A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

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.

Brammo Empulse Spotted “Testing” Six-Speed Gearbox

01/03/2012 @ 4:03 pm, by Jensen Beeler38 COMMENTS

Brammo Empulse Spotted Testing Six Speed Gearbox Brammo Empulse RR desaturated 635x425

Teased, delayed, and dismayed, fans of the Empulse should be able finally to get their hands on the Brammo Empulse in 2012, as the Oregonian company has been busy finalizing the Empulse’s design and technical specifications for its street bike release. Rumored to incorporate the six-speed SMRE-designed integrated electric transmission (IET) found on the Brammo Engage and Brammo Encite, a video has cropped-up that shows a test mule Brammo Empulse with the IET gearbox fitted to it. Naturally one of the testing requirements is a fat parking lot burnout.

Though there has been no confirmation of a release date, the 2012 Brammo Empulse is expected to get a visual makeover for its consumer debut, in addition to the six-speed gearbox. With the progression of electric drivetrain technologies, we also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Empulse’s technical specifications to get adjusted as well. With Polaris’ investment in Brammo (one of our Top 11 events of 2011), it will be interesting to see where the Brammo Empulse becomes available for purchase.

The American OEM’s involvement with Brammo is surely bringing a bevy of resources to the electric motorcycle startup, most notably Polaris’ experience with supply and support chains, customer & dealer financing, and an established nationwide dealership network…oh and the cash-money too, of course. The question of the day though is whether the Brammo Empulse has been in the market’s eye too long to attract buyers, or if the addition of the IET and revamped design will be enough to freshen and excite the street bike for motorcycle enthusiasts’ interests.

2011 Brammo Empulse RR at Infineon:

Source: Brammo Forums via TTXGP Matters
Photos: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

Comment:

  1. mxs says:

    That’s a pretty crappy video testament to any gear box …. they would be better off if nothing leaked.

    Where is the battery announcements? …. that’s what I am looking for when any electrical bike news comes out. All about battery, at least for me. Until then the rest of the bike doesn’t matter much.

  2. fazer6 says:

    Give me one that looks like the RR, not the crappy ‘street’ version.

  3. skadamo says:

    All the whizzing and whining and tire noise sounds soo good!

  4. Kurt says:

    I agree with Fazer. I want a RR looking bike. Just like the pix. Brammo… Please deliver them clothed, not naked. Some bikes just look better with fairings…

  5. I “leaked” (read: posted) that video over on the brammo owner’s forum. This is not a “testament” to the gearbox – just a video of a guy having fun on one of our development prototypes – back in March of last year. The point I was making on said forum is that Brammo’s been in development on the 6-speed for awhile and there’s no e-moto on the market that comes close to the performance. You’ll just have to wait a little longer before all is revealed… sorry.

    As this is a development prototype (DVP in Brammo speak), you’re not looking at anywhere near the final design, but I’m very much looking forward to showing that off soon as well!

    -Brian.

  6. DareN says:

    Brian,
    I am not in the market for e-bike (yet) but it is very refreshing to get such quick response from the management of the company over potential customers questions/objections. Seems like you are on the right track, at least from the customer service side of things. Keep up the good work!

  7. Mark says:

    There are two main issues that need to be significantly improved before the electric motorcycle can be considered a viable alternative to its gas engined brother, and that’s performance and range.
    I just don’t see how a gearbox adds performance, since it does nothing to increase horsepower of the motor.
    Yes, it will broaden the torque range of the motor, but that’s never been an electric motor’s shortcoming, unless the motor isn’t powerful enough to begin with.
    The other is battery energy density, and a gearbox doesn’t address this issue either.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see the value in a gearbox on an electric motorcycle. Brammo would be far better off, using the space and weight devoted to the gearbox, for a larger motor, and more battery volume.

    The MissionR lapped Laguna at 600cc lap times, with no transmission, because it had similar horsepower. A properly sized motor, that provides the HP necessary to compete with a 600, will not need a transmission.
    The last thing I’m looking for in an electric motorcycle is a slow one that needs to be shifted too!

