Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

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.

Ride Review: Mission Motors Mission R

08/02/2012 @ 2:50 pm, by Jensen Beeler39 COMMENTS

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How do you begin to talk about riding the Mission Motors Mission R electric superbike? Without question, this machine is unlike anything else. It is drop-dead sexy in that completely unobtainable sort of way, it has more neck-snapping torque than a 1000cc sport bike, and it is electric…just like your toaster oven.

I suppose we could frame our discussion about the Mission R in the same tone that we would talk about other ultra-exclusive motorcycles, like for instance the Moto2-only Bimota HB4 or the connoisseur’s NCR M4 ONE SHOT. That kind of analysis would in essence read more like an art critique, since the closest any real motorcyclist would get to one these bikes is via a computer screen (perhaps the pages of a magazine, if that is your thing) or on display at some sort of public event, no doubt inside a corral of faux-velvet ropes. In that case, I could wax-on some of the best hyperbole possible, building the dream of riding such fantasy machine as far as possible. After all, the Mission R at the moment is complete unobtainium, and that only serves to fuel our product-lust further.

Just as equally, we could have a nitty-gritty discussion about the weights and measures of the Mission R. We could explore every technical detail that Mission Motors has available, and extrapolate everything else that the San Franciscan company would rather not disclose to the general public. We could talk lap times, lean angles, and wheelies per second. At its heart, Asphalt & Rubber is sport bike blog, and sport bikers are a very metric driven group. How much power does it have? And how much does it weigh? Ok, and maybe there should be an inquiry into the chances of the bike getting you laid on a Friday night. That being said, the only real metric you need to know is that in the hands of Steve Rapp, the Mission R could give any AMA Supersport rider and machine a serious run for their money at Laguna Seca, for about eight laps.

Simply the best electric motorcycle with a license plate, I suppose when pressed we could talk about the future of motorcycling, how electrics are coming of age, and how the Mission R is the embodiment of what performance parity looks like in a two-wheeled electric vehicle. Make like the Pope, get out the holy water, and let us convert some petrol-loving heathens, right? I think there is about as much of a Mormons-on-your-doorstop chance in hell of convincing any internal-combustion riding motorcyclist to see the light when it comes to electrons being the fuel of the future, so why don’t we just spare ourselves that sermon as well. So where does that leave us?

Instead, let us play an exercise in mental cognition. Close your eyes and imagine your ideal motorcycle. The design is fresh and edgy, but also refined and timeless. The motorcycle has all the right go-fast parts and brands: Öhlins WSBK-spec suspension, Brembo beryllium brake calipers, 10-spoke Marchesini forged-magnesium wheels, custom carbon fiber bodywork, and a bevy of other top-shelf components and accents. On the dynamometer, the torque curve on this mythical machine is shaped like a plateau, and the power comes on immediately, but is still smooth and linear. The motor has no flat spots, and there are no pits or falls on its dyno graph; and best of all, at the end of the day, this exercise in fantasy packs twice as much torque as your typical liter-bike. The cost for a day’s worth of fuel? About one dollar.

Hold all these elements in your mind for a moment, and then open your eyes. The motorcycle I just described to you is the Mission R pictured in the photo at the top of this article, and recently we had the chance to ride the pride of Mission Motors through the streets of San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge to Mt. Tamalpais, and out past Stinson Beach & Bolinas Bay, before eventually returning home along the cliffs of the Pacific Coast Highway. Click past the jump for our account about riding San Francisco’s motorcycle playground on the Mission R electric superbike.

The Streets of San Francisco

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Riding the Mission R on the city streets of San Francisco, we begin our day near downtown, where the Mission Motors office resides. Just missing peak rush hour traffic, downtown San Francisco is still a bustling place at 10am, especially when it comes to the pedestrian foot-traffic that is comprised of office zombies, who are scavenging the terrain for their next caffeine fix. Normally I would bomb through these roads on my daily-rider, a Ducati Streetfighter, whose excessively loud exhaust note can just barely be heard over its even more excessively loud dry clutch.

