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 / www.toddtankersley.com