Doing 190.6 mph is amazing under any circumstances. It is even more so when it’s done on an electric motorcycle.
Chip Yates, who just keeps proving electric motorcycles are for real, hit 190.6 mph on Sunday during the Mojave Mile. It wasn’t enough for Yates to top the previous record and achieve another milestone in electric motorcycling. No, he had to shatter it by a full 17 mph.
Thing is, Yates said the bike had more to give.
Yates said computer modeling suggested the bike would top 200 mph, but high-speed buffeting kept him south of that. He and the Swigz.com Pro Racing crew made some tweaks in the pits, but then blew their primary and backup chargers. With no way to recharge the 12.4 kilowatt-hour battery pack, Yates was limited to two runs.
“The blunt rear end is causing buffeting. Now we have more data from this weekend, we will address it 100 percent,” Yates said late Tuesday in an email. “With the buffeting gone, on a one mile we should be just over 200 mph — maybe up to 210 max. On the open (Bonneville) Salt Flats or El Mirage, we should be even faster.”
The Mojave Mile was a detour for Yates, who is prepping the bike for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. He recently upped the bike’s output to 240 horsepower (and 365 pound feet of torque) to improve the power to weight ratio of the 585-pound machine.
The previous version had “only” 194 horsepower and 295 pound feet, but it was enough to put Yates on the podium in two classes at the WERA Heavyweight Twins races in January. He raced against machines like the Ducati 848, KTM RC8 and Suzuki SV650. He hit 158 mph at one point as he lapped AutoClub Speedway and posted a fastest lap of 1:39.792.
The demands of a one-mile sprint from a standing start are quite different than road racing or hill climbing. To meet the challenge, Yates added a custom fairing to minimize drag, tweaked the motor controller software and installed a custom jackshaft and sprockets to handle the torque while spinning at 8,500 RPM. He also added a booster pack to the battery for additional voltage
Yates said the bike hit a dyno speed of 227 mph during stress testing.
“This run should go a long way towards our goal of demonstrating that electric vehicles can lay down extreme performance and compete directly against gasoline powered vehicles if properly designed and executed,” Yates said.
But for now, his attention is focused squarely on Pikes Peak.
“I hired a dirt coach for myself,” Yates told us. “He won Pikes Peak in 1995 and we are going to the dry lake this week to begin testing. I just picked up my first set of tires today and preparations are underway!”
Photos and video: Chip Yates
Chip Yates and his crew. No, that’s not a trunk. It’s part of the battery pack.
Not much to see, but that’s what 190.6 mph sounds like on an electric motorcycle.