The Streetfighter makes an impression as you ride it, though not always the one you want to have made, especially when my mother or the CHP is involved. The foot traffic runs for cover when the big-displacement v-twin comes barreling through town — I imagine the scene is vaguely similar to the sight of a WWI dive-bombing biplane, whose radial motors meant death from above for the soldiers below. That is hyperbole of course, but the picture is a stark contrast to today’s scene. Like the Ducati, the Mission R is striking, and visually you would have a hard time finding fault with any of the bike’s many sexy lines, regardless of which side of the electric motorcycle debate you hail from.

However, riding the Mission R through the bustling city streets of San Francisco, a different war cliché comes to mind: walking through a minefield. A larger issue with electrics in general, the relatively quiet nature of the Mission R, coupled with the Palovian idea that motorcycles make sounds (often very loud ones), and suddenly every intersection becomes a game of second-guessing the pedestrian. Right-hand turns through a crosswalk? You are pretty much guaranteed to startle an unsuspecting biped whose cranium is churning away on a life trapped inside its nine-to-five cubical-clad world.

At 550 lbs in curb weight, the heft of the Mission R can be felt when walking the bike around the shop, or traveling at low-speeds, so it was readily apparently as we scooted around the city for our first photo shoot (Scott Jones swinging a lens, like a boss). However with no crankshaft, camshaft, transmission, and other mechanical parts rotating at thousands of rounds per minute (besides the rotor inside the motor itself, of course), the force required to flick the Mission R from side-to-side at higher speeds becomes far less than you would think given that massive weight figure. So at speed, the Mission R gives the appearance of a bike that weighs the same as any other sport bike, though its internal-combustion equivalents tout nearly 75-100 lbs less left in curb weight — more on that later, of course.

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There is an element of riding an electric motorcycle that really needs to be witnessed first-hand in order to be fully appreciated, especially when the electric motorcycle in question is one like the Mission R, i.e. one that has some serious power available for the twist of your wrist. These bikes shine at lower speeds, where throttle control is king. Sans a clutch to feather, and an instant amount of teeth-grinning torque, one begins to relish stop-and-go traffic, especially when it involves tight cornering obstacles. Think for a minute, how often does someone say that?

The experience is a welcomed diversion from the usual clutch-clutching endeavor that San Franciscan traffic can become, and the only real complaint I have about the Mission R in this regard is the lack of hand clearance when the motorcycle’s handlebars are at full-lock. Perhaps an oversight by Tim Prentice at Motonium, or a trade-off to keep some of the Mission R’s visual lines intact, you only have to pinch a finger a couple of times before you start coming up with some creative hand positions — especially when you are reenacting an scene from Austin Powers, which happens far too often, as the Mission R’s turning radius leaves something to be desired as well.

These are of course trivial complaints, which you barely spend time thinking about. In fact, while on the bike you spend more time contemplating its strengths, as invariably people vie for your attention with a bevy of questions that they shout at you from their car windows. Unsurprisingly, San Francisco is a savvy crowd when it comes to the EV scene, with one looky-loo even taking the time to ask me about Mission’s current state of funding. California, you crack me up sometimes.

It would be unfair to say that the Mission R is at home in an urban environment. Despite the company using the electric superbike as its resident grocery-getter, the Mission R was designed with one purpose in mind: kicking ass and taking names on the track…and it shines in that regard. That being said, as expected the electric drivetrain on the Mission R makes for a fairly enjoyable ride, even when you have traded apexes for potholes. Mission would want to refine the steering components, and maybe provide a more comfortable seat, if it ever made another unit besides the one we were riding. But considering that most sport bikes are like fish out of water when it comes to around-town riding, we feel comfortable with the trade-offs that Mission Motors made here with the Mission R.

Highway 101

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Devoting 20% of our 14 kWh battery charge to our time downtown, which included several photo stops, the “proper” portion of our ride commenced as we headed out of the city and merged onto the Golden Gate Bridge. Once past our iconic 45 mph tourist trap, we charged through the highway traffic. Officer, I am not saying that we broke the speed limit at this point in our journey, but the motor response from 65 mph and onward was palpable, to say the least. This is where the Mission R’s 163 hp figure for the motor is a bit misleading, as it is the 133 lbs•ft of torque @ 6,400 rpm’s that really gets your attention as you twist the throttle.

