After launching its electric equivalent of a 250cc four-stroke supermotard, A&R spent a little quality time with the BRD RedShift SM at its future production facility in San Francisco. That’s right, not only is BRD hoping to tackle gas bikes head-on (we hear they only want to race in gas events), but the company, thanks to some clever design work, will be producing its electric motorcycles in the otherwise expensive SF/Bay Area. Instead of using a chassis architecture that would require hand or machine welds (the latter being far more expensive to setup for small production), BRD is using a combination of a casting and milling build process to create a motorcycle frame that is dependent more on machine operation, than worker labor. This means labor costs will be low, and production is limited only by how many milling machines the small startup can keep running at anyone one point in time.

Looking at the photos, you will have a hard time finding a weld on the RedShift’s frame, as the four pieces that make the main chassis are designed to be bolted together. Replacing what would normally be a single-cylinder thumper, BRD’s bright orange 5.2 kWh battery pack is exposed for aesthetics, and in conjunction with the powder blue and avalanche white bodywork, the overall livery hints at the Gulf Racing color scheme, without screaming it. At 40hp and tipping scales allegedly at the 250 lbs mark in its current form (we hear word it actually weighs less than 250 lbs at present), BRD thinks there’s more weight to be lost in the bike as the company refines the motorcycle for production.

The BRD RedShift SM is wearing prototype wheels from OZ Racing in these photos, which are made from forged aluminum, and reportedly are so light as to be practically buoyant. Overall the fit and finish of BRD’s pre-production model looks very nice, and as long as the SF company can keep that kind of build quality in its final product, it should be off to a strong start. Due to hit the streets before the KTM Freeride makes it stateside, it will be interesting to see if Zero can put out an offering next year to match the claimed performance specs from the RedShift. Similarly, it will be interesting to see if the Brammo Engage will make its debut with its six-speed gearbox by that time as well.

At a rumored $15,000 a pop, the price tag is hefty compared to gas equivalents, but that hasn’t kept orders from flooding BRD”s offices the morning after the RedShift’s launch last week in San Francisco. For those craving more photos of the BRD RedShift SM, we have 24 hi-res shots waiting for you after the jump.

Photos: © 2011 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • wow!!!! molto cool … and just up the road from me too.

    will have to check them out.

  • Beautiful bike. I want see the details of how that drive sprocket connects to the drive shaft. Also want to see what’s behind that motor cover.

  • 76

    now this is getting a hell of alot closer to what I want in a electric bike.

    10 to 11K please with these specs and from KTM so when it frys itself I have someone to take it to.

  • Cord

    Has anyone got to ride one yet, is it REALLY 40bhp, and for how long in real world usage?

  • BikePilot

    Sweet! The chassis really looks like the business, finally full blown motorcycle-grade forks, brakes and it looks, frame. If it really makes 40hp and weighs 250lbs in ready to ride, street legal form it’ll demolish the competition (although at essentially 3x the cost) in outright performance. I suspect range will still limit it to the novelty category, but we’ll see.

  • Dr. Gellar

    This bike has got me pretty excited! Can’t wait to see it in action against gas or other electric bikes, both in supermoto and motocross form. The supermoto, in my opinion, is the best looking production (soon to be) electric bike I’ve seen yet. If it performs as well as it looks, even with it’s fairly high price…it’ll be a winner.

  • mxs

    Beautiful look, sounds like a sound design effort …. liked it all until:

    1) 15K ?? And orders are flooding in?? Really, people are that well off considering the state of US economy. Or are these orders from Silicon Valley nerds who have more money than brains. It’s good for the start up, but I cannot believe what the “early adopters” are willing to do nowadays.

    2) It might not have welds, but the milling machines must cost something too, no? Labor is cheap in China, machines are not ….

    3) 40HP is nice, especially at 250lbs, but the question is. How long will it last at what type of riding?

