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2016 Victory Empulse TT: MD Ride Review

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Polaris Industries owns both the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands. The acquisition of Indian has led Polaris to push Victory in the direction of high performance, including production models based on two recently developed race bikes. One of those production models is the subject of this test, the 2016 Victory Empulse TT electric motorcycle. We have yet to see a production model based on the ICE powered Pikes Peak racer, but you can count on one showing up soon.

It is no secret that the Empulse TT we are testing is based on a bike originally developed by Brammo, in which Polaris has invested funds for some time. The Empulse TT includes refinements made by Victory, however, and we test it as a new model.

We are breaking this report into two parts. In order to avoid reader distraction with the subjects of range and cost, we want to focus first on how the Empulse TT works as a motorcycle. We will address these other subjects later.

The Empulse TT features fully adjustable suspension, Brembo brakes (including radial mount four-piston front calipers), and a six-speed transmission (unusual for an electric bike).

Aluminum wheels feature 17″ rubber manufactured by Continental (Sport Attack II) in sizes 120/70 front and 160/60 rear. The rear is narrow by today’s sport bike standards.

The Empulse TT also features regenerative braking, which we experienced as a form of engine braking (discussed below). We have no way of determining how much this adds to range or efficiency.

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The 470 pound Empulse TT (claimed dry weight) has a lithium ion battery with a capacity of 10,400 watt hours. Victory says the engine puts out 54 peak horsepower and 61 foot/pounds of torque, generating a maximum speed in excess of 100 mph (which we verified).

The comfortable, upright ergos feature relatively rearward placement of the footpegs, which may pose leg room issues for taller or less flexible riders. Our 5’11” test rider had no significant comfort issues, however. The seat is firm and supportive.

When starting the Empulse TT, you can hold the start button for one second and toggle between Sport and Eco modes. Eco provides less power/longer range. During our short time with the bike, we experimented with Eco mode, but largely rode in Sport mode.

You can put the Empulse TT in third gear and ride around without worrying about the clutch or the transmission. Simply twist and go, like a scooter. Given the nature of an electric motor (instant peak torque), some competitors feature a single-speed transmission. We liked the six-speed, however.

Acceleration is significantly quicker utilizing first gear for launch versus a taller gear, and the transmission with traditional clutch was intuitive for a rider raised on ICE machines. Together with the regenerative braking feature, downshifts resulted in a form of engine braking that was also familiar, and useful.

Perhaps, the most remarkable thing about the Empulse TT is how well sorted it feels. The suspension is excellent, particularly the fork. Suspension rebound was almost perfect in its damping, and the compression is on the firm side without being harsh. Perfect for aggressive, sporty riding.

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Speaking of which, the Empulse TT carves corners with the best ICE bikes. We found ourselves opening the throttle aggressively, and with confidence, due to the nature of the power generated.

ICE bikes have frequently struggled with the impact of power pulse on rear wheel traction (leading to “big bang” motors, “crossplane crank” configurations, etc.), but it is difficult to imagine an ICE engine matching the Empulse TT for seamless delivery of power to the rear wheel. Together with the balanced chassis and quality suspension, the Empulse TT is very quick through tight canyons.

By today’s standards, 54 hp is hardly impressive, but the always-available torque, together with the choice of gearing, makes the Empulse TT reasonably quick. The motor delivers a fun ride for an experienced rider, particularly when using all six available gears.

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The Brembo brakes work extremely well in terms of both feel and power, and we applaud Victory for going with Brembo on this bike. It wasn’t that long ago that some electric motorcycle manufacturers were making due with mountain bike suspension and brakes, but the Empulse TT is equipped like a modern, high spec motorcycle.

We didn’t find the Continental tires the most communicative or grippy, but the power delivery made us confident in the twisties, nonetheless. It allowed us to explore the limits of the ground clearance on both the right and left sides of the Empulse TT, which is relatively generous.

In short, the Empulse TT functions extremely well as a motorcycle, without needing to qualify that statement by referring to its electric power source.

