Lightning Motorcycles Will Improve Its Fastest Two-Wheeler With Space-Grade Materials

Going fast on two wheels is not something new, but going 250 mph on an electric bike is something that requires some special materials. This is why Lightning Motorcycles teamed up with the Brazilian company CBMM to create the fastest production two-wheeler on Earth.
Lightning LS-218 6 photos
Photo: Robert Spenser/Lightning Motorcycles
Lightning Motorcycles LS-218Lightning Motorcycles LS-218Lightning Motorcycles LS-218Lightning Motorcycles LS-218Lightning Motorcycles LS-218
Niobium is a metal with a similar hardness as titanium, and it is used on superconducting materials. It is largely used in medicine for the magnets of the MRI scanners, nuclear industry, optics, and jewelry. It was also used on the Apollo 15 CSM rocket nozzle in combination with titanium. The biggest supplier of niobium is Brazil, which accounts for over 70% of the world market.

In February, the Brazilian company CBMM announced its partnership with Lightning Motorcycles to create the fastest production motorcycle in the world. The targeted speed is 250 mph (402.2 kph). In addition, thanks to the various components of the motorcycle made with niobium alloys, the two-wheeler will be lighter and, thus, faster.

The same metal is responsible for important improvements in automotive safety, as niobium alloys are integrated in bodyworks and safety systems. It is also ten times more expensive than titanium, which doesn't possess the same qualities. Creating an alloy with these two vastly improved technological achievements in all areas, from pipes to spacecraft.

Lightning Motorcycles already offers the LS-218 electric superbike with a starting price of $38,888 for the base version, fitted with a 12 kWh battery pack. The top of the range version has a 20 kWh battery and a price of $46,888. It is powered by a 200 hp motor, which allowed it to establish a 215.96 mph (347.55 kph) world speed record in August 2021 at Bonneville. But all records are meant to be broken, aren't they?

Richard Hatfield, CEO and Founder of the Lightning Motorcycle, says, "Light weight and high efficiency are essential for high-performance motorcycles, we have used some applications of niobium to achieve these goals." In addition, the usage of this metal in various alloys in cathodes and anodes of batteries allows faster charging and greater energy density than the traditional lithium-ion batteries.
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About the author: Tudor Serban
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Tudor started his automotive career in 1996, writing for a magazine while working on his journalism degree. From Pikes Peaks to the Moroccan desert to the Laguna Seca, he's seen and done it all.
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