With great power comes great responsibility, and when you put that powertrain package together with a single-speed gearbox, passing slower-moving vehicles really does become just as easy as moving your wrist.This in turn also means that the ability to break a plethora of California Vehicle Codes is an equally effortless task. While my license is safe for another day, I cannot underline more the shocking amount of torque that the Mission R produces as your ride it. The machine is entirely capable of lifting the front of its mass off the ground, as well as slamming your ass against the back of its monoposto seat…all from a 70 mph roll-on.

This concept underlines how when it comes to electric motorcycles, the vernacular for spec-sheet racing will have to change with the times. In the horsepower obsessed world of sport bikes, we rarely look at a bike’s peak torque figure, let alone at what rpm that metric is produced. Just the same, we put a tremendous amount of weight (no pun intended) on the dry/curb weights of these machines, with nary a thought given to the weight figures of the rotating mass involved.

The instant and linear torque of an electric motorcycle is certain to change our thoughts about how we measure the potency of the motorcycles of the future, just as less emphasis should be placed on an electric motorcycle’s curb weight, at least in regard to an apples-to-apples comparison with internal-combustion motorcycles (more like apples-to-pears if you ask us). All it takes to highlight this coming change in perception is a quick ride up the highway on the Mission R.

The electric engine has virtually no meaningful rotating mass at its core (the wheels, tires, and chain are the Mission R’s most cumbersome rotating pieces of mass, from a physics point-of-view), so the force necessary to overcome the bike’s moment of inertia is considerably less than what would be required on a traditional internal-combustion machines. This means changing directions, both in large maneuvers like a chicane, or in short maneuvers, like a line adjustment, are relatively effortless endeavors.

Mt. Tamalpais & the Pacific Coast Highway

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Getting off the freeway, I witnessed this phenomenon first-hand as we got into the switchback route up Mt. Tam. The advantages of a motorcycle that is sans flywheel, crankshaft, camshafts, and transmission becomes readily apparent here, and it is hard for our sport bike brains to wrap around the idea that a 550 lbs motorcycle can be flickable in slow first & second gear turns. Yet, the Mission R feels barely heavier, if even at all, than any liter bike I have ever taken across these roads.

Adding to the enjoyment is again the flawlessly smooth throttle response that electric motorcycles provide, which means you carve each corner with a single hand, and with a level of precision you did not think was possible. I am sadly not equipped to truly do this experience justice in words, but every sport biker should be afforded the chance to rail a road on an electric motorcycle, especially one that is this well-refined and well-endowed.

Ultimately, it is the “seeing is believing” moment that bikes like the Mission R provide that will sway the die-hards. Take them down their favorite twisty road, and watch them go quicker with less effort than ever before, and the pithy discussions about baseball cards in the spokes will cease, I assure you. For that same reason then, it is important to remember that the conversation about electrics, especially for the hold-outs in the motorcycle industry, should not center saving the manatees, or some argument that is equally obtuse. Instead, the discussion should center around a better motorcycle.

Reaching the summit of Mt. Tamalpais, we could see that the fog was whisking over the coast below us. The descent into the clouds again highlights that the Mission R is a better motorcycle. The roads here are tight, mostly blind, and can have some challenges with adhesion (both from tarmac conditions and fallen rocks). If I had to pick a weapon of choice for these “first-gear” turns, I would probably opt for the much lighter BRD RedShift SM that I tested in Sonoma earlier this year, instead of the Mission R, but of course I would regret that decision once I got to the bottom of the mountain, where the turns in the road open up again.

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The takeaway from that thought process though is that again it is that a well-built electric drivetrain wins out over an internal combustion one when it comes to technical turns, and riding the Mission R is an infinitely more enjoyable motorcycle on these somewhat technical curves, especially when compared to my much lighter, but evermore cumbersome Ducati.

