Shock and awe

Popular Science - - BEST OF WHAT’S NEW 2017 -

Derek Dor­resteyn and Jeff Sand didn’t found Alta Mo­tors to cre­ate a green dirt bike. They set out to make a fast one: a race bike. Build­ing a race en­gine is a pain. You of­ten have to take it apart mul­ti­ple times to dial in max­i­mum speed. Be­cause Alta opted for an elec­tric mo­tor in­stead of the usual petrol-fu­eled sym­phony of whizzing metal, en­gi­neers could tune for top per­for­mance with soft­ware—lines of code in­stead of el­bow grease. This moto doesn’t even need an oil change af­ter a race. But that mo­tor, which puts out 40 horse­power and 120 foot-pounds of torque, is only the first lap of in­no­va­tion on the Red­shift. The bike’s frame is a work of in­dus­trial art: Coolant flows through chan­nels cast into the metal in­stead of clamped-on hoses. The 350-volt bat­tery pack, which nets about 40 min­utes of rac­ing (or two-plus hours on the trails), boasts a hon­ey­comb con­struc­tion that helps it take shocks of up to 50 G’s. That’s way be­yond what you can sur­vive; any­thing more is lit­er­ally overkill.

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