Estputnik II Is An Electric Drag Racing Bike That Will Make You Trip Leave a comment


We’re not sure if the inspiration for this build had anything to do with Sputnik II, the Soviet spacecraft launched in 1957 carrying a dog named Laika. But if we did launch it into space, it could double as a satellite. And a design so unique comes from a custom workshop called Bizarro Corp (no surprise there) in Spain. The crew’s online store has a t-shirt that reads: ‘Café racer is dead.’ Now that’s a strong statement, but then they do indulge in bike designs far from conventional. The Esputnik II is essentially an electric drag racer built with Zero and Suzuki parts. It is also quite a canvas for kinetic art, painted by contemporary artist Felipe Pantone. It was first showcased at the Glemseck 101 racing festival.


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How It All Started With Bizarro’s Esputnik I

The drag racer is a second generation of the Esputnik I that Bizarro Corp built three years ago, back when the crew decided to shift focus to electric motorcycles. It had the brushless electric motor from a Zero DSR that makes 115.8 lb ft of torque. The motor was bolted onto a custom-built steel chassis, along with a battery salvaged from an electric car.

Bizarro’s Esputnik I was showcased at the Wheels and Waves that year and also finished fourth at the Punk’s Peak race. The pandemic gave the team a lot of time to put some more thought into Esputnik I and introduce Esputnik II. After a digital render of the second-gen, Bizarro stripped the first bike’s bodywork and started over.

Evolving Into The Esputnik II

The crew began work on the front end with a wireframe over which a new hand-formed aluminum fairing is fitted. The fairing, in fact, has a resemblance to the old-school dustbin fairing, but less curvy. Where you’d expect the fuel tank sits a sleek cover atop the frame backbone. Towards the tail, things get rather skim and modern like the hyper bikes of today like the Kawasaki Ninja H2.

The original chassis has largely been left unchanged under the new body. It’s been designed specifically to perform well at straight-line speeds with a stretched-out steel affair with a rigid rear end. A chain guard covers the left side of the rear triangle and for footpegs, it just gets bits of tubing welded onto the frame.The forks and wheels on the Esputnik II are from an MY2000 Suzuki GS500. It gets only one brake, a Brembo on the front. But the bike also gets regenerative engine braking that helps slow it down.

The drivetrain was tweaked for the Esputnik II and the original motor has been retained, but the battery has been swapped with one from Zero. Plus, the gearing has been fettled with for improved the bike’s sprint race character. These changes have actually brought the top speed down from 122 mph to 103 mph, but then the bike does 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds bringing it to par with the Zero SR/S and Yamaha R1.

Esputnik II was given a Domino throttle, clip-on bars, one brake lever, no switches, no speedo, and there’s very little going on in the cockpit, except three jet fighter-style toggle switches – one that turns the bike on, second is the starter and the third is for putting the bike into gear. It gets a custom-made control box mounted on the battery and a small charge indicator.

Related: Watch This BMW Sport Bike Drag Race A Chevy Corvette

Other than the equipment and liter-class-like quick speed it can do, the other highlight of the Esputnik II is the disruptive artwork by Felipe Pantone. Bizarro gave no brief to Pantone, giving him the freedom to coat the build in his signature style. The team then took the bike to Glemseck for some action against other electric race bikes. Esputnik II finished second, losing only to a 171 hp Energica.

But Bizarro aren’t quite done yet. The Esputnik II is effectively a rolling prototype with a lot more development planned. Thanks to how simple electric drivetrains are with no moving parts and their modular nature. So, there are really endless ways to make the bike go faster. And faster is the goal; the team is planning to tackle the famed Bonneville salt flats, with a target of 262 mph.

There Is No Stopping The Inevitable Electric Bikes

Whether you like them or not, electric motorcycles are fast becoming a reality. From commuters to sports bikes to now custom workshops actually building electric drag racing bikes and Esputnik II is one solid example. But you can buy right out of a showroom and if you’d like a really fast one, there’s the Lightning LS-218 that packs 200 hp and does 218 mph. A similar power figure comes with the Damon Hyperfighter, but it has a top speed of ‘only’ 170 mph. Speaking of fast electric bikes, you can not leave out the Energica Ego+ with 170 hp and 150 mph.



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