Electric motorcycles continue to gain steam, and slowly we are seeing the Japanese brands embrace this powertrain for their two-wheel vehicle designs.
Today, we have the latest installment of that transition, in the form of the Yamaha TY-E electric trials motorcycle.
That may not sound like the most interesting application of this technology, but Yamaha has put together a very interesting design, and they plan on competing with it in the FIM Trial E-Cup.
Of course the biggest feature is the electric motor system and lithium-ion battery, but Yamaha has included a mechanical clutch as well, to help modulate the power, along with a carbon composite monocoque frame (CFRP), which helps lower the overall vehicle weight below 150 lbs (70kg).
Dutch motorcycle-builder Rolf van der Heide calls his machine a “gentleman’s racer” – we’re not sure what that means exactly, so we’ll just settle on calling it beautiful. The VanderHeide features a monocoque chassis, made completely from carbon fiber. The swingarm and front-end assembly are also made from the composite material, all of which was engineered and hand-built by Rolf van der Heide himself. At the core of the machine is an Aprilia RSV4 engine, which makes 201hp in its stock form. VanderHeide says it can provide a 230hp superbike option, if one’s wallet so desires. Other go-fast bits include 17″ BST carbon fiber wheels, a MoTeC dash, Brembo brakes, and a very unique setup for the bike’s Öhlins TTX36 shocks, but we haven’t touched the tip of the iceberg on what makes this motorcycle so unique.
Astute readers will realize that if there’s a Yamaha PES2 electric concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, then surely there must be a Yamaha PED2 concept as well, as the two electric concepts were two-sides of the same coin, back in 2013. Yes Virginia, there is a PED2 concept, and while it looks closer to being production ready than its predecessor, Yamaha seems content to simply call this electric motorcycle a concept…for now. Yamaha says that the PED2 is designed for hitting mountain trails, where riders can capitalize on its clean and quiet performance characteristics. Like the PES2, the Yamaha PED2 is supposed to make similar power to a 50cc-125cc moped or motorcycle, so it isn’t going to blast your socks off.
Back in 2013, Yamaha debuted two electric motorcycle concepts: the Yamaha PES1 street bike and the Yamaha PED1 dirt bike. This was a big deal, because Yamaha said it planned to bring an electric motorcycle to market by 2016. Well, here we are just a few weeks from the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, where 2016 models from the Japanese manufacturers would typically debut…and it seems Yamaha has more electric motorcycle concepts for us. The Yamaha PES2, as the name suggests, is an evolution of the PES1, though it does look slightly more ready for production than its predecessor. At the core of the machine is what Yamaha calls the Yamaha Smart Power Module, which is a removable battery pack that doubles as a structural element of the motorcycle frame.
Before Ducati’s monocoque chassis design was all the rage in superbike design, the folks at Honda were busy toying with the same idea.
Outlining a patent in 2006 for a motorcycle whose engine would be fully utilized as a part of the chassis, Honda’s design, which differs in minutiae, predates Ducati’s patent by almost a year and a half.
A noticeable departure from Honda’s MotoGP design, one can argue whether Honda’s monocoque chassis was destined for the next iteration of the CBR1000RR or the next generation VFR at the time of its conception.
David spent some lines of text yesterday talking about the lack of chassis innovation in the Moto2 Championship. As we know now, Moto2 has become a race of common denominators, with twin-spar aluminum frames ruling the day. Company’s like Vyrus have threatened to enter Moto2 with their very stylish Vyrus 986 M2 race bike, with its hub-center steering design; but as David pointed out, the work involved to train racers for the new inputs these machines provide is perhaps the bigger boulder to carry when compared to developing the motorcycles themselves. That doesn’t mean that innovation is lacking though, as we bring you another intriguing design, this time one built right here in sunny California: the Taylormade Carbon2.
We have shown CAD renders of the Ducati 1199 Panigale sans fairings before, and immediately heard office doors around the nation close shut while trousers were ruined. Showing off its frameless chassis design, the Ducati 1199 Panigale is perhaps one of the most intriguing motorcycles to see without its bodywork. Perhaps losing some the elegance of previous Ducati models when naked, there is very little free room between the Panigale’s 1437mm (56.6in) wheelbase. With the Tetris-style fitting of pieces together into the Panigale’s monocoque frame, there can be little speculation as to why the 1199 features such a large and comprehensive fairing. That being said, when the Ducati 1199 Panigale is in the buff, it makes for some good art.
The 2012 Ducati 1199 Panigale represents a huge step in motorcycle design, mostly due to its frameless chassis or monocoque design. Using the engine as an integral component to the Panigale’s chassis, Ducati’s hallmark achievement was building an integrated headstock/airbox off the front cylinder. With the seat and subframe built off the rear cylinder, and the swingarm bolting directly to the motor, the Ducati 1199 Panigale was able to not only shed 22 lbs of its predecessor’s design, but also continues the Italian company’s new design trend of having components that take on multiple functional roles.
Not only is the Ducati 1199 Panigale the lightest production superbike on the market, with its 361 lbs dry weight (414 lbs wet), it’s also one of the most powerful with its 195hp peak power figure, courtesy of the Superquadro motor. Other firsts include a revolutionary monocoque frame, the first full-LED headlight on a motorcycle, the first electronically adjusted suspension on a sport bike, the first engine braking control system, as well as the first GPS-assisted data acquisition system (optional DDA+ package) for a production motorcycle. While traction control comes standard, ABS brakes will also be an optional item for the Ducati 1199 Panigale.
Head of Ducati Corse, Filippo Preziosi is a busy man under regular circumstances, and with the shenanigans going on in Ducati Corse’s MotoGP team right now, the former motorcycle racer is a hard man to get a word with, let alone on a race weekend in Brno. Somehow catching up with Preziosi during MotoGP’s Brno test, our friend David Emmett at MotoMatters, along with several other journalists, sat down with Ducati’s Maestro of MotoGP to ask him about where the Italian team was headed, and the challenges it is currently facing. Preziosi makes some other interesting comments that read well between the lines, check them out in transcribed interview after the jump.