Just months after unveiling their next-generation electric scooter, Kymco have dramatically upped the stakes and unveiled the SuperNEX – an electric superbike for a whole new generation.
Kymco say that while the future of personal transport is definitely electric, questions still hang over sportsbikes.
They’re also keenly aware that with ever tightening emissions, it’s difficult to produce a modern sportsbike that delivers the new levels of thrills that people expect. So when they decided to develop the next generation of superbike, turning to electric was obvious.
Interestingly though, Kymco have given it something rather old-school for an electric bike: a gearbox.
Kymco say that one of the joys of riding a motorcycle is changing gears, so the SuperNEX has a six-speed gearbox and slipper clutch. There’s the electric equivalent of a quickshifter and auto-blipper too, so modern sportsbike riders should feel right at home. The gearbox also means the SuperNEX avoids the usual electric bike power fade.
Electric motors are famous for delivering huge amounts of torque from zero revs, however the downside of this is that the motors usually reach peak power in the mid-range and being to tail off.
With a single gear it means the bike fizzles out once you start going really quick, unlike a superbike that crescendos as you hold onto the gears. By giving the SuperNEX a gearbox, Kymco say you can shift gears to hold onto the maximum power, just how you ride a petrol driven superbike. The result is a 0-60mph time of 2.9 seconds and 0-150mph in just 10.9 seconds.
Needless to say there’s a full electronics suite too including some amusingly named power modes (Poised, Assertive, Bold and Extreme) as well as all the usual safety features we’ve come to expect including traction control, wheelie control and ABS – all of which can be adjusted by the rider. All this tech aside though, Kymco think this could be the first electric bike to truly stir the heart.
Kymco have equipped the SuperNEX with what they call an Active Acoustic Motor. In short, it’s a ‘multi-frequency sounder generator’ – a device that recreates the sound of an engine, so that when you ride it still feels like you’re riding a living, breathing, screaming superbike. While that might sound daft to some, it could be the answer to the age old ‘soulless’ feel of electric bikes. For now Kymco holding onto all the key power, weight and range figures as well as the price but it’s not stopped us getting very excited.
Kymco chairman, Allen Ko, says: "The sound declares the unique character of the machine. Whether it is vrooming, roaring, rumbling, or screaming, every supersport bike has its own distinct sound that is different in tone, intensity, texture and delivery.
"It is not only a discrete projection of each machine, but also an outward declaration of the owner. The sound is the most important source of emotional engagement with a supersport motorcycle."
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