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McBride Runs Six Seconds, 200 MPH on an Electric Dragbike
Monday, July 30, 2012
Legendary Top Fuel Motorcycle drag racing champion, Larry “Spiderman” McBride, can add another accomplishment to his storied history in the sport: He’s the first rider to run six seconds and over 200 mph in the quarter mile on an electric drag bike.
McBride clocked a 6.94 second elapsed time at 201 mph on a 1500 horsepower, 1250-pound all electric, direct-drive drag bike dubbed “Rocket” at Virginia Motorsports Park.
Brock’s Performance is proud to be part of the new record, providing the BST carbon-fiber front wheel used on the bike.
Shawn Lawless from Youngstown, OH spearheads the effort. Lawless manufactures electric parade floats for Disney and other entertainment companies (see their website www.paradefloats.com) Lawless got into electric speed when he first built an electric dragster in 2002. In 2007 he built an electric drag bike that went 18 seconds at 69 mph – a humble start.
Fast forward to 2009. Lawless was contracted by Orange County Choppers to help produce the Schneider Electric hybrid motorcycle. The success of the project led to discussions of OCC building Lawless a bike to attack the existing electric drag bike record held by KillaCycle at 7.86 seconds and 174 mph.
The Lawless crew getting ready
the warm up run.
Larry "Spiderman" McBride suits up.
His brother, Steve McBride, makes
last minute adjustments to the bike.
Shawn and crew start removing the rear tire after the 7.00 sec. run. You
can see the wear line around the tire.
Steve putting the new tire
the wheel as Larry looks on.
Shawn saluting for 200 mph.
Rocket is ready to roll with a
new tire and a fresh charge.
Midway through the project in June of 2010, OCC contacted McBride to ride, and along with brother, Steve, help engineer the bike.
After the bike was completed - and some testing at Lebanon Valley Raceway in New York - the team ran the bike in the full quarter mile at Quaker City Raceway in Salem, Ohio. It was there that they were able to break the KillaCycle record with a 7.77 pass.
Lawless kept his eye on the rapidly-evolving battery technology and was able to engineer a new pack that was more efficient with lower weight. This shaved more than 120 pounds off the bike.
The specs on the machine are mind-bending. It is similar in size to a Top Fuel bike but is over 200 pounds heavier. With peak output of 3910 amps and 320 volts, the total power is over 1.25 million watts.
“Getting on the bike is like stepping into a powerplant,” said McBride. “It is eerie to ride it. I can hit the throttle, say ‘Bye!’ and you could hear me.”
The 320-pound motor has 1500 horsepower available to it. There is no transmission or clutch - it is a one-speed, direct-drive powertrain.
“This is the same motor that powers a 40,000 pound float,” said Lawless. “As you can guess with the problems we are facing are the weight of the bike and the available traction given the power of the motor.”
Brock’s Performance got involved in the project at the 2011 Manufacturers’ Cup spring race. The team noticed a wobble in their front wheel and McBride suggested they replace it with a BST Carbon Fiber Wheel.
Larry hops on and takes the bike
to the staging lane.
Shawn and Steve help Larry suit
for the record run.
Larry's burnout just prior
the record run.
Yea!! 6.94 @ 201.37 mph!!
The record time slip
Larry, Steve and Shawn discussing
the desire for even "More Power!"
“The consensus was that the wheel we were using was not up to what we expected it to do,” said Lawless. “Larry talked to Brock to see if he could help us. Our front end is from a ZX-14 so he was able to take a wheel off one of his bikes and let us use it.”
The team eventually ran 7.13 seconds at 187 mph but Lawless was looking for more, leading to the development of the new the power system.
The record-setting machine also features the next-generation R-Series BST Carbon Fiber front wheel from Brock’s Performance.
“We’ve developed a new wheel for high-speed, high stress applications,” stated Brock Davidson. “It is designed for serious bikes and extreme applications. The Lawless “Rocket” is unique because it is very heavy and very fast. There is no better wheel for this bike than our new R-Series carbon fiber BST.”
The team took the revamped bike to Virginia Motorsports Park to take a shot at the record. Their first lap of 7.16 seconds at 188 mph was just at their existing best. The second run was a teasing 7.00 at 195.
The third pass was the charm with McBride running 6.94 at 201 mph. Not only was this the first electric drag bike under six seconds and over 200 mph in the quarter mile, it was the first vehicle of any kind to crack the six second and 200 mph marks.
“Our goal was always to get this dragbike into the sixes at over 200 mph,” said Lawless. “We have been trying to break barriers for electric vehicles in the quarter mile for years, but we really made strides when we aligned ourselves with experts in the field. We are not motorcycle experts; we are electric drive experts. It’s great to work with OCC, Larry and Brock - people that know about bikes and know how to get bikes down a race track.”
Lawless and McBride intend to take this bike out again this year, stay tuned!
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