Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Sound and Fury of Electric Roadracing

Video released this week of the TTX01 electric road racing motorcycle in action poses an interesting question: What is the future of motorcycle racing going to sound like?

The video is set to music and leaves a lot to conjecture (go to AutobloGreen to see/hear it).

Take into consideration that under relatively quiet electric power, we will be hearing sounds that are normally masked by the barely silenced succession of internal combustion explosions in a conventional racing motorcycle. Breaking down the mechanical aspects of an electric motorcycle in a roadracing environment, there are several elements which will combine to create a unique sound:

Wind Sound – the whistle or roar of air being displaced by a bike and rider at speed
Tire Sound – the cyclic slip and grip sound of a slick forced to the limits of adhesion
Brake Sound – the vibration of brake pads contacting a rotor while aggressively shedding velocity
Chain Whir – the sound of rollers impacting sprocket teeth
Motor Hum – the sound of air and electricity moving through a motor as the rotor spins
Gearbox Whine – the sound of helical or straight-cut involute gear teeth engaging and disengaging each other at various RPM

A bellowing staccato or a high RPM scream is the natural byproduct of tuning an internal combustion engine for maximum performance. A sound appreciated by most enthusiasts.

The electric race bikes being built for the inaugural TTXGP are essentially typical of any racing machine. They are being built for shear speed and aggressive handing. Any sounds that result are those of pure purpose, not audible aesthetics.

Builders of road-going, production electric motorcycles will have the more complicated job of taking these elements of sound into consideration. They will have to craft a palatable symphony from them. Then again maybe the collection of sounds emanating from an electric race bike will become the accepted sounds of speed and power that street riders will lust for, just as they do with gasoline-powered machines. The result may be the most realistic race replica motorcycles that street riders have ever seen.

Source: AutoblogGreen via TTXGP

1 comment:

Louise-OSET said...

Hi, Just found your site, via twitter referencing the 'sound of electric'. Our electric trials bikes for kids add a unique sound to trials competitions. Kids voices and laughter that are usually drowned out by the noise of two strokes.
Please check out www.osetbikes.com
for some fun video.
OSETs are designed in the USA specifically for kids. We have been seriously affected by the new lead law, CPSIA, which still could shut down the sport of motorcycling for kids, including our mission to get kids electric bikes.
http://www.mic.org/stbn.cfm For info on the law from the MIC

Thanks, Louise Smith
Co-owner OSET Bikes
twitter LouOSET