So I’m chatting with Adrian Hawkins, who’ll you will read more about when I wrap up the book. Then I watch Charge again, to put some more of the pieces together in my head, and then I poke at Adrian again and tell him I just watched him on Charge. He comes back and says, “…also Birth of a Racer”.
“Birth of a Racer” is the story of Michael Czysz’s pretty amazing motorcycle motor design and build. If you think designing and building an electric drivetrain is hard, take a look at this. No, really. This isn’t some engine taken out of Honda and modified, this is, “LET’S MAKE SOME VALVES and then some VALVE GUIDES and then the CLIPS TO HOLD THE VALVES then the FRIKKIN O-RINGS…” all for an engine that is designed with a completely different configuration – two counter-rotating crankshafts and impossibly skinny and light. Getting the picture? Slapping an AC core into a housing with a reduction gearbox of your own design? That’s a weekend job with time left over for beer.
In particular, remember when we all were talking about transmissions? One of the big things was nobody could get one, design one, build one, test one… Well guess what. Not only did MotoCyzsz DO all that, they made a transmission that you could drop out of the bike, swap out gearing so you could adapt the ratios for the track you were riding, and slap it back in. ALL IN THE PITS. Multiple gears, strong as an ox, built from scratch.
Here’s the film. It’s in 7 parts, I’m not sure why, and bits of it are posted on Vimeo and Youtube. It links to the viedo page on the MotoCzysz site, and I hope they keep it online.
Based on several things – but most, the MotoCzysz’s performance at the Isle of Man and the capabilities of the team, not to mention their engineering prowess, I’m inclined to believe that if a transmission could give them better performance, they would have built one. Game over.
I’m also becoming of the opinion that two teams – Mission and MotoCzysz, are pretty much responsible for electric motorcycles being where they are today, especially after I’ve seen where and what they all ended up working on. More of that in the book!