Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

This Is Pretty Much What the Monster 800 Will Look Like

With the advent of the Ducati Monster 1200, it was only a matter of time before Ducati’s middleweight liquid-cooled “Monster 800″ would be spotted, and unsurprisingly the machines have a great deal in common. The one big difference seems to be that the 821cc Monster gets a double-sided swingarm, which has become Ducati’s new way of differentiating between its big and medium displacement models of the same machine, see entry for Ducati 899 Panigale. With the spied Ducati Monster 800 looking ready for primetime, and a pre-fall launch isn’t out of the question. Giving us an excellent glimpse into what the Ducati Monster 800 would look like, Luca Bar has again used his Photoshop skills to render up images of the still unreleased “baby” Monster.

Photos of the Mugen Shinden Ni sans Fairings

Given the competitive nature of the electric racing realm, its rare to see the big high-power bikes without their fairings, as teams are reluctant to reveal their secret sauce. Debuting the Mugen Shinden San this past weekend in Tokyo though, Team Mugen did just that, giving us a glimpse into the inner workings of the team’s 2013 race bike, the Mugen Shinden Ni. You don’t have to be an electron-head to get excited by these photos, as any race bike with a carbon fiber frame and swingarm is pretty drool-worthy, though the Shinden Ni’s carbon fiber battery enclosure does hide a great deal of the electric superbike’s geek factor. While the sheer size of the battery bike is impressive, it was expected when the Shinden was first announced.

Mugen Shinden San (神電 参) Electric Superbike Revealed

Mugen’s third purpose-built electric superbike for the Isle of Man TT, the Mugen Shinden San, has been revealed in Japan. Campaigning two machines for this year’s TT Zero race, Mugen has John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey at the helm of its “Shinden San” bikes, as the duo looks for a one-two finish in this year’s race. With MotoCzysz not racing at the Isle of Man this year, Mugen is a hot favorite to take the top podium spots, as well as crack the 110 mph barrier for electrics on the historic Snaefell Mountain Course (Mugen is targeting a 115 mph lap). An evolution on the company’s previous designs, the Shinden San fits 134hp — 10hp more than last year, thanks to a new smaller three-phase brushless motor provided by Mission Motors — into its 529lbs bulk.

Trackside Tuesday: The Winning Personality of Jack Miller

Chatting with a couple of NASCAR fans recently, I was reminded that any competition is boring if you don’t care who wins. But if you do care, then even cars driving around in circles can be very compelling entertainment. Those NASCAR fans really cared about how their favorite drivers finished, and not only how they finished in the latest race, but what and how those drivers were doing off the track as well. Those fans had been captured by the personalities of those drivers. One of the things NASCAR does well is sell personalities. All major sports-related businesses do this to some extent, but some organizations do it better than others.

Living the Dream – A Photographer’s Story: Qatar

Imagine if just for once you didn’t have to stick to your usual nine-to-five job. Instead you were able to do the one job you’ve always wanted to do, but any number of things (it’s usually money) have stood in the way. This is exactly the situation I found myself in six months ago when the company I had worked at, for the last 14 years, decided to close, making everyone redundant. This decision did not come as a surprise; in fact, I had been hanging around for the last few years hoping that it would happen, as I had a plan. Fast-forward six months and I have just finished photographing the opening round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar. The plan is starting to unfold.

Brammo Empulse – This Changes Everything

07/15/2010 @ 6:44 am, by Jensen Beeler36 COMMENTS

Brammo Empulse   This Changes Everything Brammo Empulse 3 635x423

We’ve been expecting an electric sportbike from Brammo for over a month now, getting our first clues from our Bothan spies last week that the bike’s launch was imminent. Now we can officially say that the Brammo Empulse is the latest creation from the Ashland, Portland based Brammo, Inc. Continuing Brammo’s electric motorcycle offering, the Brammo Empulse represents the first production sportbike to be available by consumers. The Empulse comes in three flavors (Brammo Empulse 6.0, Empulse 8.0, & Empulse 10.0) with differing amounts of on-board power each variant.

With the Empulse 10.0 having a 100 mile range, and costing only $13,995 MSRP, Brammo is offering a potent and affordable package, and when you factor in that federal and state government subsidies that could bring that price down to around $7,000 in some states, you have a motorcycle that could change the way we think about electric streetbikes.