  8. From what I understand, the gearbox is meant to give the bike a more conventional feel while also providing some performance and efficiency improvements. Sure an electric motor does just fine without one, but there are advantages to the IET. With the Empulse Brammo is trying to cater to traditional sportsbike riders (like me), IMHO the IET is a welcome improvement. Besides, for those who dont wish to use the 6-speed, just throw it in your preferred gear and forget about the clutch and gears… With the IET you get the best of both worlds. I LOVE the naked design, but Im sure Brammo will make fairings (like the Empulse RR has) available too. I hear that a passenger seat may also be incorporated in the refreshed design… Seriously, what’s not to like about this bike?

  9. F1 says:

    ,, a 2 or 3 speed, yes,, that could be designed to both increase pick-up and extend range,, but a 6 speed is an utter waste (for the reasons mentioned above) as it doesn’t cater-to the characteristics of the power curve as it pertains to the “intended” street use..

  10. Westward says:

    Naked or with Fairings, it’s all good, the gearbox is interesting, I get it, but like “mxs” said, it’s about the batteries. How long will they last, How far will they take me, How much time before charged, and are they swappable when newer technology is available?

    The biggest hurdle I see is pricing. Are they going to price like Ducati’s and other european bikes, like Japanese 600 sport bikes, or along the lines of entry level motorbikes?

    If they are priced like european exotics, I think many would rather own a Ducati, same goes for Japanese 600′s. Now if they are priced in the Honda 250r with ABS, Kawasaki 250r range, or even SV650 on clearance, now that might be a tougher call…

    Then there is the guinea pig factor. Imagine spending $10-13,000 on a bike that goes less than 1o0 miles, your buddies fill up, and you have to wait a couple of hours to half a day before you can have another go. Thats where hot swappable batteries come into play.

    Also, imagine when battery technology doubles or quadruples in a year or two, and you have to fork over another 10K or less on a whole other bike, cause you can’t swap out the old batteries for the new, the systems are not compatible and the better technology cost less…

    Even commuters, who tend to be more cost conscious, have to factor in cost of ownership over at least a five year span compared to ICE bikes. If it balances out, then maybe, if more, then definitely not…

    I read recently, Apple just patented a new battery technology that will power their handheld devices and laptops for weeks to a month before needing to recharge…

    I want an electric bike so bad, I consulted with an online cost comparison calculator for Electrics vs ICE bikes. I could buy a Honda 250r with ABS, or a Suzuki SV650 on clearance, ride it around for 57,222 miles plus, including gas and maintenance, before I break even with a Brammo Empulse 10…

    I don’t know about most of you, but I barely have a single finger to count how many people I know that have nearly 60,000 miles on any one bike…

    Steve Jobs was an avid cyclist and a motorcycle rider. I also know he was working of a personal Yacht design and had a hand in the Segway. I wonder if an electric bike or motorcycle was ever on the drawing board…

    I know Ducati which has cross advertised on Apples website is also in Cupertino, Imagine if those two companies collaborated on an Electric Bike Project…

    Think Different…

  11. protomech says:

    Mark:

    Electric motors are substantially more flexible than gas engines, but they still have sweet spots in their power bands. A transmission won’t increase the maximum power output of the motor, but it does allow you to stay in that peak power region for a wider range of speeds.

    Since the transmission has a non-zero weight, you do have to compare a motor/transmission combination against either packing in more batteries to improve range / average available power or using a bigger motor or multiple smaller motors to increase power.

    At the first TTX Zero Isle of Man race, there were a number of entries that used a multi-speed transmission. None of the TTXGP / FIM e-power race bikes use a transmission now that I am aware of.

  12. Even compared to the least expensive Japanese 600 (2011 GSXR600) the Empulse 10.0 (most expensive version) is the better deal in the long run. (TCO break-even at 20k miles)

    http://www.empulsebuyer.com/tcoCalculator.php?sTR=0&fTR=0&sTI=NA&eID=3&kWhC=0.11&eRng=100&bR=0&iceID=9&msrp=11599&gC=3.85&mpg=44&oCC=40&oCI=7500&sC=550&sI=15000

    This comparison considers NO tax breaks, rebates etc…

    Now the Empulse isnt for everyone, but for me… when I go riding with friends, we rarely go 80+ miles in a day. My commute is only 18 RT so I have no reservations about the range.

