Michael Czysz, motorcycle racer and designer of several revolutionary bikes through his MotoCzysz company, died Saturday following a long battle with a rare form of cancer, reports Roadracing World. Czysz was 52.
Czysz poured his profits from his Architropolis high-end home design firm into his love of motorcycles to form MotoCzysz, according to Motorcycle.com. MotoCzysz was responsible for the C1, a petrol-powered superbike intended for MotoGP and World Superbike racing until rules changes ruled it out. The C1 featured a longitudinal four-cylinder engine and a unique front suspension design, per Roadracing World, and was the subject of the documentary Birth of a Racer.
The C1's technological advances led to the design of the E1pc electric racebike, which claimed four consecutive TT Zero victories between 2010 and 2013 and was the subject of its own documentary, Charge. The TT Zero is the Isle of Man TT’s competition for zero-emissions motorcycles. The E1pc was the first electric bike to set an average lap speed of over 100 mph on the Isle of Man TT course.
Czysz rode the E1pc himself to win the first-ever FIM e-Power race held during the United States MotoGP weekend at Laguna Seca in 2010, writes CycleNews.
Racing fans first learned of Czysz’s battle with pleomorphic rhabdomyosarcoma (also known as anaplastic rhabdomyosarcoma, or RMS) ahead of the 2013 Isle of Man TT, when Czysz could not travel there with his team, as he had to stay at home in Portland to continue treatment.
Czysz often took solace at the track, wheeling motorcycles for fun to distract himself from the disease, telling Motorcycle.com of his initial return to the track:
I felt really good that day. I could only do half a day, but when I was on that bike I felt almost like a normal dude again.
In addition to racing and bike design, Czysz was involved with many other innovations, such as electric drive systems to retrofit in traditional cars and the dual-clutch slipper clutch, writes AutoEvolution. The future of MotoCzysz without its namesake is still unclear.