Taking the issue of range head-on, Brammo hopes to dispel thoughts of range anxiety with the Empulse, whose nomenclature represents the riding ranges of the models (60 miles for the Empulse 6.0, 80 miles for the 8.0, 100 miles for the 10.0). While mileage will vary on actual riding conditions, this ranges are based mixed use of freeway and city streets. All the Empulse models are capable of speeds in excess of 100MPH, and feature a 40hp liquid-cooled AC synchronous motor.

The big issue here is price/performance parity with internal combustion engines. When you consider the Ducati Streetfighter that’s currently in the A&R garage only gets about 130 miles on a tank of gas, and costs $14,995 retail, the Empulse 10.0 becomes a vary attractive option to consumers. Obviously there are cheaper motorcycles that get better range than the Streetfighter, but the point is that for the first time, production electric motorcycles are creeping onto the performance figures of ICE motorcycles, while remaining affordable to the average consumer…or in the case of the Empulse, extremely affordable.

Compare this to the Mission Motors Mission One LE, which has seen its production deadline pushed back and will debut around the same time as the Empulse. While trumping the Brammo Empulse on power, the Mission One also commands a $68,995 price tag. While the Mission One might have truer ICE performance parity, the Empulse shows that for significantly less money, a stout electric sportbike can still be had.

Designed by Brian Wiseman, Brammo’s Director of Product Development, the Brammo Empulse has a striking design that mixes bodywork that could find itself just as easily on an Italian sportbike as an American-made powercycle. Look beneath the bodywork and you will find a frame structure that elegantly shows off the kilowatts of power that make the Empulse go. While the design is still fluid at this point, we think the Brammo Empulse is off to promising start.

Supplementing the Brammo Empulse 10.0, the other Brammo models are even cheaper with the Empulse 6.0 costing $9,995 and the Empulse 8.0 coming in at $11,995. Final costs to the consumer will vary with the state and federal subsidies. The Empulse will be sold through Best Buy, just like the Brammo Enertia, and will be available mid-2011. Orders will be served on a first-come, first-serve basis, and can be placed at brammo.com. A $99 fully-refundable deposit must be placed 90 days before delivery of the Empulse to the customer.

Source: Brammo

Comment:

  1. Sorry what does it change? My sport rides are usually at least 150 miles so I’d be stranded. Also how much does it weigh? What is the driver for interest for anyone who rides a sportbike as their recreational vehicle (apart from a few folks who will try out anything new)?

  2. ML says:

    I’d buy one to use as a fun commuter bike. My commute is 25 miles each way so this bike should, in theory, get me to work and back twice on one charge.

    Plus, I won’t have to worry about waking up my neighbors while warming up my current commuter bike (Ducati monster with termi pipes). I’d bet my neighbors would chip in a few $$$ just to get their quiet mornings back. =)

  3. Julian Bond says:

    Much as I like this thing, I wish the Electric Bike people would follow Craig Vetter and put some effort into aerodynamics. This same powertrain in a fully streamlined recumbent would go 50% faster or 100% further.

    Note here: The E-Tracer (electric Ecomobile) is currently leading the automotive X-Prize. It’s seriously fast and seriously economical.

    But then the traditional motorcycle industry is still building powered sit up and beg bicycles. And we’ve all been conditioned to think anything else is the ghey.

  4. Doctor Jelly says:

    @Mark

    It’s not that the bike is a threat to your penis compensating machine (it’s OK, I have one too), the point is electrics are getting closer and closer to matching some ICE bikes in all facets of comparison (price, range, power, styling, weight, etc). This is called healthy competition and just happens to drive much of our market (in layman’s terms: GOOD). Electric companies are not Pinky and the Brain, they don’t plan on taking over the world in one night so I’m not sure why everyone gets a stick up their butt trying to put down an evolution of technology…

    Just give electrics some time, I think you’ll see amazing things in the technology in the next 10 to 20 years. Look how far computers came from being dismissed as a fad for most of their early development.

  5. Don Zielke says:

    OK, so my favorite “short” loop from home to the twisties & back runs 125 miles.