Passing again through the fog, and coming into Stinson Beach. We briefly tackled the freshly paved stretch of road along the Bolinas Lagoon. It is only a few miles in length, but the turns are roughly twice as fast as the ones on Mt. Tam, with the fresh asphalt begging to be ridden hard. The Mission R abides.

My favorite stretch of road in the Bay Area, the water to the west is a welcomed sight and change from the clouds on Mt. Tam, whose condition I was less-than-confident about, and have far less experience riding on. Getting now another chance to crack the throttle, the short straights here become even shorter than before, though it is not an issue. The Mission R is very neutral on its turn-in, not diving into the turn like a short-raked R6, but also not understeering with Italian vagueness like my Streetfighter.

The feeling from the bike is very planted, and course adjustments mid-apex are easily achieved. With each turn, the bike becomes even more confidence inspiring, and it doesn’t take long for the voice in the back of your head to remind you that this isn’t the race track, and getting a knee down isn’t the order of the day. Unlike the electrics that are currently on the market, the Mission R rides with a substantial amount of regenerative-breaking programed into the machine. This setting is of course adjustable, but for our purposes enough re-gen was programmed into the Mission R as to simulate a four-stroke machine of comparable size.

The effect not only serves to liken the Mission R to its gas-breathing brethren, but also puts some extra energy back into the battery pack. Mission told me before we set off that allowing the bike to re-gen would trigger the rear brake light, a safety precaution that struck me as a bit strange. It would be one thing if electric motorcycles relied entirely, or at least predominantly, on the regenerative-braking to slow the machine, but in this case, where the effect is similar to coasting, it doesn’t make as much sense. Safety first we suppose, though for my tastes I could have done with a bit more drag from the rear of the bike. Of course, the holy grail is still a proper front-wheel re-gen system, but don’t hold you breath for too long on that one.

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Later down the road, we would come to find out that we needed everyone of those electrons we produced coming down Mt. Tam, and while braking for each corner. Coming to our lunch spot in Stinson Beach, the café we were eating at informed us that their outside plug had been removed, thus eliminating our chance for an hour’s worth of charging. With roughly a quarter charge left on the Mission R, some guerrilla math indicated that we wouldn’t be able to make it back into the city, that is assuming that I continued to abuse the Mission R with my heavy-handed throttle use (our photo sessions probably didn’t help either). With a fun section of the PCH still between us and San Francisco, we decided to ride hard and pack the bike up in the truck when it ran out of gas, rather than scoot around at a more modest, but uninspiring pace.

Though I am sure the Mission Motors crew would rather not have the fact that the Mission R ultimately ran out of battery at the start of the Golden Gate Bridge, I am glad that we choose our plan to continue riding hard along the coast. The stretch of road between Stinson Beach and Muir Woods has a considerable amount of elevation, and several of its sections have some serious ruts, where the road continues to try and dump itself into the Pacific Ocean.

Slaloming through Prius after Prius, the PCH gave a testament to James Parker’s chassis. The feedback from the Mission R, again, was crisp and confidence inspiring, even as we ascended and descended through the winding road. Sure-footed over the bumps, the Mission R gave nary a twitch as I pointed it into the nastiest of PCH’s ruts. Just as the lack of rotating mass on the Mission R helps it shed the appearance of weight in the corners, that same lack of mass could have proven a disadvantage in stabilizing the Mission R over this uneven terrain, but Parker’s work easily rose to the challenge.

Coming to the final ascent from the coast, and we invariably got stuck behind an inconsiderate motorist. Trolling along at 15 mph through turns that you cannot see through, this is probably the only time I wish the Mission R had a guttural bark from its non-existent exhaust. Maybe that would have snapped our moseying motorist into letting us by, instead of turn-after-turn being wasted behind the SUV. Finally breaking free, we had only a short route to the freeway, and back into city life.

