We just got a phone call from Richard Hatfield of Lightning Motorcycles saying that the “Flying Banana Mk. II” just put down a 205.238 mph pass at the Southern California Timing Associations’ Speed Week at Bonneville. This pass makes Lightning the first electric motorcycle manufacturer/competitor ever to break the 200 mph mark, whether it be on the tarmac or at the salt flats. If verified during tomorrow’s second pass, the speed would shatter the outright land speed record of 176.434mph, which was set by Riches Nelson and his fully-streamlined Airtech Lightning Bolt electric motorcycle.

Lightning currently holds the AMA and FIM land speed records for the APS-Ω LSR class (A=special chassis, PS=partially streamlined, Ω=electric) for electric motorcycles weighing between 150kg and 300kg, after Paul Thede (of Race-Tech fame) took the Flying Banana Mk. I to 173.321 mph at Bonneville last year. This year according to SCTA protocols, Lightning’s bike has been impounded for the night, and the team will have another run tomorrow to solidify its record. The average of those two speeds will then stand as Lightning’s official speed, and if everything goes according to plan, Lightning will have raised the LSR mark for electric motorcycles into the 200 mph bracket.

Talking to an ecstatic Richard Hatfield, the team is confident that it will not only replicate the result, but also predicts a faster speed for tomorrow (salt flats providing). Using only 3% of its battery charge and being ridden at quarter-throttle, Hatfield and his team believe that 210 mph is achievable. Encountering a slight aerodynamical issue from the sit-on style rider position and partial streamlining bodywork, Paul Thede had counteract the bike’s desire to pull to the right of the course, which at 200 mph is probably a lot more terrifying than it sounds.

That issue was compounded by the fact that Thede, a multiple LSR world record holder, was going the fastest he’s ever gone on two wheels of any kind at Bonneville, on the salt flats, or anywhere else. With lightning storms (fitting, ehh?) predicted for tomorrow afternoon, Lightning will have to get its return pass into the books early in the day if the team wants to set a verified speed with the SCTA and a new LSR. More news from Speed Week as we get it.

Source: Lightning Motorcycles

  • elmotomadman

    Well done. Congratulations to the Lightning Team and Paul Thede. What motor and batteries are used on the bike?

  • Keith


  • Bob

    Hats off for this achievement. However, I’m more impressed by road race victories than outright, straight line speed. I.E., build a bike that can beat Mission Motors at laguna seca and I’ll be even more impressed.

  • elmotomadman

    Lightning will be tough to beat on the track once they get some development time. I heard at Laguna Seca they had zero track time before the race and had a seized Brembo brake caliber. Development time is all that is needed. No practice, 4 or 5 laps in qualifying and 8 lap race is not much development time.

  • Skadamo

    Congrats to lightning!

    Will Yates be in a different class do you know?

    Any other electrics going to speed week?

  • I believe Lightning uses a Remy motor and Ener1 batteries.

    Yates is at the BUB Speed Trials in two weeks’ time. You can set AMA and FIM LSRs at that event.

    I’ve heard rumblings of other electrics at the salts. I’d probably wake up with a horse head in my bed if I said who though. :)

  • Skadamo

    @elmotomadman Remy motor, Ener1 batts.

  • KyleG

    Great stuff!!

    @elmotomadman – They use a Remy motor with a custom housing and cooling system. They also have Ener1 batteries on board.

  • Skadamo

    A horse head, must be CRP. :D

  • KyleG

    Haha i guess we are all very knowledgeable posters and very timely :)

  • So does that mean everyone owes me a Coke?

  • Ben Faster

    Mark my words now boys – Electric bikes will change it all. It will start at Pikes Peak where they have an inherent advantage of no loss of power due to altitude. Electric cars will follow there soon; same reason.
    I grew up riding dirt bikes..etc. Now own a Ducati with Termis – so I love the sound like everyone else. But its coming!!
    Great job guys.

  • Dr. Gellar

    Congratulations! Pretty awesome stuff…

  • Pingback: adrian cockcroft()

  • Bob


    They had dev time; they went to IOM.

  • Pingback: skadamo()

  • Tom

    I don’t mean to poo-poo this, but high speed is not an issue with electric motors whether car or bike. 200 miles between charges that last less than 10 minutes and battery life for more than 5 years is the holy grail that truly revolutionize the industry. SSC makes the world’s fastest production car, even faster than the Bugatti Veyron, and just how exactly has this car changed the world?

  • MikeD

    Great. Let them come…get developed, reach the stars and w/e else they aspire to…just don’t try to push them down my throat…i still feel very much at home with my ancient ICE 1.0L 90* Twin.
    I’ll run it on moonshine if i have too…lmao.

  • elmotomadman

    I don’t think anyone is forcing the electric bikes down anyone’s throat…did the early IC motorcycle companies force their bikes down the throats of horse owners? If it wasn’t for the early IC bike development and years of innovation with this passion we wouldn’t have the great machines we have today. Same with electric…we need pioneers who want to push a new technology. It is about going as fast as you can and still have a choice on how you want to do it. I know this is not original but…the stone age did not end because of a lack of stones…and the oil age won’t end because of a lack of oil. We might not see it but future generations will.

  • MikeD

    “the stone age did not end because of a lack of stones…and the oil age won’t end because of a lack of oil”.

    Yeah…i hope so…in these days and times when u wake up and there’s a new regulation for anything prohibiting everything…yeah…let’s watch and take notes.

    The goverment started by imposing those stupidly high fuel standards (that no one has been able to figure out yet how to meet it w/o making cars unsafe or super xpensive) for the future on the car manufacturers and it sure looks to favor more and more the electric vehicles than anything else (diesel who ?)…who says they won’t push their dirty ways in Motorcycles too ?

    But w/e… i don’t think fosil fuels will run out before i run out of breath…or bikes. lol.

  • Pingback: skadamo()

  • Pingback: Desert Hawk()

  • Alexander

    And what about sunday result?

  • elmotomadman

    I saw the official number going into the record books is 206.049

  • Our record is 206.079. Our measured best speed through the lights was 208.328. We are working hard now making changes to bump the record.