When Polaris acquired Brammo’s electric motorcycle business, and left the startup to be its electric drivetrain guru, much was talked about what would come to the electric motorcycle manufacturer. So, when a Brammo Empulse RR electric race bike showed up at the Isle of Man TT in Victory Motorcycles livery — let’s not forget the Brammo employees in Victory t-shirts — a bit of Polaris’ game was tipped.
Therefore it is perhaps without surprise that today we bring you the Victory Empulse TT, which is basically a rebadged Brammo Empulse R street bike.
There are some improvements to the Victory Empulse TT over the Brammo Empulse, namely a larger battery pack (+10% for 10.4 kWh nominal), a narrower rear tire (180 is now a 160), a new seat, and most importantly, a rubber cush drive for the rear wheel.
We won’t waste words hyping a motorcycle that has effectively already been on the market for several years, but we will point out two things: 1)
Brammo Victory has improved upon an already competent design, and 2) the addition of the cush drive could change our luke-warm opinion of the Empulse R.
To put things in historical perspective, Brammo out of the gate had a better product than competitor Zero Motorcycles, the latter’s “motorcycles” almost unfit for the title.
Lately though, Zero has closed the gap greatly in terms of quality, performance, and reliability. In fact, our nod between the two would go to Zero, almost purely for the reason that it’s a direct drive.
Bikes like the Zero SR out of the box do what a gearbox on an internal combustion tries to emulate: a flat and wide power band. The gearbox on the Brammo is really a band-aid for the bike’s low-voltage (relatively speaking) drive system, which isn’t capable of the big power numbers seen on bikes like the MotoCzysz E1pc or Mission R.
The gearbox on the Victory Empulse TT is the same band-aid. It allows the Empulse TT to pull hard off the line, and yet still have a top-end for its claimed 100+ mph top speed.
It does this however by adding the complexity of shifting gears, which many motorcyclists have learned to master. This might not be a big deal, but the Brammo gearbox also created a massive amount of chain lash; and as such, small cracks of the throttle resulted in a whipping motion through the mechanics of the bike’s final drive. It was not a pleasurable experience.
Now with a rubber cush drive, we would expect that action to be greatly reduced, making the Victory Empulse TT an attractive offering again. Of course, you will still have to fork over the $19,999 MSRP — $4,000 more than the base model Zero SR, which has similar specs.
Considering that Brammo has sold roughly 800 or so units of its Empulse street bike, it will be interesting to see what the Victory name, and more importantly, the Victory dealer network can do for the machine.
Will this be the offering the augments Victory’s modern-cruiser image and rider profile, or will it be the company’s Buell — a shotgun marriage that ends in bitter divorce? Time will tell, but one thing is for certain: Victory just sent a huge shot across the bow of Harley-Davidson and its Project Livewire.
Source: Victory Motorcycles