trickle down to our street bikes, regardless of whether they’re touring bikes, UJMs or cutting-edge canyon carvers. Racing has ALWAYS been a proving ground for the bleeding edge technologies that push the envelope of our technological prowess, and so (I suspect) shall it always be.

    This article, indeed, is about superbikes; specifically, the MotoCzysc E1pc and the Panigale S. Both bikes represent leading edge tech in their respective domains, sharing some tech by virtue of being motorcycles, yet both having something unique in their resume. The E1pc would seem to be an epic feat of engineering that offers a riding experience quite unlike anything an ICE-based motorcycle can deliver. Is it the “best”? It very well could be, given its development vision and how the team has utilized (and extended) existing technology in its execution.

    Is it YOUR best? That’s up for you to decide. Whether you want to accept it or not, best is objective according to the environment and usage + the subjective qualities derived from your expectations. High-performance superbikes are still only “best” when used in the environment for which they were designed. And, you know, although they were designed to excel on the track, most are lived with on the street.

    That last sentence is important with your fixation on “best”.

  33. Singletrack says:

    Can we just cut all the B.S. and get to the important stuff? – Marketing. Without it, the product is just a part # sitting in a warehouse.

    First, the name MotoCzysz has to go. Sorry Michael, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue like ‘Ford’ or ‘Honda’.

    Secondly, the E1PC, might mean something to the engineers, but it just looks wrong on paper or screen and doesn’t roll off the tongue.

    Here’s my advice: (email me and I’ll tell you where to send the royalty cheques).

    Change the company name to MotoCynthesis. Can mean many things to many people. ie ‘green'; ‘combination of technologies'; ‘modern’; etc. etc.

    Change the bike model to the EP1C. That’s the way it always reads in my head – and I’m not dyslexic. Otherwise read as ‘Epic’.

    MOTOCYNTHESIS EP1C

    Who cares how well it works. Now you have a product that the Washington Post or Wired magazine can put in a headline.

    You’re welcome.

  34. No limit to how thin you ca make a battery, and high output electric motors are small, so there’s no reason why an electric sport bike can’t be wafer thin. Perhaps an electric bike will be the first motorcycle where you actually sit in the bike, as opposed on it.

    Electric performance cars are already outperforming their combustion engine counterparts.

    New Tesla Model S Stuns 2013 BMW M5 in 100mph – 160km/h Drag Race
    http://ow.ly/ezh4C

    We’ll see the first sport bike to do the same within five years, mark my words.

  35. BikePilot says:

    Great write up. Was the duc on slicks? Cool that the ebike was sorta close, but worth noting that this seems more or less like the electric equivalent of a motogp bike while the duc is a production, street legal thing I could ride to work every day.

    A small turbo could probably fix the duc’s midrange :D

  36. alberto says:

    I’ll take the Panigale…But I’m partisan I live in Bologna and I pass every day going to work beside the Ducati factory. I always ask politely if they spare one, a scratched one is ok but NIENTE …I’ll take the Ducati only for the sound of her engine

  37. Frank Lee says:

    I excellent article, but must disagree that electric vs petrol argument comes down to performance. Until there is a substantial increase in the mileage a bike can travel and charging times on electric bikes (or cars for that matter) there will never be stronge demand. Who wants a vehicle that can only go 100 or so miles then takes 6 to 8 hours before it can go further? If you never go beyond that range, or are speaking of a track only vehicle, then all’s well and good. But most motorcyclists I know will never settle for that, no matter how fast or light the bike. Make a bike that can go 250 miles on a charge and then recharge in the 5 minutes it takes me to fill up with gas, and I’ll be the first in line to purchase one.