After several months of testing and refining the BRD RedShift electric motorcycle, pricing and technical specifications from BRD Motorcycles has just graced our inbox. Wanting to make sure the BRD RedShift SM & RedShift MX lived up to the company’s hype, BRD has been reluctant to quote exact figures and prices until the San Francisco startup was confident it could back up those announcements with actual product performance. True to our prediction at the time of the BRD RedShift SM’s launch, the MX version¬†will come with a $14,995 price tag, while the SM supermotard will tack on an extra $500 for a $15,495 MSRP.

Making 40 peak-horsepower, the BRD RedShift touts 250cc bike specs, especially with its 260/265 lbs (SM/MX) curb weight for street use (headlight and switchgear). In racing trim, both the SM & MX shed an additional 10 lbs. Because of the interest being generated in the police-style model (RedShift PD), BRD will make the model available with its more robust tail section, hard luggage, and more powerful electrical system for powering electrical components. These added components add an additional 35 lbs to the RedShift’s base weight, though the PD model is expected to be the company’s best selling model, as public and private fleet vehicles are increasingly pressured to include electrics into their vehicle pools.

Touting the company’s ICE performance parity, BRD is quick to point out not only the BRD RedShift’s¬†spec sheet advantage over say, a Honda CRF250, but in real-world application the RedShift exemplifies the advantages that electrics bring over gas-powered equivalents. For instance with the gearing and shifting necessary for ICE machines, the BRD RedShift creates and maintains more at-the-wheel torque, meaning the electric motorcycle hooks up with the tarmac/dirt with greater force and over a greater duration than its gas counterparts.

A better known advantage for electric motorcycles is their total cost of ownership value compared to internal combustion machines (we’ll leave the net present value (NPV) argument for another day). Though coming with a larger price tag up-front ($14,995/$15,495) compared to ICE motorcycles’ ($7,410 for the Honda CRF250X), the added cost of motor rebuilds, oil changes, and other ICE-specific maintenance items make the savings of an electric motorcycle add-up, even after just 200 hrs of ownership on the MX model. This doesn’t include the Federal and State subsidies currently available for street-legal electric motorcycles, which can drop the cost of bikes like the BRD RedShift by an additional several thousand dollars.

The BRD RedShift still packs a premium over other electric motorcycle manufacturers, namely Zero Motorcycles which has been leading off-road electric space. Part of that added cost comes from the RedShift’s 5.2 kWh battery pack, the largest in its class (the Brammo Enertia comes with a 3.1 kWh pack, while the Zero S comes with 3.9 kWh on-board). BRD also leads the class with the most horsepower, with 40 five second peak horsepower (25hp continuous), which compares favorably to Brammo’s 17hp motor, and Zero’s 31hp peak power figures.

Source: BRD Motorcycles

  • fazer6

    It’s that $7k hit at the end of the battery’s life–You basically HAVE to sell at 200 hours, otherwise you’re buying the thing again, or selling it for practically nothing and buying something else–Trust me, I know–I went through this exact scenario last November, only once the battery hits about 50% of its life, performance and range drop dramatically.
    Yes, even on Lithiums–The system will protect the weakest cell (to prevent fire!), meaning even if all the other cells are good, if one cell has 50% performance, that’s what you get.

    I’m back on ICE, but hopeful and patiently waiting for true ICE parity…

  • John Magnum

    working 5 days a week @ 52 weeks in the year = 260 working days.
    1 hour return daily commute x 260 days = 260 hrs (give or take work and play)
    2yrs = 520 hrs = new battery @ $7000…….ha what an outlay!

    Does the battery provide specified power and range @ 100% up to the 500hr life cycle?

    would anyone buy this off me if i wanted to upgrade after 2yrs regardless of hours?

    its going to be years before people take to this……..good marketing will get some hook line and sinker!

  • Nobody

    Let’s get real. No one is going to buy this over an MX bike. It’s an absolute necessity to haul gas to the remote places you have to go to that allow a green sticker. How the hell do you charge this thing after 2 hours of use in Hollister or Pismo? You don’t. You go home with your boyfriend, that’s what you do.

    On the street? Unless Obama steps in to offer a $10k tax credit to anyone who buys a ridiculously priced ebike, what’s the financial incentive to purchasing one? This thing costs as much as any 1000cc Supersport from Germany or Japan, not to mention the fact that you could put 75k miles on a CBR 250R or Ninja 250 for well below the entry cost of one of these.

