Brandon Nozaki Miller – A.K.A. the Electric Cowboy – is on a mission: to prove you don't need big-time money to have big-time fun competing on an electric motorcycle. To help make his case, he's just set several land speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Aboard his Zero S steed (affectionately named Foxie Cleopatra), he reached an averaged speed of 101.652 miles per hour over a mile distance, placing himself in the record books of both the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) and AMA (American Motorcyclist Association), in the category of electric motorcycles under 150 kilograms. The effort also landed him the FIM record for the kilometer distance at 102.281 miles per hour.
Pretty cool, right? But this leads us to an obvious question: how do you get a battery-powered bike that's rated for a top speed of 88 mph to break the ton? Answer: Modifications. Lots of them.
Perhaps the biggest gain came from a simple swap of the stock rear 108-tooth sprocket with a slightly smaller 98-tooth disc. Other hardware changes included the addition of a steering damper and other bits to make it AMA compliant at the higher speeds, as well as little tricks like sawing off over five inches from his handlebars.
The Cowboy also employed some high tech savvy in his high-speed bid. Hacking into the bike's controller, he bumped up all the parameters, especially torque in upper range, to feed more power from the Zero ZF6 pack. While this is risky business – the magnets in permanent magnet motors can lose their attractive/repulsive properties if exposed to too much heat – Miller managed to come out on the winning end of the equation.
Good thing, because after the benefit of some TLC from the crew down at Hollywood Electrics and a new set of handlebars, Foxie is going up against the gassers of the Chuckwalla Valley Motorcycle Association this weekend. Though Miller wouldn't predict how he would fare against the 250cc bikes, we expect he will, at least, have lots fun while spreading his EV-positive message.