    LOVE the concept… the range just needs to double. How long does it take to charge? Do these bikes (the Brammos) have any kind of regenerative capabilities?

    I’m also still not convinced that an all-electric motorcycle is better (more “green”) for the environment. That electricity still needs to be generated in order to charge the batteries, and around here, that’s primarily through coal fired power plants. We do have some solar and wind in our generating “fleet” here in AEP territory, but it’s still majority coal.

  6. Ken C. says:

    I think it would make a great commuter bike. I don’t think I’d take it out for recreational rides though. The downside to electric bikes is the charge time. You can’t go out for a 100 mile ride and then just refuel in 5 minutes.

    I would like to see more aerodynamics (full fairings), but I’m guessing that cooling is an issue with these things. Hate that tail section though. Fugly, in my opinion.

  7. @dr jelly

    New products need to meet a need. What is the need? Is there a problem with ICE sports bikes? For cars, especially commuting it is fuel consumption. What is the problem or issue that an electric bike is solving?

  8. Oh and @dr jelly it isn’t an evolution, it as substitute product, in this case a poor one. People are taking the car approach and pushing it into a motorcycle but it doesn’t fit. I have nothing against an electric motorcycle, people are free to spend their money on whatever they want. But the lack of critical appraisal and the denialist nature of the attacks on anyone who dare question the utility of these machines is mind boggling

  9. Oscar says:

    @Dr Jelly

    “electrics are getting closer and closer to matching some ICE bikes in all facets of comparison”.

    Wrong: There are far less expensive ICE bikes with better range and performance. And when an ICE bike runs out of fuel, it takes 5 mintues to recharge. This Brammo still requires hours of charge time, making it useless for anything other than commuting.

    “This is called healthy competition and just happens to drive much of our market.”

    Wrong again: A product that requires the government to take money by force from people who have no interest in the product and hand it to people who want the product is, by definition, not competitive. Government subsidies distort markets, which is far from healthy. For example, our current recession was caused in part by government distortions of the housing market.

  10. @Mark

    390lbs curb weight (not sure what model that is, or if it’s for the Empulse RR race bike), so pretty light. The Brammo guys usually come by though and set me straight though.

    I’ve got a story in the pipe that address a lot of what you’re saying, so I’ll save my words for that.

  11. Brammo Empulse – This Changes Everything – http://aspha.lt/161 #motorcycle

  12. RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Brammo Empulse – This Changes Everything http://aspha.lt/161

  13. BikePilot says:

    Even with a 100 mile range it’d be totally useless to me. Can’t hit the twisties, can only just commute, and then if I wanna go meet up with friends or run errands on the way back I’ll need one heck of a long extension cord. I fear that until battery tech allows ~500 mile real world range or there is a way of quickly swapping out batteries at convinced locations (like gas stations) on some sort of exchange basis, e-bikes are just a novelty.

    I’d also worry about the expense of keeping fresh batteries in it. I know hybrid cages’ batteries go off after a few years and my laptop battery has only half capacity after 2 years use.

    I’d also be helpful to know if that 100 mile range is 100 miles of flogging it in twisties, 100 miles of 80mph freeway, 100 miles of city traffic? 100 miles of some mythical perfect condition scenario?

    I really like and support technological innovation, but I fear they’ve put the cart before the horse by spending time trying to make a cool looking (ok, it probably didn’t take too much time to photocopy a streetfighter) production machine for mass consumers before they’ve got the fundamental technology/infrastructure truly viable. I could be (and really hope I am!) wrong, but my guess is it’ll be a sales flop and they’ll be lucky just to recoup their R&D $$$.

    Re environmental impact, even charging it from a coal fired powerplant is likely much cleaner than buring gas. However, producing and disposing of those batteries is nasty business and I’ve some doubts as to whether the net impact is better or worse than a gas bike. If its just a novelty that can’t really be ridden much it won’t be replacing ICE bikes, but just supplementing them in which case the enviro impact is almost certainly a net negative (the fixed enviro cost of this bike will be high, the marginal enviro impact of use will be low, so if someone puts 200k miles on it they’ll probably be saving some trees, if it gets 1k miles a year and needs new batteries in 10 years, the enviro impact would be pretty bad I think).