    Just a guess here, but I think the target demographic for this bike = rich dude who’s afraid of clutches and only drives from the Marina to downtown and back.

  • BobD

    Id buy one if I had that sort of money, but i dont. Il stick to my $3k 450 that costs me about $500-700 a year doing all the work myself and riding about 60hrs a season.

    These theoretical figures are great, but what about engine wear from dirt and stuff getting in the electric motor?

    But for a supermoto it is great, minus the huge fact you cant back it in :(
    Its the fact that its quiet!!!! think of all the fun you could get away with on the streets.
    Plus its sexy looking. Im not sure it could keep up with a 450sm on the track???
    Id love to test ride one atleast. Im sure its very easy to get used to being twist and go…

    Big props to the company who tried to make a bad ass e-bike!

    cause when it comes down to it: if we run out of gas, than (other than the whole world being fucked) id be riding this sucker for 2 hrs inbetween my solar panels charging it.

  • John, where are you getting a 500 maximum lifecycle? Most the figures I’ve seen say 80% capacity after 1,200 charge cycles, or 4.6 years according to your numbers. It’s a little bit better than you make it out to be, though there is a serious question of what happens with these bikes when the batteries begin to fade, and require replacement (whenever that actually does occur). Maybe, Marc can provide some info when he gets to this thread.

    As for who is going to buy a RedShift, I don’t think BRD has been singing it as loud as they could have, but fleet sales, the BRD RedShift PD, are expected to be where the company makes it’s money, while high-end consumers will lead the charge on the commercial sales side of things.

    There is a huge push and incentive right now for city, state, and federal organizations to add “green” vehicles to their fleet. These requests come with very precise requirements for what criteria a bike must have, e.g. X number of miles ridden a day, with Y components installed, etc. This makes it very easy for a company like BRD to build a bike that meets these specific needs. It should be noted this is the new business plan at Zero Motorcycles as well.

  • Ahhhk! Fired that one off too soon. LiFePO4 has more like a 2,000-7,000 (A123 quotes 3,500 cycles to 90% for instance) cell lifecycle to 80%. So, again with your numbers that’s like 7.5 years to 27 years. With those numbers, we’re talking about a pack that would last the lifetime of the motorcycle I believe.

  • BikePilot

    I really like the idea of a silent dirt bike and this looks like the best so far, but imho they are being rather disingenuous in trying to argue that they are even close to a 250 ICE MX’er. First, there’s the 2x price thing. I know plenty of people who would gladly give up a lot of performance to have a silent bike so they can ride in noise-sensitive areas.

    Also, their specs on the 250F are a bit pessimistic. 60hrs for a rebuild? 200hrs for a rebuild would be more typical of an average racer. 100/hr shop fees? Everyone I know who races does almost all their own work, especially for standard servicing, valves, top end stuff etc. If they are going to compare to 60-hour intervals, at which point i’d guesstimate an ICE 250 has lost no more than 5% of its performance (and probably a lot less), they also need to quote battery replacement intervals after a similar loss in capacity is observed. How long ’till the battery is down 3%? 100 re-charges? 500?

    20hp continuous? My wife’s little KX100 is 25% more powerful and 100lbs lighter. 5-second bursts at 40hp might work for supercross, its not going to cut it for outdoor mx, SM, trails, desert or mountain riding.

    I’d be curious as to realistic range in race conditions and realistic battery life. Can I race a 45 min moto on one without stopping to re-charge? A 3-hour harescramble? A 6-hour enduro? A 550 mile desert race? An 1100 mile desert race? Can I still do all that when the battery is 4 years old and has been re-charged 600 times?

    As for shifting and loosing drive, I don’t think that’s an advantage it’ll have vs ICE off road bikes. It may hold that advantage over ICE on-road bikes. MX bikes are shifted WOT, without backing off and without the clutch. You’ll notice a constant, uninterrupted spray of roost from the moment the bike leaves the gate until the rider gets on the brakes for the first turn. How this doesn’t totally hammer the gearbox I’ve no idea, but it works and they hold up seemingly forever.

    I think they should content themselves with having made the best off road electric bike ever (to my knowledge) and market it on those grounds. Plenty of people want a silent e-bike. They aren’t yet ready to poach ice bike buyers, the performance and price point just aren’t there yet. Fudged comparisons to ICE bikes will only leave people skeptical of all their claims and will probably put off potential customers.