  13. e rider says:

    This is what you get from a group that knows very little about motorcycles and less about electric motors. Ugh… ya cool video and 6-speed gear box Brammo!

  14. Bob says:

    I think the gear box can extend the range of the bike. Correct me if I’m wrong in my assumptions. Let’s say that to cruise at 55 mph, a given electric motor can put out 80 HP at 1000 rpms in one gear and 40 HP at 500 rpms in another gear. I could potentially double the range by being in a higher gear. Seriously, it isn’t necessary to cruise at max HP. If you can be more efficient by only using as much power as is necessary, that’s a good benefit. But the lower gears could still allow you access to more motor rpms and more HP any time you want to be a hooligan. Obviously, I’m not using real numbers, just theorizing on the benefit of a tranny.

  15. mxs says:

    Interesting. Let me rephrase your sentence. This is what you get from people who earn money today and spend them today as well. So if I have 10K to play with, make me a viable proposal why should I buy an electric bike …today.

    You perhaps have no reservations about range, but many other people do. You perhaps don’t like fixing your bike or work in general on your bike by yourself, but many other people do. I don’t like that I am paying basically MSRP, plus a government is giving me a break … but where does the money government decided to throw around come from? Tree? Not so, it’s the tax payers again. Makes no sense. To me the electrical bikes are just prototypes who can be used (and afforded) in real life only by very selected number of people.

    And then there’s the battery. The dreadful part which limits the bike so much and which so little is known about. Replacement cost, life span etc. I buy bike today, but a new battery comes out a couple of years later … do I pay again? Can my bike be upgraded at all? Whether it’s a battery or any other part …. When there’s an enthusiastic announcement, nobody ever talks about these. It’s like a skeleton in a closet ….

    So many question, so few answers …. yet so many opinions how people nowadays are against electric bikes.

    We should all run to the bank and pre-order electric bikes, right? Give me a break …. it will take a bit more effort than that.

    ps. When the batteries get better and prices go down, I will give you a call. I am not against the electric bikes, I just find it offensive when the electric guys make everyone look like a “monkey” who doesn’t get it.

  16. mxs says:

    Bob, I think you are wrong … you are describing a benefit to ICE based bike where power and torque change with RPMs. Electric bike produces maximum torque the moment you open throttle … you will not extend the range of the battery by adding a gearbox. All you do is add weight and make it feel closer to the bikes we know from today.

  17. e rider says:

    @Bob, That is not how motors or transmissions work; you need X HP to travel a 55MPH period. If you use less RPM you will need more torque to create the same HP. And that is not how electric motors work either; HP = Volts x Amps, the gear box plays no role in this equation.

    There is an argument for more than one gear, it has to do with accelerative, drive torque, not HP.

    If your theses worked we could just all drive around in 90th gear and 10 RPM (unfortunately way outside of the motors peak efficiency) and get 300MPG- Sorry.

    Don’t feel bad @Bob, Brammo does not understand this either and they have already spent $10′s of millions of dollars!

  18. Westward says:

    @EmpulseBuyer

    I was using that very website you posted. Compare the Empulse 10 to an SV650.

    I have personally gone to a dealership and stood in front of said motorcycle, brand new, selling for $4599, add tax and fees, it is still less than $6000 compared to the Empulse at $12600.

    Now, for commuting mind you, 18 miles round trip, x (5 days) = 90 x (4 weeks) = 360 x (12 months) = 4320 miles…

    45 miles a gallon (96 gallons) at $3.85 per = $369.6 a years cost of commuting.

    Obviously there are holidays, sick days, and the occasional vacations, so lets just say every three years it costs $1000 in gas and oil. You could ride another 18 years before you broke even with the cost of a Brammo Empluse 10.