With the Mission R just about ready to call it a day, one quick wide-open throttle blast up Hwy 101 was enough to reconfirm the existence of the power I had been tempering on the climb earlier behind the SUV. I don’t think I have ever been surprised by the response of a bike quite like this before, but as the 133 lbs•ft of torque hooked up with Californian highway, I was jolted back into the seat, with my hands hanging onto the clip-ons of the Mission R for dear life. It is nice when a motorcycle surprises you like that.

Final Thoughts

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Our trip was just over 50 miles in length for the day, which is not a terribly long jaunt. Even if we had made the round-trip journey from the Mission Motors HQ (something that would have likely been doable, had we not made several detours, and looked a bit harder for a re-charge during lunch), our total trip would have been just a shade under 70 miles. Here of course is the Achilles heel of electric motorcycles, and while battery technology continues to improve, it still is the limiting factor for bikes like the Mission R. The motor, controller, and software is all there, but the batteries and the range they provide are still limiting enough that complete usage parity with gas-powered bikes is still lacking.

For some, this makes exercises like the Mission R a bit of a moot point, but there is an ample amount of evidence to prove that train of thought to be incorrect. Battery energy density continues to improve, even on the consumer side of things, I think we will see much larger packs from electric motorcycle manufacturers in 2012 and 2013; and with that, the viability curve for electric motorcycles will approach a more acceptable zenith.

If I said I hated the current offering of electric motorcycles available for purchase, I might be using kind words. However, it is important to realize that despite the failures that are currently on the market, the initial idea, a motorcycle that runs off electricity, is ultimately a very good one. The work being done at Mission Motors embodies the sophistication necessary to build a motorcycle that will appeal to even the most hardened two-wheel fan — the Mission R is proof of this.

The downside of course is that the Mission R is not for sale, even for Hollywood movie stars. In its current state, if it was available, you would not even be able to afford the Mission R, not with all its premium parts still on it at least. Even in a stripped down state, the bike would command a pretty penny…and then there is the whole dealer network, customer support, financing, etc side of things, which is the main reason Mission Motors got out of the motorcycle business in the first place (much to our chagrin, by the way).

Still I know plenty of people who upon seeing the Mission R have had some serious issues sleeping at night, and for the select few who have ridden the Mission R, it is hard to get back on a conventional motorcycle, and suddenly realize what is lacking from the experience. It is funny, for how much talk there is about how electric motorcycles will always lack the soul of a gas-powered motorcycle, the connection between rider and machine is surprisingly more entrenched on the Mission R than any other motorcycle I have ridden. Chew on that.

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Helmet: AGV Grid Agostin Replica; Pants: Dainese Alien; Gloves: Dainese 4-Stroke; Boots: Dainese Axial Pro In

Photos: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

Comment:

  1. MikeD says:

    Good looking bike…but not yet for me…{^_^}…now i’ll go back to my Cave and try to invent what u modern people call ” The Wheel”.

  2. Spektre76 says:

    HOW MUCH FOR THIS PIECE OF ROLLING ART?

  3. smoke says:

    Using Scott Jones for a photo shoot -isn’t that cheating?

  4. I need all the help I can get, and besides, who wouldn’t want to spend some QT with Scott Jones??!

  5. Bob Krzeszkiewicz says:

    The best looking and best performing e-bike out there.

  6. Doug says:

    Nice write-up.
    This bike changed my outlook on electrics the moment I saw it in person at Laguna last year. Every other electric fundamentally pales in comparison, aesthetically (incl. Czysz E1). This is a serious issue since electrics need that desirable element now more than ever. Consumers need sexy styling to quiet the voices of low battery charge & long re-charge times enough to make them purchase one this year. Electric OEMs will then turn that revenue into further development.

    The connection the bike made with the rider due to torque and lack of internal inertia is good to read….

    I recently wrote a piece that touched on this:

    “In the horsepower obsessed world of sport bikes, we rarely look at a bike’s peak torque figure..”

    Ironically, it includes a power plant that many of your readers will shoot down as unsuitable for a sport bike.

  7. anti says:

    Battery and motor technology has come a long way, just a new evolution of either and we’ll be in the ball park. Electric bikes will definitely be faster, better performing than ICE, it’s just a matter of time.

