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Brammo Tells Us More About Empulse e-Bike

I’m starting to fall in love (or at least very strong like) with electric motorcycles, and 2012 may be memorable as the year the e-moto came into its own. You read about the 2012 Zero S — the first production electric motorcycle with a genuine 100-mile-plus range, but you may have wondered about the Brammo we tested with it. The Enertia hasn’t recieved a major update since 2009, eons in e-bike terms.

Well, you may have been following the saga of the Brammo Empulse. It broke cover in July 2010, as a cafe-racer-styled naked sportbike with dual disc brakes, inverted fork, alloy twin-spar frame and 100 mph top speed made possible by a trick liquid-cooled electric motor. Three versions, with six, eight and 10 kilowatt-hour batteries, would go on sale to the public in 2011.

So what happened? Focus groups. Where the Enertia is aimed at “aspirational” riders looking for a first bike, the Empulse is aimed at you, the serious enthusiast. And what a gearhead wants is the ability to shift gears and work that clutch, to feel the power going to the wheel. “Shifting is a big part of it,” said Brammo CEO Craig “Brammo” Bramscher in a video interview, “if you grab for the clutch and it’s not there, something’s not feeling right.” So the quest for a gearbox began. Developing a gearbox that can stand up to the demands of an electric motor can be difficult — Tesla had a hell of a time — and in the end, a six-speed unit was chosen over a two-speed one. Two speeds is all you really need to be able to select between smoky burnouts or eye-watering top speeds when it comes to an electric motor, but Bramscher says “with the 6-speed gearbox, you can really make it feel familiar.” But the premium components — like the Marzocchi Fork, Marchesini wheels and radial-mount Brembo brake calipers — will go on the production Empulse.

Another big change from the prototype is the lack of optional battery sizes. Only one size, a 10 kWh, will be offered. A modular battery design just didn’t work, and anyway, after riding the bike — a lot — Brammo decided it just needed a full 10 kWh battery. That gives riders the potential of going over 50 miles at sustained freeway speeds, or well over 100 in an urban test cycle. Normal charge time is 8 hours, but using a quick-charger — or a public charging station, as the Empulse is equipped with a J1772-compatible charge port — cuts the time to 3.5 hours, or 5 miles of range for every 10 minutes of charging. The bigger battery means the bike will probably be in the $14,000 range, but those customers seeking a lower-priced urban runabout can opt for the 8 kWh Enertia Plus. And yes, you can switch your deposit over.

On May 8th, two new models — dubbed the Empulse and Empulse R—will be shown to the press and deposit-holders in Los Angeles, with journalists getting demo units during the summer. The distinction between the two models is unclear, but we were shown a snapshot of the redesigned Empulse, and we think you’ll like it: think a lighter, tidier-looking Suzuki SV650, with clean, simple bodywork and a standard tube handlebar instead of the racy-looking clipons of the prototype. Of course, hataz’ gotta hate, so there will be no shortage of juvenile jeering and cries of “fugly” from those who don’t like change, but I think a whole new generation will be turned on (heh, heh) by this bike, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find it is named bike of the year by more than one publication.

90 Comments

  1. Nick says:

    This is a bit of an aside, but something everyone in this discussion needs to consider, and completely unrelated to any climate change debates.

    Crude oil is used for a whole lot of other things besides gasoline. On a motorcycle; most of plastic, components in the paint, all of the lubricants, and especially the tires. Basically, if it isn’t metal, it probably has some crude oil in it.

    On a broader scale; clothing, medicine, food, and the computer your currently using often use components of crude oil.

    When the crude oil starts to run out, we’re going to look back and say “Wow! burning it was a really stupid idea.”

  2. David Park says:

    It is a hollow assumption that electricity will remain cheap when everyone becomes dependent upon it for transport. When that day comes, electric power will be cost equivalent.

    • Nick says:

      There are no limits to the number of power plants, wind turbines, or solar farms that can be built. There is a very finite limit to the amount of crude oil in the ground. Any increases in electrical prices will encourage the construction of new generation facilities. Electricity rates may rise, but not dramatically. Nothing compared to market priced, commodity driven crude oil.