    I still think they are missing the most likely application for a competitive e-bike — observed trials. These bikes are fine with an 8 mile range and don’t need big, continuous power. 10hp continuous and 20hp max would suffice. Smooth controllable drive is critical and minimal noise is also highly prized among trials riders. Its a small market, but its a market they could win. Build a competitive e-trials bike, put some top riders on it, build some brand identity, and then people will be much more receptive of full blown dirt e-bikes, even if they don’t match ice performance.

    So my take is that they’ve likely built a great bike, but their marketing approach is wacky and wildly optimistic if not deceptive and they’ve built a make to compete in venues that don’t play to an e-bikes strengths.

  • mxs

    Nicely designed bike, but the batteries will hold the relevant sales for at least 5 years, would be my estimate. Look at the other companies who have been at it for years and years and it still is not a viable purchase ….

    It’s like ICE based manufacturers would be designing bikes, but didn’t have gasoline available to the public to drive their designs.

  • Damo

    Bottom Line: Great idea. A step in the right direction, but why too damn expensive for the spec level.

    If I hit the lottery I would buy one to drive around my coastal estate, right before a sudden growth of wealth induced drug habit claimed my life.

  • Shawn

    Good write-up Jensen! I think John got his 500 hours from the first table. It says on line 10 (Battery Depreciation) on the right-hand side $7000 replacement, 500 hour life. I would have read it as only lasting 500 hours as well.


  • Hi all, just hopping in for some clarifications. First, we are trying very very hard to be conservative about performance, economics, and longevity of the bike because the last thing we want is a disappointed customer.

    On performance, I can say from a drivetrain standpoint we have more than achieved our target. The bike will pull power wheelies while rolling downhill. If you can do that on your 250F, I would look for the hidden turbo charger. Also, Jensen misquoted – it’s 25hp continuous (not 20), but for the uses we’ve targeted the 40hp is the appropriate number. We don’t expect anyone to do desert racing or road racing on this bike, and if they wanted to I would discourage them from buying a BRD. If you can find a way in your next moto, or trail ride, or supermoto session to hold full throttle (at full power, remember you’re rarely at the peak of your torque curve) for more than 5 seconds, you should be racing against Bubba. We’ve seen the throttle position charts, and the top pros can’t do it… and that’s riding a bumpy torque curve that is rarely delivering full power even at full throttle.

    On the economics, I’d be the first to say that if you do your own engine work, the gasser is cheaper. It’s a lot of downtime, but it’s still cheaper. However, the intervals in our chart were actually really friendly to the 250F with 60 hour rebuilds. If you look at Honda’s recommended cycles for a CRF250R, they are:
    6 races or 15 hours: check valve clearance, change oil and filter, change piston and rings.
    12 races or 30 hours: replace piston pin.
    On the battery, we define lifecycle (as do automotive companies) as 80% capacity. The bike will still have full power, but range is diminished 20%. We use a high voltage design that is considerably less stressful to the batteries than other electric drivetrains you may be familiar with. Our pack is engineered for a 1000hrs or 50,000 miles, but we assumed half of that, and assumed that the 80% pack was worth $0. Even in that scenario, the electric is cheaper than the gas bike if you have a shop do your engine work and only 1/4 as often as you should.

    The reality is that the bike isn’t for everyone – range IS a limitation and we know that. But for folks that fit the range, we believe this is the fastest, most fun, and lowest maintenance bike you can buy.

  • Cord

    Sorry if i’m missing something here, but how long does the battery actually last? Will it do a 25 or 40 minute moto? if so, how many moto’s? If it was to be trail riden what kind of mileage (or time) will it get?

  • BikePilot

    What happens after 5 seconds at >25hp? Does it cut power 25hp automatically? If it does, what if I’m on the face of a triple at the time?

    I think you’ve done amazing things with this, I’m just really skeptical about marketing it against ICE bikes if it isn’t truly competitive (and not having ridden it, I can’t really say, but from what I’ve read here it doesn’t sound competitive to me).

    Maybe I missed it, but what is the range? Can I race 45 min motos, 3-hr harescrambles, 6-hr enduros?

    I’d be really surprised if A and Pro riders aren’t at throttle/rpm settings that would yield more than 25hp for more than 5 seconds at a time on big out door tracks, but I haven’t collected the data. I know it sure feels like it takes more than 5 seconds at WOT to get up the big hills and down the long straights on the bigger tracks I’ve raced.

