|September 3, 2012 - Kevin Clemens sets two world speed records at Bonneville Salt Flats:|
The Velocity Workshop, LLC
Turning Motion into Progress
P.O. Box 835
Lake Elmo, Minnesota 55042-0835
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Kevin Clemens
September 3, 2012 Kevin@thevelocityworkshop.com
American Journalist Sets National and World Land Speed Records on Electric
Motorcycle at Bonneville Salt Flats
Riding a lightweight electric motorcycle that he designed and built in his Lake Elmo, Minnesota
workshop, journalist and writer Kevin Clemens set two national and two international land speed records during
the 9th Annual BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials on the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah during the last
week of August. The records are subject to ratification by the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) and the
Fèdèration Internationale de Motocyclisme (F.I.M.).
Clemens competed in two classes: the 150 kg partially streamlined class that allowed aerodynamic
fairings and bodywork, and the 150 kg unstreamlined class where no aerodynamic improvements over the
naked motorcycle are permitted. The partially streamlined record was set at 78.4 mph, while the new
unstreamlined record of 64.1 mph broke the national record of 61.5 mph that Clemens set last year on the Salt
Flats. (New records subject to ratification).
Although these records seem modest compared to the 200+ mph speeds that unlimited electric
motorcycles can attain, building a lightweight electric motorcycle creates its own engineering challenges. “The
more weight you are allowed, the more batteries you can put on the bike and the faster you can go,” said
Clemens. The AMA and F.I.M. both have three weight classes for electric motorcycles: under 150 kg (330
pounds), 150-300 kg, and over 300 kg or unlimited.
The motorcycle that Clemens rode is based on a modified 2004 Kawasaki Ninja EX250 frame and was
powered by high-technology lithium polymer batteries and uses an Alltrax, Inc. controller built in Oregon and
lightweight brushed DC motor produced by Agni Motors in India.
If the goal were simply to set land speed records, the effort would be noteworthy but do little to
highlight the performance potential of electric vehicles. Clemens, a writer and journalist who holds advanced
degrees in engineering and environmental education, is working to develop materials and curricula that will
help to educate the public and foster the acceptance of electrified transportation.
During the week the team battled the failure of experimental electrical systems and the fickle weather on
the salt flats—a rare rain shower flooded the course and shut down racing for an entire day of the six day event.
Although the team had hoped for speeds as high as 100 mph, the fastest speed the bike obtained was 85.7 mph
on one of the runs. A land speed record requires an average of two runs in opposite directions and the team was
unable to back up the faster time. “We possibly could have achieved 100 mph had everything gone perfectly,”
said Clemens. “It didn’t, but it gives us something to shoot for next year.” The 78.4 mph speed recorded by
Clemens is the fastest two-way run ever set by a 150 kg electric motorcycle in any class.
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