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  • April 22, 2013
  • Gabe Ets-Hokin
  • Wes Rowe and Alan Lapp
  • 77 Comments

MD Exclusive First Ride: BRD RedShift SM

Marc Fenigstein, the passionate CEO of San Francisco’s BRD Motorcycles, isn’t one of these wild-eyed futurists (like me) who predicts the demise of the gas engine in 10 years. He admits that for many applications, the internal-combustion motor is just better. “To move a bike at 150 mph for an hour you need gasoline.” But take aim at specific niches and that changes—for instance, the kind of motorcycling we love to do as Motorcycle Daily readers, bombing around the twisty, bumpy, tight quarters of San Francisco, or terrorizing a kart track with a dozen like-minded idiots. You don’t need to go 150 in those situations. Fifty is thrilling enough and 70 feels like Armageddon.

That’s where BRD’s creation, the $15,495 RedShift SM may be a game-changer. It’s a full-fledged racebike, designed to dominate in the 250 classes on Sunday—and then get ridden to work on Monday. It’s the result of an ongoing three-year quest to produce a home-grown production electric motorcycle, a priceless prototype representing many thousands of development hours and VC dollars—and we were invited to ride it around town.

This is no tarted-up electric bicycle with chintzy components. It’s a hardcore competition machine dreamed up when the four-stroke 250 motocross class came into being, according to Chief Technical Officer Derek Dorresteyn. That means top-notch everything: rigid aluminum motocross chassis (the development team used current 250-class motocross machines as their benchmark), race-spec suspension (with assistance from local suspension-tuning guru Super Plush), top-shelf Brembo brakes—it’s the real deal, and riders report reduced lap times compared to gas-powered bikes with similar power-to-weight ratios (40 horsepower pushing 250 pounds in race trim), thanks to the ease of use provided by the smooth powerband and lack of shifting.

The bike’s price may induce sticker shock in a Top-Ramen-eating racer, but pull back and look at the whole picture. A 250-class motocrosser or supermoto needs a lot of maintenance. Pistons, crankshafts, clutches, they all wear out quickly under the strains of competition and can eat up the $8000-ish price difference quicker than you’d think, especially if you’re making every event. Oh, yeah, and gas costs money too—and race thumpers eat a lot of it.

Our plan for the test ride was to do some freeway riding, cruise up to Twin Peaks, then work our way down to Pier 30 for photos. No problem, said Fenigstein—the bike’s 5.2 kilowatt-hour (kwh) battery could easily handle that. So why not give it more range? Weight, said Fenigstein; 5.2 kwh is enough for several sessions on the supermoto track, or 30-60 miles of spirited city riding. The BRD batteries are the most energy-dense on the market, but still weigh over 60 pounds—getting to Zero-ish ranges would also result in a bike well over 300 pounds, disappointing the design brief.

After reading the riot act on motojournalist antics—”this is a priceless prototype”—Fenigstein made sure we understood that not only is the bike a development mule (which is why we didn’t take any close-up action shots of the bike), with work-in-progress throttle response and other rough edges, it’s a racebike with lots of rough edges, not a newbie-friendly commuter. So I took off from the BRD’s Potrero-Hill headquarters with some trepidation.

I need not have worried. The throttle is sensitive and responsive, as are the brakes, but it’s not as terrifying as, say, a CR500, which I’ve ridden in supermoto guise. It was actually tractable and pleasant, with the exception of having explosive acceleration and brick-wall brakes that probably won’t suffer fools. The Super Plush suspension was…super plush, but controlled, and the handling up Twin Peaks was as effortless and fast as you’d expect—just like a well-sorted supermoto should be. Freeway cruising wasn’t as pleasant—it topped out around 75 mph (because of gearing) and though the motor didn’t feel strained, it was clear it was tapped out, as would a 250 supermoto at those speeds.

