Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

ELECTRIC AVENUE. Bottpower Prepares To Shock Pikes Peak

Posted on November 12, 2017 by Andrew in Racer. 36 comments

Written by Andrew Jones

What have Pikes Peak racers and WWII fighter planes got in common? Well believe it or not, they both face the same challenges when it comes to making engines work at higher altitudes. As with the old fighters, the internal combustion engine on a racing bike might be fine at sea level, but will rapidly lose power as the air gets thinner. Pikes’ 14,115 ft summit means that the air is only around 60% of the density it is down below. WWII engines dealt with this using superchargers, but there is another way. Electricity. So Bottpower’s head honcho David Sánchez and his French design prodigy Rémy Roland set out to climb mountains with electrons.

How did the internship come about?
David: From time to time we have students doing their engineering or industrial design internships here at Bottpower. Rémy contacted me, I saw his portfolio and I liked it a lot. So Rémy came from France to Valencia and he spent several months on this project.

Rémy: I reached out to Bottpower and the next thing I knew, I was working alongside David. It really went well, I learned a lot about all the steps for creating a motorcycle. From the very first sketches to the physical mock-up. I worked on the project pretty much every day and sometimes I went to the workshop to see how the team made motorcycles for customers. It was a real pleasure.

Designer Rémy and the 2016 Bottpower XC1 Carbon Café Racer

What are Pike’s Peak’s main challenges?
David: From a technical point of view, the main challenge at Pikes Peak is the altitude. With a petrol engine, we have already a 30% power loss at the start line and at the finish line this increases to a 40% power loss. And because it’s only a 10 minute run, you don’t need a big battery. For these reasons Pikes Peak is the perfect scenario for an electric race bike.

Rémy: Because electric engines don’t need air to work, they are more consistent during the race. Moreover, there is an electric category for this race so David and I agreed we would design a Bottpower electric racer concept with the intention to build and run it in 2019.

What was the inspiration for the design?
Rémy: The basic inspiration was hyper-roadsters like the KTM Superduke 1290; a compact and aggressive design without protection and with wide handlebars for easier handling. I also took some inspiration from the current Formula 1 and Moto GP designs. And of course the DNA of Bottpower.

David: I didn’t want to influence Rémy’s design too much, so I gave him an open brief. I think that his inspiration partly came from previous Bottpower models, like the XR1R Pikes Peak racer and also our 2013 Morlaco bike with its alternative front end.

“The basic inspiration was hyper-roadsters like the KTM Superduke 1290; a compact and aggressive design without protection”.

The faring’s red edge shows the air intake for battery cooling

What was the design process?
Rémy: The first step was to analyze the Bottpower DNA. We also studied all the current electric motorcycles on the market, both for road and racing. The second step was to draw a lot of different ideas and concepts to arrived on the final key render as you see here. I then started working on the 3D modelling to fix some details and add a little refinement. They were then rendered photographically, which really brought the concept to life. The last step was to mock it up using a 3D printer and to paint it. David worked closely with me through the entire process.

David: Rémy did many pencil sketches on paper to explore different ideas. He was sitting beside me and I really enjoyed watching him draw; for me it was like magic. Once the design was more or less defined, he started doing more detailed sketches. Later on, he started working on a 3D computer model and the last phase was to make a 3D printed version of the design.

Bottpower’s 2017 Pikes Peak entry. Electrifying, but not electric

What were the ups and downs of the project?
Rémy: I loved the first phase, because it’s here where creativity really expresses itself. And seeing the renders for the first time was amazing. The hardest part was the 3D modelling because I was relatively new to the software. But thanks to David’s advice, I really improved my skills a lot.

David: Apart from Rémy’s drawings, I had to work on a Spanish championship Superbike race as a data engineer and Rémy spent several days with us in the box, so he experienced a race from ‘inside’. He also saw how we built several bikes and he came to the studio for the photography. For me it was very important that this was an interesting and enjoyable experience for him.

David (second from L) and his 2017 Pikes Peak team

What do you like best about the final design?
Rémy: I really like the front shock system with the forks. I’m pretty proud of the front air intakes and the wings, because when I first came up with the idea it was something completely new and now it’s being used in Moto GP and also on the Honda Interceptor Concept and the Aprilia RSV4 EICMA bikes.

David: I think that the bike is a really good start for the Bottpower electric race bike for Pikes Peak; it’s taken the idea one step closer to becoming a reality. I also really like the cooling system – it’s a great idea.