    Looking forward to the upcoming story Jensen!

  14. lalaland says:

    Congratulations on a very cool bike. I regret to inform you that I cannot purchase one in good conscience. Electric propulsion is not a significant improvement over the ICE (unless noise is an issue), and I cannot support an industry that thrives on government subsidies as long as the government still permits me the “privilege” of choice.

  15. Brammofan says:

    Miracles never cease-I AGREE! RT @Asphalt_Rubber: Brammo Empulse – This Changes Everything – http://aspha.lt/161 #motorcycle

  16. BikePilot says:

    Unfortunately the choice not to pay for these things is not one that’s available to US Citizens.

    As for giving up on industries that exist only due to subsidy, that’s sadly not a practical option. You’d have to give up cars, airtravel, banking, and most food products for a start.

  17. Jenny Gun says:

    How much do you think gasoline would cost if taxed it like the rest of the world does? I call that a reverse subsidy.

  18. RLiddell says:

    I think some of you are thinking of this the wrong way. This isn’t competing with sportbikes or crotchrockets, its the NINJA 250 market. Which in my opinion is a perfect match.

  19. @Jensen. Thanks for the info and the promise of more thoughts in a post. Let me know if you want to duel on this. Could make for some fun posts!

  20. JoeKing says:

    “How much do you think gasoline would cost if taxed it like the rest of the world does?”..JG

    WHAT…Jenny, economics (& syntax) are obviously not your strong suit. Are you suggesting we adopt a tax system like Sweden with 55% income tax rates & 25% VAT tax, $5/gallon gas tax, socialized medicine (oops) & womb to tomb social welfare?

    By your logic then, do you consider US taxpaypers (who pay lower income tax rates) also to be “subsidized” ?

    Ever hear of gasoline taxes..or is that a subsidy too?

    You should consider elected office…”Vote for me I’ll double your taxes & free(?) electric m/c’s for everyone”.

  21. Doctor Jelly says:

    @ Mark

    It’s a niche market, I could give you a few needs it meets but they are as superfluous as the needs your sportbike meets.

    Why is it not an evolution? Is it not a better motor design? Are the batteries not a more advanced fuel container (even if they hold less fuel)? Is it not more efficient in it’s power generation (the motor itself)? It’s not perfect, but keep in mind most ICEs are a fundamentally flawed design (a disaster really, their only saving grace is the massive energy that can be extracted from gas).

    @ Oscar

    Sheesh, read that first quote again. I know there are better bikes, the point I was making is electrics are closing in on them. If I only had a ‘roll eyes’ button…

    Does the government help the industry? Yes. Do I believe it’s right? No. Does that mean having a choice when you buy your next bike is not healthy competition? No.

  22. Kevin White says:

    I like it a lot! I don’t go for 150 or 500 mile rides, sheesh.

    My work commute is about 16 miles round trip. The highest posted speed limit on that route is… 30 mph. It’s quite twisty and scenic though.

    No shifting/clutching, instant on/no warm up time, zero engine maintenance, no trips to the gas station, nearly silent operation… Decent brakes, suspension, frame, and wheels and tires. Aggressive riding position and plenty of cornering clearance. 390 pound curb weight. Beautiful, minimalistic looks. Low center of gravity. Good torque.

    I’ve heard these batteries are good for 6000 charge cycles before significant degradation. If it were only 10% of that, 600 cycles, and I charged it twice a week, ten months out of the year, say 7000 miles per year, it should still last about 7 years.

    The times that I need to go 100 mph (or 80 mph) or 100 miles in one day are extremely few and far between.

  23. Jake Fox says:

    I’m pretty comfortable spending under $35 (that’s 10 billion divided by 300 million) for the development of new electric vehicle technology. I’m excited about the possibilities and it is obvious that yes, these bikes are getting better every year. I like it a hell of a lot more than the $3,500 I’m on the hook for so far for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (that’s 1.07 trillion divided by 300 million).

  24. Jenny Gun says:

    @JoeKing

    Define a government subsidy. If your answer is somewhere along the lines of “money from the government that assists an industry so that it remains competitive,” then yes gasoline is subsidized by our governments.