So—not a freeway commuter. To appreciate this bike, you have to enjoy the fast-paced, madcap riding style some urban motorcyclists practice: blasting through construction zones, crossing over sidewalks, squeezing in between impossibly tiny gaps in traffic, wheelieing and speeding everywhere, getting big air on the crests of steep hills. All these things, are, of course, ill-advised and illegal (even if you don’t get caught), but that doesn’t mean we don’t practice them from time to time. We are, after all, human and subject to moments of weakness.

The BRD Redshift would be an ideal partner in crime for the well-heeled urban motorcyclist—as well as a fun, competitive tool for the supermoto track. Will enough buyers agree when the first bikes start rolling off the production lines?

77 Comments

  1. ZREXER says:

    If vehicles still had the same emissions as they did in 1970, then the move to electric would be a slam dunk. But considering gas powered vehicles are getting cleaner every year the argument to move to electric makes less sense.
    Most power generation comes from coal fired plants. The greenies don’t want nuclear plants.
    Battery life is still way too short to make sense for most people other than buying one of these as a ‘toy’.
    Batteries age quickly also, my lap top in year one would run on battery only for 5 hours when new, but year 3 it is down to less than 2 hours. The batteries in this bike will be the same.

    • Dave says:

      The batteries in your laptop are not comparable to the batteries that are used in vehicles. There are 8 and 10 year old Prius’ on the road using old nickel metal hydride batteries and still running well. LiPo (not LiOn, like laptops) last many times as long.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “The batteries in your laptop are not comparable to the batteries that are used in vehicles. There are 8 and 10 year old Prius’ on the road using old nickel metal hydride batteries and still running well.”

        is it possible the greater the size/greater amp-hour a battery delivers, it tends to mask this condition…? what i’m asking is is it possible the “ageing process” happens to all batteries regardless, but due to a larger physical size/capacity, it just takes longer to notice…? ie, small batts = quicker, large batts = longer. just an educated theory, i know squat about battery chemistry other than copper tops are duracell, and before anybody knew from an energizer bunny, the everyready mascot was a black cat.

        • Dave says:

          There are many factors, what percentage of it’s rated current output (in amps) is sees and how often, how much of the total charge is used per cycle (less is better), and all kinds of other things. The radio control guys are basically using canned lightning bolts and their batteries are relatively cheap.

          A good quality lithium poly or maganese will last long enough that when it’s time to replace, the user will either replace with something entirely different or a different vehicle all together.

          What ever happened with KTM’s electric motocrosser?

  2. Lenz says:

    There’s no doubt on the joy of the sound track that well tuned IC engines generate.

    For me, racing extreme power to weight ratio methanol fueled speedway bikes along with the accompanying sounds, smells and adrenaline hits are in my experience the most fun you can have with yer pants on. BUT the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) and BANANA ( Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone) constraints that are an inescapable reality in our democratic society means that if you want somewhere to actually run dirt motorcycles in their best intended role – racing or otherwise – NOISE and the nearby present and future voters get to stimulate the survival instincts of local politicians.

    Electric motorcycles would appear to provide a very promising “work around” on the referred noise issues. I love the sound track of well tuned IC bikes but if you have to travel very long distances to a venue where you can actually run those bikes then for many potential riders of IC bikes it all gets too hard to do on a regular basis.

  3. Mr.Mike says:

    I welcome electric bikes and this one is a real step forward. Steady advances in energy storage, motors and control systems will eventually make electric vehicles the more compelling option.

    The lack of noise doesn’t bother me a bit. The sensations from acceleration, speed and cornering are what excite me.

    Engine sound is certainly a nice to have part of the experience but not an integral part, although I can imagine speakers and downloadable sound profiles simulating your desired engine sound like a Ferrari V12, or even the sounds your favorite porn star makes.

  4. mkv says:

    That’s a pretty funky outfit going on there. Looks like you are riding on a bike made out of legos

  5. Philip says:

    I like the Big Wheel look, makes it look like a big fun toy! If the suspension could be downgraded a level to make it more affordable I would be a little more interested, but I like it overall. I wonder how difficult it is to lift the front wheel?

