In an effort to break the electric motorcycle land speed record, Lightning Motorcycles has launched the Tachyon Nb, a modified, streamlined version of the Strike electric sportbike that aims to go at speeds of over 250 miles per hour. With this project, the Tachyon Nb could very well prove that the future of electric transportation need not be relegated to appliance-like commuter scooters.
The term "tachyon" describes a hypothetical particle that moves more quickly than the speed of light. The bike also makes heavy use of the abbreviation Nb, which stands for the rare metal niobium. It's interesting to note that Lightning and CBMM, the largest niobium producer in the world, collaborated on the Tachyon Nb project.
Daniel Wright, a CBMM engineer and the person in charge of the project's development, provided an explanation for the project's substantial use of niobium in a recent piece by NewAtlas, "for improved high temperature performance, several niobium components in the on-board charger that allow the entire system to be more reliable and efficient, and finally niobium-containing steel tubing in the swing arm and chassis that allows us to meet the demanding strength and weight requirements of the application." Apart from the frame and underpinnings, the Tachyon Nb also gets niobium-infused brake rotors.
The aerodynamics of any land speed racer might be argued to be more significant than its lightweight design and cutting-edge technological features. Lightning has been developing a new aerodynamic fairing for the project in collaboration with renowned aftermarket saddle manufacturer Corbin. Mike Corbin is a pioneer in the field of electric land speed; in 1974, he set the record for electric land speed, which stood for an astonishing 38 years.
For the Tachyon Nb, Corbin and Hatfield created a carbon-fibre streamlined fairing with a teardrop-shaped back end, a roomy screen for the rider to tuck behind, and a novel front fender design that seamlessly integrates into the main front fairing with only a small gap (about an inch wide) to maintain the overall shape and only allow a small portion of the wheel to protrude into the airstream. The Tachyon Nb will be taken to Bonneville, where it will attempt to break a record on the salt flats, though the actual date is yet uncertain.
Sources: Motorrad Online, Lightning Motorcycles, New Atlas