  3. Bruce says:

    I think the bike is pretty cool. It has a lot going for it. It should sell well to the upscale, man-caused global warming/global cooling/climate change crowd who can’t sleep at night because they used a styrofoam cup, flushed the toilet 4 x today and sometimes eat meat.
    You know the propaganda is getting out of hand and the indoctrination is nearly complete when the CEO Craig Bramscher spouts all the liberal blather about “feeling guilty” as if THAT were a legitimate reason to buy ANYTHING. He really went on and on about guilt, as he seems to feel the need to say to his potential customers, “I am with you, I have bought into the globaloney hype 100% and by the way, please by this thing I am selling because you will be helping to SAVE THE PLANET”, hahaha!

  4. Nick says:

    Guys, please stop all of the political BS. Electric bikes don’t exist because of some evil “green” conspiracy. They exist because of economics. At $14,000 and $4.00/gallon gas, the economics start to make sense for some people. Obviously not everyone, but apparently Brammo and other are convinced there is a justifiable business case.

    Five years from now if the same bike was $10,000 and gas was up to $6.00 you would have more adopters. Get to $8,000 and $8.00/gallon and I would be willing to bet many of the naysayers in this discussion would change their mind.

    All of the “easy” oil is gone. All new oil is harder to find and more expensive to extract. Add in a burgeoning market for vehicles in the growing ranks of middle class China and India. If a couple billion people rapidly transition from bicycles to cars in the next decades, how cheap do you think gas will stay?

    I’m encouraged to see people developing electric vehicle technology now, instead of when gas hits $10.00.

    • Superchicken says:

      Absolutely right. I really don’t get all the haters. It doesn’t seem the electric crowd sees the need to jump down the throats of conventional bike buyers, so why the opposite? I’m thinking if I was so sure that all the scientists were wrong about climate change and peak oil, wouldn’t it make more sense for me to gloat in several years when gas is still cheap and it’s the same temperature it is now? I mean, I realize it won’t be, but we’re talking hypothetical here and if I did believe that then I can’t really see the problem here. So someone creates an electric bike and markets the hell out of it to sell it, is that really such a foreign concept that we need to jump down peoples’ throats? Every time there’s an electric bike on here there’s a bunch of vitriol slathered all over the threads and not the normal “not really my type of bike” ,or “doesn’t make the mileage I want”, etc. Bitching about change isn’t going to make it go away: it never has and it never will. History is pretty clear on that.

  5. Reagan says:

    Since nobody is buying these Brammo, maybe I can buy one cheap to run my pool filter.

  6. geeker says:

    Electricity will take us to those three mile island towers, that I lived through in high school. You puppies should try googling that instead of tweeting. Or try Chernobyl. Or our more recent Japanese disaster. Even Obama has left the door open on that one! Can’t you see where electricity is taking us? I like BIG OIl, I know what I got!

    • Dave says:

      Nuclear is by far the safest method of power generation there has ever been. The difference is, nobody reports the thousands of deaths that occur each year related to conventional power generation.

      http://www.the9billion.com/2011/03/24/death-rate-from-nuclear-power-vs-coal/

      • geeker says:

        See, what did I tell you, someone champions for the nuclear clueless. I know you can still ride a bike when you’re sterile, but half your buddies won’t be there to ride with you. They’ll be hitting the chemo for their new never seen before cancers.

        • Dave says:

          Get informed. What you imply simply doesn’t happen. Realize that there are dozens of nuclear reactors floating out in the ocean on warships. The men that operate them have families.

          Irony: one of the captcha words is “wrong”.

    • Tony says:

      Love BIG OIL? Tell that to the families of our troops who are dying by the thousands in oil rich countries. If you believe that’s just a coincidence I’ve got a republican approved bridge to nowhere to sell ya. Not using oil is the best way to support our troops.

  7. Reed says:

    Great stuff! I love the hatred, what is there to be so mad about? Don’t like it, don’t buy it!!!!

    I thank those who are lining up to buy one today, because I hope to be in line for the 2nd generation product in 3-5 years. Go ebikes!

    • mudnducs says:

      I see no hatred. I see opinions being expressed…and you calling it hatred. What’s up with that?
      If you want to plunk you dollars down on an underpowered, over-engineerd, trip to greenland it is yours to do with as you wish. I see no one here claiming otherwise.