  6. Mike Simmons says:

    Sorry, but I just can’t get ezcited about electric bikes…. none of ‘em. When they can compete in performance, range and initial purchase price, then maybe I’ll take a second look, but, until then, count me out.

    Mike

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “When they can compete in performance, range and initial purchase price, then maybe I’ll take a second look”

      gotta be honest, even if they ever got to that point, i STILL won’t be looking. not to imply that anyone else should take this stance…? or think like this…? but near silent motorcycling (for me) is the antichri… err… antithesis of motorcycling.

      i’m a classic gearhead, an engine guy. i’m the person who likes the sound of a turbo whistle overtop a diesel. i’m the guy who’s sat in the ampitheater like stands of indy during motogp practice with his eyes closed, and differentiated a ducati, from suzuki, from a yamaha, from a kawasaki, from a honda, by their exhaust note. i’m THAT guy.

  7. Jeremy in TX says:

    This is the first electric bike I actually “get”. Every other e-bike seems little more than a very expensive replacement for a city scooter – dull machines that would be practical assuming range isn’t important and you could buy one for about 1/3 the asking price.

    This is a track bike that just so happens to be street legal. The pricing isn’t stratospherically out of range from a new, race-ready 250 supermoto, so you can actually justify the higher initial asking price and even expect cost-of-ownership to come out about the same over a reasonable time period. I like it, and it would probably be my choice if I were in the market for such a bike. Best of luck to them.

    • Gary says:

      You consider $15,500 for a SM to be the first reasonably priced ebike? Guess you haven’t seen the new Brammo Empulse. More everything than this one but I believe about $2,000 less. The looks of this one is good though, except the mostly cheap looking colors (especailly the first one). Personally, I still hope and expect the prices to come down some on all ebikes as they become more widely available and produced.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The Empulse isn’t a track bike. So as a replacement for a full-sized sporty motorcycle, no, I do not think the EMpulse is reasonably priced (the base-model Empulse is $17,000 by the way) given its utility vs a similar IC bike for most riders’ intended use.

        The Redshift is a track bike, and compared to the cost of ownership of a similar IC track bike, the Redshift is reasonably priced IMO.

  8. rg500g says:

    For those who say silence is not golden, I can sympathize. The fun bike I ride sounds like 4 125 cc 2 stroke MX engines crammed into a frame, and the silencers need packing bad. There’s something to be said about the sound when you dump the throttle at 8000 RPM in 3rd. Well, the electro bike has potential – you can customize the sound! It’s electric, so you just need a few watts to drive a simple class D amp, a nice horn loaded mid/high driver, and a USB input port for MP3 player. Take your pick: TZ 750, RG 500 gamma, Harley, Ducati, or my personal fave, Chapelle yelling “I’M RICH, BIOTCH!!!”

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “you just need a few watts to drive a simple class D amp, a nice horn loaded mid/high driver, and a USB input port for MP3 player. Take your pick: TZ 750, RG 500 gamma, Harley, Ducati, or my personal fave, Chapelle yelling “I’M RICH, BIOTCH!!”

      how about “dominos pizza”…!? :)

  9. Jon Vandervelde says:

    the esthetic choices here are REALLY unfortunate. Thing looks like a big-wheel. I know the hipsters love the big-wheels, but that’s irony, fellas. They wouldn’t want to plunk down twenty-thousand bucks for something that looks like a cheap, injection molded toy from Walmart.

    • Marc F says:

      Ha, we picked the gold on orange along with those MSR pants I’m wearing in the first pic to make sure the bike stood out. Mission accomplished.

      Don’t worry, there will be a much more subdued option in production.

  10. Colin says:

    These bikes are for the early adopters, the pioneers. I’m thrilled someone is making them and this is oh-so-close to something I would buy. I don’t mind the extra cost for new tech, quiet operation and very low maintenance. I don’t mind 1-4 hour re-charge. With 100 mile range on twisty tarmac I’d be on the waiting list. But I can’t do the mountain loop that starts right up the hill from my home on 30-60 mile range.

