Up-Close with the Brammo Empulse RR

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Although it didn’t take part in the e-Power electric race at Laguna Seca, the Brammo Empulse RR was on display in the Brammo pit area during the weekend, and we got a chance to lay our hands on the bike for the first time. Based off the Brammo Empulse street bike, the Empulse RR comes packed with 12.5 kWh of battery power (same as the MotoCzysz E1pc), which according to Brammo makes it the best bike in the paddock in terms of power-to-weight ratios.

Coming together in just eight weeks, the Brammo Empulse RR still has some kinks to iron out, as the bike apparently cooked off its liquid-cooled motor during testing. While the Brammo team figures out its foray into liquid-cooled electric motors (the Brammo Enertia uses an air-cooled motor), the rest of the Empulse RR package looks very promising.

Up-close the Empulse RR is just as striking as the Empulse street bike, with an obviously more performance-oriented attitude. The most striking addition is the full race fairing, which Brammo’s Director of Product Development Brian Wismann says could be an option to Empulse owners if there’s enough interest. There is also some hinting as to the possibility of there being an Empulse spec-racing class, but we’ll have to wait and see on that development.

The addition of a performance-oriented machine into the Brammo line is a crucial event for Brammo. “As we expand our product line, it also gets easier for us because not everybody is looking for the Enertia to be everything to everybody,” explained Wismann. “Now people can see it for its intended purpose.” That purpose of course is an around town commuter, ideal for urban situations; whereas the Empulse will service riders with longer commutes, and an inclination to twist the wrist a bit more. Just as other OEMs have segmented their product offerings, you can expect to see other models rollout from Brammo.

Helping drive those new model debuts is the Empulse RR itself. The Brammo Empulse RR is really Brammo’s rolling test center for the up-coming Empulse road-bike, with many of the RR’s components likely to make it into the final design spec. The most obvious carry-over is the twin-spar aluminum frame and extruded aluminum swingarm, which are light weight and help create a solid chassis. This is a slight departure from the current Empulse that’s been on display, which has a steel swingarm. As Wismann tells us, the steel swingarm is actually lighter than the aluminum version on the RR, but for mass production purposes aluminum will likely be used instead.

As for racing this year, Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher reassured us that we will see the Empulse RR racing at some point in 2010, likely at VIR and the last two FIM races in Europe. You can also expect Brammo to run the bike around a few west coast tracks for promotional events. We wouldn’t rule out another appearance at Laguna Seca, with the Brammo crew answering some “what-if’s” about the Empulse RR’s abilities over a nine lap race pace. Should such an event occur, A&R will be there.

Photos: Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0