Take a deep breath

What’s next?
Rémy: The goal of this project is to participate at Pikes Peak in 2 or 3 years, but for the moment the project is just getting started. I think there is a long way to go yet.

David: We are pushing to build an electric racer for Pikes Peak. Right now we are in the preliminary phase: just compiling information, looking for resources and evaluating how we could move the project forward. In that regard, Rémy’s hard work is very important for us. His first thoughts for the industrial design of the bike will have a big affect on the finished product.

Possibly the cleanest shop we’ve ever seen (Photo: Mario Rodrigo Martin)

[ Bottpower – Facebook – Twitter | Rémy Roland ]

  • the watcher

    Amazing, the future, instant torque, blah blah blah! Not for me, though. Loud pipes save lives, man (and are a massive part of the excitement).

    • I get what yr saying, but I think that once bikes like this are truly sorted and capable of doing decent mileage while also outrunning gas bikes, we’ll all be singing the praises of their amazing electric whines and wondering why we spent all those years changing gears on our own…

      • the watcher

        You may be right, but #747 gives me the horn, whilst the i-bike makes me yawn. Guess I’m just too old.

          • the watcher

            A sentiment I share – but only when I want both.

        • guvnor67

          Nah, it’s a soul thing. All my bikes are twins, one’s a single, and every day when I wheel out of the garage and let ’em warm up a tad while I fasten my lid n pull on my gloves, I get that same awesome feeling. It’s like when you put on a favourite track, that opening riff or bass line and it’s “Hell yer!”

        • David Irons

          Yes, you are.

          • the watcher

            I don’t even have a mobile cos I always thought the point of going out was that no bugger could get you on the phone!

          • guvnor67

            Good thinking! You can guarantee, especially in winter when your Mobile’s buried beneath enough clothing to make a North Pole trek feasible, the minute you go to ride off, the damn thing starts ringing away. Grrrrrrr!

          • the watcher

            Tagging for the unconvicted!

          • guvnor67

            Yer, that’s it!

          • With yr name and that frank phone admission, I will now picture you as the Unabomber whenever I read your comments. 😉

      • Paul Schwartzberg

        I’d say that’s the problem right now, they’re not yet “truly sorted.” I me the local dealer for Zero in my town and he invited me to test ride the bikes even though I was perfectly clear with him that I was not in the market. He just wanted people to ride them and tell others about the experience. I rode both street versions. The Zero S was fairly uninspiring and topped out at 70 mph, truly only useful as a commuter bike for someone who doesn’t have a long commute. The SR, however, was impressive. From a dead stop to 100 mph in a heartbeat, which was the limit of it’s speed. Going that fast with nothing but wind noise was an odd sensation. It was fun, but I’ll stick with gas for now.

  • properjob

    A design masterpiece. I’m with Andrew – these are the short-term future, at least until power that doesn’t depend on the electricity grid arrives.

  • Greybeard1

    For me, I think the major hurdle in embracing fully electromotive force for motorcycles is the chasm between technology and emotion.
    Yes, I think electric bikes are fascinating and even inevitable but, when I’m riding it’s about both the performance and the music of internal combustion.
    Just something uninvolved about riding along, listening to…nothing.
    Or actually hearing something and wondering “did I just drop some amps or did my VFD just crap the bed?”.
    Remy’s hugely talented for a guy younger than my socks and Dave is just amazing.
    Can’t blame either for thinking the Sportster lump’s days are numbered but, having spent several years engineering on diesel/electric tug boats, it was Fairbanks Morse and EMD that held the romance for me, not GE.

    • guvnor67

      Nicely put Greybeard!

    • I’m not sure that there will be absolutely nothing to list to on a electric bike. Sure, they won’t idle at the lights, but I think they will def. have their own music. It may not be a song that you’re used to, but it will still be music nonetheless.

      • guvnor67

        And there’s the torque and linear acceleration . . .

      • Greybeard1

        You’ll be listening to “static”.
        You’ll be sitting at a light and a short wave radio operator from Upper Bumfuck will start talking out of your controller.
        That 10 year old gum popper on the skate board will hack into your bike with his iPhone and whiskey-throttle your ass across the intersection.
        “There’s a larf fer ya, geeza’!”.
        Lightning from a short under the seat will render your swimmers helpless zombies.
        Instead of talking tires and suspension settings you’ll be arguing “tubes or solid state?”.
        It’ll be Moog vs. Flentrop tracker action.
        Though…you could get a side gig doing TIG repairs!