    We may not be paying money to these industries directly, like a traditional subsidy (and as we are here with the electrics), but we pay a below market rate on gasoline because of the low taxes the federal and state governments impose, which is what I was calling a reverse subsidy. The same affect occurs with tariffs all the time. I don’t know why you’re confusing this concept with socialism.

    Even in free markets (the US isn’t a true free market, but that’s really beyond the scope of the conversation) there are hurdles to adopting new technologies, the business world calls this a networking affect. We see it more on the internet (it’s what drives Web 2.0 afterall, e.g. Facebook) but gasoline is probably one of the easiest examples to identify. There are obvious environmental, socio-political, and economical reasons as to why we shouldn’t use gasoline to the extent that we do, but the large hurdle of redeveloping a fuel distribution system and getting people to adopt these new forms of transportation is insurmountable without the government interceding.

    For example who is going to buy a LPG fueled car if there isn’t a place to buy the fuel? What manufacturer would build an LPG car if no one would buy it? What gas station would carry LPG if there are no cars that use it? There’s a chicken and the egg problem here.

    So you’re the government Joe, and you realize that we’re on an energy consumption course that’s unsustainable. What do you do about it?

  25. GeddyT says:

    Jesus Christ… will the armchair economists please turn off Fox News for ten seconds?

    Want to talk about real economics? What is the REAL economic impact of the spill currently going on in the Gulf? Not just the trivial amount it will cost to clean up a couple of turtles on camera, pay off a couple hoteliers after a 30 year legal battle, pay ten times that much to lawyers, etc. What about when you actually consider impact to future generations? What’s that worth? What if a dozen species of marine food products are decimated for a few decades or forever? What if the spill accelerates oceanic dead zones or other problems that are already occurring? Etc. etc. etc. This is just one incident. Any penalty surrendered by BP will be a pittance compared to the real sum of damage that has occurred, just as was the case with the Valdez spill.

    What would the cost of gasoline, diesel, coal, etc. be if the companies extracting and processing them actually paid for the externalities? If every gram of H2S, SO2, soot, mercury, etc. spewed into the air and ground were paid for proportional to the damage they do? What would we pay per gallon? What would we pay per kilowatt? The answer is obvious: a HELL of a lot more than we do.

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is called a “subsidy.” And you are delusional to think you’re not paying them.

    Arguing the merits of the product? This is perfectly valid. Arguing the ambiguity of the environmental impact? Also plenty interesting.

    Arguing against a product on the basis of a subsidy? Please. That’s silly at best and hypocritical at worst.

    Any real economist worth their salt will recognize how often subsidies and government work have resulted in products that have later generated billions upon billions of dollars for the private sector. Google’s doing pretty well, for instance. Probably wouldn’t be without that government funded invention known as the internet. See also the countless advances in materials science, electronics, computers, and automotive tech that were born in government subsidized state universities and labs. Almost everyone has a cell phone, and nobody seems to complain about the huge government subsidies and rights of way involved in that industry. And I’m sure you’re all perfectly content to never purchase a product developed by NASA.

    As far as alternative vehicle subsidies go, there have been plenty of other industries that have needed a little shove to get off the ground, but have been advantageous since. And, yes, it may be true that when the technology is good enough to compete on “even ground” (I still question how even that ground is considering the trillions of dollars in environmental, military, and medical subsidies the oil industry) with existing products, then the free market will take over and people can have their electrics. And yet look at the landscape: things move slowly here with our entrenched corporations, miles of legal red tape, and incredibly divisive politics. The free market may catch up to electrics, but the U.S. will have long since been left behind. We’ll be gazing over the pond pointing out how unfair it is that all of the good electrics are built in China and India. Glenn Beck will bawl like a baby and you’ll shout at the TV, “DEY TUCK ‘R JOBS!!!”

    There are several promising battery technologies sitting in labs and universities and government research facilities around the world right now that just might turn this whole electric value equation on its head. New nuclear power generation technologies with seriously heavy backing are poised to compete for our future energy needs in a way that puts any current nuclear or fossil fuel power generation technology to shame from an environmental impact standpoint. When this happens, it wouldn’t seem to me for it to be a bad thing for the U.S. of A. to be a technological leader in this field with already entrenched knowledge, companies, and manufacturing capability. And maybe more importantly, a population of consumers that have been exposed to the technology, are not afraid of it, and are properly informed.