    I seriously doubt you would stick with the Brammo Empulse for 18 years, considering technological advancements, sure to occur within that time span…

    A Brammo Empulse 10 @ less than $7000 is a great buy, sign me up to today. I am not even factoring in the cost of the battery, cause we really don’t know how long it will last before needing a replacement. After all, they are not even Lithium Ion.

    I am a little optimistic though, cause the original 2002-04 Prius batteries are still holding up, but then again they are lithium Ion…

    So what I’m really saying is, Brammo and all electric manufacturers, should really only sell consumers just the bike, without factoring in the cost of gas too (had they bought an ICE bike instead)…

  19. Nixon says:

    Gearing on an electric motorcycle will provide 2 things that most motorcycle owners want.

    1) Faster 0-30 off the line times. This is because no matter how much torque a motorcycle (gas or EV) makes, if you gear it down for starting off the line, you will have more torque. More torque == faster take-off (up to the limits of tire spin). The peak efficiency of the motor has little to do with this effect. If an electric motor has 100 ft/lbs of torque and you gear it down 30%, you get an effective torque of 130 ft/lbs. That means you take off faster, no matter what RPM your motor’s sweet spot is at.

    2) Higher top speed. Again, this has nothing to do with peak efficiency of the motor. It’s the peak RPM that is the issue. If you are RPM-limited at 100 MPH, and you gear up 30%, your theoretical top speed becomes 130 mph.

    If you like fast take-off from a stop, and higher top speeds, you want a transmission with both under-drive and over-drive gears compared to a fixed single speed motorcycle. If you don’t care about those things, and just want good performance at middle speeds, then a fixed single speed motorcycle is just fine.

    Otherwise, with only one gear, you have to sacrifice either top speed or off-the-line speed based upon the peak RPM of the motor. Gear higher, you go faster before you hit the RPM limit. Gear lower, and you have more effective torque for taking off from a dead stop.

    I hope this helps explain why multiple gears helps an electric motorcycle. I can’t answer why you would want 6 gears instead of just 3 (regular gear plus over-drive and under-drive). But I’ll let you know just as soon as the guys over at Brammo send me my darn Empulse and I get a chance to figure that part out.

    (note: all my math is intentionally sloppy for ease of explanation.)

  20. Nixon says:

    Westward — I don’t think any 2012 model year bike is going to win a price comparison with a discontinued old bike that happens to still be sitting around on closeout. As a pure value proposition, old discontinued closeouts will always be a winner compared to a brand-new MY bike just being released — whether they are gassers or e-moto’s.

  21. protomech says:

    @Westward:

    The first Prius to use Lithium Ion batteries is the Prius plug-in hybrid. All other Prius batteries are NiMH.

    If you’re only riding 18 miles round trip per day, then maybe the Empulse 6.0 would be a better comparison target. Once you include oil changes and extra scheduled maintenance on the SV650 that an electric bike will not need, you’re up to around $500/year. That brings the break-even point to around 8-9 years between the SV650 and the Empulse 6.0 @ 4300 miles/year.

    It’s tough to generalize how much cash is being placed on the “hood” to move the bikes, like you mention with your $4600 SV650. Bikes that have been sitting on the showroom floor for months will and do sell for somewhere below MSRP – and this applies to electric bikes just as to gas bikes. I was offered about $1800 in financing and extras on a 2011 Zero S just before the 2012 bikes were announced. MSRP is not the _best_ comparison price, but it is the most straight-forward.

  22. Westward – Not sure where you’re getting your info, but the Empulse (and Enertia) used Lithium-Ion batteries as do most reputable electric motorcycle OEMs. This level of performance is simply not possible with other inferior chemistries (NiMh, NiCAD, Lead Acid). The Toyota Prius has always used a NiMh battery and only recently announced a switch to Lithium-ion on future models.

