The Verge TS electric superbike has a clear view: its wheel hub drive enables a spectacular hole in the center of your rear wheel hub. With 1000 Nm on the wheel, it theoretically brings twice the power of a Ducati 1299 Panigale S onto the road.
We don’t know how Teemu Saukkio came up with the idea of building an electric superbike in Finland (perhaps because of the long winter nights), but the result is impressive. The resourceful tinkerer had already set up the RMK E1 electric motorcycle in the idyllic port city of Turku in 2019 as a 28-year-old and thus caused a sensation in insider circles. But it was just the beginning, Saukkio wanted to build an e-motorcycle with a wheel hub motor.
Production just below the Arctic Circle
He quickly became aware of financially strong people and the name of the company was changed from RMK to Verge Motorcycles because it sounded more international, as CEO Tuomo Lehtimäki thinks. They also relocated the headquarters 300 kilometers further north to the provincial town of Seinäjoki in order to set up a production facility there. Verge’s new electric motorcycle received his initials TS in honor of Teemu Saukkio. It is already ready for series production and can be ordered against a down payment of 2000 euros. Production should actually start in the summer, but COVID-19 thwarted the company’s plans.
240 mm rear tires thanks to the wheel hub motor
The Verge TS already impresses with its appearance: wide chest and even wider rear tires. An aluminum frame serves as the backbone because the developers wanted to keep an eye on the weight of the Verge TS. She still brings it to 250 kilograms. She needs the 240 tire because the electric motor (with its technically required width) acts directly on the rim of the 17-inch rear wheel. The ring-shaped motor requires a hub as a carrier that extends almost to the rim. This in turn enables ultra-short swing arms that connect the wheel bearing to the frame.
From a technical point of view, it makes sense not to fill the empty space in the center of the hub – such an electric motor is already heavy enough and its unsprung mass makes it difficult to grip the ground on uneven road surfaces. The indisputable advantages of this direct drive, however, are the elimination of a power transmission, such as the noisy transmission of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire.
With the Energica models, however, you can hear the chain drive to the rear wheel rattle. Needless to say, the primary drive is so loud that it even drowns out the chain.
Due to the lack of gear ratios, the Verge drives as smoothly as you should expect from an e-bike. Neither gears nor belts or chains to the rear wheel work in it.
The big hole looks strange at first, but it has a certain charm, after all it makes it unmistakably clear that an electric motor is working here. It is held by a four-armed aluminum swing arm, on the right-hand side of which three bright orange cables lead from the 20.2 kWh battery to the engine. The lithium battery has a fan cooling system so that power consumption and output have to be throttled as little as possible, even under high loads.
Up to 1000 Nm on the rear wheel
In any case, there is enough torque for acceleration, the manufacturer specifies a maximum of 1000 Nm. It shouldn’t have a problem with five quintals plus rider, as the value is twice that of a superbike. With the Ducati Panigale 1299 (test), for example, the ratios in primary drive (x 2.46), transmission (x 2.6) and final drive (x 1.77) multiply the current 137 Nm on the crankshaft to 1550.9 Nm on the Rear axle. The Italian superbike has an impact on the road with a radius of around 0.316 m (17 “/ 2 + 100 mm tire height) 490 Nm – but only in first gear and only at 9000 tours.
Above, below and in all the following gear steps, it is significantly less, while the driver of a Verge can use almost all of the torque while standing and still activate most of it without a break while driving. The Elektrokrad enables a much more effective use of this power. All that remains is the weight disadvantage and the short range.