      The problem arises when some chowderhead lib thinks he has the right to tell me I must like the same thing…and that always follows on the heels of progreeeeesive technology like this. He swallows some hucksterism because he doesn’t know any better, it makes him feel good…feel like he can have his cake and eat it too.

      There would be no argument if this technology could stand ON IT’S OWN…if it could compete with a Panigale, a Gold Wing, or a Road King on performance parameters that matter to motorcyclists.

      It can’t.
      Further, there is no technology on the horizon in the foreseeable future that will allow it to be competitive on any level that matters with an IC engine…except in greenland. Instant torque? Sure that’s great! How much do batteries wiegh? How long will it put out that torque? Can I run up the Clackamas river to Ripplebrook Ranger station and back at the same pace as my RC51? Can I turn right around and do it again if I choose to?

      Not even close. Not even close. Not EVEN close.

      So plunk down your dollars, feel good about your purchase. Free country.

      But don’t compare it to an IC engine and if you think about forcing me to follow your lead thru legislation, think again…OK?

      • Dr. Gellar says:

        In all your rants on this article, you don’t see any hatred?!? Funny…opinion or not, nearly everything you say is laced with it.

        • Thoppa says:

          haha… so proving a point = hatred ? The reader sees hatred if the well-supported opinion shows them the fallacy in their own thinking. Anyone seeing hatred is hating being wrong.

          I love motorcycles, I love new technology, I love LiFePO4 batteries, but I can’t see any reason to combine all three except to make a short distance, low load, low emission vehicle for mail or pizza delivery etc.

          Any people from the UK reading this will surely remember the early morning whine and hum of the milk delivery. Another battery vehicle that went the way of the dodo/Brammo.

          • Nick says:

            No, proving a point would require a well reasoned statement supported by facts. While not necessarily “hatred”, using words like “over-engineerd”, “greenland”, “chowderhead lib”, “progreeeeesive”, and “hucksterism” are certainly childish and derogetory name-calling.

  8. Norm G. says:

    re: “And what a gearhead wants is the ability to shift gears and work that clutch, to feel the power going to the wheel.”

    well that and a soundtrack.

    • Norm G. says:

      that being said, i do so see in certain situations where the very LACK of sound could be advantageous. like say… as RTP units (think bmw) for law enforcement. ie. summer patrols in resort/tourist areas, along the beach, parade detail, urban areas, park rangers, etc. situations where push bike patrols are currently used or need support.

  9. Vrooom says:

    This sounds pretty promising. I really don’t think the price tag is that bad, comparable to a japanese sport touring bike with no options. I’m not plunking down 14K, but live in the country and range is close but not quite there for me. Still, as far as what most motorcyclists cover in an average ride, this will meet a lot of people’s needs. Prices will come down as the technology becomes more ubiquitous.

  10. Thoppa says:

    I’d buy one except I can get a helluva-lot-better-for-the-money real bike and the convenience of 5-minute fill ups and the possibility of journeys beyond the city limits. Plus I like the noise and feel of a real engine. And tuning it. Um. Actually, apart from the pseudo-environmentally-friendly-image, do electric bikes have any advantage over a real one ?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “do electric bikes have any advantage over a real one ?”

      not for BIG OIL.

      • sliphorn says:

        Natural gas is used to fire many power plants, and BIG OIL has their hands in natural gas. So Norm, why the CAPS when you reference BIG OIL?

        Gee, it only costs gazillions of dollars to get the crude out of the ground, ship it, refine it, ship it again, etcetera.

        Frankly, we’re lucky gas is as cheap as it is when you look at the WHOLE PICTURE, NORM.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Natural gas is used to fire many power plants, and BIG OIL has their hands in natural gas”.

          many does not = most or the majority. and sure as hell not around here. around here were splittin’ atoms like nobody’s business.

          re: “Norm, why the CAPS when you reference BIG OIL?”

          ummmn, because they’re BIG OIL…?

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “Frankly, we’re lucky gas is as cheap as it is when you look at the WHOLE PICTURE, NORM.”

          a true look at the WHOLE PICTURE reveals “cheap” to be the relative term that it is. cheap ONLY in the context of those who haven’t given their lives, or for those who have sacrificed nothing, NOR have even so much as had anything asked of them. lots a military in the vicinity of this IP address slip.

