The most aerodynamic motorcycle in the world.
That’s what White Motorcycle Concepts claims to have created with their WMC250EV this year, and unlike some of the electric motorcycles we’ve seen, they’re backing it up with hard data and a functional prototype.
White Motorcycles CEO Rob White states he has every intention of setting the world land speed record at the Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia during the 2022 season. Mind you he’ll be tackling the electric motorcycle speed record, not the overall, which is good for White considering the current record is a staggering 376.363 miles per hour (set in 2017 by Rocky Robinson and the Ack Attack streamliner).
No, the bike to beat for White Motorcycles is the Voxan Wattman, which was piloted to multiple land speed records back in 2020 by ex MotoGP legend Max Biaggi. The Voxan hit just over 246 mph at its peak, setting the new goal for electric bikes everywhere at 250 mph or better. Rob White seems confident that won’t be a problem.
And if the specs of the WMC250EV are to be believed, these aren’t baseless claims. According to the folks at White, current wind tunnel and computer testing of the WMC250EV has yielded an overall drag coefficient of .118, which they claim is a 70% reduction over the current gasoline-equivalent land speed racers.
Considering the fact that the fully-streamlined and Hayabusa-powered Ack Attack was last measured with a drag coefficient of 0.71 in testing, White Motorcycles clearly has aerodynamics on its side. It’s also worth noting that because these motorcycles are traveling at such high rates of speed, the impact of wind resistance can’t be overstated.
We’ll go ahead and point out the obvious here and tell you that the WMC250EV’s biggest aerodynamic advantage is the gaping hole running down the middle, which in engineering circles is commonly referred to as the “V-Duct.” Essentially this is an aerodynamic venturi duct that runs the full length of the motorcycle, which, combined with a few other choice technologies, dramatically improves aero. The impact of the duct can be seen in the WMC250EV’s wind tunnel results below:
There’s a long list of technology aboard the White WMC250EV, but we’d like to highlight two favorites in particular.
First is the revolutionary front-wheel-drive design, which crams not one but two electric motors inside the front wheel between the brake disks. Typically that would make for an awfully un-aerodynamic front end, but the WMC also uses hydraulic hub-center steering, and thus avoids that whole front fork dilemma altogether.
And because both power and aerodynamics play equal roles out on the salt, the WMC250EV also packs a rear-mounted electric motor, which drives the rear wheel via a chain drive. That’s right, she’s all-wheel-drive. Here’s a sneak peek at what lies beneath, including the slick aerodynamic rear swingarm housing the gearing.
Interestingly enough, White plans to hit their goal with a lot less horsepower than you might think. In its current configuration, the WMC250EX is only specced with 100kW of power, which translates to around 135 horses. Again, the bar set by the current record holder is high here, with the Voxan Wattman packing a full 270kW (that’s just north of 360 horsepower).
Don’t even get us started on the Ack Attack we mentioned above, which is powered by not one but two 1,300cc Suzuki Hayabusa engines. Working in tandem (along with the help of a big, nasty Garrett turbo system) these motors crank out over 1,000 horsepower, put down to the rear wheel by twin water-cooled chain drives.
Of course we’re rooting for team electric here, and look forward to seeing the WMC250EV out on the salt next year. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably itching to see it running right now, so here’s a video of some initial testing out at Silverstone raceway to hold you over (we’ve forgiven them for the dramatic Hans Zimmer-esque soundtrack, and hope you’ll do the same).
We’re also happy to report that White Motorcycle Concepts is pursuing patents for their advancements in aerodynamic technology, with the potential to license it to large-scale manufacturers. We don’t know about you, but if that long-awaited Yamaha electric sported a V-Duct of its own, we wouldn’t mind it one bit.