Eisenberg's berserk 500-horsepower lightweight V8 motorcycle
There is a primordial drive in certain motorcyclists that can only be satisfied by shoehorning the largest and most excessive engines possible into the frames of two-wheelers. The mighty V8, a staple of the muscle car world, has frequently found itself driving half the wheels it was designed for, but typically there's been one glaring problem with the resulting motorbikes: they're colossal.
Take the Boss Hoss, probably the best known V8 bike you can slap some money down and buy. Those things use engines up to 7 and a half liters in displacement, and you'd better bring a packed lunch if you want to walk around one.
Then there's Nick Argyle's Rapom V8, which uses an 8.2-liter, thousand-horsepower supercharged engine out of a freakin' monster truck. That thing's even bigger, and gets a hilarious four miles a gallon.
The best lightweight V8 bikes we've seen thus far have come out of Australia. Mad genius Ian Drysdale built some amazing home-brew motorcycles over the years, including a series of 750cc V8 bikes making 154-odd horses and keeping weight down to 210 kg without fuel. And the PGM V8 also made a fine show of things, cramming a 2-liter 12,800 rpm V8 into a trellis frame, tuning it for 334 horsepower and somehow keeping the fully fueled weight down to 242 kg (534 lb).
Britain's Eisenberg Racing have added another to the list in the form of the Eisenberg EV8, and notwithstanding the cheeky incorporation of "EV" into the name of a petrol hog like this one, it looks like a pretty amazing machine.
The key stats here are 3 liters of displacement, 500 horsepower (on race fuel, you'll have to make do with just 480 horses if you run pump gas), 353 Nm (261 lb-ft) of torque, and a weight figure of 280 kg (617 lb). So, lighter than a standard Harley Breakout 114, but with more than five times the power.
Eisenberg has built this thing from the ground up, working with "some of the top engine designers in the UK" to produce a compact, flat-plane, 11,000rpm "screamer" V8 that's got more in common with a Ferrari powerplant than the big, burbly, low-revving American motors in the Boss Hoss. The motor weighs just 88 kg (194 lb). Here, have a listen and imagine this thing between your legs:
The rest of the bike was built to handle the unholy stresses such a donk can put through a frame and powertrain. The gearbox alone took more than two years of work; this six-speed unit features race-style swappable primary gears, and a reverse-spinning clutch to help counteract the considerable inertial response you get when you blip the throttle.
The swingarm is an interesting-looking piece of kit; a barely-there "concentric" design CNC milled out of billet aluminum, designed both to keep weight low and to provide a rear suspension geometry that could help the team fight against the formidable squat forces that engine can unleash. Fortunately, Zef Eisenberg and his team have a degree of experience in this area, having previously designed straight-line land speed record holding bikes using both electric and jet turbine engines. That's a hell of a portfolio these guys have assembled!
It's one thing to make a V8 motorcycle that works, and it's another altogether to build one that actually looks nice. That compact V8 and its outrageous exhaust arrangement are clearly the visual focus of the design, but the rest of the bike takes a classic naked shape that looks surprisingly tidy and rideable. Dare we say, it even looks inviting?
On its first test ride – ostensibly just to run in the engine, the EV8 hit a rather bracing 207 mph (333 km/h). The team says it's capable of 225 mph (362 km/h), given a mile of straight road – no turbos, no blowers, no NOS, no fairings. Put a fairing on, they estimate, and you should be good for 250 mph (402 km/h) no worries, and they even say it's decent fun to throw around in the twisty bits.
A production run is on the cards, although there are "considerable amounts of legislation hurdles" to overcome. Eisenberg says the bike will cost more than £100,000 (close to US$130,000). Frankly I'm OK with this thing costing a lot, I don't think the public roads really need an affordable 500-horsepower motorcycle.
But I sure am glad there's sick puppies like Zef Eisenberg out there building machines like this to terrify and astonish the rest of us. Give it some gumboot, lads!
Source: Eisenberg Racing