        • Don’t make eye contact, anybody. Just smile and back away…

          • guvnor67

            I think he has a point though.. .

          • Greybeard1

            Oh, hell, I don’t bite until I get my dentures in!

        • Bultaco Metralla

          Wow, that’s was really great

  • Ricardo Juarez

    I see mostly talk about aesthetic solutions. Good looks are always welcome and aerodynamics are important but, I imagine that given a proficient motor+electronics+battery combo, you need mainly a cycle design that enables you to go around those 156 or so curves as fast ( and as safely) as possible…

    • Agreed. And with David’s previous racing experience, he’ll be all over it like white on rice…

  • martin hodgson

    Given how successful and fast Electric Bikes have been up Pikes its a very clever testing ground and a dynamite way to show the benefits of electric in taking on petrol as you have a time v time comparison. I can easily see the day when I own both buzz power and petrol power machines and if they look even half as good as this then I say bring it on. One of the big pluses with electric is having more control over where the weight is placed in the bike, lower down and more forward for better turn in and direction change being the most obvious. The change is going to happen… and I for one and so glad to see companies as talent as Bott getting on board to ensure bikes are still as exciting and fun to ride as they’ve always been. Electric commuter and petrol thrasher just seems like the smart thing to do…. And given what Tesla have shown on the drag strip etc Electric bikes are going to be the fastest things we’ve ever seen on two wheels over the 1/4mile in the very near future.

    Remember when people said 4 strokes and EFI was going to be the end of fun on a motorbike……

    • Al

      I want the best of both worlds. I am working (on paper so far) on a hybrid (plenty of cars but no motorcycle yet) that has E-power for acceleration, overtaking and uphill ‘help’ (the torque!) and noiseless riding in build up areas without the ‘range anxiety’ of a pure electric while being able to suck power of the ICE while riding/cruising (adjustable) to charge the batteries.
      Too heavy, they say, but the ICE can be smaller than otherwise because one has the E-power to add and the batteries can be fewer because its not a pure electric.

      • martin hodgson

        I love that, I often sit down with pen and paper and map out how things could be on builds, crazy engine configurations etc and I totally agree with you. A hybrid could be brilliant and weight can be overcome and offset by where that weight is position. Let me know how you go as your ideas progress. Would love to see what you come up with. But overcoming that range anxiety that people have would be a huge selling point.

    • Bultaco Metralla

      My brain says yes but my heart is still with a Moto Guzzi Le Mans III tricked out as a Le Mans I. It may have been primitive, gutteral and a pain in the arse but it made me feel like a hooligan.

  • Al

    I wish Mission Motors was still operating. Their bike was so sorted…121kW/163hp (‘peak’ power, not ‘continues’…), 240km/h…

  • AJ

    An opinion. When the ICE was invented, people said it would never replace horse-drawn vehicles as a mode of transport. It was expensive, unreliable, noisy, smokey and generally antisocial. Horses were cleaner, more practical and better in pretty much every way. Then the ICE was refined, the infrastructure required was put in place and people said it would completely replace the horse. Many bemoaned this loss of heritage and campaigned to prevent it. These days (in the developed world at least) motorised transport is used for every practical purpose, and while there are fewer horses, those that exist are pampered and cared for, and only come out on sunny days when the folks that own them are feeling nostalgic. Perhaps ICE vehicles and electric ones are the next step in this progression? I’d say the community of commenters on PB is equivalent to those folks back in the day who couldn’t bear to see their horses go – and I suspect most of them eventually caved in to the onset of the motor car, and kept a horse or two for sunny days. Why don’t we just plan to do the same?

    • Greybeard1

      But you can’t eat a motorcycle.

      • AJ

        Then again, it doesn’t try to throw you off and kick you in the nuts either…

      • Motomanic

        Ok that closed the case for me Herr Greybeard. No better way to start an evening on Pipeburn than this!!!

  • Motomanic

    Ten years from now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see David, Bott and perhaps Remy considered to be the pioneering Motomagnates in the 21st century. They seem to be doing a lot of stuff right, aren’t deterred by obstacles and work expertly and super hard. Also, their mopeds look like absolute Rockaz, elektro or not. Respect and good luck guys! I’m a HUGE admirer!