A team of (electric) motorcycle enthusiasts and a custom-made electric racing motorcycle, developed with the power weight of the supersport or 600cc category, form the basis of the Lightfighter project. Although this electric racing machine is a prototype, it is designed to pave the way for high-performance and racetrack-savvy electric motorcycles. An effort for which the unique, braided carbon rims from the German rim manufacturer thyssenkrupp Carbon Components are excellently suited. The innovative project was named after Lightfighter Drive on Highway 1, which was on the way to Laguna Seca in California by project designer Brian Wismann. The Lightfighter was developed for amateur racing and has the ambition to compete with fuel-powered motorcycles there.
It all started when the team led by Ely Schless, Brian Wismann and Troy Siahaan questioned the status quo for electric motorcycles and set itself the task of redefining the standards, which are mostly set by the MOTORCYCLEs of the TT Zero on the Isle of Man. The motorcycles used there are designed with a focus on the battery and the goal of conquering the mountain course of the island. In contrast, the Lightfighter project focuses on the geometry and handling of the motorcycle. The interplay of innovation, engineering and lightweight construction, as well as a small spark of the Isle of Man philosophy, represent more common factors between the Lightfighter project and thyssenkrupp Carbon Components than the first glance would suggest.
After the first Lightfighter prototype debuted in 2019, the winter break extended by the lockdown allowed a further development and allowed the Lightfighter v2.0 to take shape. The braided carbon rims support the most important features of the motorcycle: the ultra-light weight. At 181 kilograms, the Lightfighter v2.0, equipped with thyssenkrupp carbon rims, is lighter than comparable electric racing motorcycles. This exceptionally strong weight reduction leads to an immediate improvement in driving behaviour; Greater acceleration, significantly improved handling and agility are among the numerous advantages of the unique rims made of braided carbon fiber.
The Lightfighter v2.0 is completed by a chrome-plated steel lattice tube frame, a lithium-ion battery and a transmission unit, all parts designed specifically for this motorcycle. An additional and essential further development is the new battery, as it also contains the main contactor, DC/DC converter and other smaller relays at the top, thus making the system safer and simpler. Furthermore, the previous charging time is reduced from one to one and a half hours to five to ten minutes by means of the possibility of changing the battery.
The opportunity to prove the technical developments on the tarmac was delayed due to the difficult situation in 2020 and it could not be tested until the beginning of July at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. The first race of the Lightfighter v2.0 took place as part of the WERA Motorcycle Roadracing Inc. event and was a challenging but successful task. In the Formula 2 and B-Superbike category, motorcycle.com road test editor and lightfighter test rider Troy Siahaan secured an excellent third and first place with his electric racing machine on braided carbon rims. In 2021, the Lightfighter v2.0 equipped with thyssenkrupp carbon rims and the team behind it will continue to demonstrate the potential of electric racing motorcycles on the race track.