There’s a new name in the books of the fastest motorcycles ripping tar off the roads around the world. No, it isn’t a Harley, Suzuki, Honda, Yamaha, Triumph or any of the other likes. And it isn’t the Y2K turbine powered hyper-bike either. For starters and what might come as a big surprise to many, its not even powered by an Internal Combustion engine.
With a tested top speed of 218 miles per hour (350 kmph), more than 200 horsepower, and a 0 – 100 time of less than 3 seconds, the Lightning LS-218, is not just the fastest electric motorcycle, it is the Fastest motorcycle in the whole world.
The name LS-218 refers to the bike’s tested and record breaking land speed of 218 miles per hour. It isn’t just a name, its what the bike is capable of. In 2012 the first prototype of the LS-218 clocked the unbelievable speed which helped it win at the Pike’s peak and claim the reputation of the fastest motorcycle in the world.
Yes, we and a lot of others are getting increasingly excited about the green movement that’s been going on for a while lately, but not because its new, no. Electric power as a means for propulsion of automobiles has been in the world industry for a long time. It is the fact that something electric could effortlessly, just with the twist of the throttle, completely decimate everything in its class being powered by gasoline, diesel or for that matter any refined fossil fuel. It is this unrestricted madness that’s been flowing through the electric segment allowing what was once a niche segment for the “greenies” or the environment friendly, to completely turn the tables around on Internal Combustion by delivering motorcycles that have a practical range, and purely exhilarating performance outputs to go hand in hand with their countless other benefits. The electrics have finally started coming of age and advancements like these well mean that electric power could once and for all, be a long-term solution for more than just the common fuel related problems that the entire world is facing.
The Lightning LS 218 makes a massive liquid cooled 200 horsepower (150kW) which lies right on the tallest spike with the newest super and hyper sport machines. This is somewhat an incorrect comparison as the LS actually churns out 228 Nm of torque which is nearly twice that of the Ducati Panigale. The pull of acceleration on this machine will simply, if not more, rattle your brains in your skull, and heart and lungs in the rib cage.
There is no clutch or transmission. The LS 218 runs on a direct drive system which can also be called the world’s quickest twist and launch setup. Also, in low power modes, this bike would be very easy to ride given the ease of power transfer. There are different options available on the battery packs depending on one’s ability to spend – from 12 kWh to a whopping 20 kWh that would provide one with a range of 180 miles (almost 300 km!). The company claims that it would take a max of 30 minutes to top up the battery power on a quick charge, though getting it from 0-100% will of course take a much longer duration on a standard wall socket.
The total rolling weight of the bike is around 225 kgs and the running gear is top of its class. Ohlins FGRT forks and TTX shock absorber along with magnesium Marchesini wheels and radial Brembo front brakes provide for a solid suspension and handling abilities.
Customers have options of upgrades on not just the battery packs but other major units as well. For example, both the frame and swingarm can be replaced by Carbon Fibre units to save up on weight and unsprung mass. The dash can be replaced by a fully programmable Android touch screen along with a customisable seat unit.
Up for launch in the US this summer, the Lightning LS 218 is the first of its kind that runs, and accelerates with the intensity and ability of reducing most of the first time riders to whimpering, shaking masses inside their riding gear. The very first look of the prototype sent people jumping and howling with excitement and not just enthusiasts but some of them even professional motorcycle riders. To say the very least, the LS 218 isn’t just any motorcycle, but a complete game changer in the world of motorcycling as we know it.