From push-bikes to Hayabusas: the maddest race on the planet

Published: 23 April 2009

There may never be another race like this again: 2009’s TTXGP is set to feature a lineup of machines the like of which hasn’t been seen since Muttley ruled the Wacky Races.  

The inaugural TTXGP will have a 24-strong grid when it kicks off on 12 June. And since it’s the first ever zero-carbon-emission race, no consensus has been arrived at the best engineering solution to tackle the TT circuit, petrol free. Prioritise power? Aerodynamics? Handling? Energy conservation? Regeneration?

It won’t be many years before a 500GP-style consensus emerges, but until then, revel in the wacky racers!


Funny front endCarbon monocoque, funny front end
Evo Design Solutions’ EV-0RR uses twin carbon shells instead of a conventional beam or trellis chassis, lending the bike great stiffness and a big space in which to store tons of batteries. It also inherits a modified version of the hub-centre-steered GTS1000 front end Steve Linsdell campaigned at the TT in the early 90s. Incredibly ambitious, but will they finish it in time for riders Olie Linsdell and a returning Mick Grant to race?



Electric bikeThe 100mph push-bike
German inventor Stefan Gulas is entering a hopped-up version of his human-electric hybrid ErockIT bike, which replaces the accelerator twistgrip with pedals. Want to go faster? Pedal quicker. Gulas says that gives the rider a much greater emotional connection to the bike – and it certainly doesn’t slow you down, as this video of the street version of the bike in action shows.



Electric HayabusaThe electric Hayabusa
Aerodynamics are sure to be a key factor in the TTXGP – where saving energy will mean being able to release more of it as thrust before the batteries run out. Imperial College London have had the brilliantly simple idea of piggy-backing on Suzuki’s years of development of the super-slippery Hayabusa. Seems obvious now, doesn’t it?




The ShonkerThe 10-year-old shonker
It might look unlovely, but it's the only bike with proven competition pedigree. Sort of. Austria's sole representative at the TTXGP is the TGM, originally built to set a new electric world speed record over 10km. It nearly did it too, but for a component failure. The alumimum and fibreglass creation will be ridden by TT veteran Martin Loicht.



Ducati + Tesla + Knight RiderDucati + Tesla + Knight Rider
The CEO of Ducati North America, one of the guys behind the Tesla electric sport’s car’s batteries and a huge spoonful of design that hits you right in the spot Knight Rider and Streethawk did: that’s the recipe for Mission Motor’s 150mph Mission One. It’s easily the most ambitious from a production bike point of view, with firm promises of unparalleled performance and 2010 delivery, and frankly it’s got to win if Mission want to hold onto their stash of £50,000 orders.



Killacycle-IOMFrom the folks that brought you the Killacycle
Richard Hatfield, part of the team the gave the world the fastest-accelerating electric bike ever (the 174mph Killacycle), is mid-build on a Killacycle-powered Ducati 916. Called the Killacycle-IOM, it will benefit from a new generation of batteries Killacycle main man Bill Dube says offer more horsepower than the previous record-breaking Killacycle cells, but at “less than half the weight”.  The Killacycle was already capable of a 7.89sec quarter mile…



Oval forks and two enginesOval forks and two engines
That ough to do it. Or so hopes Michael Czysz of MotoCzysz, who has abandoned his twin-crank, longitudinally-engined would-be MotoGP contender to focus on this, the E1pc. Czysz’s patented oval-section forks allow flex when you’re leaned over, but are rock solid under braking, an innovation he says gives the racer uncommon feel and security on the limit. Helping rider Mark Miller approach that limit will be not one but two motors, stashed low in the E1pc’s fairing.

The TTXGP is the world’s first zero-carbon-emissions race, and takes place on 12 June round one lap of the Isle of Man’s legendary 37-and-three-quarter TT circuit.