The pioneering partnership between University of Nottingham (UoN) and K-tech Suspension has reached new heights after the UoN electric superbike team took a double win at this year’s world famous Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Veteran road rider Jeremiah Johnson and the UoN team piloted the impressive electric bike to victory in its class at the legendary race with a time of 11m13s, being crowned Champion of the Peaks in both the Best In Division for Pikes Peak Challenge and also Best in Class for Electric Motorcycles.
This latest racing and electric motorcycle development success follows a three year dedicated research and improvement programme during which time K-tech Suspension has worked in close partnership with the University team to design, develop and manufacture state-of-the-art front and rear suspension and technological advancements specifically for this application – which has its own unique characteristics including a significantly heavier weight in comparison to a standard production sportsbike.
Having achieved third and the second placed podium results coupled with acclaimed lap times and speeds in the last three years since the start of the project, the University team has now secured its first top step of the podium.
The motorcycle, which features K-tech front and rear race suspension, was shipped directly to Colorado Springs from the Isle of Man TT just a few weeks ago, where the team also enjoyed a superb result of second in the TT Zero race with rider Daley Mathison.
Both the Isle of Man TT and the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb have become proving grounds for new electric automotive technology, with the Colorado-based race featuring challenging ascending altitudes, 12.42 miles of twists and turns with 156 corners.
Dr Miquel Gimeno-Fabra, University of Nottingham’s Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering said: “It is a fantastic achievement for Jeremiah and the team to take the win, both in the Best in Division for the Pikes Peak Challenge and for the Best in Class for Electric Bike. These were our aims for this race and we’ve succeeded, which is a great feeling for everyone but also a significant milestone for our electric motorcycle development and project. It has been three years of constant improvement and development and to achieve this level of performance from the bike is outstanding. We were the only team to complete from the UK so are immensely proud to be representing our country and to demonstrate the best of British engineering. Our partnership with Wurth Elektronik, Borg Warner and K-tech Suspension has been a fundamental part of our success both during our workshop R&D programme and also on the track. Our aim now is to come back in 2019 and break the overall motorbike lap record, which we believe is achievable. We would like to thank once more the constant support from everyone at the University, especially the technicians in the mechanical and electrical engineering workshops, and the finance and insurance team. The bike and team doing well at the race track is only the tip of the Iceberg, and having people back home who go the extra mile to help us perform at the race track is priceless.”
K-tech Suspension Technical Director, Ken Summerton, commented, “We’re thrilled that the UoN electric bike has won not only the Best in Class but also Best in Division at Pikes Peak. Our partnership with the University of Nottingham electric bike project and their highly knowledgable and dedicated team has been a fantastic opportunity for us to progress, showcase and demonstrate our research into electric motorcycle suspension technology and we are delighted with the results. We are looking forward to continuing this development and direction with the University of Nottingham both on and off the track, motorcycle manufacturers and further partners as EV technology, and therefore the development of other core parts including suspension, become increasingly mass market over the next decade.”
Following this great Pikes Peak achievement, the UoN electric superbike team and K-tech Suspension are now preparing to take part in two further race events this year. The next is a short circuit race at the Moto-E 2018 European Championship at Pembrey on 7/8 July, followed swiftly by Moto Time Attack at Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire on 14/15 July, where the team aims to make history as the first electric motorcycle to competitively race against combustion engine motorcycles.