Quick question: Who builds the fastest electric bike in the world?
Most people would answer Lightning, if they thought about it, and they’d be right, when it comes to production machines. But if you’re counting one-offs, then one of the world’s fastest electric motorcycles is built by … the University of Nottingham.
For years now, the University of Nottingham has been building electric roadracing bikes and campaigning them all over the world. They’re regulars at the Isle of Man TT, and have entered races in North America as well, including the Pikes Peak hillclimb. Considering the homebrewed nature of the school’s bikes, they’ve done quite well, but haven’t won many races. A recent trip to the Straightliners ACU/FIM World Speed Records showdown sort of changed that, though.
For the land speed event, the university team recruited Zef Eisenberg, a go-fast junkie who’s challenged for many two-wheeled top speed records, and holds several. Eisenberg took the university’s motorcycle to new FIM titles for Flying Kilometre, Flying Quarter Mile, Standing Mile, as well as an ACU Flying Quarter Mile record. For the Flying Kilometre record, Eisenberg had an average speed of 185.103 mph, a peak speed of 197 mph, and a best one-way speed of 194.086 mph.
The records were set in the unfaired electric motorbike category, where Lightning’s fully-faired superbikes would presumably be disqualified.
There was some deep personal history involved here; Daley Mathison, part of Eisenberg’s MADMAX race team, had helped considerably with the university’s bike development program, before dying in this year’s Superbike race at the Isle of Man TT. After that tragedy, Eisenberg said he felt like he should see the land speed record effort through to completion: “The record attempts had the full blessing of his wife Natalie. I wore Daley’s special Knee sliders for all the runs and I felt that Daley rode the bike to victory with me. It was my absolute honour to do it in his memory”