    Who knows, maybe our kids might even have jobs!…

    (Disclaimer: I work for Big Oil…)

  26. GeddyT says:

    Now back to the real topic:

    I own a gas street bike and am down to a single gas dirt bike from three. And we’re a three four-wheeled-vehicle household (the wife and I have ~70 mile round trip commutes in opposite directions and have a cheap old truck for working around the property and hauling dirt bikes to the hills). So it’s not like I’m not just as fond of gas-powered vehicles as the next schmuck.

    But there are certain annoyances to all of these vehicles. Summer has finally hit us in Washington and so I’ve started to ride my bike to work. It’s a commute some would be envious of, yet I still have to talk myself into it every day over just climbing into the car. I mean, it takes forever to warm up the Multistrada, and that’s time I could be in bed. And every other day I have to stop for gas! This is HUGELY annoying when it involves taking off gloves, fishing my wallet out of my jeans that are under my overpants, having to take the key out of the bike to open the stupid keyed gas cap (seriously, has anyone in the history of the world ever been so desperate for the meager amount of gas that a motorcycle holds that they’ve siphoned one dry?). Then splashing gas all over my tank and having to wipe it up. I have to fill up my car less than once a week, and the process is way less painful.

    Then there’s the noise. I like meaty exhausts on my bike just like everyone else. My track bike had a pipe so loud that my wife knew it was me going by when she was all the way back at the van. But on the street? Be objective and realize that you’re just being a selfish douche. NOBODY but you likes your “sweet slip-on” out on the public roads. Not your neighbors in the morning, not pedestrians walking down the street, not the couple getting married as you ride by and rev your engine several times to get attention from the crowd (true story). Then there’s the clamp that’s being applied to motorcycling in general as a result of this negative image. Laws are getting stricter, dirt riding areas are closing down left and right, tickets are increasing, and enforcement is becoming ridiculous. Forget the environment–RIDING MOTORCYCLES is not sustainable if we continue down the current path of pissing everyone around us off!

    They may not compete in the power, range, quick refuel department just yet, but that doesn’t mean that electric bikes don’t have anything to offer–even in their current state. I used to be a jagoff that ripped down the back roads at WOT on a regular basis. On my “old man bike” Multistrada I seldom break 100mph. So I compare this bike that I own to one of these Brammos:
    Multistrada was over $15K when new as optioned (I’m the second owner), top level Empulse is less even without subsidies.
    Multistrada requires frequent and very expensive maintenance, Empulse requires almost none.
    Empulse is much lighter and probably quicker off the line.
    Multistrada is faster, but that goes unused anyway.
    Multistrada has longer range, but I would never need it if I had a gas pump at home.
    Empulse would easily handle my commute, and I would NEVER have to stop for gas (yay!).
    Multistrada can carry a rider and passenger and has luggage. Advantage Multistrada, although I’ve only taken my wife along for the ride a whopping three times.
    Multistrada takes FOREVER to warm up, Empulse would be instant.
    Multistrada sounds really good, but I’m sure my neighbors hate me at 4:45 in the morning when I leave for work.

    So, really, is this Empulse not the PERFECT commuter bike? Why WON’T there be a market for this?

    I’m more in the market for an electric dirt bike, though. The rate at which our riding areas are closing down is downright depressing. For instance, the mountain I live right at the base of that used to be a great place to ride. Now it’s MTB only. When the right electric dirt bike comes along and I can afford it, it’ll be in my garage and I’ll be sneaking up that hill on a nightly basis!

  27. lalaland says:

    There is a difference between a Federal grant and a subsidy. A huge difference as a matter of fact b/c one introduces a new competitor into a marketplace and the other alters the utility function for individuals in regards to a single product. To represent them as roughly equivalent is disgraceful. Google’s product was not subsidized by the Federal government.

    Electrics are the new dot com boom. Everyone is trying to get ahead of the big bright beautiful future and governments everywhere want to create a new industry. There is no science behind it. This is a socio-cultural revolution engineered by business people and bureaucrats who have green ambitions (when I say green I mean green backs). Electrics only make sense if electricity rates stay constant during a spike in oil prices. Big electricity is about as bad as big oil so I’m not sure I’d take the risk. Just give me a 1L commuter box with decent aero and weak hybrid capability (turns off at red lights with a small recapture hybrid restart system). I’d probably cut my fuel bill in half and the car would be cheaper than what I drive now. That’s a real improvement. Good thing no one is pushing me in that direction. I might actually be happy.

