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Lightning electric motorcycle beats gasoline bikes at Pikes Peak

Peak International Limited

An all-electric motorcycle has beaten the traditional gas-powered bikes and posted top times in practice runs at Pikes Peak in Colorado.

The electric Lightning, under rider Carlin Dunne, this week ran the lower half of the steep, 12-mile course at 4:32 and the top at 5:04 -- many seconds ahead of the next-fastest machines, officials at Lightning said.

That sets up the possibility that Dunne will beat his own record, set last year at Pikes Peak on a Ducati Multistrada. He's the fastest person ever to climb the hill on a motorcycle, with a total course time of 9:52.819. (A couple of cars have made it just a fraction faster. The current record is held by driver Rhys Millen, who ran the hill at 9:46.164 in a Hyundai Genesis coupe.)

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Lightning is a Silicon Valley motorcycle manufacturer based in San Carlos, Calif. The brainchild of investment banker-turned-entrepreneur Richard Hatfield, Lightning has set multiple land-speed records on flat ground, including a record set in 2011 for world's fastest super bike -- at 218.637 mph.

The motorcycle A production version of the bike, the SB80, is priced at $38,800.

The company says it will soon go into production on a smaller, more affordable sport version shortly -- something comparable in price to the sport bikes already on the market from Brammo and Zero. Bikes might be ready by fall, the company's Art Haynie said.

This is the company's first assault on Pikes Peak.

The actual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be run June 30.

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