  11. nathan says:

    Nobody is going to pay a penny to watch motorcycles ride around in silence. It will remove a significant part of the appeal. How many people do you think would show up to NHRA races if they were silent? 5 maybe 10% of current levels? Same with super cross/motocross.

    • Gary says:

      Electric bikes are not completely silent. The ones I’ve heard have a sort of fighter jet or turbine spin sound at any kind of speed. Would it be an adjustment to watch racing that didn’t split your eardrums, sure, but I think most would adapt quickly, and who is in the front positions would matter most just like now.

    • Gary says:

      Ninety five percent of what the future will bring is uncertain. But there is one thing I am positive of. You are wrong.

    • Jake says:

      Excessive noise — noise pollution is going the way of the dinosaur.
      As soon as the relics from the 20th century die-off (potato – potato) — it’ll be history.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The potential to build “quiet” race tracks just about anywhere (ideally where there can be good visibility from larger populations to generate interest) may be the breakthrough that motorcycle racing needs to draw more interest. I think you are dead wrong on this.

  12. Lenz says:

    I’ve been involved with speedway motorcycles for some years. One of the biggest barriers to establishing and successfully running a multi discipline dirt based motorcycle complex (speedway / oval, flat track, dirt track, motocross) is the noise problem of IC engines. The fans / spectators view it as integral to the racing experience however the noise transmitted into the wider environment seriously limits where and when IC based motorcycle racing is allowed.

    Matching the short race duration for speedway ~ race time for 4 laps 60 secs with high energy / stationary starts with maximal output electrical storage and drive would seem to perhaps provide a simple but highly refined platform for electric powered speedway bikes – (currently no brakes, no gearbox, basic front suspension only, 75kg – 80kg total weight, 70Hp – 80Hp)

    Basically if quiet, electric, competition std bikes become available in different configurations it would be a revolution for motorcycle motorsport and the number of potential venues that could be developed.

    • Marc F says:

      Lenz, the love of dirt track runs deep here. Our CTO Derek grew up racing pro speedway, and we’ve got one of his Jawas out in our shop. I wouldn’t be too surprised if we put one together at least as a concept down the road.

  13. Rob says:

    This is not what motorcycling is about .There needs to be passion a style that captures
    you and a sound you feel in your chest. I for one am a true motorcyclist/racer and when
    I am sitting on the starting line with my Husky 450 in 3rd gear waiting for the gate to drop I love the sound of the motor bouncing off the rev limiter. That’s motocross and that’s racing.So take your electric motor and put it back in your blender.

    • halfbaked says:

      Thanks for chiming in on behalf of all “true motorcyclist/racer(s)” out there. So even when an electric bike beat you on the MX track (and it will) you’ll continue to bounce your Husky off the rev limiter. Oh and by the way why don’t you put your 4 stroke back in the lawn mower where it belongs and get a 2 stroke.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I too am a true motorcyclist. I love the sound of controlled explosion and the roar of the intake. However, I don’t consider those sensations to be required to enjoy motorcycling or racing. Perhaps I’ll be just as satisfied by the whir of the high-performance electric motor thrusting me down the track. And you’ll never hear me coming up behind you!

    • Marc F says:

      Yeah, motorcycles sound amazing, and they should. Which is part of the reason why we made sure the RedShift isn’t silent (the other reasons being rider feedback, trail safety, and pedestrian safety), though it IS quieter and like 2Ts the sound doesn’t travel nearly like 4Ts. I can’t promise that you’ll like it, but to me it sounds like Darth Vader’s tie fighter. It definitely turns heads and a pack of them running around a track would sound something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dcqnEFIw3A (apologies for linking to that abomination of a movie)

  14. ziggy says:

    Simply stated, this thing is awesome and I want one.

  15. Marc F says:

    Norm, not many folks would call me a “cooler head” but I’ll take it. Thanks.

