Broadly, there are three areas that combine to make speed. Naturally, engine power is one and weight is another. However, few competitors outside the Bonneville Salt Flats appear to give as much thought to the third: aerodynamics. The Ecosse Spirit ES1 is a radical new concept threatening to turn motorcycle performance on its head.
The concept involves redesigning and saving space (and therefore weight) within the machine, wrapping it in an inspired fairing and theoretically ending up with a lighter and more aero efficient motorcycle.
Research shows that the various bits of motorcycle and rider that stick out into the windblast create an aerodynamically inefficient object. By changing the rider's crouch to an almost kneeling position, and tucking his feet in at the rear, an aerodynamic saving of around 50% can be found. Computer analysis of the Ecosse Spirit has demonstrated a drag coefficient approximately twice as efficient as a standard superbike. Projected weight is a hungry 265 lbs, and with current superbike power output those figures model to a very respectable 220 mph.
The men behind the project are Dick Glover, a Technical Director with a top Formula 1 team, and Andy LeFleming, whose F1 resume includes the design of the first carbon-fiber gearbox. Their search for a partner with proven expertise inevitably led them to Don Atchison at his Colorado-based Ecosse Moto Works (www.ecossemoto.com). With their combined level of engineering credibility, we give the project's assertions serious credence.
"The world's fastest, lightest, and best-handling superbike" claim might sound unlikely, but with credentialed minds such as these making the declarations, at this stage it is tempting to give them the benefit of the doubt. Glover confidently states that "the results will have to be proven on track, and we're prepared to do just that."
Even so, with just this basic wind-tunnel model, there is clearly a long way to go before the ES1 turns a wheel in anger. However, Atchison has a well-deserved reputation for delivering on his claims. Watch this space