Phil Nicoletti headed back to the hinterlands of New York in hopes he could escape from writing this column this week, but while the frigid weather might freeze pipes, it doesn't stop the internet. So he received your questions and provided his answers, as usual. Two questions about electric bikes this week? Interesting. Phil loves it.
Got a question for Phil Nicoletti? Phil@racerxonline.com
Do you think that electric motorcycles will be the next step for manufacturers to race with? With the current 4-strokes being so good out of the dealership, it feels as though the racing has been closer even for the underdeveloped Suzukis. If the manufacturers decide to go the electric route how will there be any separation on the track with the lack of a clutch and shifter? Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen have completely different riding styles. I'd have to imagine with an electric engine they wouldn't be able to ride the way they do. Soooo would the racing be like slot cars and really have no room for separation and make it a real "startcross"? Thanks for the thoughts Phil!
I don’t want to believe dirt bikes will be electric. I just don’t. I think it’s the worst thing. Again, that’s just my opinion. Imagine a supercross/motocross race at an elite level with 50,000 people and ZERO dirt bike noise?!?! All you hear is chain slap. You’re at supercross race and announcer is screaming before the gates drops, and it’s dead quiet, and the only noise you hear is the gate dropping on the grate? Nahhh dude, I’m out on that. Any sort of motorsport to me, has to have a MOTOR! With that comes the badass sound, vibration, and smell of fuel we all love.
Now with all that being said, I have ridden an Alta [electric] before. I’ll be honest and say it was badass. The power and torque connected to the rear wheel with a snap to the throttle was mind blowing. I literally came out of a corner, and hammered the throttle, and was taken completely off guard. I was pointing to the effing sky. A full replica of RV looping out in MXGP.
Now, if you were to stick 22 of the best supercross guys on the gate, with batteries, no shifter, and no clutch, I think the racing would still be unreal. But would it be like racing today? I’m going with no. I still won’t like it. The only place where I agree with it is in the 50 class, but that’s just so I don’t have to hear a damn Cobra or KTM blowing my eardrums out riding around the pits.
Hello Philthy. I have a question I can't believe has never been brought up about the so called future of dirt bikes. If we go electric, like everyone says is coming, how in the hell are we going to modulate power? My understanding is there is no transmission on these bikes. So no clutch? I ride harescrambles here in Michigan and slip the clutch in our tight woods, greasy mud, deep sand etc. all the time. How could we do that with just a throttle and brakes? I don't like the thought of this at all. Am I missing something? What are your thoughts?
Like I said above. I really don’t want the electric world to come to our sport, but no one cares what I think. I believe the electric bikes will come with multiple settings with different power ranges. They will by much more efficient and effective than the maps you can choose on 4 stokes today. You can change the versatility of the power curve much more with an electric bike than you can with a Yamaha 450. I’m not an engineer, but I can imagine they can make a lot more settings and power curves for electric bikes than gas bikes.
But for everyone that has been using a clutch, shifter, and throttle to finesse their way around the track or woods it’s a really weird concept. It will definitely make it easier for everyone to ride. Like I said above about ridiing the Alta, the electric motor just has instant torque as soon as you twist it, so there’s no need to slip the clutch or find the right gear to deliver power. The thing just goes. Any Tom, Dick, and Harry will be able to get on a bike and learn to ride a little easier than a normal dirtbike. Just like driving a stick shift car, it’s a lost art and it’s sad.
I am guessing you are in deep into your prep for supercross, can you share your training routine during a given week? On the bike, off the bike, diet etc. And how big of a distraction has Troll Daddy been for you at Club MX? Does he add value to your program or has he been a pain in the ass?
Training has been going ok. I’ve been riding the Yamaha YZ250F for about a month on outdoors. Still taking a bit easy with the knee. I haven’t really stuck it out much. I’ve been working on a lot of technique stuff, since that is my biggest weak point, and always has been my whole career. So now I can try and truly dedicate myself to some of that stuff. I never have before. I know right, better late than never! I used to just ride with the hammerhead mentality and that’s finally catching up to me. Sometimes just sending it isn’t really the best move.
It’s been a steady month with three days on the bike per week, Monday/Tuesday/Thursday. Gym is done on Tuesday and Friday so it doesn’t effect my riding the next day. So that leaves Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Saturday for cycling. The duration is always changing depending on the training block load. But I start supercross this coming Monday and I’m excited to get back to it!
Troll Daddy doesn’t add much to my life other than the hassle of him being around when he comes to Charlotte. I’m fortunate his stays are no longer than a week with me. By day three I’m ready to punch him in the sternum and vice versa.