Which leaves the second part of this article to address some of the issues particular to electric motorcycles under the current state-of-the-art. In Sport mode, our testing indicated a range in the neighborhood of 60 miles from 100% charge to 0% charge. This prevented us from taking some of the trips we would normally have taken during the test.

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Since the bike was stored in a garage that lacked a 240 V outlet, we were stuck with the 110 V charger, which takes roughly 9 hours to fully charge the Empulse TT from zero. If you have access to a 240 V outlet, Victory claims you can charge from 0 to 100% in 3.9 hours. Either way, you are not going to travel to lunch somewhere, plug in and leave lunch with a significant increase in battery charge level. I won’t get into the infrastructure issues related to charging electric vehicles, although with the popularity of Tesla and other electric vehicles increasing, that situation will gradually improve. Today, you may simply be out of luck if you run out of charge away from your home-base.

The Empluse TT is also expensive at $19,999 U.S. MSRP. This is sophisticated technology, and it doesn’t come cheap.

In conclusion, the 2016 Victory Empulse TT functions excellently and is plenty fast.  It is both fun and easy to ride. It handles and stops well, and offers reasonable comfort (Victory offers an optional windscreen). We can’t speak to long-term reliability, but Victory is certainly known for high quality, low maintenance motorcycles, and I doubt Victory would risk that reputation by rushing the Empulse TT to market. Of course, the cost and the limited range must be evaluated by every potential customer.

For additional details and specifications, visit Victory’s web site.

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111 Comments

  1. Scorpio says:

    I like the concept and the bike. My commute is 11 miles, and I think I would dig the reduced maintenance. Put the factory windscreen on it and some aftermarket hardbags and away we go, keeping the miles off the other “weekend” bikes. So what if the bang-for-buck ratio is a little skewed; some people place a premium on being different, and this bike might just sing for them, envirocentric or not. If we’re going to dissect the cost effectiveness of riding motorcycles and remove emotion from the equation, we may as well all stop riding and buy a Prius.

  2. Wayne says:

    What do you know, a coal burning motorcycle. What will they think of next?

    • halfbaked says:

      They also use nuclear, solar, wind, natural gas, bunker oil, diesel, gasoline, hydrogen fuel calls etc.

  3. Simon Evans says:

    Again, niche orientating the machine to a `commuter` vehicle is simply accepting the limitations of the tech. We should not have to pay 20K for a single purpose vehicle.
    In any case I doubt it makes financial sense for short-range commuting – the time taken to offset the offensive purchase price against the fuel cost of the ICE simply isn’t tenable. Probably long after the job’s changed, the bikes bust, and the rider has retired. Even at tomorrows fuel prices !

    One area which might help offset that however, is giving employers the opportunity to accrue tax breaks against the `refuelling` costs of their leccy-driving-and-riding staff. If the limitations of the technology cannot be overcome at reasonable cost in reasonable time, then financial incentives need be applied: If not subsidised purchase price, then running costs e.g. An employer that could receive tax breaks of double the recharge cost of their cumulative staff daily requirement now has a useful incentive to provide plug-in stations and recharging facilities. If they also receive tax breaks based on the number of stations they install, perhaps even on loans provided to staff to help fund the machine, then that might be a way to go. But political will would of course be impacted by the all-powerful oil lobby.

  4. Fitbar says:

    Electric bicyces with pedal assist serve a great purpose and I can see these increasing the numbers of people on two wheels. I understand (?) they are not motorcycles, but to me they may create more interesting issues on the road and attractions for people,. I enjoyed the movie charged, but for now I am a distant spectator on this technology as far as motorcycles are concerned. I think I am with the majority in this respect. I greatly appreciate the early adopters whatever their reasons, but for me the environmental reason doesn’t convince me unless it’s symbolic.

  5. viktor92 says:

    Why they keep it so ugly ??

