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Voxan Shoots for Ebike Land Speed Record, Again 2021

Shown in partially faired form, the Voxan Wattman set an ebike world record of 254 mph.

Shown in partially faired form, the Voxan Wattman set an ebike world record of 254 mph. (Courtesy of Voxan/)

There’s a land speed record for just about every two-wheeled iteration out there. So it makes sense that ebike innovator Voxan is attempting to own a page of the record book. Having set 11 new and existing land speed records for electric motorcycles with Max Biaggi (yup, that guy) last November, it is reloading for a new round of attempts in 2022.

Who’s Voxan, you ask? It’s a French motorcycle company, of course. The brainchild of Jacques Gardette in 1995, Voxan produced sporadic, limited runs of bikes based on (late-model Buell lovers, take note) a 72-degree V-twin powerplant. Forced into liquidation in 2009, it was acquired by Venturi Automobiles. From there, a pivot to electric motorcycles brought the first Wattman model in 2013. At the time, 203 hp and 0-60 in 3.4 seconds made it the fastest ebike in the world. Technically, Voxan is now a Monaco-based motorcycle company.

Just enough real estate behind the windshield to fit a short, extremely brave Italian man.

Just enough real estate behind the windshield to fit a short, extremely brave Italian man. (Courtesy of Voxan/)

Last November’s land speed record outing took place on a French airfield tarmac rather than Bolivian salt flats, due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. Staying committed to asphalt, the revised Wattman has begun testing at the highly inspiring Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The newest Wattman weighs in at less than 300 kilograms (or 661 pounds), so the category now switches to “Partially Streamlined Electric Motorcycle Under 300kg.” And because why not, they’ll again compete in the Naked category, without streamlined elements.

The weight loss is thanks to a new Voxan-Saft battery design. Saft’s expertise results in a claimed eightyfold increase in power, besting the tenfold increase seen by most competitors. Assembled in modules, cooling is said to be improved by a recently patented process.

Design in stereo: Both front and rear wheels use dual swingarms with single shock.

Design in stereo: Both front and rear wheels use dual swingarms with single shock. (Courtesy of Voxan/)

This powers the familiar Mercedes-EQ Formula E powertrain, delivering 320kW, an increase of 50kW over the previous iteration. Torque comes in at 1,360Nm. As with anything involving land speed records, stability is crucial. So the wheelbase gains 157mm, now reaching 1,957mm, with a slightly higher seat height of 685mm.

Michelin again provides specially modified 120/70-17 Power GP series at the front, while a 190/55-17 rear attempts to put power to pavement with minimal skidding. That’s not a joke. As in past eras, new horsepower and torque numbers are pushing tire technology into unfamiliar territory.

The Wattman uses several fairing configurations, depending on crosswinds and wind resistance.

The Wattman uses several fairing configurations, depending on crosswinds and wind resistance. (Courtesy of Voxan/)

In the spirit of unfamiliar territory, these wheels and tires will remain attached to dual swingarms with central shocks, both front and back. Although Voxan doesn’t refer to it as such, the hub-steering configuration (sadly not offered on the street-legal Voxan Wattman) ingeniously preserves rake angle while transferring any braking or suspension forces backward, rather than up into the top of the frame. Translation: a more stable bike at life-threatening speeds.

The goal is to bring multiple newly designed Wattmans to an undetermined location for new land speed record attempts within the first six months of 2022, with Max Biaggi on board again. As with anything land speed record-related, the second time’s always the charm. If you’ve just done it once, have you really done it? Voxan is hoping to beat its best and own the record. Again.

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