    As you point out, electrics aren’t even green until the entire grid goes to nuclear fusion. Once we get fusion we’ll probably go straight to hydrogen b/c we have an abundance of easily accessible hydrogen unlike alkali metals and other battery components. If batteries are as great as people say, we don’t need to force people to buy them.

    Let these prospectors do their work in peace w/o the eco-religious pseudo-scientific diatribe. Everyone argues batteries for cultural reasons. It is the easiest way to tell that the entire movement is BS, just like how the dot com boom was going to connect us all so we wouldn’t have to live life with cultural blinders on. Yeah, great reason to bury my life savings in a fiber optic communications corridor in India.

    We could double or triple fuel economy just by encouraging consumers to do all of their mundane driving in small displacement runabouts. Auto companies don’t want to sell these low-margin shit-boxes. Good thing we’ve got full electrics and government subsidies to save us from downgraded earnings forecasts.

    Why do I get the feeling that all of these corporate watchdog types are doing anything but watching corporations? Maybe it’s b/c they don’t see that real green technology (simplified small displacement vehicles) will cut into profitability.

    That’s quite an oversight. Wouldn’t you say?

  28. JoeKing says:

    but we pay a below market rate on gasoline because of the low taxes the federal and state governments impose, which is what I was calling a reverse subsidy…JG

    Jensen, were you educated in Russia or Norway? Where did you get the idea taxes are a requirement in the cost of a comodity? Prices are determined by supply & demand..the gov’t just muscles in for their piece. US drivers/riders pay $65B/yr. in gas taxes..what definition of low does that meet? Sure they are pissed away on subsidizing mass transit & bridges to nowhere, but they are huge. They also go a long way to paying for the (unnecessary) oil subsidies & the externalities. (factoid..recent autos emit 98% emissions than pre-1968 autos, what polution?).

    E-bikes are NOT sportbikes. Your hero Czysz’s megabuck creation barely went 37 miles (it was slowing the last miles), so how is the Brammo going to go 100 miles in real sport riding conditions? Yeah, there are people who do ride 80-90mph average (heavens!).

    Like all the other previous efforts that “changed everything”, this is a misrepresentated commuter bike disguised as a sportbike. Until GeddyT’s fantasy miracle batteries are introduced at an affordable price, these devices are just silly toys bought by people to establish their “green cred”.

    Unsustainable energy course..yep, its been that way for 150 years.

  29. lalaland says:

    I want to make my point more clear instead of backing into it.

    The most efficient vehicles on earth are cheap angular POS plastic cars with little engines that sip fuel and putt putt around town. They don’t have many electronic goodies b/c electronic goodies come from one of the least green industries on earth.

    Unfortunately for G8 nations, anyone can build these cars including developing nations who have a distinct labor advantage over the US, Europe, and Japan. All we are doing is creating hyper-complicated vehicles that cannot be replicated in the developed world. The government uses subsidy, fuel taxes, and CAFE standards to require these hyper-complicated green vehicles. We pay exorbitant prices, rather than saving money and being debt-free, to prop up the manufacturing industries who are full of 50-70 year old executives who pee their pants through their enlarged prostates b/c they have no idea how they can sell over-priced green vehicles to meet unrealistic earnings estimates that are more inline with the SUV boom than the modern age of fuel-efficiency and downsizing.

    Hmmm $6,000 for a Ninja 250 and Ohlins or $14,000 for a Brammo? I’m so torn. Pay an $8,000 premium to be part of the bright beautiful future or save money like hideous troll? What should I do? I just want to be beautiful.

    Hmmm….$40,000 Chevy Volt that is sexy and can barely go 50 miles under real driving conditions or a used $10,000 Chevy Aveo LS commuting box? Save the earth and put one of my kids through college or save the earth like the celebrity I should be?

    Somebody please help me. These green products have got me so conflicted.