    I love a good debate, so let me wade into this one and set some context. This bike isn’t about being green and it isn’t about being practical. We set out to build a bike that was faster than our gas motocrossers and could complete a full outdoor moto. Will it commute as well as your FZ6? Nope, and it definitely won’t tour as well as a Goldwing. Neither will a CRF. But it will tear ass around a moto track, and we get the nice side benefits of no maintenance. Turns out that we’re also zero emissions so why not build a street legal version? All of a sudden you have a 50-state street legal supermoto race bike that you don’t have to wrench on every day (or ever). It’ll also embarrass everything from Gixxers to Tuonos and Hypermotards on anything tight and twisty.

    On range, you’ll get 50 miles flogging the shit out of it in the city, or 2 hours of aggressive trail riding. Hop on the highway and peg it at 80, you’ll get 30 miles. Piddle around town and you’ll get 70 miles. It can charge out of any outlet in a bit over 4 hours (2 hours from a 220V and 1 hour from a level 2), and when we top it off from the generator between sessions at supermoto trackdays, we get 4-5 sessions. If you have good access to outlets and fit the range profile, this is way more convenient than gas. If you don’t have that, stick with a gas bike. I wouldn’t try to convince you otherwise.

    All of this is about picking our battles and not trying to make electric something it is not. If (some of) your days are under 50 miles, and you want a bike that makes you see God, this is the fastest, easiest, most fun thing you can own. If you want a real motocrosser on the street instead of a heavy, detuned dual sport, this is your bike. There is nothing with a plate (except maybe an SXV) that can keep up on tight twisties or city streets. BUT… if your days are over 50 miles, get a gas bike. That’s what my R6 and KTM 250F are for.

    If you have more questions, post ‘em up. I or my team will do our best to answer them, though forgive me if it takes a few days to get back to it.

    • Azi says:

      Marc I think the concept is great. An electric trail/enduro model would also have the virtue of low noise – something that would be appreciated by other people sharing the recreational trails with motorbike riders and nearby land owners. +1 from a community PR perspective!

    • Rocky says:

      beautifully put Marc.

      You are really playing to the strengths of emerging EV tech with this design, and I hope it is a massive success for you.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “All of this is about picking our battles and not trying to make electric something it is not.”

      see, cool HEAD luke. rational, pragmatic, and an acknowledgement that all things are ultimately governed by physical law. thinking like this built skyscrapers, landed men on the moon, and allowed concordes to fly supersonic.

      “what we have here… is NOT a failure to communicate”.

    • Paul says:

      In regards to range and how quickly bikes can be recharged, where do you see this market in 5-10 years? In other words when will they be able to compete with gas engines?

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Marc F already stated how long it takes to charge. With respect to competing with gas engines, this bike already does within the context of its mission. As far as when electric bikes will compete with IC bikes in every way, shape or form, nobody really knows the answer to that. Some quantum leaps in battery tech and infrastructure need to take place for that to happen. It is hard to predict when that will take place.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “when will they be able to compete with gas engines?”

        see, this question is based on a perhaps erroneous presumption that they ever WILL compete with gas engines. kinda like asking, when will there be a cure for cancer…? aids…? unlimited energy from cold fusion…? hell if i know…? just because you can ask a question, it doesn’t necessarily follow there’s an answer.

        afterall, it’s not like battery tech and electromotive forms of transport were just invented…? it’s been around for decades. obviously knowledge of chemistry and atomic structure has been around even longer. hell, back in school i used to work in a warehouse driving electric forklifts (crown or nissan?). geez, how long ago was that…? what about satellites, moon missions, the space program…?

        point being, drivers (pun intended) for advancing the tech were already in place looonnggg before the megalith auto industry started considering electricity for use as a prime mover. sure, some advances have been made in the past 10-20 years, but if the breakthroughs we seek were actually out there…? i’d like to think we would’ve found them by now…?