  6. Simon Evans says:

    Again the issues with electric power come to the fore – the basic design of the motorcycle simply isn’t tenable when dealing with the fundamental limitations of the power train: They need to harness every technical advantage to squeeze every last mile out of every amp – and making heavy `sit up and beg` mo’sickles in conventional stylee ain’t gonna cut it.
    Attention needs to be paid to aerodynamics, weight, ergonomics and practicalities, while they wait, (and wait, and wait), for the power supply and endurance to catch up. A `Vetter-ised` ICE can easily go to 180-200 mpg, so what is this sorry-arsed `green` motorcycles excuse?

    60 miles followed by 4 hours recharging and then another 60 miles means, what ? 6 hours for 120 miles – or 20 miles an hour.
    I’ve got lawnmowers that go faster than that and you certainly aren’t going touring on one, unless it’s to the end of your street and back.
    If we devolve to more normal 9 hour charging than that average speed declines to less than 11 mph. He who travels fastest stops least. Until Electric powertrains accept, adopt and solve THAT problem, they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. And certainly not at those prices.

  7. Grover says:

    It’s ugly and it cost to much. Next!

  8. Michael H says:

    This is like the eight-track cassette of electric motorcycles at this stage. I’ll hold onto my money until electric bikes are developed to the high capacity CD version.

    • Fred_M says:

      No, the is a technological tour de force resulting from more than a century of battery and electric motor development. You should be very impressed by this bike — and if you were an engineer, you would be.

      I recently retired from the aerospace industry where I worked extensively on satellite electrical power systems. They used batteries that probably cost more than your home. And I have no idea why you think that there’s going to be some massive increase in performance or range of electric motorcycles.

      • Jim says:

        Agreed. When was the last time we had a breakthrough in ICE motors where MPG is concerned? Today’s motorcycles don’t really get any better mileage today than they did 30 years ago. They make more power per cc but that doesn’t seem to translate into economy.

  9. Rocky says:

    A friend’s backyard built electric racebike recently topped dyno charts at the Australian formula Xtreme championships with 230hp at the rubber ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKZxau67Pno ) higher than any of the factory team 1000s at hte event… It’s a fair bit heavier than the ICE bikes to be sure, but it is without a doubt the future, and one to be very excited about IMO… and this is from a guy who loves loud, thirsty sports bikes and manages to get about 10 litres/100km (23mpg…) out of a superduke that probably needs a tune up.

    anyway here is said electric race bike doing rolling burnouts… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvEmzEkkTyY

    Battery weight is the is the big issue here, and will remain so until there is some fundamental revolution in battery technology.

  10. BiLL says:

    In the not too distant future, people will be clamoring for the autonomous “motorcycle”.

  11. Peter says:

    It would be great if they could team up with Tesla to use their charging stations.
    That would speed up the charge and make it more convenient.

  12. Matt says:

    I keep hoping someone will go the Volt route and replace one of the heavy batteries with an efficient little Grom motor powered generator.

    If you had 20 miles of plug-in electrical range, but a 150 miles range at ~80 MPH that could do it for me.

    My friend has a Volt and in everyday commuting will go for 2-3 months without putting in gas. But he also has no trouble loading up the family to head out on the open road for vacation because range is no concern.

    I really like a lot of the advantages of electric, but the range and re-charge time are the killers. This approach solves both and buys time for battery advances in the future..

    Granted it is complicated.. but for $20k it should be workable.

    • Matt says:

      To actually be able to generate enough juice to cruise at 80mph might need more than a 125cc generator I understand.. but maybe 60mph for 150 miles, or 70 for 100 miles, or 80 for 40 miles etc..

      The smart people can figure those details out.. the point being a plug-in hybrid bike seems to makes sense to me, but never comes out. Something I must be missing..

      • todd says:

        I had an early seventies 125cc Honda (2-stroke) with 15-ish horsepower. It would get up to 80 when I raised the gearing. I don’t see why a modern 125 engine couldn’t efficiently run at 75-80 all day long. I knew someone with a modern MZ 125 and that thing seemed to have more poke than my old 125. With a hybrid, an electric motor would come on power during acceleration to add another 20-40hp and things would be great.