    Nixon – good explanation. An additional benefit of 6-speeds over 2,3 or 4 speeds is the prevention of over-speeding and damaging the motor during downshifts… i.e. smaller speed steps to move the motor through as well as a tighter speed control to maximize POWER and efficiency over a diverse set of driving conditions (hills, descents, high speed, low speed, etc, etc…). What is important on all motorcycles is torque at the rear wheel, not at the motor output shaft. Torque is multiplied through the gearbox and final gearing (or just final gearing in the absence of a gearbox). I’ll stop myself continuing further and just say stay tuned and keep an open mind…

  23. Mark says:

    @Nixon

    I agree with your description of the benefits of a gearbox in theory, but the benefits are largely theoretical when applied to an electric motor that is properly sized.
    This is similar to arguing the benefits of a 6 speed transmission vs. a 7 or 8 speed on a gas engine. Yes, there is an advantage, but not enough to justify the added weight, space and complexity.

    A properly designed 100HP electric motorcycle motor system will produce enough torque at low RPM to smoke the rear tire, and still rev high enough to provide decent top speed. Yes a gearbox can allow you to smoke the tire even more, and provide even higher top speed, but you reach a point of diminishing return.

    Brammo would be much better off working on a more powerful motor/battery setup.

  24. I seem to have been misunderstood… I wasnt saying electric bikes like the Empulse are the answer for everyone. As I stated in my previous post “Now the Empulse isnt for everyone”, it really depends on your situation, and personal preference. Sure my commute itself wont rack up that many miles… but still, somehow I manage to put 4k miles a year on 2 wheels. That’s 5 years to 20k as in the example I posted. I put more than that on my first sportbike, a 2001 Honda F4i. In any case, im just presenting MY case from the economical point of view… Either way the Empulse should be a whole lot of fun, and that’s what its really all about right?

    On the subject of battery concerns, the LI chemistry is proven and battery will probably outlive the bike in most cases. Even at a conservative 1000 charge cycles the Empulse will have 60-100k miles on it, and that’s to 80% capacity, so really the battery replacement is a non-issue, im not sure why it tends to be brought up as a big concern.

  25. Westward says:

    @protomech

    I stand corrected, regarding the issue of battery type the Prius uses.

    As for the 18 miles round trip, that is EmpulseBuyers commute, as he/she stated. I personally would ride my bicycle every day to work if that were my commute. I think I could make that 9 mile run in less than 20 minutes. 40 minutes total round trip, the best fitness regiment going, better than a membership at 24Fitness…

    The estimates I threw out, factors in holiday, sick, and vacations days. No one works 5 days a week straight throughout the entire year, especially teachers, and most government employees. I know people in the private sector that work 4 days – 10 hours, or 3 days – 13 hour schedules…

    The choice of the SV650 produced the desirable price of $6000. Any reasonably savvy shopper would wait till clearance to purchase most high priced items (hence black friday and the day after Christmas), and an SV650, plus tax, and fees, should be well under $6000. Also, it roughly equals the cost of a Honda 250r w/ ABS, or a Kawasaki 250r too.

    As for the Empulse 1o, it’s the closest model electric Brammo makes, that even compares to an ICE bike. The other models may as well compete with scooters (which btw, are getting overpriced themselves)…

    Don’t get me wrong, I want an electric motorbike, but within cost value reason…

    My problem with most manufacturers, not just motorcycle companies, is the mentality of moving to the future using ideas of the past, instead of looking towards the future by revolutionizing ideas of the present or near future.

    Simple example, ever wonder why Mac computers never came with a Blu-Ray drive, even though they had an influence in it’s becoming the dominate HD media… Because Job’s realised it was a media that will fade away like everything before it. In short, the Cloud, downloading is the way, just look at Netflix… In fact Apples new machines will be more like the Macbook Air, sans optical drive entirely, only to become an optional piece of hardware, an accessory if needed…

    I personally would like to see Brammo use belts like the Buell instead of chains, Zero I think moved that way, and their recharge capability is 3 times faster… I too am not sure there is a need for a 6 speed gearbox, maybe 3 is enough…

  26. Westward – Sorry to keep calling you out, but where did you get the impression that Zero is capable of 3 times the charge rate of the Brammo Empulse? This is also not correct.