    Out of interest, would the WSBK forks be heavier than regular Ohlins R&T set-up?

  8. Damo says:

    I love the looks. Commander Shepard would also approve I am sure.

  9. Ride Review: Mission Motors Mission R – http://t.co/OE3ubOIp #motorcycle

  10. sean in oz says:

    Curb weight is a huge factor for short riders like myself who are balancing a bike at stop on as little as one big toe. It doesnt matter how light the bike is when moving if im stuggling to balance a large weight at the tarffic lights. Its one of the reasons why Im still riding a sport bike instead of a naked or motard.

    Then there is still the fundfamental issue of recharging. I dont have a power point in the garage of my unit (apartment), let alone being able to charge anywwhere i go to ride.

    I really would love ebikes to be viable, however performance, looks etc are all irrelevent until the bike becomes a practical vehicle, rather an expensive toy you tow out to your favourite road, ride for an hour or two, then tow home.

  11. NickGr46 says:

    What about hydrogen cells?..
    An addition like this would keep it electric but also with a greater range.
    Anyway, electricity is gonna be the future even if we like it or not, so lets wish to have beautiful bikes like this one.

    p.s. nice article and photos :)

  12. JoeD says:

    I would consider one if the technology offers the range of the gasoline engine in a lighter package. The torque output is the dealmaker for now. I have talked for years about how HP is a sales tool. The only thing any engine “Makes” is torque. Engines are “Rated” for HP. Two engines making 40 lbft one at 4000 and the other at 5000 will have 30 hp and 38 hp ratings. With peanuts envy rampant, which one would sell?

  13. Pat Walker says:

    JoeD
    Two engines making 40 lbft one at 4000 and the other at 5000 will have 30 hp and 38 hp ratings. Which one would sell?
    .
    .

    Neither – not even a harley rider would be caught dead riding a bike with only 38 hp.

  14. David says:

    There is a big flaw in your per day cost per mile of fun of one dollar. You need to factor in the cost of a truck to either haul the bike or haul a generator for recharging during the ride. That will give an actual cost per mile. Of course, you might get better range if you turned off the battery draining headlight that was on in every pic.

    These bikes are just fancy POS for the Toyota Prius crowd to play with. Absolutely useless for everyday use.

    I find the new Honda PCX150 to be much more exciting and practical then the Misson R, now that’s sad.
    At a MSRP of 3449.00 and 102 MPG and a top speed of 70, the Mission R pales in comparison.

    Until battery technology improves, you are just wasting your time reviewing this Mission R junk.

  15. anders eliasson says:

    Very nicely put together, and utterly useless for almost all of ‘us’ …

  16. protomech says:

    David:

    Left alone, the bike can power a standard 55W lamp for about 10 days. I don’t think leaving it on for a half hour while taking photos affects range much. Knowing Mission, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was an LED lamp .. which could be powered for a month or two.

    To each their own. I’m happy you’re excited about the PCX150.

    “Absolutely useless for everyday use” will vary from person to person. I ride my Zero every day. 4500 miles in less than five months. It’s my commuter and short weekend (88 miles to visit mom) bike. Tell me again how useless it is.

  17. John says:

    Jensen, your point about the “connection” to the bike does not surprise me at all. With no reciprocating mass and the flat torque curve of an electric motor, the relationship between throttle position and actual driving torque at the rear contact patch is about as direct and linear as it can get. There is plenty of reason to believe that this relationship between throttle position and rear wheel torque is a huge part of the zen-like connection between rider and machine.

    This is just like the difference between a big-bang ICE vs an I-4 screamer, and why people tend to notice a difficult to pin down feeling of improved “connection” riding a big bang. There’s a lot of interesting evidence out there that points very strongly as to why this is the case: I-4 screamers at high RPM develop a large amount of “inertial noise” from the pistons and rods that is transferred to the crank and then to the rear wheel. Big bang/crossplane configurations significantly reduce that inertial noise, allowing for a more direct link between throttle position and rear wheel torque.

