‘We want to rag the Delta-XE around the track as fast as possible’

| Jelle Posthuma

The Delta-XE, the motorcycle built by Electric Superbike Twente, made its debut on the hallowed asphalt of the TT Circuit Assen yesterday. This is a report on the test day from the pit lane. ‘In a few more years, electric racing motorcycles will be the standard.’

Although Eunice and Franklin are well behind us, the conditions on the TT Circuit Assen on this grey Tuesday afternoon are far from ideal. ‘Suboptimal for a first test day’, is how team manager Wouter Maathuis assesses the situation from the pit lane. The weather is wet and there is a strong wind. Fortunately, there is still time to do some testing in between the downpours. In front of the main grandstand of the circuit, you can hear the subtle sound of the Delta-XE, the fully electric racing motorcycle made by the student team from the UT.

The team members lined up along the track cheer loudly as the red and black two-wheeler accelerates. The superbike can easily reach a speed of 120 kilometres per hour on the straight. ‘And that’s just at fifty per cent of the rated power’, explains Maathuis. What exactly does that mean? Well, that the bike can go much faster. ‘We reached 220 hp on the dynamometer’, the team manager proudly tells us. That’s about 320 kilometres per hour. It was as fast as the dynamometer would go.’

However, today is not about the top speed. This test day is all about gathering data to fine-tune the bike. How does the superbike behave? What could be improved, and how? In order to collect this data, the rider will race up and down the track’s straight. The cornering capabilities have not yet been tested today. ‘Still, it’s quite a rush to see our bike in action for the first time’, says Maathuis.


The Delta-XE was built by the previous generation of Electric Superbike Twente. However, due to circumstances, they were hardly ever able to actually ride the bike. ‘There was simply not enough time to get everything to work properly. They couldn’t do enough testing and the Covid situation also didn’t help’, says the current team manager. ‘That’s why the new team will be racing the Delta-XE again, to get the full potential out of the bike. We want to rag the bike around the track as fast as possible this year.’

Finn de Bruin, a student at Deltion College in Zwolle, has the honour of testing the superbike. He will race for the Twente team this year. As a rider, he can ‘feel’ how the bike behaves and that is very important during the test day. ‘For example, during the last run on the straight, I noticed a strange smell’, he says in the pit lane. ‘I pass this information on to the team and they look into it and take it from there.’

De Bruin usually rides a Yamaha R6 at the International Dutch Championship. According to him, there are significant differences between his Yamaha with a combustion engine and the electric superbike. ‘The electric bike responds in a different way. You don’t have to shift gears, for example. You could say it’s just one long gear.’ Electric racing bikes are the future, says De Bruin. ‘That’s why I want to gain experience. Considering the recent strides that have been made, I think it’ll only be a few years before electric motorcycles become the standard.’


Team manager Maathuis wholeheartedly agrees. ‘The goal of the first generation of Electric Superbike Twente was to enthuse people about electric vehicles. They’re exciting to watch and the superbike really demonstrates what electric motorcycles are capable of. Time has now overtaken us a little. Look at all the Teslas and electric Porsches or Audis on the road. For many people, electric driving is the way to go.’

That is why the current team is focusing on a new goal. ‘Electric vehicles have to become the new standard for motor sports’, says Maathuis. Innovations in ‘regular’ cars or engines are often adopted from the racing world. However, the current electric racing classes are lagging behind in this respect. The Twente students hope to change this with their superbike. ‘Moreover, electric motorcycles allow us to preserve the sport of racing for future generations’, says Maathuis.

This year, the team wants to participate in four races, one of which is held abroad. In addition, the students are striving for a track record in Assen. ‘That would be the icing on the cake for this season’, says Maathuis. But the Twente students are far from ready, if only because of the rainy conditions at the Drenthe circuit. ‘I would have liked to go for a lap otherwise’, says rider De Bruin. ‘But it’s simply too wet for that today.’

Stay tuned

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.