When fans attend the Red Bull Straight Rhythm motocross race next Saturday in Pomona, California, they'll be witnessing yet another milestone in the advance of electric bikes in race competition. In this case it will be the Redshift MX, a lightweight torque monster built by California-based Alta Motors.
The Alta Motors Redshift MX will be the only electric bike in the event and will be ridden by former professional supercross racer, Josh Hill in the Lites Class. The Red Bull Straight Rhythm keeps the terrain features of a typical supercross track, but with one major difference – there are no turns, just a straight half-mile long track. A series of heats leads to the two fastest riders racing against one another in the final.
Despite the fact that Alta Motors just started selling bikes in August, this isn't the company's first race at a national level. That would be a supermoto event held in Sacramento, California last November in which the company won the 250 class and took second in the 450 class. Earlier this past September, it participated in a national enduro race and won the vet class.
While companies like Victory and Sarolea have built and raced purpose-built electric bikes, these have raced in specific electric classes and events against other electric bikes, like the TT Zero. By pitting its bikes against gas-powered bikes in national events, Alta Motors is going for something no other company has done to date.
"We have purposefully stayed away from electric-only race events because that wouldn't have proven our capability against gas-powered race bikes," pointed out Marc Fenigstein, CEO and co-founder of Alta Motors. "We want to show that we can win at the national level with an electric powered bike."
Other than rider related modifications like grips, pegs and suspension, the Redshift MX bike Alta Motors will be running in the Red Bull event is pretty similar to the stock version sold through its dealer network.
It will be powered by the same company-designed liquid cooled 40,000 rpm motor coupled to its own 5.8 kWh, 68-lb (30.8 kg) lithium-ion battery. The result is a power output of 40 hp (30 kW) and 36 ft-lb (49 Nm) of torque, with gear reduction making 122 ft-lb (165 Nm) of torque available at the counter shaft from a dead stop.
Weighing all of 15 lb (6.8 kg), the motor comes with a set of pre-programmed throttle maps making it easy for the rider or racer to tune the bike's performance for riding conditions and style. This can be particularly helpful as track conditions can change to become more hardpacked throughout the course of a typical race day.
A fully charged battery on the MX model can run for two hours and take about 2.5 hours to recharge.
The bike's 250 pound (113 kg) weight is partly the result of a specially-designed chassis core that functions as the outer motor casing and the main structural hub. The company says that since the design moves the weight more toward the center, the result is a more balanced bike and a more intuitive riding experience.
Alta used a number of parts from well-known companies to round out the Redshift MX, including Brembo Brakes, Acerbis plastic bits and subframe, and built-to-spec WP 4CS suspension.
More than six years of development went into the Redshift MX, resulting in multiple pending and issued patents related to the design of the drive train and chassis.
The Redshift MX can be pre-ordered from the Alta Motors website for US$14,995. A slightly heavier 270 lb supermoto version with a range of 50 miles and a four-hour recharge time is being sold for $13,495.
Watch Josh Hill take the Redshifit MX through a training run in preparation for the Red Bull Straight Rhythm in this video for a taste of what fans will see next Saturday.
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