        why do i say this…? if i understand correctly, there isn’t a single technology that man has invented during his short history on the planet, that is not/was not being employed on the SHUTTLE. not sure where i heard this…? but i think it was directly AT cape canaveral…? vacationed in florida a few years ago and finally got to make a visit (highly recommended btw). hadn’t planned this, but i was lucky enough to go when STS-130 endeavour was on the pad. wasn’t able to hang around, but it launched only a few days later.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I’d have to disagree with your point, though a good one considering how many people think we are only just starting to look at battery technology seriously, that just because the technology has been in place for decades that breakthroughs in batteries should have perhaps materialized by now. Breakthroughs in one technology usually follow breakthroughs in others such as materials, precision manufacturing, chemistry, distribution, etc. There haven’t been any breakthroughs in IC tech in quite a while, just continuous improvement. It is a very refined and mature technology.

          Battery tech is also refined and mature and serves most of its applications very well. But a breakthrough would be needed for it to displace the IC. That breakthrough may be right around the corner, too.

          I read (so it must be true!) that teams at Northwestern and USC have independently developed new Li-ion batteries that hold 10x the capacity and charge 10x faster (8-minute charge is the goal for the NU battery regardless of size) than current batteries for a given weight. That would be a game changer if they can pull it off in a cost-effective offering.

      • Marc F says:

        Paul, it depends on where you want to compete. In the right format, that time is right now. Every racer that’s been on the bike has asked when they can bring one to the races, and a number of regional racing orgs are on board, so you should see bikes at starting lines next year. Winning titles? It took KTM over a decade of effort to win a SX, so we’re not expecting instant results. It takes more than a better drivetrain to win at a national level. But the trajectory is pretty clear, electric WILL be faster in SX and MX. I think we can make that happen sooner than anyone else.

        The easy way to know when a format will transition to electric is looking at the size of the fuel tank. Correcting for motor efficiency, 5kWh of battery works out to about a gallon of gas (in an high performance motor, typically 40-50mpg). MXers carry a little over a gallon (i.e. 5kWh). Superbikes carry over 4 (i.e. 20kWh). If 10kWh of complete battery pack weighs 200lbs, you need 400lbs just in battery to compete in a superbike race. Which you now can’t because your bike weighs close to 600lbs. Battery densities need to double before that equation works out in electric’s favor, and that’s without getting into the refill vs recharge portion of the equation. (note: rough numbers for the sake of simplicity and not giving away all of our secrets)

        5-10 years out? Predicting what the future WILL be is a great way to embarrass myself. Instead, here’s the future I’m trying to create:
        – A resurgence of backyard tracks and off-road as a family sport
        – New urban and suburban tracks that are 5 minutes away instead of hours…
        – … a vibrant community of urban riders that can now squeeze in sessions before and after work
        – Threatened riding areas still open and thriving
        – An American motorcycle manufacturer competitive (or dominant) at national and international levels of racing (I’m cheering my lungs out for EBR here, too)
        – A transition to electric that happens because customers demand it for performance, utility and convenience rather than one that is mandated and forced upon them.

  16. goose says:

    I understand this bike is supposed to be a supermoto but when is someone going to take advantage of the performance available by making a low aero drag bike? This bike would probably move from 30 to 60 mile range to 60 to 120 with an efficient fairing like GP bikes had 50 years ago.

    Other people have already said it but trying to make a bike that appeals to high performance “ICE bike” riders looks like a poor business model to me. You can talk abut maintenance costs (and be right) but how many people will walk past an $8K bike that can be refueled in 2 minutes for a bike that costs $16K, gives the same performance and takes some period of hours to refuel after an hour or less of riding? You can only sell some many bikes to Jay Leno.

    I’m pro electric bikes but this one just doesn’t make sense to me.

    JMHO,

    Goose

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “high performance “ICE bike”

      ICE ICE BABY…!!! (queen riff) :)

    • Rocky says:

      Killacycle has been around for years. It has done a 7.89s 1/4. It has also been crashed into a minivan. You can find videos of both on the intertubes :-)

  17. Norm G. says:

    okay, i just realized what looks so familiar on this bike…? no not the wheels. the orange battery cube looks like an FDR, flight data recorder. you know, one of the black boxes (actually orange) sifted from the rubble of downed airliners.

