The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) isn’t known for its motorcycle debuts, but that has slowly changed over the years, especially as the motorcycle industry adopts more innovative approaches.
One of the largest trade shows in the United States, it is easy to see why motorcycle brands would want to get in front of the nearly 200,000 attendees that come each – and it helps that mainstream journalists there are fairly naive to the intricacies of the motorcycles industry, and will hype anything with a glossy veneer.
Case in point, the launch of the Damon Motorcycles Hypersport HS electric motorcycle, which just dropped at this year’s CES after much teasing.
For those who haven’t been following this project, Damon hopes to differentiate itself in the marketplace with three major features: its electric powertrain, a variable geometry riding position, and an advanced warning system for potential on-road hazards and threats.
Being an electric motorcycle, even a high-performance electric motorcycle, is nothing new in the two-wheeled space, and the idea of a motorcycle that can morph on the fly for different riding styles isn’t novel either – the Kawasaki J Concept explored this idea in 2013, for example.
So, this makes Damon’s most interesting aspect its “CoPilot” software package (powered by Blackberry), which is also the least-talked about aspect of the machine from its manufacturer.
According to Damon, the Hypersport HS “scans” its surrounding areas with high-resolution cameras mounted fore and aft (Damon also mentions a RADAR array, though none of the photos seem to show it mounted), and then alerts the rider with haptic movements on the handlebars, LED lights on the windshield, and via the always-on rear-facing 1080p video camera.
The Damon Hypersport HS also has a 4G cellular link, and uploads vehicle information and road scenarios into the cloud, which presumably allow the machine to learn as its ridden and improve its performance – though, details on this aspect of the machine are again very vague.
Despite its official release now, Damon Motorcycles is still not talking serious specifications. Power is quoted at over 200hp (150 kW), with a highway range (at 70 mph) of 161 miles from its 21.5 kWh battery pack. There is suspiciously no mention of the Damon Hypersport HS curb weight figure.
For other specs, there is a Level 2 (and mentioning of DC Fast charging in some marketing docs), and the company touts riders aides like ABS and traction control. Brakes are by Brembo (with BrakeTech rotors) and suspension by Ohlins.
Pricing is set at $24,995 for the Hypersport HS, and $39,995 for the Hypersport Premier, which is certainly competitive with the superbike offerings available on the petrol-powered side of the industry.
Unfortunately, there has been no information on Damon’s dealer network, which is for good reason…because there will not be one. Damon plans to use a direct-to-consumer business model, which is an interesting choice considering what a disaster that has been for other EV brands, especially when it came to product support, warranties, and vehicle recalls.
Damon has also not described how and where it plans to base its manufacturing operations (for reference, Damon Motorcycles is based in Vancouver, Canada).
With deliveries expected on the Damon Hypersport HS in 2021, that is a short amount of time to ramp-up some series aspects of the company’s business.
Of course, if you happen to be a social media influencer, Damon is more than happy to get in touch with you, as the company’s marketing team seems to be taking a page from the notorious Skully helmet brand.
With all this, it is hard to give Damon Motorcycles a fair shake on its big promises, especially when so much of what they are saying and doing tastes like the lost promises from the brands before them.
The one silver lining to Damon Motorcycles is last summer’s addition of Derek Dorresteyn, who was a co-founder at Alta Motors and the head of that project’s technical aspects.
It will be interesting to see what changes occur to the Hypersport model before its 2021 production date, and whether Damon can live up to the hype it is so intent on creating.
Photo: Damon Motorcycles