  13. Tom R says:

    Outside of the Ed Begley Jr.s of the world, this product really makes no sense for anyone. Even though it performs well while the battery has juice, it is a “basic” bike for $20,000 that runs for 60-ish miles before it the needs 4-9 hours to “refill” the tank. Does it even have ABS brakes?

    I applaud the manufacturers for plugging away at these, but they still have a long way to go before E-bikes are truly practical and affordable for the other 99.9%.

    • todd says:

      “plugging” ….

    • Fred_M says:

      There are many, many people who use their motorcycles for commuting less than 30 miles to work. Others use their bikes only for short trips around town. For both groups, this bike fits their use cases just fine.

      As to the price, it’s about the same as a Ducati Panigale, which is also a “basic” bike — park a Gold Wing next to either one and it’s obvious that each is little more than a drivetrain, suspension, brakes, and a seat.

      While this bike isn’t as fast as a Panigale, the Panigale can’t run for 300,000 miles without a valve adjustment. Sixty miles on a Panigale probably costs about $7 in premium gasoline while this bike probably costs about a tenth that much to “fill up” after the same 60 miles. Every bike has to be viewed through the lens of its intended purpose.

      • Tom R says:

        Yep, its perfect for anyone willing to spend $20,000(+ T & L) for a no-frills sub 30-mile trip commuter bike.

        I’m thinkin’ the line for these will be short.

        • Fred_M says:

          It’s not like you get any frills with a $25K Ducati 1299 Panigale, either. Stereo? Nope. Saddlebags? Heated seat? Heated grips? Electrically adjustable windshield? Nope, nope, nope, and nope.

          This bike is made to appeal to people who care about the environment and are willing to accept some trade-offs to do their part to improve things. If that’s not you, then it won’t appeal to you.

      • todd says:

        Twisting the throttle on a Panigale is where you get all the frills and thrills, if you can hang on. Twisting the throttle on this would compare to any other 50hp Ho-hum motorcycle but with a tad less noise.

        • Tom R says:

          The size, power, and features of a Honda CB500F for 3 1/2 times the price.

          Pencil it out E-fans. How long will it take to make this up in fuel savings?

          • Fred_M says:

            Tom, most “E-fans” are not that self-centered. They are fans of electric motorcycles because of the reduced impact to the environment, not the reduced impact to their own bank accounts.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Nobody buys an electric bike to save money.

        • Fred_M says:

          Some people actually care about the environment more than “frills and thrills.”

          • Simon Evans says:

            Then why are they using electric motors and batteries that require expensive energy inefficient sourcing, manufacturing and supply?
            Do you know how much earth needs to be dug to get the teeny amounts of lithium in a LIon battery? Your just kidding yourself if you think electric is a green solution. It’s only advantage is cheap `fuel` and even that seems to be increasing at charging stations in a somewhat dubious manner….

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Most of our fuel sources require quite a bit digging. Lithium isn’t any different in that regard.

  14. Hot Dog says:

    Like it or not, this is the future. Time and technology will overcome obstacles apparent today. Most of us probably won’t be here for long, but these types of machines will be common place in the future. Beam me up.

  15. Trpldog says:

    Hey boys! – I got it. How about I wear a HJC helmet with Joe Rocket jacket and Alpinestar riding pants covered with solar panels hard-wired into the battery pack.
    I guess I’ll just have to push it through long tunnels. Ha Ha

  16. Bill says:

    So lets take inventory;
    Gas bikes – cheap, abundant, historical, but one day we will run out of oil and gas

    E-bikes – expensive, rare, limited on technology as a function of range/charging However they need electricity to charge (which requires something to make it) and some unique battery magic (and who knows what goes into making these batteries)

    So what else? Magnetic bikes? Nuclear bikes? Self sustaining turbines? Whatever it is someone will always praise it while others complain.

  17. kjazz says:

    Bolt on a 1.21 gigawatt flux capacitor and I’m in …. !!!!

  18. Scottie says:

    Whenever anyone reviews an EV, they only speak of range (which is always terrible) or charging time (also terrible), but no one speaks of the cost of electricity. Electricity is not free. Even solar panels are only good for fifteen years. Run the cost benefit analysis on that – not good.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Not free, but electricity is still cheaper than gasoline by a good margin.