    I love sumo bikes and have one myself. This is one is gorgeous especially when compared to Zero and other attempts, but these companies need to tell the whole story. Looks like all is improving on the electric front, accept for prices and battery life, which happen to be two crucial components of any electric bike.

    Thanks for the article, good read.

  • Not sure how I missed this last week. Probably the same way I missed you sneaking into the shop to snag the photos – had no idea these shots existed. Seriously. Did Dave or Derek let you in?

    Quick answers to some of the comments:
    76 – While I’m not confirming Jensen’s price speculation, I’ll say it’s more likely than the $11k you asked for. Believe me, I would love to sell bikes at the price. Batteries just cost a lot, and we stuffed a ton of them on there. On service, the bikes will go through your usual dealerships, maintenance consists of standard tires, chain, and brake pads, and we’ve designed the rest of the bike for easy service and part replacement. More details on that down the road.

    Cord – while peak vs continuous ratings on electrics are a little funny, the motor is bench and ass verified to 40hp.

    mxs – even we were surprised by the response post-launch. We chalk it up to street legality and backyard friendliness. There’s some riding you just can’t do on a gas MXer no matter what it costs.

    mxs – On the frame, no doubt, machinery costs money but aside from allowing us to build in the US, there’s some additional benefits to our frame tech. Namely, it’s pretty. Also, all of our machined surfaces are essentially perfect. We don’t have to worry about post weld heat-treatment and warping. Ever check the alignment on a new bike off the showroom floor?

    mxs and cord – the drivetrain is as efficient as any electric out there, so if you drive sedately, you’ll see mileage proportionate to a 5.2kWh battery. We’re not releasing an official range number until we have a chance to put on lots of hours riding the way WE ride bikes, because the last thing we want is a disappointed owner. We’ll share numbers eventually.

    Thanks again for the interest, all.
    – Marc

  • Door was open. That’s my story, sticking to it.

    To change the conversation away from my B&E record, isn’t it cool when the CEO shows up to field questions?

  • Missed one…

    skadamo – sprocket is a standard spline and locknut a la the Japanese MXers. Behind the motor cover is a… motor. Also, a gear reduction in an oil bath (you can see the fill plug and sight glass in at least one shot).

  • Frenchie

    It’s really awesome to see the CEO showing up to answer comments, thanks so much for that.
    Also please don’t press charges against the author of this blog (unless he can have internet and access to his bothan spies network from jail, then who cares? jk).

  • It’s great to have such loyal readers. I’ll never have to ask for help getting under a bus.

  • Frenchie

    You got it ;-)

  • Marc, thanks for the answers! Jensen, I’ll send you a cellular card in a loaf of bread if Marc gets you locked up. I’ll also take care of that Duc for you if Frenchie does not get to it first. :D

    So there is a bolt and washer holding the front sprocket on vs. a conventional big heavy nut. This kind of weight reduction (assuming that is the purpose) is cool to see.

  • Frenchie

    On a side note Mr Jensen, what are your thoughts on that, does that inspire you?

  • I got about halfway through an article on that, and the asked myself the question “why am I writing about two companies that could very well be out of business by the time this partnership is supposed to take place?”

    I like the guys at Brammo, but have you noticed lately how all their press releases are about something they’re about to do, not something they’ve done?

  • “I like the guys at Brammo, but have you noticed lately how all their press releases are about something they’re about to do, not something they’ve done?”

    Yes, but in fairness to Brammo the same could be said for BRP and other ev companies. Gotta keep the buzz machine humming to get the investors and customers interested. It seems to be standard practice in the electric world. Then you either get enough government or private $ to make it to the production line or you go broke trying.

  • You mean BRD, right?

    My rebuttal to that would be a company like BRD has only released one model it plans on selling to consumers, whereas Brammo has released how many bikes that are supposedly on their way?

    The only bike you can buy right now from Brammo is the original Enertia. Brammo has four other bikes the company has announced, but has failed to get to market. Also let’s not forget that Brammo’s second bike is supposedly coming finally in 2012?

