In addition to the line-ups of BMW and Husqvarna models on display at this year’s BMW Motorrad Days, there are some very unusual machines for visitors to see on site at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, including the BMW-powered MonoTracer and new MonoTracer-E from Swiss company Peraves.
Is it a bike or is it a car? Whatever your opinion, these hand-built, high-performance sports machines have the riding characteristics of a motorcycle but benefit from two seats and a closed cabin for extra comfort, weather and crash protection. They are also very efficient with the MonoTracer returning 57 mpg (100 km/4.1 l) with emissions of just 60g of CO2 per mile (99g per km).
These figures aren’t at the expense of performance either, as the MonoTracer is capable of speeds up to 160 mph (240 km/h) and acceleration of 0 to 60 mph (100 km/h) in 4.8 seconds, thanks to the four-cylinder BMW K1200LT engine that powers it and its wind-tunnel-developed aerodynamic body that allows it to slip through the air with ease.
As motorcyclists, we’re sure you’re wondering what it’s like to ride this long-wheelbase machine? While there are similarities to both cars and motorcycles, the MonoTracer is neither one, nor the other, so you have to learn a new way of driving/riding. For a start, you can’t put your feet down at a traffic light, or stop junction, as you would on your bike. MonoTracer uses retractable stabilizer wheels to hold it in position, which can then be raised when you move off. It leans like a motorcycle and allows for serious cornering angles up to 52 degrees but of course the riding position is completely different, as are the controls.
Flip up the side door and look inside the ‘cockpit’ and you’ll see motorcycle handlebars as well as pedals either side of the center console. The clutch is operated by the left pedal (as on a car) and the right pedal operates the brakes. You change gears via a switch on the left handlebar and there is also a conventional brake lever on the right bar.
The MonoTracer has been in production since early 2009 but only around 20 of them are made each year. For those interested in electric platforms, an electric-powered Mono-E tracer will also be on show at BMW Motorrad Days. It will be on sale to the public later this year and boasts operating costs of around one tenth of the already very economical MonoTracer, albeit with a higher purchase price due to the cost of the batteries.
Charging costs for the mono tracer-E in Europe are approx €0.59 ($.84) and of course you can forget about the clutch (you don’t need one) or the cost of any oil, fuel and air filters too. A full charge gives a range of about 180 miles (300 km) at a constant 100 km/h after which the MonoTracer-E battery has to be charged for at least 1-hour (20kW connection) or for 5-6 hours at any household plug-in.
The MonoTracer-E has already made it into the Guinness Book of Records, as the fastest, most efficient and dynamic electric vehicle in the world. With only a few of them in existence worldwide, don’t miss out on the chance to see it and its BMW-powered counterpart at BMW Motorrad Days, where you can also meet representatives from the Peraves company and arrange a test ride/drive at a later date.