Some would argue that there is little room for improvement in the current design and performance of a modern sportbike. They go from 0 – Die in no time and can come close to rivaling an F1 car in power-to-weight ratio. Some would ask… “what more do you want?”
Forest North isn’t trying to hear all that noise… Literally. North and his crew of heavy-weight recruits (plucked from the likes of Ducati, Microsoft, Intel and Stanford) have developed a sportbike with the potential to scare oil companies and riders alike — the Mission One, which we first posted about here. Utilizing the vicious configuration of Lithium Ion battery packs powering an AC Induction electric motor (similar to the Tesla which we reviewed), the Mission Motors electric motorcycle quietly delivers unheard of amounts of torque and power while tipping scales at a slender weight comparable to a current 1000CC sportbike. With a 150 mile range, the Mission One won’t be making any cross country soul-rides to Sturgis anytime soon, but this canyon carving, asphalt warping beast should certainly deliver a new riding experience.
Focusing as much on design as performance, North and the Mission crew hired decorated industrial designer Yves Behar to bring beauty to the beast. Swiss-born, San Francisco-based Behar has given shape to everything from the One Laptop Per Child project to the Jaw Bone bluetooth headset and holds a roster of clients that include Nike, Mini, Herman Miller and more. Finding a freedom in the lack of mechanical parts of a traditional motorcycle, Behar has been able to blend some traditional motorcycle forms with some unique ergonomic and functional lines, giving the Mission One a style as revolutionary as it’s performance.
We shot a couple questions to Mr. Behar recently about his contributions to the Mission Motors project, hit the Jump to hear what he had to say. Also after the Jump, a couple galleries of the Mission One in action at the TTXGP — the world’s first clean emission eGrandPrix race which took place this past June 12 on the legendary Isle of Man race course in Ireland…race results available too…
Street version of the Mission One below, competition/race version above
LIAS: How did you become involved in the Mission One? Was there a specific design theory or elements that you thought should be integrated into the design of the bike?
YB: I got involved early in the design of the bike, and the design of the brand. Part of what we do is create the entire ethos of a new company, so we developed a name (MISSION MOTORS), a visual language (Branding, website) and a design direction (Bike design). I felt the bike had to feel new and unique, with a strong connection to the feel experienced bikers expect from a high performance machine.
The honeycomb triangle patterns are consistent throughout the bodywork… any design significance to those? Cooling I assume?
The honeycomb pattern is a detail design signature that expresses the new capabilities of electrical power, while at the same time physically and visually lightening up the body, and providing ventilation.
With the batteries and electric drivetrain, was there more burden or freedom in the design process (as opposed to designing an internal combustion bike)?
I felt more free without the combustion and tailpipes…there is more play between negative and positive space, less is more here, as it allows the design to achieve simplicity and more dynamic lines.
What are some of the traditional design elements that you wanted to include and what were some of the non traditional or more progressive elements?
There are no single elements that to me had to be traditional, just an overall feel of quality, proportions and ergonomics that need to fulfill the expectations pf experienced riders. Progressive elements such as the ergonomically driven convex areas that allow the body to cradle the bike, the integrated LED headlight, the iconic convex taillights, as well as many more precise and never seen before details will make the bike feel and look like a breakthrough.
TTXGP is the world’s first zero-carbon eGrand Prix held on the Isle of Man TT course on June 12, 2009, as part of the traditional TT race programme. Teams from six different countries, including the USA, India, Germany, Austria, UK and the Isle of Man, entered the race. The TTXGP is about competitive innovation, taking place in the ideal competitive venue on the Isle of Man TT circuit.
Full race results of the BEST BUY PRO Class
Pos 1 AGNI X01 (Rob Barber) – Time: 25:53:50 – Speed: 87.434
Pos 2 XXL Racing Team (Thomas Schoenfelder) – Time: 29:04:93 – Speed: 77.841
Pos 3 Brammo (Mark Buckley) – Time: 30:02:64 – Speed: 75.350
Pos 4 Mission Motors (Thomas Montano) – Time: 30:33:26 – Speed: 74.091
Pos 5 HTBlauva (Paul Dobbs) – Time: 36.10.63 – Speed: 62.575
Pos 6 Brunel X-team (Stephen Harper) – Time: 56:27:89 – Speed: 40.092