    • Bryan says:

      And solar panels last a lot longer than 15 years. Good lord

    • Lenz says:

      What utter nonsense – solar panels continue to produce power for decades

      • todd says:

        But not enough to charge a motorcycle in any reasonable amount of time.

        • Lenz says:

          Todd, the size of a photo-voltaic array is entirely variable as is it’s resultant output. If there is plenty of power available at the charge point, it’s the limitations of the on board charge systems that is the limiting variable.

          PV power generation and renewables is not the issue Todd

          • todd says:

            Correct, but it would take a hundred grand in solar panels, covering a football field on a bright sunny day to charge your Empulse in a reasonable time.

  19. mickey says:

    Have to chuckle…Electric bikes and Harleys back to back. MD is on a roll. Now if they just had another Buell, or a 600 lb 1000cc ADV bike with a giant beak article.

    • Bill says:

      how about an electric harley that weighs 2000 lb and has a range of 6 miles, just enough to get to the bar

      • Notarollingroadblock says:

        ..range of 6 miles because the loud exhaust sound player and amp burn up all the power…

  20. ed says:

    54 PEAK horsepower….3.9 hours charge time……….60 miles range…………..$19,999 U.S. MSRP!!!

    Let’s talk again about it in 10 years.

    • mg3 says:

      Seems like the wonks have been working on electric vehicles for most of my lifetime (65 yrs) and they still have not been able to make them efficient enough. I don’t want to sound like a Luddite but do you ever think that they are just trying to get ‘blood out of a stone’ here? Maybe the physics just aren’t there YET, or maybe the physics just aren’t there, PERIOD! Of course, if we were to run out of oil then the whole equation would change.

      Personally I would like to see them succeed at this effort. It sounds like the power delivery is amazing and smooth, and I have always been more of a ‘torque’ guy than a ‘HP’ kind of guy, so I think I would really enjoy that motor. No exhaust pollution (at least not where you’re riding, haha) just puts the icing on the cake.

    • Fred_M says:

      Ducati 1299 Panigale S: $16 to fill the gas tank…check the oil level every 600 miles…hundreds of dollars for a valve adjustment every 15,000 miles…oil and filter change every 7,500 miles…$24,995 U.S. MSRP!!!

      Let’s talk again in ten years.

  21. Artem says:

    No. That ios bullshit Professor told me

  22. red says:

    Rideability sounds great. Range (lack thereof) and “refueling” issues are huge problems for us regular ice-bike riders.

    If those were solved.. say 150 mi range, 5 minute recharge, maybe the $20k wouldn’t be such a problem. Put them all together – no way this thing sells, not to us. Maybe the eco-folk will come on board.

    I do think their time is coming, just not here yet.

    • todd says:

      Price would still be a problem! This bike has less performance than the current 650 crop of bikes, though it is a bit cooler looking. I think this is a very hard sell at anything over $8,000. It’s not like ice bikes use a bunch of gas to begin with so the savings aren’t there.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        “Price would still be a problem!”

        To some maybe. If someone came out with an electric motorcycle with even the mild performance envelope of this bike that could go 150 miles between charges and top off in five minutes for $20K, I’d buy it tomorrow. And I don’t even hug trees.

        • todd says:

          Why, when the Duke 390 costs less than a third or even a CB500F would be stiff competition for it? What is it about an electric bike that would make you value it more than a comparable ICE? You would have plenty of money left over to take your family on a nice trip to the Bahamas…

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Really, what I want is an electric dual-sport.

            I like the idea of not having to stop for fuel when going to or from work. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, but I just hate having to stop and fill up when I am either on my way to the office or on my way to the house.

            Maintenance is almost nil. There was a time when I loved working on my motorcycles. Not anymore. Time is precious, and I would much rather spend my time riding than wrenching.

            If I get stuck in stop-and-go traffic, which is often, the electric bike isn’t just sitting there idling blowing up heat beneath me.