          • Dave says:

            The military is not in the middle east for oil. If they were, we’d be in Saudi Arabia.

          • JSH says:

            Dave, The US military IS in Saudi Arabia. We currently have troops stationed in the following Middle Eastern countries: Israel, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar AND Saudi Arabia. Those are just the bases that the US publicly acknowledge.

    • JSH says:

      It is interesting to me that you list trips to the gas station as a convenience. To me, filling my gas tank is one of the biggest inconveniences of riding a motorcycle. I have to gas up twice a week just to cover my daily commute which I see as 20 minutes of wasted time.

      I see the ability to charge an electric motorcycle in my garage as one of their primary advantages. Simply pull into the garage and plug in, no different than charging my laptop and cell phone every day. An electric bike also has so many more opportunities to recharge than a gas bike has to refill. Almost every building in America has an electrical outlet. I can see it become standard practice to simply plug in your vehicle when you visit a friend’s house.

      • william says:

        That is a really good point. Filling up at home is much easier and convenient. I have made some detours to fill up my truck when I really didn’t want to. I didn’t feel like it after work since I was so tired out, but the next morning I was really pushing my luck with not enough gas for the morning commute. Plus I try and time the gas prices to fill it up when the price is not peeking. That doesn’t really work, but $100 per fill up is not enjoyable.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “That is a really good point. Filling up at home is much easier and convenient.”

          enter “plug-in” hybrids stage left. ie. the chevy volt, prius plug-in, etc.

      • Thoppa says:

        You have to go home to fill up ? That’s convenient ? I can go to any number of fill up points and it really does take only five minutes. Not 10 hours. You can use your cell phone while it’s charging. A battery bike cannot be used while it is charging because of the cable, unless you just wanna ride round your garage. It’s really only a short journey commuter thing and a 150cc scooter does that very well already, and can do more. Battery bikes are just interesting cos they’re in a developing technology phase. Once people realise that battery technology has inherent limits that severely restrict their practicality, it’s gonna get old fast. Battery-only vehicles are not new. Their failure is being repeated. Gloriously, thanks to gov’t funding. Maybe there’ll be a breakthrough in charging and range, but it’s hardly likely to drop from 10 hours to 5 min with a 200 mile range anytime soon. 200 miles is around 40-50Kwh – try feeding that much juice through any cable in 5 minutes and see what happens.

        • JSH says:

          Yes, charging at home is very convenient since I spend most of my time there. The 8 hours charge time is no problem considering I sleep that long every night.

          The electric vehicles available today do have limitations. They aren’t good for long distance travel. However, they would work great for my daily commute which makes them very practical for me. An 100 mile range easily covers my daily commute with room to spare.

  11. Mr D says:

    The beauty of this topic is almost everyones right. We are gonna run out of gas, but not today or in our lifetime. Battery tech is forever improving, but it’s not overnight. We should also keep in mind the ICE will probably not go away. Even when the oilwells run dry, we have alternate fuels that could burn quite nicely to keep out pistons popping. The E-bikes are sorta like minivans. No one in their right mind would buy one of those front wheel drive ugly things, but millions are suddenly out there and they are kinda practical. If they get the range up and the price down I’ll gladly trade in my KLX.(but not today……tomorrow doesn’t look good either….but eventually)

  12. GP says:

    First, Mr. Bramscher does not strike me as a motorcyclist, for some reason. Maybe it is just his physique (he is no Eric Buell) that does not fit my idea of a person who is into high performance motorcycles. He looks like more of a cruiser guy. But he comes off very genuine, and intelligent, and truly concerned about offering a bike that people want to buy. In the end, I found him to be very likable. Thank You for the interview.
    As far as the bike goes, I really like the progress they (and others) have made, and I am patiently waiting for a capable dual sport e-bike. The performance parameters can be reduced a bit, in exchange for lower weight and better suspension.
    I offer a huge “Thank You” to Mr. Bramscher, and people like him, for moving the technology forward.

  13. Malachi says:

    Wow such hate!

    I think this bike is amazing. I really want it. From everything I’ve seen, they did everything right. Bravo

    $14k. Batteries, design, engineering, quality components are expensive. I think it’s one hell of a deal.

