Up-Close with the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc

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More evolution than revolution, it is easy to see the lines of the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc peaking out from underneath the complex shapes of the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc. Building upon the design that won his company the 2011 SES TT Zero, Michael Czysz says he has finally had time to truly address the aerodynamic aspect of his designs, though he admittedly had to make some aesthetic concessions to find the right aerodynamic package for the job.

These concessions cause the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc to have a bit of Buck Rogers feel to it at first glance, as the winglets, ducts, and neon colors hit you all at once. While it all seems a bit over the top, there is some method to the madness. Relying on computational fluid dynamics to develop his designs, Czysz’s designs aim to make the 2012 E1pc as slippery as possible in the wind, but also serve to allow the team to continue a design philosophy that first started way-back with the MotoCzysz C1 project.

Whipping the air over the combined form of rider and machine, the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc should be able to hit and maintain higher speeds with less energy than before, but the real secret sauce for the Portland-based company is in how it has routed the air through the bike to maintain cooling temperatures. Bringing air through the basking shark front end, the internal aeros bring the air through the bike, presumably over the batteries, back towards the rear of the bike, and through a radiator located in the tail section.

If my social science major’s understanding of aerodynamic principles holds fast, the routing of the air through the center of the E1pc’s mass, and dumping the exhaust of that routing duct to under the bike’s tail section, should help remove the vacuuming effect normally suffered by motorcycles, further aiding in the streamlining cause — without the need of dustbin solution.

We see the same aerodynamic principle in road racing, where holes are cut in forward-facing fairings and windscreens, to help alleviate the low-pressure spaces that are created behind those barriers. This theory seems similar to, though should be entirely separate from, Homer Simpson’s speed holes theory of automotive design.

Like all MotoCzysz machines, it is the detail touches that make the machines such a sight to behold. LED accents cover the lower lip of the 2012 E1pc’s RAM air duct, and are right above the now ubiquitous raison d’être-clad front mudguard. This year’s slogan is “< 22:38.28” which is a reference to the time necessary to break the 100 mph barrier on the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course — with the consensus being not if, but by how much, that barrier is shattered this year. Another regular item to the Czysz design philosophy is the subtle “Made in America” sticker on the tank, reminding us that for now, electric motorcycle racing is the only field being dominated by American entrants.

A carry-over from the 2011 MotoCzysz E1pc, the suspension system is again housed under the carbon fiber mock fuel tank, with linkages connecting the two Race-Tech shocks to the six-axis front forks (another regular MotoCzysz design element) and rear swingarm. For 2012, the previously carbon fiber clad swingarm’s linkage has been replaced with one made of metal, presumably to allow Miller and Rutter to hit the jumps along the Mountain Course with their full-might.

On Rutter’s bike last year, the Dow Kokam battery packs were split into two units, stacked one on top of the other. For 2012, both bike’s have one larger pack that extends well past the 2012 MotoCzysz E1pc’s twin-spar carbon fiber frame, both fore and aft. According to Czysz, the new pack is volumetrically similar to last year’s, though it should bring the center of mass on the bike much lower to the tarmac.

Officially housing 14 kWh, it wouldn’t surprise to find that number has been sand-bagged a bit, with a few more pouches to be found in the battery enclosure than before, along with a more dense lithium-ion formula working its electron magic inside them.

With the Mugen team in full-attendance at the MotoCzysz unveiling behind the main TT grandstand along Glencrutchery Road, the competition between the two heavy-hitters is an exercise in the definition of an oxymoron– being both incredibly demur and yet also immensely intense at the same time. A good showing by either party only enhances the victory by the other…and neither team has any intention of leaving the Isle of Man with a second place podium to show for their efforts.

With Mugen showing the guises of a massive battery pack on its Shinden motorcycle (20 kWh sounds high, though not absurd), the Japanese squad is exhibiting a very modern one-two punch on the old American adage  that “there’s no replacement, for displacement” which stands in stark contrast to the aikido of Michael Czysz’s wind-shaping zen state. If we lend ourselves to stereotypes, there is a good role-reversal going on here, and the first bout in this mixed-martial arts fight comes to us tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Photos: © 2012 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0