            E-bikes are quiet. It is a very different experience riding my mountain bike through the woods vs my dual sport. It is serene. I’d love to have that serenity to go along with the thrill that a motorcycle can provide when I get off the beaten path.

            I am not saying this to be smug, but the additional cost isn’t an issue for me. I’d still be able to take the family on a nice vacation to the Bahamas. The attributes I mentioned would be worth the additional cost over a DR650 (for example) to me. I understand that wouldn’t be the case for everyone.

          • Blackcayman says:

            Right Jeremy!

            There are some great attributes of E-Bikes. I would like one for those reasons and I also I like a torqueee take off from a stand still!

            Just too much for too little at present.

  23. Grover says:

    How is a poor little Hipster supposed to afford one of these green machines? I’m already saving a ton on razor blades and deodorant, but I still can’t swing the asking price.

    • Colors says:

      This motorcycle isn’t hip man. What you gotta get is a BSA, or if you manage to save 20k on razor blades a ural with a side car. Electric vehicles may be seen as good for the planet but you’re burning gas while hugging trees to be ironic.

    • Tom K. says:

      Also give up shampoo, soap, and mouthwash, and you’ll quadruple your savings by not having to buy any more champagne and condoms. Or, you could just do what I did, and get old and fat….

  24. mickey says:

    At least they are starting to look like conventional motorcycles, although I’m not sure conventional motorcyclists are the ones that will be buying these. You’d think with the emphasis on commuting they would be more scooter like with storage and wind protection and maybe collapsable roofs even for rainy days, with an entirely different target market than current ICE bike buyers.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I agree the small-displacement scooter would be a more practical format for electric two-wheelers than motorcycles. I suspect that market is especially price sensitive, though.

      • Simon Evans says:

        BMW already have the leccy scoot in production and on sale.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/motorcycle_manufacturers/bmw/10915636/BMW-C-evolution-electric-scooter-review.html
        It suffers ALL the limitations of all electric machines, save for a bit of weather protection. It’s not exactly setting the sales floor alight… just 17 have been registered in the UK since December 2014. Anyone still think the price isn’t relevant?

        The technology is being wasted on cloning existing designs when they should rethink the whole strategy. Motorcycles today share most design constraints with motorcycles of a hundred years ago. Scooters from about 70. It’s pathetic.. The requirement is to maximise range and efficiency from the poor battery technology (and isn’t it funny how new revolutionary battery tech is always `just around the corner`. No bloody good if the current machines can’t get around the corner without running out of juice. Instead why not rethink the whole concept of single track transport ? It’s lazy thinking populated by lazy engineers who are driven by lazy marketeers in a stagnant industry. Far from seeing electric bikes take over the world, it’s far more likely that mo’sickles will simply be legislated out of existence before most of us die.

  25. Brian says:

    I bet back in the day horses were cheaper than the first ICE horseless carriages. And more reliable. And they refilled their own tanks overnight when you left them in a field.

    I am excited about this technology – comparing it to ICEs that have a hundred years of development is a tad unfair. I think it’ll be great to buy an e-bike in the future that needs the maintenance of a blender, performs better than the ICE bikes of today and imagine what this could do for third world countries where bikes are transportation (not toys) and the 2-stroke scooter is still polluting to a massive extent?

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      Some of the earliest commercially produced motor vehicles were electric. It didn’t take long for ICE to improve to the point where it beat the pants off the limited range of lead-acid battery powered vehicles. Problem is, batteries have only gotten better by maybe an order of magnitude at best, and they still take too long to charge. Getting better but they still have a long way to go before they can match the cheapness, range, and quick refueling of an ICE engined car.

    • todd says:

      This bike also benefits from over a hundred years of development. The only thing on this bike not found on just about every other bike in the marketplace is its LiPo battery. Granted, that is a significant source of the bike’s cost. With 54 horse it’s a bit of a stretch to say it performs better – maybe better than the 300cc class of bikes.
      Don’t get me wrong, I like the bike I just think there’s a long way to go before we start seeing lots of these on the road.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Batteries have been in development for well over a hundred years as well, and on a huge scale. Cars and motorcycles aren’t the only things driving the demand for better batteries, and they weren’t the first.