  14. Tom says:

    an eBike is the way to go eventually. Clinging to leaded gasoline is foolish. Clinging to gasoline will be foolish in a couple decades. Clinging to many cost-intensive and resource-scarcity items is foolish. But we need a cleaner source of electricity to make eBikes and eCars successful

    • sliphorn says:

      Check back in a couple of decades, Tom. Gasoline will still be here and used as much or more than it is today. Guaranteed!! BTW, there hasn’t been “leaded” gasoline for automotive use in the USA for decades.

      • John H. says:

        Re: leaded gasoline, that’s the point Tom was making.

        And if the US is consuming more oil in 2032 than we are now, the USA (at least as we know it today) will cease to exist. New oil reserves are not being discovered fast enough to replenish the diminishing output of existing wells. And demand is growing exponentially due to the developing world. Even if you don’t care about pollution, we won’t be able to afford to use oil the way we do today. It’s simple supply and demand.

        • CJ says:

          Actually this is false and misleading. New drilling techniques are about to make the world awash in cheap(relatively) oil. From places you cannot imagine as they were not even being discussed a year ago.
          Seems the ebike zealots are going to be the luddites in this discussion if they keep up the propaganda.

  15. CJ says:

    How much of Brammo’s development is being underwritten by my taxes?
    This is why I take a very skeptical look at this. If it is zero, I have much more respect for the company. If they are sucking off the BS Green Agenda of this government then they deserve to be in the harsh light of criticism that comes with taking advantage of taxpayer monies.

    • sliphorn says:

      Thank you, CJ.

    • Dave says:

      Taxpayer money saved the US auto industry. The oil industry is wildly profitable *and* government subsidized. There are far bigger things to be concerned with regarding where your tax dollars are being spent.

    • DaveA says:

      Yes, because I’d much rather have my tax dollars spent on border fences and $400,000,000,000 (really) fighter plane projects.

      If you’re going to complain that the government is subsidizing domestic engineering and manufacturing, don’t complain when you get your way, and we’re all riding Chinese electric motorcycles in 10 years…you can’t have it both ways.

      • CJ says:

        But Brammo is being underwritten by the Chicom’s now. Didn’t you read their statements?
        The entire battery is Chinese! Most of the other parts are asian origin. WHat part is actually US manufactured. Really , I’d like to know.

    • SDst says:

      How many of your tax dollars support the oil industry. Not just in terms of direct tax incentives, but also associated costs, like protecting the oil that US companies source overseas. Whatever the ‘green’ industries are getting of your tax dollar is minimal in comparison the what those struggling oil companies receive.

    • Stinkfinger says:

      How do you feel about the fact that your gas price is subsidize by tax breaks for big oil while they make record profits every year?

  16. Reinhart says:

    “and 2012 may be memorable as the year the e-moto came into its own.”
    I think not with a $14,000 asking price. If it were in the price range of an SV650 and with had similar performance, then yes I would agree with you. I’m not against e-bikes in any way if they are reasonably priced and offer range for other than city trekking. Keep at it Brammo and maybe I’ll be a future customer.

  17. william says:

    Yes, there will always be people who put things down. I think it is stupid, yet I have almost done it on this very forum. I have to realize, just because I am not interested, doesn’t mean nobody has interest. For instance, Harley, big heavy bikes that are super ugly. They are old guys bikes. I am not interested. They sell well though, who would have thought. I think it must be a matter of human nature. We are all basically selfish, so out of the heart the mouth speaks. Also, the theory that technology is not there yet so lets not try, is nonsense. If we don’t try, then the technology will never be there. The electric bike concept is awsome. More choices the better. I ride gas bikes, but why would I think gas is the only thing to have for motorcycling? I see no reason to limit myself like that. Some of the riders here act like the liberal groups who want to shut down motorcycling, thats quite the contradiction.

    • Gary says:

      Liberal groups who want to shut down motorcycling? What the …

      Signed,

      -A Liberal Motorcylist who does not want to shut down motorcycling.

    • Vrooom says:

      Yeah, I also don’t hear anyone wanting to “shut down motorcycling”. Sure there’s controversy over helmet laws, but you’ve got motorcyclists on both sides of that one.

