The Saroléa SP7 is an electric carbon-fiber phoenix on a mission from the gods of speed and industry. Just revealed to the public Saturday, it will soon take to the Isle of Man where it will battle the best battery bikes yet built for the 2014 TT Zero trophy. It will also relaunch a Belgian brand that, though it had an eight-decade record of producing motorcycles, has been dormant for the past 50 years.
Unlike some reborn motorcycle brands, Saroléa is not simply recycling styling cues from its heydey and sticking a modernized V-twin between its wheels. This is a complete re-imagining. Sure, this new bike may, to some eyes, offer a tenuous stylistic link to the bikes of the past – we imagine a bit of Norton, ourselves – but the SP7 is all about the future. And speed.
Unlike some reborn motorcycle brands, Saroléa is not simply recycling styling cues from its heydey. This is a complete re-imagining.
The monotube frame is hewn from carbon fiber, as is the unpainted skin, fairing, and swingarm. All the major components, including a battery pack of unspecified energy capacity, are liquid cooled. The motor is a super-efficient axial flux design, said to be good for 130 kW (the company's conversion gives it as 180 horsepower, WolframAlpha says 174.3 hp). Either way, with 400 Nm (295 pound-feet) of earth-rending torque ready to erupt from the first twist of the wrist, there's enough mojo to move the 200-kilogram (440.9-pound) machine from a standstill to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in a scant 2.8 seconds on its way to its top speed of 250 kph (155.3 mph).
Vehicles with electric drivetrains often stand accused of having no soul. When Scotsman Robert Wilson first eases on the throttle to start its set of Bridgestone Battlax V02 racing slicks rolling on the famed Snaefell Mountain course, certainly the sound will differ from the wail of its noisier cousins, but this bike is not simply some cold automaton. A certain amount of humanity is evident in its soft lines, its ever-so-slight imperfections. Indeed, this may be one of the more soulful machines we've seen in quite some time.
We can not predict how the Saroléa SP7 will perform at the TT Zero, or later when it competes in the FIM eRoadRacing world cup series. One thing we do know is, these contests will be enriched by the presence of this beautiful dark horse. Scroll below for brief video of the official unveiling at the Circuit Jules Tacheny Mettet in Mettet, Belgium.