When we attended the Annual AHRMA Racing Barber Vintage Festival for the first time in 2019 with all-electric Lightfighter v1, we had almost no expectations, especially when we entered the Pro Cup Race on a whim. After the high of the Laguna Seca race round this season though, “the return” crept into our collective sub-conscience, albeit along with loftier expectations. Taking not one, but two v2 bikes to the hallowed ground of Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama in October would be the ultimate test to see just how far we’ve come in three seasons of development. And after a successful race weekend at Laguna, we were also anxious to see how well our setup translated to a very different track layout and surface.
There’s a lot to unpack in the Lightfighter story. This is why Part 1 was dedicated to the concept and build of the electric sportbike. As a quick refresher, the Lightfighter was born because Brian Wismann and Ely Schless wanted to prove an electric racing motorcycle could exist – and thrive – with a geometry-first design. They did just that, building an electric motorcycle around a Yamaha YZF-R1 swingarm, not a big battery. Knowing Wismann and Schless though, simply building the bike wasn’t enough. It had to be good. Hence why they equipped it with Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes, and OZ Racing magnesium wheels. Further technical support came from Parker Hannifin, in the form of the GVM 210 motor, Kramer Motorcycles and their svelte bodywork, and Pirelli tires, who made sure the bike had the stickiest Diablo Superbike slicks available.
By now I’ll assume you’ve already read my First Ride Review of the 2020 BMW S1000RR. In it, I mention how this new version of BMW’s flagship sportbike is a decade in the making and comes totally revamped from the ground up compared to its predecessor, with more power, Shiftcam technology (aka variable valve timing) for more power earlier in the rev range, updated and revised electronics, and a host of weight-saving measures to drop total weight by 25 pounds over the outgoing model. And guess what – the asymmetrical headlights are gone! In this video supplement to my written review, you now get to see and hear me talk about the changes to the new RR and see how the bike works around the glorious Barber Motorsports Park – including a bit where it protests and almost bucks me off!
Markus Kramer said it so nonchalantly when I asked him. “Three months ago,” he said. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I asked in a different way. “You mean to tell me this motorcycle didn’t exist four months ago?” Again, the response was simple. “Yep.” Markus isn’t a man of many words, but that’s when I knew this ride aboard the GP2 Prototype from Kramer Motorcycles was going to be different. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Back when KTM’s 790 Duke was first announced, I knocked on Joe Karvonen’s social media door, asking the sole importer for Kramer Motorcycles USA whether the 790 Twin engine would make its way into a Kramer.
While looking back at the 700-plus different motorcycles I’ve ridden in my lifetime, I began to notice that I’ve also had the good fortune to have ridden many dozens of them on scads of racetracks scattered around the country and the globe. I was shocked to find out that I’ve logged fast laps at 41 roadracing circuits, and that doesn’t even include the kart tracks (7), dragstrips (8) or motocross tracks (12) I’ve sampled. In the motojournalist club, membership has its privileges.