      • william says:

        You people must not be familiar with off road motorcycling then. Yes liberals really are trying to shut it down. There are so many facts to demonstrate that, it is indisputable. This forum is more street orientated, you can research offroad information and easily find out. Street riding is not the only segment of motorcycling that exists. While this article is about a street e-bike, anyone who follows e-bikes has surely discovered that sound is a problem for offroad motorcycling, thus the e-bike offers a huge advantage over gas bikes for sound issues. So gary, you don’t personally support shutting down motorcycling, yet you support people who do, just as bad.

        • Gary says:

          I am fairly sure this thread did not start with off-road motorcycling. It started with motorcycling in general. I am also fairly certain that a fair number of conservatives were behind the move to shut down off-road parks. In fact I can guarantee it.

        • JSH says:

          The biggest threat to motorcycles in general, both on and off road, is noise. I ride but it still pisses me off hear the noise from an dirt bike with an open pipe while I’m hiking. It is just an annoying as the street rider that pulls up to a light next to a cafe with a bike with an open pipe and revs his engine until the light changes. Again, I ride and this stuff pisses me off. Image what the 99% of the population that doesn’t ride thinks. Loud Pipes Lose Rights, on and off road. Silent E-Bikes might be what saves motorcyclist from ourselves.

          • CJ says:

            This is a strawman argument that has been inserted into the narrative by the liberal enviros and it is pure BS.
            Yes we could be quieter, but the issue will never be that, it is a distraction. They simple want you to go away. You scare them, seems dangerous but mostly offroaders are everything they hate in a person. Self reliant, rugged, individualists with little concern for their religious beliefs in GAIA and Enviromental Lies and Fabrications. Ebikes are a joke. If you don’t believe me look in 5 years and see how many have been sold.

      • CJ says:

        Vroom- You have got to be kidding me. Do you not py attention to the wholesale attack from every angle the Fed and California governments are doing in concert with the Environmental lawsuit industry?
        Anybody who is not aware of the efforts to destroy all forms of motorized recreation is living in a fantasy world.
        The ironic thing is these same delusional folks will be shocked when the Enviros who are pushing eBike replacements for the Petrobikes turn arpound and lock them ou as well. This has NOTHING to do with sound,pollution or ecodamage. This is the liberal enviro zealots destroying recreation they do not think should exist.
        You could ride over the ground on a cushion of air via electric power and they would still try and lock you out.

  18. falcodoug says:

    Yawn…..But how about a turbo diesel instead in that frame?

  19. mudnducs says:

    I wish I could convey how much I really could care less about E-bikes or whatever the latest trendy appellation is for pointless engineering exercises being pawned off as the “next big thing” by Greeeeeeeeen marketing types….I can’t.

    Yawn.

    • MotoGraph says:

      so you do care, but you could care less?

    • Stinkfinger says:

      I can’t convey how much this sounds just like the guy at the turn of the last century who didn’t see the point in gas powered cars because when they were first invented there were no gas stations, so they were really just pointless engineering exercises.

      Hint, EVERY new technology is a “pointless exercise in engineering” when it’s first invented.

  20. RedFZ1 says:

    Resale? Ain’t gonne be no stinkin’ resale. Who the hell wants a used bike with a battery that needs replacement at some undisclosed (high) cost plus what you have to pay the previous owner? Come time to sell you’re gonne take a beatin’

    • MotoGraph says:

      The battery life should be good for well over 100k miles. When was the last time you, or someone you know, bought a bike with over 100k miles on it? Besides, 10+ years from now battery prices will be less than they are now, so you wouldn’t be replacing it at the current cost.

  21. Gary says:

    The hilarious thing is, I’m fairly certain that each major cultural shift had its share of naysayers like we now see on this board … whether during the migration from horse-drawn carraiges to cars; or when the Wright Brothers set out to fly. There have always been curmudgeons, and there always will be. It is as reliable as day turning into night. The question is not whether the internal combustion will die. It certainly will. And long before the fuel runs out. Right now electricity is the lowest common denominator for all the alternatives. Don’t know if it’s the final answer but there is enormous commercial backing behind creating an alternative to dino juice. Might as well accept it.

