Dnepr: Delfast’s Soviet-Inspired Electric Roadster Boasts Bonneville Speed Record and Rich History


A view of the new prototype from Delfast, called the "Dnepr", that won a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats

An electric bike company has just bought the trademark for a motorcycle with roots in the bikes of the Soviet’s Red Army – and the early prototype has already set a speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats

Delfast is a brand that does brilliant things with their electric bikes.  Despite being far from the specs of an electric motorcycle, their original bicycles already have turned heads, with their main e-bike, the Top 3.0, flaunting a Guiness world record for longest range traveled on a single charge, cruising an easy 228 miles before running out of juice. 

A view of the new prototype from Delfast, called the "Dnepr", that won a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats: Here, the motorcycle is pictures next to the "Top 3.0", Delfast's award-winning bicycle

Now, the Guiness record isn’t the only thing pimping out Delfast’s portfolio; Forbes states that the company has been getting into the business of bigger beasties. With the purchasing of trademark rights this past July to ownership of Soviet marque “Depnr” has come a series of speedy prototypes that blew the wigs off of spectators at the Bonneville Salt Flats this past August. 

A view of the new prototype from Delfast, called the "Dnepr", that won a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats

“Delfast engineers put a lot of effort into swapping the gasoline engine of the classic DNEPR motorbike with a powerful electric motor,” states the explanation on Delfast’s website

“The motorcycle was equipped with an EMRAX-228 synchronous electric motor. This cutting-edge technology machine has permanent magnets and weighs only 12 kg. Yet, it produces an astonishing power of 50 kW, which is equivalent to 68 HP.”

A view of the new prototype from Delfast, called the "Dnepr", that won a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats

“The motor is driven by a 12 kWh/800 V battery. With a maximum output of 200 A, the motor can reach a torque of 220 Nm.”

The coolest part about this bike, though, is the history. 

“The DNEPR motorcycle has its roots in the M-72 model built by the Soviet Union to replace the heavy motorcycles of the Red Army. Finland’s Winter War revealed the deficiencies of the Soviet motorbikes of that time, [so] the Soviet military selected the well-loved BMW R 71 as a replacement, [with] the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact allowing the transfer of the design and know-how from BMW to the Soviet manufacturers.”

A view of the new prototype from Delfast, called the "Dnepr", that won a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats

“Three factories were planned to produce the M-72. [In 1941], German troops invaded the Soviet Union and production of the M-72 was moved east [where] Irbit Motorcycle Factory (KMZ) in Western Siberia took over.”

“In 1952, the KMZ factory in Kyiv got a shipment of 500 M-72 engines from the IMZ. These engines allowed the Ukrainian factory to produce its first batch of M-72 motorcycles.”

A view of the new prototype from Delfast, called the "Dnepr", that won a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats

The historic record goes on to mention production of these bikes continued first with KMZ, then passed to China, where the line stayed until the 1980s when it fizzled out, eventually garnering Delfast’s interest in the new millenium. 

As if the speed record weren’t enough to prove the bike’s perfect synchronization with the e-bike brand, Forbes also tells us that Delfast’s CEO and founder Daniel Tonkopiy was even once offered the office where the producer of Dnepr motorcycles, Kyiv motorcycle manufacture (KMZ), used to operate to rent.

A view fo the new prototype from Delfast, called the "Dnepr", that won a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats

Coincidence or pre-destination?  Time will tell – and we can’t wait to see what the next few years hold for this company as they create a top-notch unit for the motorcycle community.  Hopefully – if we’re lucky – they’ll find a way to stuff that award-winning range in their motorcycles, to match the rest of their lineup.

We’ve included a little photo gallery below of Delfast’s interpretation of what their Dnepr will look like for the urban masses; it’s a wee bit different from what the Bonneville beauty looks like, but it’s yet to hit showroom floors, so there’s still room for error.

We will keep you updated on everything that comes down the pipeline related to this topic; in the meantime, check out other motorcycle concepts from our archives, and as always – stay safe on the twisties.

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