    I’ve definitely gone WOT for more than 5 seconds on trail rides, but admittedly my trail rides are probably a bit atypical. I doubt anyone would often need a full 40hp for more than 5 seconds in snotty east coast conditions. Climbing big hills in Colorado, dunes in Idaho or blasting through silt beds in Nevada are a different story.

    I’m well aware of honda’s recommended service intervals. I’m also not aware of anyone (factory and serious pro teams excluded) that follows them or anything close to that.

    Now about the trials bike… that I’d buy!

  • Cord,
    We need to get further into testing (i.e. more ride time in race conditions) but our baseline is that the bike can complete a conventional moto finals against gas bikes at a professional level. So unofficially, “yes,” to your 40min moto, unless your last name is Alessi. On the trail, under aggressive rec riding, we expect that to translate to 2 hours of clock time or around 50 miles of trail. On tight single track in the 10-15mph range, you could get twice that on the clock. As with any range estimates it depends on the terrain, your ability, and your riding style which is why we are being conservative and tentative about the figures. Though we have the highest efficiency drivetrain in the biz, you’ll notice our range estimates are lower for our pack size than from other folks – this is because we consider the EPA test procedure too “mellow,” and because we’d rather have our customers plan around a shorter range and never run out of juice than plan a around a “maybe” range and get stranded.

  • BP,
    It’s not 5 seconds at 25+hp, it’s 5 seconds at 40hp, and at that stage it should taper off gradually though to be clear these are exactly the items we are working on in testing right now. On a flat, it is impossible at anything shy of 90mph to get 5 seconds of 40hp out of a 250F, because it only produces that power for a moment – most of the time at WOT you’re in the low 30s, and you move through the 40hp peak as you shift. It’s kind of hard to fathom the difference until you have a chance to ride one of these. For supercross, motocross, and technical trail riding it should be pretty amazing.

    However, as I said, this isn’t a desert racer or enduro bike- for the sand and desert you describe, stick with a 450F. Gas is the right solution for those uses (sustained high speed, long distance), today.

    Finally, though race teams actually use shorter intervals, we agree about Honda’s recommendations for consumers, which is why we skipped 3 out of 4 of their intervals in our base case – but I would absolutely recommend tweaking the numbers for yourself. If you do your own work, costs go down. If you skip even more maintenance than we thought, your costs go down. Of course, your resale probably also goes down… The idea here is not to market our bikes as the “OMG perfect best #1 solution for everyone!!!” It’s to give folks the tools to decide whether our bikes will work for them or not. I think very few riders think about the actual costs of riding. I know when Derek put that table together I was shocked to realize how much money an hour on my KTM 250 really cost me (not even including tires, pads, chains, and sprockets).

  • Singletrack

    Enough talk. Lets see the magazines (and ezines) and heaven forbid, real consumers, start long term testing them. Where are the real world reviews?

    Give me a competitve cross country bike (something like a KTM200) with quick change battery pack that lasts 1-2 hours off road and I’m good to go.

    After spending a day at a sand track full of F”ING LOUD 4-stroke MX bikes, I say bring on the quiet bikes. We could have MX tracks and trails everywhere if we didn’t piss off everyone within 10 miles.

  • Thanks for the correction Mark, I’ve dock my pay today accordingly.

  • Cord

    cheers for the reply, am watching electric offroad develop with abated breath. Would love a silent trail bike!

  • Ha, Jensen, no worries. For reference, 20hp continuous would actually be sufficient. A top 5 open class pro averages about 17hp under race conditions on an outdoor MX track. Average vs peak is a different way of understanding drivetrain performance, but the simple version is this: if our drivetrain can handle the guys on the 450F podium, it can probably handle you on the same course.

  • RJ

    I know you already said there is a 250gp sized sport bike in the “pipeline”, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me.

    Your next bike should be a small sport bike that’s marketed solely for track days (though road-legal to take advantage of gov tax incentives). You already have the power and weight figures to be very competitive against similar ICE machines in the track, and it’s obvious the very talented individuals that compose BRD can come up with a effective chassis solution. Also, range isn’t a factor at track days. Most guys I know never head out with more than 1-2 gallons in their tanks anyways….

    If you could sell what I’ve just described for $15k you’d be onto a winner IMHO. Heck, you might even save track days! Due to ever tightening noise restrictions race tracks are closing all over the country.