    I’m sorry that we cannot yet build an electric motorcycle that meets your requirements of being competitive on performance and cost with Japanese entry level motorcycles (Suzuki SV650 and Honda CBR 250R) while also “revolutionizing ideas of the present or near future”. I look forward to the day our products can meet your needs as well. Thanks for your patience!

  27. Westward says:

    @ BrammoBrian

    * info listed under specifications on their website…

    ZERO S

    Quick 4x charger time (accessory) ZF6 = 1.8 hours (100% charged) / 1.3 hours (95% charged)

    Quick 4x charger time (accessory) ZF9 = 2.4 hours (100% charged) / 2.0 hours (95% charged)

    Brammo Empulse lists charge times of 6-10 hours for full capacity depending on the model… Now that I revisit Brammo’s website, I see that the batteries are Lithium Ion (that may not have always been the case), and currently only the Engage shows that they are swappable.

    Brammo states, “The 2012 Engage MX has a 6 speed IET ™ transmission and swappable battery packs for hours of fun in dirt. ”

    Why not the Empulse too?

    My desire for belts over chains is more of a maintenance issue. I don’t recall anyone with a Buell ever complaining about the belts. However, I have had my own issues with chains… I would also think it somewhat more practical in regards to electric bikes.

    I am currently reading the Walter Isaacson bio of Steve jobs. One can’t help but come away with the impression that the man just wanted to create highly functional technological works of art, that was easy to use, and relatively affordable. Products that would change the world.

    We are also reminded in the book of Adam Osborne, who created the first portable computer back in 1981. Who is now probably best known for effectively stating “adequacy is sufficient performance”…

    Apple doesn’t do adequate… And that probably has spoiled some of us… I am a consumer that likes form and function, that is why I like my Apple products, Toyota Prius (2011), and both Ducati’s…

    When I first heard about the Brammo Empulse last year, I asked you guys about the batteries and hot swappable capability. At the time, I was told they were not Lithium Ion, and that NO, it is not possible to easily swap out the batteries (I also recall the individual being rude and condescending, when they said it, but limited my thinking to the attitude being that person and not the company as a whole).

    To be honest, nothing in the Zero line up is nearly as attractive as the Empulse. I prefer naked to fairings, but I also know I am in a minority on that opinion, at least in the US…

  28. Westward – The Zero 4x charger accessory requires you to purchase 3 additional off-board chargers and plug them in to 3 seperately fused household circuits. I don’t believe (personally) that this is a reasonable expectation for an owner. The charge time is also related to capacity of the battery – the smaller the battery, the less the charge time. The 2012 Empulse will incorporate a J1772 charging outlet which will allow for both Level 1 (120Vac household) and Level 2 (220Vac single phase)charging. The charge time on Level 2 will be approximately 3.5 hours. Zero’s charge time is less because they have less battery capacity.

    I stand by our statement that it is not possible to easily swap out a 120+ lbs battery integrated mechanically into a vehicle chassis and electrically into the vehicle electronics on an on-road EV capable of good range and performance. Please note that this concept has also not worked out for any of the automotive OEMs building road-worthy EVs. The Engage is a different story as the battery pack is much smaller and weighs in around 40lbs. The expectations on where and how long you ride are also very different on this product. I’m sorry you viewed this explanation as rude and condescending, that most certainly was not our intent. If you’d like to discuss any of this further or in more detail, please email me directly at: bwismann@brammo.com.

    Apple’s products may make no compromises, but they are also not as cheap as their competitors. You pay for that “added brand value”. The iPhone, for example, is both expensive and heavily subsidized by the plan carriers. Go try to buy one without a plan. Point is – you can’t have the highest tech, highest quality AT the lowest cost. This is where the distinction between auto brands lies – where on that “value” line do you fall?

    I share similar affinities with you to products that carry a high degree of quality and brand value. I also prefer the “naked” look for a street bike, but yes – it’s not a view widely shared in the US.

  29. Nixon says:

    I like naked…

  30. Westward says:

    Here is what I don’t understand.