  18. Neil says:

    Background radiation? Rider sitting stop an electric appliance of sorts. Amps? Watts? But it looks like a really nice machine and I think if you own a house so you can juice up once a day, then this is the way to go. It ends up being pennies per mile and you save gas costs and other motor costs right out of the gate, which is adding up fast in today’s world. Less fuel to die for in the Middle East. Looks great.

    • Jake says:

      “Background radiation? Rider sitting stop an electric appliance of sorts. Amps? Watts?”

      I think what you’re after is EMF radiation problems? (like: living under power-lines…)
      So-far, I think those that have claimed to be affected by EMF radiation have been discounted as not, actually, having an issue.

  19. Tom R says:

    OK, I will open the customary can of worms about electric-powered anything. Since all available rivers have pretty much been damed up already, and nukes and coal are wildly unpopular among the green crowd, how does this psuedo panacea solution gets its future electric batteries recharged? How many millions of acres of solar panels will it take to replace even 20% of the current vehicles on the road today?

    Some electric vehicles have their place, but the power has to be generated one way or another.

    • Dave says:

      The power gets generated one way or the other. The power grid is already terribly inefficient. Charging electric vehicles is a drop in the bucket and unless a large percentage of vehicles convert to electric very quickly, they will have no measurable impact on the amount of fuels burned to produce electricity. The demand is simply too low. It can be looked at as using power that already exists vs. using another power source (gasoline) instead.

      • sl says:

        Also, if everyone were using electric from power plants it would force the investment into new technologies. Implementing technology on a small scale is not cost effective, but becomes more attractive with more product to sell (recoupe the investment).

        • Scotty says:

          And if you read the report Tom, and the replys from marc, these guys are not looking to replace all the vehicles on the road. Just off-road bikes in a certain setting. I applaud what they have done, if they can bring back the riding areas of my youth in Australia and maybe open up some new ones we might be onto a motorcycling boom again, instead of an aging demographic.

  20. Gronde says:

    That seat looks really comfortable…all day comfortable!

  21. Simon says:

    I agree with Azi. That jacket looks pretty cool. Anyone know the brand? I’m guessing its either a Vanson or a Roland Sands design. Actually come to think of it, you can just make out the logo on the upper shoulder and it looks an Icon: http://www.rideicon.com/products/?productGroupId=66477

  22. clasqm says:

    OK, it’s a development mule. That explains the colors. I thought at first you’d done a feature on bikes made entirely out of Lego blocks. The gray and silver one at the bottom of the page doesn’t look bad.

    Oil is not going to get cheaper. One day we will all have to bid a tearful farewell to our ICEs and adopt these sort of things. Whether that will be in 5 years or 50 remains unclear. If people like BRD don’t start the R&D process now, they won’t be ready when the gas does run out. But if they jump in too early, prospective customers will look at the sticker price, cruising range and recharge time and walk away shaking their heads. You really have to be a gambler to be in this business.

  23. EZ Mark says:

    Until someone invents a battery that can be charged in minutes instead of hours, electric vehicles will be nothing more than a novelty.

    • sl says:

      I don’t think the establishment will allow electric vehicles thrive until they can control/make money on them. My thought is that gas companies/stations could keep batteries on site and consumers could come in and swap for a charged one. Then consumers would not need to own one of the most expensive, and most likely often upgraded parts of the vehicle. There are a lot of loose ends with this concept that need to be ironed out, but it also solves some issues. If I were to buy something like this it would have to be capable of swapping batteries on the fly, and i would buy an extra.

      • Al T says:

        I like the idea of swapping batteries at a gas station. The only reason it won’t work is there would have to be standard batteries. Go buy a watch battery, why do they need so many, they could do it with 2 or 3. The cars aren’t any better.

      • Tom Shields says:

        Exchanging batteries – that’s a really great idea. It’s like propane canisters for your gas grill; you take your old one to Home Depot and exchange for a full one.

