Nova Electric Racing was formerly known as NovaBike Racing Team Delft. This team has raced in the European Supermono Championship with a motorcycle running on bio-ethanol for six years. Last year it changed to building an all electric racing motorcycle.
In 2009, an enthusiastic group of students decided to set up a brand new team at the TU Delft. The goal: to showcase the potential of sustainable fuels in motorcycle racing. The seven students were quickly given full support by the university. A workshop and office were outfitted and NovaBike was born. The priority that year was to get a bio-ethanol powered motorcycle to the starting grid. An Aprilia frame in combination with a KTM single cylinder engine formed the basis of the NovaBike01. Custom bodywork in carbon fibre and a digital fuel injection system were designed and implemented that year.
That year’s rider was Nick Appelman, also a student at the TU Delft at that time. The results were surprising, and it quickly became apparent that the NovaBike was a good match for another student team in the competition, who were using conventional gasoline. NovaBike Racing Team Delft had been established and the search for a group of successors began. As a result of that year’s achievements, a group of 14 took over the project at the end of the season. They were set loose in the D:DREAM hall, the home of most of the student projects at the TU Delft.
During the academic year of 2010-2011, the NovaBike01 motorcycle was analysed and a plan was made for further improvement. In order to bring performance to the next level and increase the design freedom for the motorcycle as a whole, it was decided to develop a new frame in-house. The choice was made for a trellis frame made of thin-walled chromium-molybdenum steel, leading to a weight reduction of several kilograms and, thanks to the open headstock, an optimum air intake for the engine. The design, tube bending, fitting and welding was carried out in-house by dedicated team members.
Besides this, the lessons learned during the first season were taken into account to create a more practical and easily accessible motorcycle at races and in the workshop. Aided by a one-of-a-kind paintjob, the team started to make a name for itself both on and off the track. The result of all this hard work was a motorcycle which radiated quality and inventiveness. The team matured significantly that year.
After a test ride carried out by a Dutch motorcycle website, the NovaBike02 was described as follows: “steering into a corner and changing direction happens with the speed of a rocket being launched into the air and the precision of an open-heart surgeon, without feeling nervous. [It feels] better than any motorcycle I have ridden thus far. Impressive, especially considering that this was not made in a big factory with budget of millions, but by a small team of student from the TU Delft .”
NovaBike’s progress did not go unnoticed within the TU Delft. A new group of students stood ready to continue the legacy. The new team spent the academic year of 2011-2012 building on the solid foundations of the NovaBike02 motorcycle. The motorcycle was modified further and the exhaust system redesigned and tuned for maximum power. Besides increasing engine power, the aerodynamics of the motorcycle was analysed, leading to an all-new bodywork design. Furthermore, various components were scrutinized and optimized. Alongside these developments, a seed was planted for research into the dynamic behaviour of the motorcycle. Modelling the dynamics leads to a better understanding of the motorcycle and contributes to improved design and handling. In short, a lot can be gained through such research. After two years as a rider, Nick Appelman left the team, paving the way for NovaBike’s collaboration with Motor Magazine. During the entire season, they provided top riders for races, and followed up each event with an article in the Magazine. It was during this year that NovaBike attained its first pole position during a Dutch Supermono race on the TT Circuit Assen.
The fourth NovaBike was a new motorcycle based on all the experience and knowledge gathered over the previous three years, meaning that there was a chance to create an innovative design based on the most essential lessons learned.
A new frame was designed with weight reduction and improved packaging in mind, so routine maintenance activities would become even more straightforward as parts are less hard to reach. In addition, research was taking place into the suspension characteristics in the motorcycle, leading to an improved version of the suspension linkage system. Together, these changes improved the handling of the motorcycle as a whole. Furthermore, the vehicle dynamics research started in the previous year was continued, and an investigation into the air intake and engine cooling system has taken place. The insight gained during this research was directly applied to optimize the new design.
After the successful partnership with Motor Magazine, it was decided to race with a single rider during this season, which offered several advantages. Most importantly, this meant that the motorcycle could be tuned to suit the rider’s preferences and riding style, so the rider can get the most out of the machine. This year the NovaBike was ridden by Ricardo van Duijn at that time an up-coming talent, part of the KNMV Roadrace selection.
NovaBike05 was active in the academic year of 2013-2014. By building on the experience and knowledge of the former teams they built a new motorcycle: The NovaBike05. A new engine that provides more power, a completely new chassis, an aluminium swingarm and many more new components gave us the edge over our competition. The goal for this year of podium finishes in the European Supermono Championship was reached for some of the races with Ricardo van Duijn again as rider.
The academic year of 2014-2015 was an important year for the NovaBike team. The NovaBike06 team was bigger than ever before, therefore the goals were also more ambitious than before. The goal was to win the Supermono Championship, to reach this goal the whole bike was redesigned from ground up. For one whole academic year, team members worked on the engine, powertrain, bodywork, suspension, electrics and many more departments, using all the knowledge from the previous teams and their knowledge gained by their study at the Delft University of Technology. Unfortunately the motorcycle wasn’t finished due to technical problems. However they did race in the Supermono Championship with the motorcycle from the previous year, with Ricardo van Duijn as the rider for the third year in a row.
The NovaBike07 was the first fully electric racing bike in the Netherlands. It was a completely new design to accomodate for the all electric powertrain. The bike had a few hiccups with its performance during the races, however it managed to participate in one of the final races of the MotoE Championship 2016 at Pembrey. The riders of the NovaBike07 were Casper Voogt and Tristan Lentink.