    The problem with vaporware promises like Brammo’s is it gives credence to critics who doubt every new manufacturer that comes along, no matter how good the team is, how well funded they are, and how well their product is.

  • Electric motorcycle companies have certainly done a lot of promising. In a way I’m cool with it. I love to think about what is possible with the new technology. Two stroke power from zero rpms, configuring engine braking and power delivery with your laptop, downloading throttle usage stats, and all that geek porn.

    So it’s been a few years and some of the stuff has not surfaced…yet. I can’t argue I have not become a little jaded by the hype but I remind myself I pay very close attention compared to a lot of folks watching electric. It can be over done but to the average motorcycle guy still thinking “damn my RC51 sounds good with those cans” (I agree btw, gas twins sound fan-f’n-tastic) it may not be as obvious.

    I think overall Brammo has done much more to move electric motorcycles forward than hurt it by changing direction.

    I agree vaporware promises in general fuel the critics too. Fast followers have it good and bad. But in reality, it is *go time* for electric now. (<–you blogged about this months back I believe) Press releases with big claims were a lot cooler last year and 2 years ago when everyone was day dreaming about electric drive. Now Mission, Yates, Lightning, MotoCzysz and others are making huge steps forward. Brammo has even impressive on the track too compared to last year but was quickly 1 upped (2 upped?) by Mission at Laguna.

    Sorry to perpetuate the tangent but I’ve been chewing on all this for a while. Enjoying the discussion.

  • Electrics as an industry segment are so small that all it takes is one player to ruin the brand for everyone else. If Zero is out there making bikes that use bicycle components, or Brammo is out there with four models that will never see the light of day, it hurts the people that are doing the job right, because to the mainstream user there’s not enough sophistication to see the difference between the vaporware and the realware.

    I’m not sure selling 250-500 bikes (best estimates from several sources) while racking up $40 million in debt (off-the-cuff math here) is helping anyone. I guess they’ve generated some press, and gotten some light shed on electrics, but the press this last year or so has gotten out of hand with the pie-in-the-sky/spin factor.

    Was Brammo that impressive on the track? Despite the hollering at Infineon, they weren’t that faster than the times from last year, especially considering the race was significantly shorter. Laguna showed the real measuring stick, and Brammo barely fended off CRP, which is basically off-the-shelf technology that hasn’t progressed much farther than its 2009 Isle of Man debut. So with all that money, and all that time, they’re competitive with two years ago?

    Damn it John. You’ve got me all riled up now.

  • Comparing 2 years ago is kind of tough as tracks and teams have not been consistent over that time. But it might make a cool infographic?

    I’m really looking forward to the day an e-mfr finds the right customer with the right bike. Less hype and more production is good. Conversation and brain storming about real world need and use is harder to generate but it probably is more productive than hype. (MFR’s, take the time to feed the bloggers solid info, pics and vids to post about! ; )

    Getting more butts on seats would be a great thing. More importantly, more butts on more seats in a larger variety of riding styles, terrains, lifestyles and settings.

    I’m dying to get an electric mc on my local deer trails I took over to MTB on. No one knows or cares they’re there and I don’t dare take my DRZ on them. 1 hour of riding is all I can get in in a day if I’m lucky and white boy can’t jump so electric is perfect.

  • Frenchie

    I’ll say that Brammo are true pioneers in the way that they are probably (one of) the biggest electrical motorcycle manufacturer, and I respect them for that, cause it takes some heart to go into that, and it’s a tricky business.
    So I see them as pioneers and people driven by passion, willing to take (financial) risks to get their technology out there available for everybody.
    That’s my romantic view of Brammo, maybe not the exact truth.

    I agree with you that over-promising and under-delivering hurts the industry very much.
    But again, Brammo, probably with Zero, are quite unique companies for now and it’s so early in the field that the good old trial-and-error methods certainly leads to trials…and errors.
    Hopefully they will learn from it and everybody in the field would benefit from it (for example thanks to Brammo and Zero I doubt anybody would try again soon to sell bikes at BestBuy or put bicycle components on their motorcycles).