    Component wise, there is not much difference between a Honda & Kawasaki 250r, and a Zero S. Yet, because the Zero is electric somehow it warrants a price tag 3x the honda & Kawi. My question is why ? The electric motor on the Zero is not too overly sophisticated, and the batteries can’t really cost over $6000…

    As for the Brammo Empluse, other than Brembo Brakes. What really warrants the price tag to compete in Ducati 848 territory, over the Kawasaki 650? I have seen the swing arm on the Empulse, It looks like a high school metal shop project. No electric production bike has a proven chassis of any kind.

    Ducati has earned the reputation in the motorcycle industry to warrant it’s price tag. the engineering and the pedigree calls for it. When you buy a Ducati, you know what you are getting. Be it the trellis frame, or the new Panigale design, the Desmo engine, etc. etc.

    The Japanese SuperSport bikes are the same way. That is why they have the various classes of bike. Like the R6 vs. the FZ and X-J series.

    Yet, Electrics jump into the market an immediately demand premium bike prices, even with inherent convenience limitations…

    Electric motor and batteries aside, when I look at an electric bike, all I see is a Kawasaki 250, or an SV650 without the ICE engine…

    But in truth, it’s more along the lines of electric versions of a Hyosang or Zongshen motorcycles, rather than Ducati or Yamaha or Honda Supersport bikes.

    Should not electric companies earn a reputation first? When Toyota, Honda and Nissan entered the US Auto market, they did not charge the same amount as established brands. Even, Hyundai and KIA don’t command Honda and Toyota prices yet…

    I just don’t see how any Electric company can jump into the motorcycle market and expect Ducati retail consideration…

    Again, the motor and batteries are not a good enough excuse, and I consider myself a proponent of Electric bikes with no particular love for petrol…

  31. If you want to do napkin math on battery costs, figure $1000/kWh.

  32. Westward, Brammo has plenty of racing experience and has a proven track record. They were the TTXGP North American champions last year, on the Empulse RR no less. Yes, the Empulse is race proven, and they certainly arent “jumping” in to the market, especially considering the delays due to refining the original design. I think they have earned there rep more than anyone in the electric motorcycle business.

    Im not sure why you have such a hard time grasping the concept of an electric motorcycle like the Empulse. Comparing the Empulse to the 848 just doesnt make any sense (other than they both use components from Brembo and Marzocchi)… if its so simple to produce an electric bike that could compete with the 848 in performance and price, why hasnt Ducati (or any other mfg for that matter) done so yet? On another point, which bike do you think will turn more heads? Im certainly not hating on Ducati (BTW the Panigale is just insane sick) I had a 749 before I got my GSXR750, and im ready for something different, yet familiar. The Empulse just fits the bill for me, and im sure im not alone.

    As far as the price goes, 10-14k seems very competitive to me considering other electric bikes, but ultimately the market will decide if 14k is a fair price for the Empulse.

    In the end, I think a lot of people have been waiting for a product like the Empulse, and its finally almost here…

  33. Nixon says:

    Westward — Brammo has actually been making motorcycles for a number of years now, and has already gained a very good reputation for their lower-speed, lower-range commuter e-moto’s. They aren’t just jumping in the water for the first time with the Empulse. They are growing out of success to bigger and better and taking what they have already sold to the public to a higher level. I’m not sure you can judge what the final product will be based upon just a rough looking swing-arm on the prototype. That might not be the final part that goes into production.

    With that said, it is definitely a leap of faith to buy a brand new bike from a relatively new company. For me, that’s part of the thrill of getting the Empulse. I’ve been through so many UJM’s and UEM’s (universal European motorcycles–seriously, they are all getting to be the same) that I’m ready for something completely different.

    I won’t be riding just the latest model year with a few tweaks over last year, of a bike that’s been around forever. Another model year of the same Japanese track-ready bike just doesn’t excite me anymore. I’ll be riding something most folks will have never seen before, and I’ll be riding it first, before most folks. That’s worth a bit of extra $$$ for me personally. Other folks probably could care less about that, and won’t pay a single penny extra. They will have to wait until prices on new technology comes down, just like a lot of folks waited for home computers, cell phones, LCD TV’s, etc to become mainstream before it made sense for them.

