Pro motorcycle racer Chip Yates unveiled his electric superbike to the crowd at The Battery Show event being held in San Jose, California.
Wearing an orange shirt, Yates seemed to be smiling the entire show. He's easily excitable, especially when he's talking about the bike he built from scratch. After he broke his pelvis in a motorcycle accident several years ago, he decided to build a bike that would run on battery power. (See: An All-Electric Helicopter: How Far Will It Fly?)
Yates tapped into his Boeing experience and created the SWIGZ.com racing team, comprised mostly of engineers from Boeing and some with helicopter experience. (See: Taking The Tesla Tour.)
It took the team nine months to finish building the bike.
"I'm not a trade show guy; I'm a world-class racer," Yates said. "But being here has exceeded my expectations. A few guys said they saw me on the morning news. I can't image what that would have looked like." He motioned eating cereal and flipping on the TV, making the crowd around him laugh.
Watch the video below to hear Yates describe his superbike.
The bike is twice as fast as electric bikes, Yates said. It runs on 194 horsepower, 295 ft/lbs of torque, and uses a lithium-ion polymer custom pack. The front wheel has a kinetic energy recovery system, so when the rider brakes, the energy will be saved. Unsurprisingly, Yates is filing several patents on the bike's design. The KERS system allows the battery pack to be lighter. The improved performance might be what Yates needs to win in the upcoming races.
Racing has taken Yates to far-flung places like Hong Kong, Korea, and France. Yates is looking forward to traveling the world, riding his bike in the FIM E-power International Championship and The Zero Carbon, Clean Emission Grand Prix (TTXGP).
When I asked Yates if he was scared to try out his lithium-ion powered bike, a nearby fan answered for him.
"Um, you're asking an adrenaline junkie if his own bike is safe," the random guy said.
Okay, good point.