Activate Your Premium Membership Today >

Motorcycle engine with electric flywheel

Electric flywheel for motorcycle engines

Imagine how fast acceleration would be and how much lighter a motorcycle would be without a heavy flywheel.

That’s the idea of American inventor Randy Moore of RK Transportation who has developed a lightweight electric flywheel for four-stroke motorcycles.

Instead of a normal heavy metal flywheel, the engine would have a lightweight rotor that is driven by pulses of electricity into little magnets around the rotor.

Normal flywheel

Flywheels smooth out the gaps between strokes in a four-stroke engine.

They also help a rider to keep balance, especially at slow speeds.

But they add to the weight of the bike and they slow down acceleration and throttle response.

A lightweight flywheel would not only have the advantages of a normal flywheel without any of the disadvantages, but could also help charge the bike when not needed at high speeds.

It would be particularly useful in lightweight and small-capacity motorcycles or for any manufacturer keen to decrease weight and reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Randy has patented his idea, but hasn’t got a fully working model yet.

He is also looking for collaboration partners to get his idea into production.

Investment needed

2 stroke CITS engine events fail flywheel
2 stroke CITS engine

Let’s hope his invention doesn’t fail for a lack of investment as it seems may happen with the Crankcase Independent Two-Stroke (CITS) invented by former South African motorsport engineer Basil van Rooyen, Director of CITS Engineering, in Sydney.

Basil says their CIT engine has 10 advantages over four-stroke including being more powerful, lighter, smaller, cheaper, more economical as well as lower emissions.

However, he has had trouble getting investors interested.

  1. I can’t see too many people wanting to invest in petrol internal combustion engines now, as the future seems to be in electric propulsion and hydrogen fuel cells. Diesel engines will no doubt be around for a while, to power trucks and possibly buses, although city buses are also moving to newer methods of propulsion (we’ll probably have diesels for a while to come out here in the bush though).

  2. If it works it would be a really good thing, especially on a big 4-stroke single. But if all vehicles will be electric and powered by batteries, as people are predicting, there isn’t much reason to get excited about new technology for internal combustion engines.

  3. Most motorcycles barely have a flywheel and what they do have has already been optimised by incorporating the alternator so basically the guy is trying to reinvent something that has been on bikes since the seventies at least.
    On the ends of the crankshaft on a bike engine there are timing gear balancers and flywheel alternator and either in the middle or one of the ends is the drive gear or sprocket for the gearbox coupling. Some engines use a chain to drive the gearbox others use a gear and some others use a belt.
    The flywheel and balancers are already optimised to the minimum weight possible for a non race bike as they don’t just minimise vibrations they also provide additional torque to the engine. Torque is turning force a flywheel stores energy for later release. If you dump the clutch on an engine with no flywheel it is likely to stall and possibly bend rods and twist the crank . A cvt doesn’t need much of a flywheel because it is not putting sudden loads on the engine, race engines don’t need a heavy flywheel as they are usually operating at high revs and the gear changes are very smooth and the bikes only start and stop once per race not thousands of times a day.
    Other people are working on a magnetic gearbox which would be smaller and lighter than current cvts that can handle more than fifty kilowatts.
    Cvts that can handle the horsepower of more than a 250cc engine aren’t suitable for bikes as the are too large heavy and delicate.

Comments are closed.