Our favorite electric motorcycle enthusiast, Shea Nyquist, is at it again. You may remember Nyquist from our previous article about his home-built electric motorcycle. He’s continued working on it all this time, making improvements and testing it. This latest test, though, was out on public roads (yikes) and very, very fast.
His ultimate goal is to set an electric motorcycle land speed record. Let me remind you: Nyquist built this entire rig by hand, mostly out of scraps. His budget is very, very thin. All of the batteries in this streamliner-type motorcycle are salvaged; he rebuilt them himself for this project. Luckily, he is an aerospace engineer, so if anyone can accomplish this record, he can.
All of the current testing is to make sure the entire rig is stable at speed. Since he doesn’t have, or have access to, a proper drag strip or closed track, he had to take it out on local roads. Luckily, a nice, straight, local one was just repaved!
Over the course of at least two days, and with the help of some friends, Nyquist got this enormous contraption going faster and faster until he figured out where the balance point was. The streamliner has outriggers, since there’s not much steering between the stops, and he’s strapped inside the cage and can’t put his feet down.
Apparently, some local farmers along his makeshift test track were opposed to the noise his testing was making since it was scaring their horses. To solve that problem and address their complaints, Nyquist pop-riveted some tire rubber to the outriggers to quiet them down and had at his testing again.
"I could tell that the bike needed to go faster to get stable, I just had no clue how fast that was,” Nyquist told New Atlas. “If I went faster and the bike remained unstable, it would have been very easy for me to accidentally steer off the 20-ft-wide (6-m) road and lunge through a ditch into a barb wire fence. After a couple more sketchy runs, I decided to open it up and find where that stability transition was. I accelerated hard, the bike felt good during acceleration and when I got to around 60 mph (98 km/h), all of the wobbles and twitches fell off. The steering tillers went light and all I could think was hell yes!”
He eventually got the rig up to 80mph. Eighty, on a home-built electric streamliner. The kicker there is, at 80mph he was using only ten percent of the rig’s available throttle.
With initial testing out of the way he’s ready for his next steps. They include building and fastening fairings to the bike, making sure he and the bike have all the mandated safety gear, and taking it to the El Mirage dry lake bed where the Southern California Timing Association hosts Land Speed Racing events. Hopefully, Nyquist will set his record there.