BRD RedShift SM Breaks Cover with Gas Parity

08/03/2011 @ 5:00 pm, by Jensen Beeler15 COMMENTS

We’ve been following the guys at BRD since the beginning of the year, and this scrappy San Francisco company has finally busted out of stealth mode with its first electric motorcycle line: the BRD RedShift. With a goal of meeting or exceeding parity with gasoline-powered two-wheelers, BRD’s first foray into the motorcycle industry is an interesting one, as the RedShift line brings true 250cc four-stroke power to the electric realm. Producing 40hp from the company’s proprietary water-cooled AC motor, the BRD RedShift SM produces more power than a Honda CRF250R while tipping scales at less than 250 lbs in supermoto trim (less than 240 lbs in MX-spec).

The RedShift line is BRD’s first line of motorcycle, and will feature three different purpose-built trims. The Supermoto (SM) model will be BRD’s on-road city bike, while the MX model will be the company’s enduro offering. BRD has also factored fleet sales heavily into its business plan, and will have a vehicle, designated as the RedShift PD, that will be available for government and private fleet usage. Point of sale and warranty work will stem from a standard dealer model, which will be aggressively built out over the coming months, and plays back into the company’s mantra that electric vehicles don’t need to be different from gas bikes, just better than them.

“We just want to make faster motorcycles,” said CEO Marc Fenigstein in the company’s press statement. “We’re a team of riders and racers with high-performance gas machines in the garage. We’re building the bikes we’d rather be riding.”

With 5.2 kWh of battery pack on-board, BRD is estimating about a 50 mile range, based off other manufacturers’ claims, though the company is quick to point out that it doesn’t want to quote an exact figure until the RedShift’s performance specs have been fully-vetted. Another part that has intrigued us about this project since its inception is BRD’s proprietary machined-aluminum chassis design, which is absent of any welds, meaning that its production can be done in the company’s SF office for virtually the same price as anywhere else since its cost structure is dependent on machining time.

Attaching to the aluminum frame is a self-supporting plastic tail and seat section — yes, you read that right. When we first saw that design and inquired with BRD about the use of plastic for its subframe structure, the company explained that the high-strength polymer material was rated to significantly above the amount of force that is required to break one’s back from spinal compression. This means that the BRD tail section is not only extremely light, but your back will break from a big drop well before the tail unit does (this is all of course pre-production, with durability testing still needed to confirm the plastic’s use in the production model).

About the only thing that the BRD RedShift has that’s sub-par to its gasoline equivalents is the price, with early murmurings suggesting a $15,000 price tag (nearly twice the comparable ICE machine). With that much more power on-board (almost double the 3.1 kWh Brammo Enertia and the 4 kWh Zero S), BRD was sure to strike a hefty price tag with current battery costs.

Because of that reality, the company hopes to meet its sales goals with strong fleet sales, offering local governments and other public entities a motorcycle that can meet their green mandates without sacrificing performance by using an electric drivetrain. For the mainstream public, BRD, for now, will remain a premium, but attainable, motorcycle offering, and will come with high quality components not currently seen in the space (we hear rumors of OZ providing a special new wheelset to BRD’s on-road effort).

With OEM efforts like KTM’s Freeride now just a year away from hitting US soil, BRD is entering the market ahead of the wave of entrenched motorcycle companies. As OEMs enter the space, it will be interesting to see what sort of platforms they put together. As it stands now, BRD is the leader in the electric SM/MX class with its power-to-weight ratio.

Asphalt & Rubber will be seeing the BRD RedShift launch in person a couple hours after the timestamp on this article. Stay tuned for more pictures and an up-close analysis of the new electric machine in the coming hours.

Source: BRD; Photos: Todd Tankersley /

  • TonyS

    Wasn’t it an OZ wheel that shore itself from the hub on that Ducati during a race earlier this year? Just sayin.

  • Jake

    OZ wheels have run on hundreds of thousands of bikes with no problem. They also happen to be really feckin’ nice too.

    Ohlins and OZ’s, can’t go wrong on a bike (except for that one on TV).

  • ossiesteve

    and wasnt that the cause of the nuts etc. not being tightened or screwed on at all?

    but seriously this looks like a pretty sweet bike except fort he price which makes it unatainable for most. KTM’s will prob be better in everyway and cheaper so i wouldnt be buying shares for this company

  • “As it stands now, BRD is the leader in the electric SM/MX class with its power-to-weight ratio.”

    Even I, as the electric motorcycle pimp extraordinaire that I am, choked on that one. On behalf of Zero and Quantya, who actually have bikes in production, and Brammo, who has fully-operational pre-production prototypes, I’m calling “puffery.”

  • Because you know all those puff-pieces I write Harry. BRD’s prototype is fully-functional btw. KTM’s Freeride after currency exchange will be just under $15k, judging from the components they have on their bike (Arsenal), I’m not sure it will touch BRD in price, power, or pounds.

    The unfortunate part about the electric space is we see a lot of vaporware and over-promises, so when something comes along that’s the real deal, everyone is a cynic (I was as well, until I saw who was behind the company). Time will tell.

  • Beary

    Well, I’ve got wood. What a gorgeous looking electric bike.

    Hopefuly performance and range follow if so, this is a Big Win.

  • 102 degrees fahrenheit here yesterday.
    In two months it wouldn’t be impossible for it to hit 32 just before dawn.
    The hoped-for 50 mile range is gonna take a hit under either of the above circumstances. Question is, how much of a hit.
    (And where’s the damned amp-hour robbing headlight/taillight/turn signals?)

  • Shawn

    It doesn’t appear the side fairings function as a cooling system for the bike. It’s funny how this was kept on there to resemble what we know as dirt bikes/SM. Otherwise, I see this as a negative on aerodynamics. As for the lights, I’d guess LEDs.

  • Hi, all. CEO of BRD here. Quick answers to some of the comments and questions. It’s absolutely true that we’re not in production yet. Huge compliments to those that are, because as you can imagine, we know what that takes and it’s no small feat. The bike above is a pre-production unit (looks like, works like, and is mostly built like a production bike), but we still have quite a bit of work to do to deliver bikes for the 2012 season.

    On the “shrouds,” those are air scoops. The bike features a centrally-mounted radiator. There is nothing on this bike that isn’t functional.

    Thanks, everyone, for the interest.

  • Hey Marc – I was getting on Jensen’s case, not yours. You can’t declare BRD the “leader in electric SM/MX class” any more than you can declare Brammo’s Empulse the leader in the 100 mph/100 mile range sportbike class. It’s premature. The time to declare leaders is the day the first production bike gets delivered to the first non-dealer end-user/customer. At least, that’s my criterion. Based on the pics of your bike that are coming out (not the renders), you’re well on the way to that benchmark.

  • TRL

    Thank you BRD for making me feel something when I look an SM/MX electric bike. This is what you get when you have someone around with design skill, not just the title “Designer” in their email signature. Very appealing. Hope the bike lives up to the promise of the design. Good luck.

  • Shawn

    Wow, replies from the COE. Very Cool!

  • Shawn, what can I say… I check A&R almost daily and I’m not about to skip over the comments section on our own bike.

    We’re trying really hard to be both humble and realistic about the bike. We know what it SHOULD do, but until we can verify that the production bikes WILL do (and when), we’re keeping the details to ourselves. I hope that the public can bear with us on that.

  • Nice plug Marc, your check is in the mail.

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