We’ve seen some weird and wonderful designs in electric motorcycles, but nothing comes close to the Racer X with its big “X” design.
The uncomfortable-looking bike is the work of Mark Atkinson of Speed of the Cheese Racing custom motorcycle company in Utah, the same state that hosts the Bonneville Salt Flats speed records.
Fellow motorcycle designer Roland Sands of LA says that electric motorcycles do not have as many restrictions of traditional motorcycles such as a fuel tank, engine and drive lines.
In fact, batteries can be made into almost any shape and electric motors are much smaller than an internal combustion engine, allowing designers much more flexibility with their creations.
Consequently, we’ve seen some crazy designs such as the Essence e-raw with its suspended seat and “tank”, the bug-like Johammer, the Saietta that resembles a bull and the just-wild Zec00.
Mark agrees with Roland on the limitless potential for electric motorcycle design.
“Electric motorcycles are interesting to me because there are no prior restrictions,” he says.
“Tradition doesn’t really play a roll, besides it that it needs two wheels. Stylish gas tanks that play such an important style cue on the motorcycles we have looked at for a decade, are a thing of the past. What new ideas can we implement?”
Racer-X is Mark’s “clean sheet vision” of an electric motorcycle.
He says he hopes the bike inspires other designers to experiment with the coming wave of electric motorcycles.
“My plan with RacerX is to finally ride it and then maybe take it to some shows,” he told us.
In fact, if you’re in LA over the next year you can see it at the Electric Revolution exhibition in the Peterson Automotive Museum which is well worth a visit!
“I have no intention of building more of them,” Mark says.
“It could be road registrable if I put on the required lights and things it would need, but I don’t have any plans for that.
“It is a concept. I will not race it at Bonneville. I may take it out for photos when I run my land-speed bike.”
There is very little conventional about the Racer X.
The suspension and steering have one pivot point, so there is no conventional suspension, springs, shock absorbers, forks, triple clamps, etc.
We’re not sure of the exact mechanics of how that works as details are scant.
However, they say the steering is electric and works with a servo motor controlled by an arduino which is a computerised controller.
We can only wonder what happens to the steering and suspension if there is an electric failure!
Mark grew up near the Bonneville salt flats, so his first love is straight-line speed and turning corners doesn’t seem to be a feature of this bike.
The basic structure of the bike is a mixture of aluminium tubing and carbon panels.
There are also no details about the motor which was given to Mark by Bonneville Salt Flats racing colleague Dr John Sullivan of Purdue University in Indiana.
It comes from the university’s land speed bike when they upgraded their drive train.
It drives the rear hubless wheel by a conventional chain on a sprocket that runs on a shaft through the main bearing plate and passes through a hole down the middle of the bike.
“The rest is just vivid imagination,” Mark says.