When it comes to high-performance electric motorcycles, it seems like everyone’s getting into the act, including Belgian bike-maker Sarolea. Haven’t heard of Sarolea? Don’t beat yourself up over it; the world last heard from Sarolea about 50 years ago.
Despite a history of gas-powered bikes dating back to dawn of internal combustion, the new Sarolea crew has constructed the SP7, a purpose-built electric racebike they hope to have ready to take on all comers during the 2014 TT Zero event.
Looking more like a 1960s throwback cafe racer than a high-tech missive from the future, the SP7 features classic elements like a bubble bikini fairing and a bump-stop seat. But beyond those retro styling touches, the latest TT Zero entry is a fully modern machine.
In order to save as much weight as possible, the 440-pound SP7 is made largely from carbon fiber, including the rear swingarm, in an unusual move for such a high-stress component.
Sarolea has not specified the capacity of the battery pack, but we do know the SP7 is packing about 180 horsepower and a tire-shredding 295 pound-feet of torque from a liquid-cooled “axial flux” motor spinning the rear wheel through a single-speed power train. With that much power pushing a lightweight bike, the SP7 should be fast – maybe record-breaking fast. No word yet on if it requires 1.21 jigawatts of power.
The entire bike is a puzzle of CNC-machined hard parts and carbon fiber curves, save for an aluminum cover where the gas tank would normally reside. Nice touches abound, from the tucked-in rear brake caliper to the engraved triple clamp that holds the adjustable front suspension.
Performance numbers come in at 0 to 60 in about 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. Forward motion appears to be a nearly 1:1 drive chain unless there’s a reduction gear hidden in there somewhere.
Sarolea will still face stiff competition from the likes of Mugen/Honda, which will have Isle of Man TT icon John “McPint” McGuinness at the helm of their sleek updated bike. McGuiness set the outright lap record of 131.5 mph around the course in 2009 on a gas-powered Honda CBR1000RR.
MotoCzysz was the first electric motorcycle competitor to break the magical “ton” mark of 100+ mph around the island’s terrifying 37-mile mountain circuit in 2013. With that milestone behind them, electric bike makers have a new target: the outright lap record.
The Sarolea SP7 and other competitors will take a while to get there, but they will get there, and the new carbon fiber Belgian bike will likely help push the group closer to that goal this year.