    Another over-promising, under-delivering actor is Mission Motors. I had a hard-on from the first time I saw (sadly online not IRL) the Mission 1 but this hard-on was long gone for the first time they turned a wheel on a track…Their project was delayed a lot, they were even taking pre-orders what, 3 years ago now for the first bike that was supposed to be released with a very high price tag but, correct me if I’m wrong, will never see the light of day for privileged customers?
    So they did the first TT zero in 09, were not vastly successful (4th, 4min38 behind) and then they pretty much spent a couple of years working on their project with little to no involvement in competition, just occasionally showcasing the bike. Change in leadership early 2010, not racing in 10 to focus on production and delivery of the Mission 1 limited Edition to customers in mid-2011, presentation of the new Mission R in December 2010.
    Then, after missing about 2 years of competition, including the first round of TTXGP in the US and the TTZero 11, they finally show up with the new bike at the TTXGP race at Laguna Seca and absolutely blow the field away, lapping 10s from MotoGP bikes!

    Over-promising will never do any good to the industry, but at times we might be lucky enough to witness an “over-promiser” turning into an “over-achiever”…

  • “Over-promising will never do any good to the industry, but at times we might be lucky enough to
    witness an “over-promiser” turning into an “over-achiever”…”


    We can call it “over-promising” and “hype” but in reality, these guys are communicating the vision and fishing for support. Right? How else can they do it?

    If the support does not materialize the direction must change. Vision communication and fishing continues.

    Mission changed direction and focused on cars. Ironically their bike kicks ass now :D What’s up with that?

  • Mission is an interesting one because not soon after the Isle of Man TT did they instead switch the company’s focus to technical partnerships with OEMs. What Mission did a poor job of is communicating that transformation, which is best shown by articles like this (published this morning): I find it funny journalists are suddenly shocked to hear about Mission’s switch. I’ve known about this change for literally years, as have many others. This news is so old, I thought everyone knew, but again there are people still learning about it for the first time because it wasn’t communicated effectively.

    Over-stating claims is another form of poor communication, just in the other direction. Instead of not saying enough, you’re saying too much. And in some cases, it’s just downright lying. When you tell someone a motorcycle will go 50 miles, they expect it to go 50 miles. If it goes 49.9 miles or less, they will be disappointed, they will never trust you again, and it will affect your brand. If it goes 51 miles, or better 60 miles, you just made a customer for life.

    All of the electric companies have a vested interest in keeping the electric motorcycle brand name clean. There should be better self-policing in this space, but there isn’t — just a lot of land-grabbing & hyperbole.

  • Frenchie

    There’s nothing wrong with hype, but promising the moon or never respecting your own deadlines is not good marketing practice, is it?

    In the end of 2010 Mission (so 8-9 months ago) was still communicating about the first Mission One Premium Limited Edition bikes to be delivered to customers around May 2011 for about $69,000 (with an objective of producing 50 bikes) while they were also working on a second bike which would be much cheaper and that they would produce in hundreds before the end of 2011.

    The problem is that the deadline passes and you don’t hear anything new about this, no explanation, no new deadlines, no new objectives. There is absolutely nothing on the website to indicate that these projects are dead and buried.

    Their racing bike is awesome but their communication could easily improve.

    Why is Chip Yates giving up on electrical motorcycle racing??? So hew won’t be at Pike’s Peak 2012 with the entire course paved?

  • SJ

    So 5.2kwh = 5.2kw per hour, that is what the battery is capable of outputting!
    So thats around 7hp per hour, if you pin the throttle 100% with the full 40hp then that little battery would last almost 11 minutes??? Without taking any deficiencies into account.
    It would be nice to know a ballpark figure of mileage at what approx. speed in general conditions!
    Every other electric vehicle maker can do it!