Saroléa's exquisite all-carbon SP7 electric superbike
Resurrecting the name of Belgium's first home-grown motorcycle company, Saroléa racing is gearing up for this year's TT Zero electric motorcycle race at the Isle of Man. And the bike is an absolute beauty: 180 horsepower, 200 kilograms, 400 Nm of torque (!). The Saroléa racing bike features carbon fiber just about everywhere, including the frame, subframe, swingarm and even cable guides – and it sports an old-school Norton factory racer kind of look with its vintage bikini fairing, tank and seat designs.
This week I've been riding about on an electric motorcycle that weighs about 180 kg and has 70 horsepower and 144Nm of torque (review video coming soon). That bike felt seriously fast – it took off like an rocket at the lights and really stretched your arms out in a way I didn't expect.
The experience made one thing clear to me – the pace of development in electric motorcycles is absolutely frenzied. They're catching up to petrol bikes at light speed, and in some ways they're already better. I have no hesitation in saying I now believe within 10 years, electric bikes will be so much better than petrol bikes that there simply won't be any argument.
The Saroléa bike's weight and horsepower specs put it up there with street superbikes from just 5 or 6 years ago, but with a whopping 400 Nm of torque, this thing will absolutely fly.
With a single-speed transmission, riding couldn't be simpler – there's no clutch, and monstrous loads of power will be available whenever and wherever the throttle is rolled on.
The choice of a carbon-fiber frame will give nervous twitches to anyone who has been following Ducati's disastrous carbon frame experiments in MotoGP - the carbon monocoque Ducati GP bikes have made fools of world champions Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden, and have been viewed as virtually unrideable by everyone short of Australian Casey Stoner.
But the Saroléa bike has gone all-in on carbon, from the frame to the bikini fairing to the subframe and the beautiful swingarm. It's an exquisite looking machine with a retro, hipster, industrial, almost Roland Sands kind of feel to it. Take a good look through the detail shots in the gallery.
We look forward to seeing how it performs on the world's biggest stage when it lines up for the Isle of Man TT Zero race at the end of the month.