    There is nothing wrong with waiting until something is mainstream before buying it, some people don’t want to be pioneers and would rather play it as safe as possible. But hopefully you can at least see where folks like me would be willing to take the leap of faith in return for being able to be a pioneer in the e-moto world long before it becomes just mainstream.

  34. Westward says:

    I am a firm believer that the market place will determine fair price. But the Electric Manufacturers are sort of realising that now. How long have they been hawking their wares, and how come there is not a boom in business? Marketing and pricing are the only obstacles I currently see preventing the electric market from evolving. Sure the technology is not where “I” want it to be, but I can feel it, like it’s a reach away in another room.

    What I don’t want to see, is like what happened to the electric car the first time. Here we are 8 years later, trying to introduce them again, when we could have been almost a decade into several generations of electric technology on a massive scale….

    It reminds me of the HP tablet, they could not sell them at $400, but when they were on clearance at $99 they were sold out. Ever see a movie called the Hudsucker Proxy? It’s hilarious, I recommend it…

    It’s going to suck when Honda and Polaris etc. jump into the waters with similar or better performance for less, and the small companies fade. I would rather Brammo and Zero be able to go toe to toe with the Giants to maintain variety in the market, rather than variety coming from a single source like Honda.

    @ Nixon,

    I can definitely see where a person alike you is coming from, but the reality is there are not enough of you, It’s not like you are buying the first iPad. Not many are willing to fork $10-13000 for the experience or being first on the block. Realistically I hope you can see where I’m coming from… The bottom line is, would Brammo rather sell a few hundred bikes to people like you for over $10,000, or would they rather sell thousands or tens of thousands to people willing to pay $7000.

    Here’s a question, how many Enertia’s, Enertia Plus’s, etc. do you think they have sold to date, It would be interesting to know the real answer ?

    I would love it, if Brammo was the market leader in electrics, even when the Giants enter the fray, but I doubt that will be the case, though one can hope…

  35. I have owned a Brammo Enertia electric motorcycle for almost 2 years. One thing to take heed to is this. In my experience the bike has not been perfect. However tis is a first generation product that evolved very quickly. To go along with that the customer service I have received from Brammo has been bar none the best. Having personal experience with many OEM motorcycle manufactures I can tell you the support exceeds even them.

    I am very excited about the Empulse. And the “news” of a J1772 port is even better! Only time will tell if the addition of the IET technology was worth the added weight/wait!

    All the best,
    Aaron Lephart

  36. David says:

    Great news regarding the J1772 charging on the Empulse. It makes sense to take advantage of the new infrastructure going up all around the country.

    I would like to point out to some of the EV skeptics that CONVENIENCE is a huge factor in purchasing an EV. After riding an electric motorcycle for almost four years it seems so strange to pull into a gas station (I needed air in my tire once). It seems even more strange to pull into a repair shop (I needed new tires mounted). Most of the time I just park in the garage, plug-in, and forget about it until it’s time to go somewhere. You may say that I paid more for the electric bike than I should have, compared to an equivalent gas bike… but I say the convenience is worth it! I NEVER hop on my bike and then realize that I really have to hurry on the way to work because my tank is on empty and I have to get gas on the way!

    Along with the convenience of owning an EV is the cost savings. I have almost 13,000 miles on my bike. At over $3/gallon (assuming, for comparison, 4o MPG), I have SAVED over $1,000 in fuel costs (and more when gas prices go up), not to mention oil changes, tune-ups, etc. What other type of vehicle actually SAVES money as you drive/ride it?

    With a 100-mile range the Empulse will be an even more practical bike (mine has a range of about 50 miles) – so I’ll put more miles/year on it and save even more money.

  37. I watched the video it seems to me that the system installed on empulse is very similar to that of Engage. The engine should be larger for the double power?

  38. Westward says:

    Here is an article about electric cars. What I find equally interesting are the comments minus a few ignorant ones…

    http://autos.yahoo.com/news/electric-cars-cost-less-per-mile-to-operate.html