    • motowarrior says:

      Personally I hope electric motorcycles are every bit as successful as Segways are. So good to see those two-wheelers taking over from scooters and bikes…

  22. M says:

    @ Eric: Cue Kurzweil.

  23. Eric says:

    DaveA: I wouldn’t consider myself an eCurmudgeon…more like an eSkeptic.

    Electric vehicles may be getting better by leaps and bounds, but they’ve got a whole lot more ground to cover before they’re a compelling alternative to ICE, economically or environmentally. That would most likely take a revolution in battery technology. I’m not saying that won’t happen, but I’m not holding my breath either. The best scientists and engineers in the world have been working on that for decades, with only incremental improvements in capacity and efficiency.

    At this rate, I’d be willing to bet that natural gas vehicles will supplant gasoline vehicles before electric ones do.

    • DaveA says:

      You’ll get no argument from me on any of your points. The thing is, electric vehicles don’t need to supplant ICE vehicles, they just need to be assimilated as a meaningful alternative, for a practical purpose.

      I’m going to be 45 in July and I’ve been working my entire adult life, having lived all over the US in places ranging in character from San Francisco and Boston, to rural Kentucky. In all of that time, I’ve never had a commute of more than 25 miles. For much of that time, bikes were my entertainment, and my car was just a tool to get around. A car like the Nissan Leaf would have served perfectly in that role the whole time. Or specifically, when I lived in San Francisco, I went about 3.5 years with no car. One of these eBikes would have been perfect for all of my commuting and probably 60% of my fun riding. Yes, I’d have wanted an ICE bike for long rides and trips, but I’ve had at least 2 bikes in the garage for the last 20+ years anyway…sometimes 3 or 4 (or 5). If one of them were this Brammo, it would have seen much action.

      I’m not arguing that the eStuff is 100% ready in every way right now. I’m just saying that IMO they have pretty much fully reached the ‘useful’ stage, with the single biggest hurdle being consumer attitudes, followed by the obvious battery tech issues. Are they a directl replacement for all of the functionality you get from an ICE powered vehicle? Not yet. Are they entirely useful for a large percentage of people, if they’d just have more open minds? I think so.

      • CJ says:

        Yur description pretty much explains all that is wrong with my government dollaras supporting this nonsense.
        I love how you just gloss over the “obvious battery tech issues” as if they were but a mere annoyance.
        They are the ENTIRE issue.

        Until that little annoyance is solved these are merely toys to be purchased by the enviromental status seekers with deep pockets of disposable dollars.

        Hardly the thing I want my tax dollars promoting.

  24. YellowDuck says:

    Range is getting close to what would be needed for a track day, depending on how constant acceleration / decceleration would affect the mileage. I’d take one of these to the track…but not for 14K.

    Getting there, getting there….

    • CJ says:

      OK. This idea makes no sense. If the issue is not burning petro. In what way does a track day and I assume stripped down accordingly, going to benefit you by riding this thing?
      A track day may burn 5 gallons of fuel. Hardly a burden to the pocketbook in comparison to even your tire budget.
      You would blown off the track by the lowliest track bike with an ICE engine and would not likely get 4 laps in before you need a recharge.

      Please explain?

  25. Kentucky Red says:

    I’m loving it. If I had the $ to plop down, I’d do it.

  26. sl says:

    I can adjust to a different gear box (snowmobiles don’t need gears), the important issues are performance. It looks like Brammo is starting to address these things. 100mph is plenty for now. Make it get to 100 quick and handle, and I will be happy. Also I would want to be able to swap batteries quick. Leave one at work charging etc. The kicker is you need to do this (with two batteries) for $8k before I would consider them. You can buy a lot of gas with the $6k difference in price.

  27. CJ says:

    Dave- You can prosletyze all day long. Bottom line- I know of almost NOBODY who has any interest in these things especially at the pricepoints they usually target.
    All of this is an excercise in futility as current batt tech will not be near gasoline in terms of stored energy for some time(maybe never). We are not running out of oil nearly as soon as the energy ignorant would like to see either. So you go ahead and covet your kids toys. We on the other hand will continue to covet real motocycles.

  28. Johnne Lee says:

    Until the laws of physics can be circumvented battery powered vehicles will never be anything other than toys. There are always people with more money than sense who have to have something different. Jay Leno comes immediately to mind. I envy those people.