      • Norm G. says:

        different idea. the “village bicycle”. nobody owns anything. when it’s time for a charge, you just pull into a requisite location, hop off the dead bike and hop onto an identical bike fully charged and keep it movin. you’ll be just like your favorite motogp rider pullin’ in to the pits to swap a bike with slicks, for one fitted with rains.

    • Dave says:

      “Until someone invents a battery that can be charged in minutes instead of hours, electric vehicles will be nothing more than a novelty.”

      Nobody minds that it takes hours to charge their phones and laptops and most Americans with means are dependent on these things.

      There are already many cities in China and other parts of Asia that have advanced well past novelty with much lower tech electric vehicles. The real obstacle right now is that the volumes that they can expect to make for the US market are low enough that cost is driven upward. Many city dwellers would find an electric vehicle to be a great option if they were more reasonably priced and they could charge where they parked.

      • Tom R says:

        I can talk on my phone and use my laptop while they are charging. Can’t go far on the electric bike when it is plugged in.

        • Dave says:

          “I can talk on my phone and use my laptop while they are charging.”

          But you’re still tethered to the wall. The point of both of those devices is portability.

  24. Gronde says:

    I would buy one for $3995 if the government gave me a $2000 rebate.

  25. Azi says:

    I like the brown leather jacket in the first photo. Motorcycling needs more brown jackets! Gabe, any idea what the brand and style is?

  26. Hello gang, BRD CTO here. Thanks for the detailed article Gabe!

    I’d like to comment on the statement: “it topped out around 75 mph (because of gearing) and though the motor didn’t feel strained, it was clear it was tapped out, as would a 250 supermoto at those speeds.” Electrics motors have inherent speed limits and the bike tested ran up against this limit because we had geared for this max speed. In terms of horsepower the Redshift hits speeds of around 100mph when geared for it but using all available power to push air out of the way at that speed is not the most exciting or efficient thing to do on this bike. I can also add that the Redshift lacks the hand numbing vibrations (or the motor wear and tear associated with them)that plague most single cylinder competition bikes when run up to the rev limit.

    Props and photo credits for Paul Herrold, Todd Tankersley, and Christophe Tomatis for the first three Redshift shots in order of appearance.

  27. Chasejj says:

    So what is really all that unique about this bike that say Brammo,Zero, AUDI soon, haven’t already tried and failed at are now hanging on a thread to survive? Does anybody know anyone who actually owns one of these things? I don’t. DOn’t know anybody even discussing buying one.

    If I am spending $16K on anything it better damn well work for more than 30miles regardless of how hard I am on it.
    That’s what is wrong with the entire concept in my mind. Maybe a go cart track is all they are good for and for $16K I can get a bitchin shifter cart setup and haul ass all day long.

    This is just another greenie wet dream that will never work. Now I need to get back to my Kickstarter project on Nuclear Fission. There are some more suckers for me get some greenbacks from.

  28. Tom R says:

    “Will enough buyers agree when the first bikes start rolling off the production lines?”

    A minimalist 250-class motard-ish bike for $15495? I think the customer list will be short, and I don’t think Ed Begley Jr. works enough anymore to afford one.

  29. Norm G. says:

    re: “Marc Fenigstein, the passionate CEO of San Francisco’s BRD Motorcycles, isn’t one of these wild-eyed futurists (like me) who predicts the demise of the gas engine in 10 years. He admits that for many applications, the internal-combustion motor is just better.”

    whew, cooler heads prevail. i like this guy already.

  30. sl says:

    I think this is what an urban bike should. Yes you will also need something bigger for over the road. That said, buzz to work, screw around town and plug it in when you get home. 60 miles is acceptable for this. The price not so much, but that is the way the economics work out. To all out there that are going to tell me this is a race bike, yup. So is the SXV550 that I will ride to work in 3 hours.

    • Wayne says:

      “….60 miles is acceptable for this.” But 30 miles is not. “…or 30-60 miles of spirited city riding.” How much do you want to bet that it’s usually much closer to 30 than 60?