Furion, a French company, has built a new concept bike that pairs a compact twin rotor Wankel rotary engine with a 40-kilowatt electric engine to generate an impressive 180 horsepower (or 134Kw) and a ridiculous 151 pounds per foot (205 Newton-meters) of instantaneous, tire-buckling torque. Can a hybrid street bike offer the same level of street madness as the BMW i8?
Some of the most fascinating cars in the car industry are employing hybrid drive in order to derive the maximum benefits from combining the efficiency and instant torque of an electric motor with the roaring, high-revving and easily refuelable combustion engine.
As an example, the extraordinary BMW i8 boasts of a compactly-built, three cylinder engine that drives the rear wheels and a smaller electric motor that propels the front wheels. This is just about the perfect vehicle for driving excitement at road speeds. Hybrid motorcycles are not very common though. These types of systems are huge, complex and hard to fit in a bike frame that usually has limited space. This makes this collection of CAD renders from the company a fascinating idea.
To ensure that everything fits in, the engineering team at Furion has opted for a compact rotary engine-a 654cc, Wankel dual rotor that produces 125 horsepower (or 93 kW).This has been matched with a 55 horsepower (41 kW) electric engine, resulting in a total of 180 horsepower (134 kW)
That is a lot of horsepower, which puts it on top of the super-naked bikes’ hierarchy, along with likes of the new TM 1290 Super Duke R. But torque is the all-important factor, just as with the i8.If the actual performance of the M1 bike matches the figures on the spec sheet, you are looking at a massive 151 pounds per foot (205 Newton-meters), that is approximately 45 percent better than the Super Duke, which is a total stomper itself. And because of that electric engine, the twisting force will be delivered much sooner.
Power is delivered via a standard six-speed transmission, and it is unclear how the two systems integrate. Similarly, we are not told about the size of the lithium battery pack or the bikes all-electric range if at all there will be any. But diagrams show that the battery pack will be located beneath the slender seat unit, which does not leave space for anything big.
But going by the calculations of the company, the hybrid system should be quite fuel-efficient, having a 4.2-gallon (16-liters) tank that gives over 249 miles (400 kilometers) of range. That is equal to slightly less than 59 miles per gallon or 4 liters per 100 kilometers.
According to Furion, the wet weight of the bike’s M1 Wankel Hybrid engine is 461 pounds (209 kilograms) or about 10 pounds (5 kilograms) lighter than a Super Duke R that is fully fueled. With its sleek trellis frame, broad belly pan exhaust, digital dashboard and bodywork that is evocative of the Kawasaki Z series, it does not look half bad, either.
It will probably be complex and tricky to service and tune, which means there are so many ways for this type of idea to go wrong. But after experiencing how amazing the i8 is a road car, I am very eager to see the impact of a hybrid drive in the motorbike world. Obviously, if Furion gets it to the production stage, I can certainly see space for a rotary hybrid engine street bike in my garage.