  18. Tyler says:

    Thank you for the great article Jensen. Even though I don’t know if I could ever love riding an electric.. time will tell. But I hope other alternatives are created, rather than using chemical-laden batteries which are no better for the environment than dumping petrol and fumes into it.

    Why can’t somebody do something with magnetics? Or water burning engines as some have developed…

    FYI – TYPO – “inside a coral (CORRAL) of faux-velvet”

  19. DareN says:

    Wow, JB – with that statement you may even be able to get those pesky ZERO people off your back!

  20. Kyle G says:

    Tyler over 98% of newer lithium batteries are recyclable. How much of that petrol can you recycle?
    I hardly doubt that their is as much pollution created to mine battery chemicals and build them into batteries as it is to search, drill, and refine petrol.

    I understand the concern, but everything we make/use (ie magnets, water, lithium, petrol) will require some harm to the environment. The most sustainable manufacturing and transportation solution will be the best.

    Great Article Jensen

  21. Michael says:

    why, why, why isnt there a plan to produce this bike? It sounds absolutely amazing

  22. JoeD says:

    The amount of torque was arrbtrary just as the rpm. There is a reason HD does not publish hp numbers-a 600cc sportbike has way more calculated HP but the big twin wins the torque prize. Watch some drag racing where the TF V twins annihalate the Busa Boys. Torque, not HP, is king. Torque X RPM/5252=HP is the formula used for my previous post.

  23. MR. X says:

    Nothing speaks to the freedom of Motorcycling like waiting for a recharge.

  24. Ryan says:

    Perfect article. Admit what we all know, highlight the things on this bike we will never get to experience, and don’t try to convince anyone of anything. That being said, the article did convince me. I think that riding this bike would be one of those opportunities that would be impossible to pass up on. Thanks.

  25. Webbiker says:

    Heavier, slower and more expensive than bikes we already have + sporting a useless range. Yet every other bike blog claim the future is here RIGHT now. Ooh la di dah. If Ducati came out with a new ICE bike thats 100 lbs heavier, goes slower than anything produced in the last ten years and could only go for 75 miles it would hailed as magnificent? maybe not eh? The source of power is IRRELEVANT when the contraption is not working properly as motorcycle.

  26. Gutterslob says:

    Seriously good looking bike.

    As people have already stated; Weight, charge times, reliability and range are the current limiting factors. Of course they’ll improve over time and possibly overtake ICE’ed rides. Just look at the RC car world.

  27. MikeD says:

    @Webbiker:

    Im not a Anti-Electrics Nazi…but +1.
    They MUST keep trying to get there…the ICE is not here on the current state of tune it is because manufactures wished upon a satr for a better ones.

  28. jack white says:

    zero must be shaking in their boots

  29. Doug says:

    @Webbiker

    sure, there are major gaps to be closed.

    Your comment “The source of power is IRRELEVANT when the contraption is not working properly as motorcycle.” misses a point about R&D equally in 2 ways..

    1. your ICE bike doesn’t function ‘properly’ in terms of reciprocating inertia impacting performance
    2. eBikes function better than ICE in terms of minimal reciprocating inertia impacting performance

  30. MikeD says:

    @Doug:

    I more less concur with your observations after watching one too many Rotary Powered Drag Racing Cars on YouTube (The Flying Dorito, funny…LMAO)…some one even went as far as calling our engines as RECIPROSAURUS…i felt so offended…lol.

  31. JawDroppin says:

    Internal Combustion or bust! LOL!!! :P

  32. “Shocking amount of torque” Jensen Beeler reviews the @MissionMotors Mission R: http://t.co/PsTPMR7v SHIP IT!

  33. Rolf says:

    Sounds ehrm. I mean doesn’t sound? Well you know, looks like a proper bike and the review really got me interested in trying it out. I like my noisy Speed Triple but who knows, maybe I can be convinced to go all electric.

    Awesome article and photos. Can’t wait to see what Mission puts on the market.

  34. Krylov says:

    Here is another thought on the desirability of motorcycles as the MMM-R:

    In Germany we have 229 inhabitants per square kilometer
    and by 2050 more than 50% will be older than 50 years.
    Pretty much the similar development all over Europe.