    No ill-will against Brammo. They are prospecting on the cutting-edge of a new technology. Good for them. But I will not listen to bright-eyed socialistic futurism from the sociopaths who pitch these products for cultural reasons. We’ve been burned enough times for 1 decade.

    Connect the globe. Kill Saddam. Buy a McMansion. Bailout AIG. Socialize healthcare (further) . Go Electric!

    This is a fucking nightmare! We need a D.A.R.E class for adults. Just say NO.

  30. Brammofan says:

    Lala: “The most efficient vehicles on earth are cheap angular POS plastic cars with little engines that sip fuel and putt putt around town.”
    Brammofan: You might be right… let’s debate this in a unique way. We will each retire to identical hermetically-sealed 20′ x 20′ chambers – yours will have a Tata Nano (or insert your favorite POS plastic car here) with a tank full of gas from which it will sip while it runs in neutral. Mine will have two Brammo Enertias (4 wheels vs. 4 wheels), up on dynos, running at 20 mph, until the batteries are depleted. We will debate each other on closed circuit television. Subject:Are gasoline-powered vehicles more efficient than electric vehicles. I’ll take “con.” Last one standing, wins.

    Lala: “The government uses subsidy, fuel taxes, and CAFE standards to require these hyper-complicated green vehicles.”
    Brammofan: Hyper-complicated – The Brammo Enertia has 1/10 the moving parts of a Ninja.

    Lala: “We pay exorbitant prices, rather than saving money and being debt-free, to prop up the manufacturing industries who are full of 50-70 year old executives who pee their pants through their enlarged prostates b/c they have no idea how they can sell over-priced green vehicles to meet unrealistic earnings estimates that are more inline with the SUV boom than the modern age of fuel-efficiency and downsizing.”
    Brammofan: I agree with you – we all should be debt-free. My only beef with you on this statement is that the CEO of Brammo is only 49. Not sure about his prostate, but I’ll ask him next weekend. If I don’t, Jensen will.

    But hell yes on that D.A.R.E. class for adults. The credit industry is a bunch a vampires.

  31. Sean says:

    I don’t get the ANGER being displayed toward the developers of electric vehicles. No one is being forced to purchase one of these. I have two bikes and 3 cars, all of which are various stages of used and aged: I’d prefer a bike I can plug in when I get to work. Yes, I can refuel my v-twins in 1 minute. I can also pay 5 bucks for 1.5 gallons of gas, or pennies to recharge an electric bike. But at the end of the day, the is a limited supply of oil, and eventually, it will be gone. Whether global warming has any human causes or not, ignoring the health effects that might be had by ICE by-products, that fact remains. We need other solutions. So what is with the anger?

    Plus, BP spill says taking this stuff out of the ground, meh, not as safe as it could be.

    Plus, gobs of torque from 0 rpm is nothing to sneeze at.

  32. Willie says:

    THE AMERICAN SPIRIT IS STILL ALIVE ! Long live the dreamers.

  33. Chris says:

    So many naysayers. I’m amazed so many of you have missed the point. This kind of bike was completely unheard of as a commercial viability 5 years ago. Imagine what they will be like in another 5-10 years. You have to start somewhere and this myfriends, is a damn GOOD start.

  34. Ben says:

    First off let me say that I am proud to be a citizen of little ol’ Ashland, Oregon (born and raised!) Good work Brammo!
    Secondly, a few great things about these bikes that people often overlook:
    Never pay for gas again! Save $, “fill up” at night when you’re not using the bike = no more gas station lines with all that exhaust.
    Reduced dependency on (foreign) oil. This is a huge factor in that our last couple of wars have been fought over the so called “black gold” and that in the future, when our energy infrastructure is more focused on sustainability, the transition from fossil fuels to renewables will be seamless. That is to say, when our energy (electricity) sources make the transition from coal to renewables these bikes really will be more green.
    Battery technology is constantly improving. I have had the privelage to talk to Brammo’s head haunchos and according to them, in the near future, electric bikes will have twice the range as combustion engine motorcycles.
    In conclusion, I’m super stoked for the future of these bikes! I can’t wait to be the proud owner of one from my hometown!

  35. Brammo Empulse – This Changes Everything – http://bit.ly/9Cf6sm #motorcycle