Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

The race is not won by top speed, of course–it’s the fastest average speed that counts. And Agni is first over the finish line with a lap time of 25 minutes, 53.5 seconds. A cry goes through the grandstand crowd: “India wins!” Three minutes behind, for second place, is XXL. Brammo’s good bike takes third, the only factory bike to make it to the podium. Mission comes in fourth, and MotoCzysz and the second Brammo bike are DNF: did not finish.

If the TTXGP were a battle in which the biggest war chest determined the outcome, Brammo would have won. If it were a beauty contest, MotoCzysz would have taken the tiara and the sash. If it were chess with a crash helmet, then Mission would have had it. But in the end, reliability trumped all. Agni won the TTXGP by keeping it simple. XXL and Mission both used faster but more complicated liquid-cooled AC motors. But second-place XXL chose the tried-and-true design from Audi, while fourth-place Mission went all-out with a custom-built power plant. The experience of third-place Brammo is most telling of all: its one and only breakdown came after it bolted on an extra battery pack at the last minute.

As the Agni, XXL, and Brammo bikes glide one-two-three into the winner’s circle, a scene of barely controlled mayhem erupts: the riders are draped with laurels, and shouts of “Motoguru!” go up for Cedric Lynch, who tells the television cameras that he is “absolutely delighted” with the result. Magnums of champagne are uncorked and sprayed across the crowd. TTXGP race organizer Azhar ­Hussain toasts Team Agni with a speech: “Today, a new company with no budget and no baggage came and won.” The Indian ambassador to the United Kingdom is on hand to give Team Agni his personal congratulations. Arvind Rabadia receives him while wearing the Indian tricolor as a superhero-style cape. “First in the qualifier, first in the second qualifier, first in the race,” boasts ­Rabadia, the Ashoka Chakra embroidered on his flag looking for all the world like a motorcycle wheel. “I’m over the moon, man!”

Lynch sees the race differently, as he does most things. In his mind, he didn’t beat the rest of the field. Rather, he led it, earning a historic victory in an epic, ongoing struggle against internal combustion. “I can just imagine,” Lynch muses, “what the petrol-heads would have said if we hadn’t beaten the 50cc lap record set in 1966 by Ralph Bryans on a Honda works bike.”

Adam Fisher is a freelance writer who lives in Sausalito, Ca. He gave up motorcycling for good after crashing his sparkle-orange 1974 Honda CB750.

10 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credits: Jude Edginton, Ian Kerr
Video by Lansons Communications

Tagged: Energy, electric vehicles, greenhouse gases, electric bike, motorcycle

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me