    Translates to: Densely populated, fast aging society: Soon the majority will
    consist of old farts.
    And quite a number of those has an annoying tendency towards
    intolerance w.r.t. anything that might disturb their life in their specific
    little corner of the universe…

    As an immediate side result to this development, noise emmissions of
    ICE motorcycle are becoming a more and more a point of public debate and
    even first attempts are made to put out severely restrictive legislation on this
    point. While heavily legislated (and law enfordced) already, there is always
    the 50 years old Harley-Davidson, which make noises as machines in their
    day and age did (and is still legally allowed to do so) or the superbike rider
    with his 4-in-1 exhaust sans baffles (not legal) and an “I-don’t-care”-
    attitude…
    The immediate Result: Where there are motorcycles (and many of those),
    there is, what is perceived by an seemingly ever growing majority, as
    “annoying noise by those motorcycling maniacs that should be outlawed”.

    In fact, chances are that a current unholy trend will continue: to close roads
    much frequented by motorcyclists on weekends or even permanently for exactly
    those. Alternatively to impose silly low speed limits only valid for motorcycles
    (but not for cars! Image e.g.a twisty road perfectly suitable for motorcycles
    at a 60++ mph pace, being restriced to a mind numbing “30mph limit”, enforced
    by police forces as if national security depended on it… Happens more and more
    often here in Germany.)
    This seems to become more and more of a problem for anyone who loves
    his/her two-wheeled activities.
    (Sadly, I am quite conveinced that the majority of these “noise emmission
    sensitive” would not mind much motorcyclists dying by the truckload in
    “driving too fast”-accidents, if they ever did so in silence…)

    For anyone that loves anything that has two wheels and a motor ,
    is not too picky about the specifics and wants to continue riding in future,
    I think that electric motorcycles might be just the solution for this
    development.

    I guess we have to replace the phrase “Loud pipes save lives”
    (which I always found hard to believe seeing how many heavily noise
    insulated cars populate the streets with blaring radio speakers and/or
    kids inside and/or their drivers listing to their iPod- or iPhone-headsets)
    by a phrase like:
    “Silent pipes save motorcycling”.

    So let us hope that increasing battery capacity soon will enable serious e-motorcycles
    before motorcycling is basically all but directly outlawed all over this place….

  35. ML says:

    Do they plan on selling this freaking thing or what?

  36. I’ve thought a lot about the electric bike and its ramifications. It seems that we’ve a huge conundrum: Keep riding ICE bikes and face the wrath of an increasingly intolerant public or move to e-bikes and the unknown consequences of hopping onto a potentially huge source of EMF between your legs. I’m concerned that we don’t yet know the issues around #2. Has anybody even measured the gauss coming off of one of these things with a magnetometer? ICE bikes have been measured to have up to a rev-dependent 500 milliGauss of ELF EMF at the seat area (many doctors raise cancer concerns involving 3 to 5 mG of exposure).

    If anybody has a magnetometer (also called a gaussmeter) and you have access to an e-bike, take a ride and a measurement and let us know what you find. I’d be delighted if you were to find my worries about the gauss readings on an e-bike are for naught.

  37. Paul McM says:

    Outstanding article. Nice work Jensen. I used to live in Mill Valley, just below Mt. Tam, and I know most of these roads well.

    Hopefully the eBike makers will consider swappable battery packs. If they were standardized, you could do an exchange at a roadside stop and pick up “50 miles range to go”.

    I love the no-gearbox, huge torque appeal, and for many riders, 50 mile range is plenty for weekdays. But for week-end use, I’m guessing some kind of hybrid with energy recovery is in order. I can envision guys in leathers sitting at the cafe with a small diesel ICE roaring away at 6000 rpm putting juice back into the bike, while they take a break. There are also ways wind pressure could be used to put energy back into the system during braking and deceleration.

  38. Is this the electric bike that could persuade the petrolhead holdouts? @Asphalt_Rubber on the Mission R http://t.co/kZvEQnGA