Electric Drag Bike Breaks 200 MPH Barrier

Electric motorcycle drag racing — and perhaps the entire electric vehicle industry — took a major step forward this month when rider Larry “Spiderman” McBride pulled off a world record drag race time and became the first electric vehicle to break the 6-second quarter-mile barrier and go over 200 mph.

Riding the the Lawless Orange County Chopper Rocket electric drag bike (which is a joint project between e-bike extremists Lawless Industries and TV Reality Show subjects Orange County Choppers ) at Virginia Motorsports Park the Rocket did the quarter mile from a standing start in 6.94 seconds with a trap speed of 201.37 miles per hour. On the Rocket’s second run, the Rocket turned in a time of seven seconds for a speed of 195 miles per hour. Here’s a video from YouTube of the record run:

The record ride almost didn’t happen. Just before the team was set to attempt their record run, so track debris was discovered in the bike’s rear tire, while mechanics were fixing that tire, a thread was stripped in the wheel causing a long delay. To compound this mechanical mess, the sun was baking the track, which softens it and provides less traction for the bike’s tires, and a headwind of up to eight miles per hour was picking up. Disaster, it seemed, lurked around every corner.


image via Lawless Industries

The team finally got the Rocket to the starting line just as some cloud cover emerged to cool the track down. Spiderman edged the bike to the line and as the light turned green, he was off, his front wheel lifting off the ground and his back tire smoking and spinning furiously, looking for traction. It’s not an easy feat to harness all that power and keep it all pointing in the right direction (and keeping it upright), however in just less than seven seconds later, it was done and a new record had been set.

The record run was a debut for the bike’s new battery pack built by Derek Barger of High Tech Systems. The 250 pound, 355 volt lithium battery pack has a capacity of 14.2 kWh packing an incredible 1340 horse power. That’s a massive battery — weighing in at close to 250 pounds –but the seven second ride used up almost the entire capacity.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.