Can An Electric Motorcycle Win Straight Rhythm?


Article Source Redbull

Today could very well be a glimpse at the future of motocross. Today at Red Bull Straight Rhythm, an electric dirt bike will be raced in professional competition. Alta Motors is set to debut their groundbreaking Alta Redshift MX under the capable hands of former Supercross pro Josh Hill. The brand’s entry is a huge question mark coming into the race this year. Can an electric bike compete against standard factory-level motocross bikes?

Josh Hill is a phenomenal Supercross rider. He has won on the sport’s highest stage, and during his tenure as a professional mixed it up with Ryan Dungey, James Stewart, and the rest of moto’s elite. His riding the Alta Redshift MX is a huge play for the unproven machine, because if anyone can excel at Straight Rhythm on that motorcycle, it’s Hill.

Hill explained on Friday before the event that he was most interested in seeing what it would be like to race next to a normal, loud motorcycle on his near-silent electric bike. Obviously, he won’t hear his own machine basically at all. Riders very commonly rely on sound and vibration of the bike when riding to gauge speed and power. Hill has none of that, just pure speed.

Probably the most foreign aspect of the electric bike is the lack of any sort of transmission or clutch. Every single rider on the Straight Rhythm track will work through a few gears – probably 2nd gear off the start, click up to 3rd for some of the bigger sections, and then 4th in the whoops. During that race time, the riders will probably also clutch the bike landing on jumps about 10-20+ times. Josh Hill will not be doing any of that. The Alta Redshift MX has no need for a transmission, and no clutch. The advantage for Hill here is in the simplicity – he needn’t worry about what gear to hit a jump in, or what gear to start in. There will be no missed shifts, or false neutrals, and the power delivery is nearly instantaneous.

However, like every single other rider in the race, Hill grew up racing with transmission and clutches. He has never raced a Supercross on the Redshift MX, and while he has ridden the Straight Rhythm qualifier tracks at Riverfront MX and Pala Raceway, every motocross athlete knows that practice pace and race pace are completely different. The screaming crowd, and the screaming gas-powered bike next to him, and the pressure of being “the electric bike guy” will make for a jump in the heart rate, which makes all the difference in the world in the one-minute full sprint that is a Red Bull Straight Rhythm moto.

Article Source Redbull

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