    Will the Brammo positively impact the environment? No! The oil lobby will continue to drive the free market economy for several lifetimes. This is America home of the self-absorbed greedy and the one-issue Fox News audience.

    $14K for an under-performing nuisance? Nothing is that unique for for a family man who like me who actually has to work for a living.

    • Kentucky Red says:

      FINALLY!!! A man who really captures the American Spirit. This country was built on Pride and Blood, not Inovation and American-made products like Brammo-Bikes. Gasoline has been moving Americans for thousands of years; not Brammo, not Duracell, and not the EPA can’t change that. Heck, if it was good enough for Jesus, it is good enough for me. Keep your batteries, I’ll keep my all-American gas. Somebody has to keep the bald eagle flying…

      • Bud says:

        Wow. I had no idea it was Kentucky Red that was keeping the bald eagle flying with his all-American gas. We owe you our gratitude.

      • Dave says:

        “Gasoline has been moving Americans for thousands of years; not Brammo, not Duracell, and not the EPA can’t change that”

        I can change that:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_petroleum
        “Petroleum was distilled by the Persian alchemist, Muhammad ibn Zakarīya Rāzi (Rhazes), in the 9th century,[3] producing chemicals such as kerosene in the alembic (al-ambiq),[4] and which was mainly used for kerosene lamps.[5] Arab and Persian chemists also distilled crude oil in order to produce flammable products for military purposes. Through Islamic Spain, distillation became available in Western Europe by the 12th century.[6] It has also been present in Romania since the 13th century, being recorded as păcură.[7]”

        The first combustion engines were made in the late 19th century. We’ve been using it in large volumes for 100 years and supplies are already starting to run out so I’ll take another leap. Gasoline will not move people for thousands of years.

        • Kentucky Red says:

          The USA hasn’t been around for thousands of years either.

          I was joking. This technique is called patronization. I understand now that I am not funny. Thank you.

          • Dave says:

            That I didn’t get it does not make you not funny. Sorry for my post, I should’ve realized you were joking.

      • mudnducs says:

        I admire the sentiment but dude…”Gasoline has been moving Americans for thousands of years”
        WTH?

      • Asphanaut says:

        Apparently your sarcasm was lost on the three people who replied before me. I would have thoght that dissing “Innovation and American made products” and “Gasoline has been moving Americans for thousands of years” and “if it [gasoline] was good enough for Jesus…” would have been suficiently strong tip-offs that your comment was purely tongue-in-cheek.

        • Kentucky Red says:

          Thanks Asphanut. Yes, I was definitely kidding. I suppose I was sarcastically saying that I think we’re looking at the future of transportation here. The electric motorcycle market is currently comprised of cappuccino slurping hipsters, not the adrenaline-hooked antisocials that dominate the majority of the market, but I think the Empulse is a giant leap in the right direction. Kuddos to Brammo; I’m looking forward to seeing and perhaps buying the products they produce in the future.

  29. DaveA says:

    I have some news for the eCurmudgeon crowd:

    If you don’t think that this kind of thing is The Future, you are mistaken.

    The Brammo is cool, and getting cooler. The Motocysz Ep1c went over 150mph over the mountain at the IoMTT last year (and will go faster this year), and missed lapping the circuit at over 100MPH by less than .4mph…from a standing start. The nominal price of gas has settled at over $3/gallon.

    These bikes are not aberrations, or follies of the idle rich. They’re real, and they’re getting better by huge steps all the time.

  30. Zach says:

    “Two speeds is all you really need to be able to select between smoky burnouts or eye-watering top speeds when it comes to an electric motor, but Bramscher says “with the 6-speed gearbox, you can really make it feel familiar.””

    Yay for unnecessary complexity! They’re missing out on one of the biggest advantages of an electric drivetrain for a high-performance motorcycle, which is no longer having to “reset” traction after each shift. The BRD guys have a great blog post on their website (http://faster-faster.com) including this graphic that compares an internal combustion bike with a transmissions rear wheel torque output to their electric: http://faster-faster.com/community/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Rear-Wheel-Torque-RedShift.png.

  31. Way to go Brammo!