    Perfect torque curve, low weight, low maintenance, and dead silent = perfect track day tool.

    A one-make race series for younger racers utilizing these innovative machines would give you awesome exposure too!

    Think about it!

    I look forward to future developments in this direction :)

  • Dr. Gellar

    I like your thinking there RJ… :-)

  • Cool stuff, very cool stuff…

    When my XR400 motard (my current daily bike) finally packs it in, I know where I’m looking for my next commuter…

  • GeddyT

    Marc F, thanks for popping on here personally to answer our questions. There will come a day when I own an electric dirt bike, so I follow these stories closely. Getting answers straight from the horse’s mouth helps tremendously.

    The TCO comparisons are quite interesting. I bought a used KTM 250F a few years back, and it turns out “used” might have been an understatement. In the two years since, I’ve put about $2000 into maintenance. Top end, cylinder plating, one titanium valve, clutch, cables, exhaust, and gallons of oil. It adds up! I would say if anything your maintenance/fuel/oil cost estimates are conservative (every owner varies on how tip-top they like to keep their bike, though).

    It’s still quite a big chunk of change up front, though, which I feel is going to scare a lot of riders off. I’m currently DROOLING over the new 350 EXC, but can’t stomach the five digit OTD price. Half again that much is even more prohibitive, even if the reasoning side of my brain tells me that it could all be a wash in the end. My hope is that both the weight and the cost of the packs continue to drop.

    Lastly, I have a few questions. The first is how you came to the conclusion that your drivetrain is the most efficient in the business. I was under the impression that the motors and controllers themselves were over 90% efficient, and battery efficiency is dependent on the supplier (with many e-bike builders sharing battery suppliers). Once you’re at ~90% efficiency, isn’t it kind of splitting hairs being the “most efficient”? And what is it that makes your drivetrain more efficient than, say, Brammo’s or Czysz’ or Mission’s, for instance? Aren’t you using the same Agni motors as a lot of your competition, and doesn’t liquid cooling give the others an advantage? Not trying to stir the pot or anything, just wondering if there’s something cool going on under the hood of the RedShift vs. the other e-bikes on the market that I’ve missed.

    Secondly, I’m curious about the chassis components that this bike will be equipped with. Seems like every other e-dirtbike manufacturer compensates for the expense of the battery pack by going super cheap and flimsy on the chassis components. Will, for instance, the suspension components on the RedShift be comparable in quality and robustness to what’s on the ICE competition? What about things like brakes, bars, wheels?

    My last question involves range anxiety. I’m a northwest woods rider, so it’s mostly technical riding with a lot of elevation change. Rarely get into 4th gear, but often WOT in quick jabs. Average day is about 25 miles, sometimes up to 50, eight hours tops. There’s only one desert race per year that I do where I use more than about a gallon and a half of gas. So it sounds like this is pretty much the perfect profile for the RedShift’s capabilities. My problem is that I’d hate to drop $15K on a bike and THEN find out that sometimes it just won’t cut it. I’ve heard about the other e-bike makers offering demo days, but I think it would take a full day out on the bike riding in the conditions I usually ride in to convince me that it would work out. Are demos like this ever going to be possible? Will BRD have a traveling test fleet?

  • Geddy, thanks for all the feedback and questions.

    On the drivetrain, we run a liquid-cooled PMAC motor of our own design and construction. This is as advanced an architecture as is currently commercialized. MotoCzysz uses this architecture, but none of the bikes in or destined for market (that we’re aware of) do. It is considerably more efficient than any brushed motor like the Agni, though I agree it would be splitting hairs to argue over efficiency vs other brushless motors. However, the point is that our drivetrain is as efficient as anything else out there, so if you ride our bike the way you ride other bikes, the range can be easily predicted based on battery capacity.

    On componentry, we are still finalized purchase agreements so I can’t provide brand names yet, but the bike will come with top-notch, competition-ready components. Our POV is that battery costs push our bike into premium territory whether we like it or not, and the rest of the bike needs to reflect that premium price.

    On range and usage, I agree you almost perfectly fit our rider profile, though as I note above it is not the right bike for that desert race. We do plan to do some demo days and almost certainly in PNW, however they will not be until well into 2012. I’ll admit we haven’t considered a full-day demo format – that would be tough to balance against reaching as many potential customers as possible…