It's been half a century since Belgium's famed Sarolea motorcycle brand last put out a bike but they're clearly making up for lost time with the incomprehensibly gorgeous, all-electric-and-carbon-fibre SP7. And to prove they're back in the superbike game, Sarolea is entering this black beauty into next month's electric-only, Isle of Man TT Zero race.
In order to cut weight, or at least counter the heft of the bike's massive battery packs, the entire frame is forged out of carbon fibre. All told, the bike tips the scales at 200kg. However that bulk is quickly forgotten once you grab a handful of throttle. With 180 HP, 400Nm of torque generated by the liquid-cooled "axial flux" motor that can do 0-100 in just 2.8 seconds, the SP7 is more than powerful enough to pull your molars clean out of their sockets, taking off from the line until it hits its 250km/h top speed.
Axial flux motors operate slightly differently than a conventional electric motor. Rather than have the flux (the flow of the electric field) move radially outward through the air gap between the rotor and the stator (the moving and stationary halves of an electric motor), the flux in an axial motor flows in parallel, along the axle of the motor. These motors can therefore employ much lighter and thinner rotors (known as "pancake rotors") than conventional motors. This not only cuts weight, but pancake rotors are also ideally suited for the constant and rapid fire speed changes required in world-class superbike racing.
Later this year, Sarolea will face off against stiff competition from other all-electric race teams — such as Mugen/Honda — across the TT Zero's treacherous 37-mile mountain course.