  26. Lenz says:

    When I was involved with developing an innovation, the coarse assessment of the likely commercial success of an innovation was essentially “Is it 3 times better than existing products that it would displace”.

    I tend to think the electric motorcycle in its current form doesn’t satisfy that 3x benefit differential – YET. When the supporting systems for generation and storage of zero emission electric power mature a little further, THEN the appeal of powering vehicles via zero emission generation renewables will be very pervasive.

    I am not convinced the storage of electric power in batteries is the right way to go. Renewable generation plants should also be producing hydrogen as both a feedstock for massive hydrogen fuelled night power and also for vehicle usage. In this approach the production of hydrogen also acts as a safety valve to manage the supply / demand requirements.

  27. Fred_M says:

    All of the arguments about the expense and practicality of electric motorcycles remind me of what I hear from cagers talking about all motorcycles — “it only seats two people and costs as much as my Hyundai” or “I need another vehicle just for when it’s snowing” or “I can’t even do my grocery shopping with it.”

    This bike isn’t designed to save you money or be more practical than a conventional motorcycle. It’s designed for riders who place a high value on reducing their carbon footprint and their use of fossil fuels; riders who are willing willing to accept some significant trade-offs (range, top speed, weight, price, etc.) to achieve those goals. If that’s not you, then this bike probably won’t end up under your butt.

    Even if this is not the bike for you, why would you want to convince others that spending $20K to benefit the environment is a waste of money? That’s like trying to convince them that buying a new surround sound system is a much better use of their money than donating to Doctors Without Borders.

    • Fivespeed302 says:

      As a Zero SR owner,I find it funny people are so particular about range. So it’s not a do it all bike. Big whoop. Many riders have two or more bikes anyway. Do you keep record of your milage? I did on my R1. Maybe 3 tiimes in 3 years I rode over 100 miles in one day. The SR gets chosen 90% of the time I ride because the 100 mile range is beyond adequate. And I don’t come back wishing I had taken the R1.

  28. todd says:

    Ok, I’m ready for a shoot-out comparison with this against an EX500. Oh, that’s not available any more. Comparing a Ninja 650 against this thing seems unfair. I think the lower weight (and substantially lower cost ) of either Ninja will play a big role.

    Would these be targeted towards that buyer?

  29. Ed Chambers says:

    I’d rather have diesel.And for that money I could.

    • Chris says:

      Yep. Imagine half of a 328d engine: ~90 hp and ~150 ft lbs. Or for those more interested in mpg, half of a VW diesel: ~75 hp and ~125 ft lbs. Max torque from 2k to 3k rpm…

  30. jcott says:

    E-bikes are stillborn until one of 3 things happens:
    1) batteries take a giant leap forward (unlikely)
    2) electric motors take a giant leap forward (even less likely, as they are already damn efficient
    3) Someone builds the infrastructure to swap batteries at a “station” in minutes, rather than recharging the batteries you have. Much like filling up with gas at a gas-station. This is the most likely scenario, and is a logical step for one of the big oil namebrands to take in the interest of diversifying their product offering. But,the market demand needs to grow a bit first, or they need to establish a partnerhship with a big auto company to jumpstart demand. And, then, it’ll trickle down from auto to moto…

    In any of these situations, it’s still a waiting game…

    • Kleetus says:

      Stillborn is a good way to view this. I love the idea of an elec bike but the cost and useability don’t add up. I commute 77 miles on the expressway. So far, none of the elec bikes can do it for me. Heck, the Nissan Leaf can’t either. I know many Leaf drivers (at my work) and they all agree that it isn’t as efficient as the mfr claims. Maybe someday hydrogen will be the way. I love technology but it seems that we’re stuck with gasoline or diesel if HDT will go to the market.

  31. Ron H. says:

    I’m amazed how expensive all these electric vehicles are. When I imagine all the parts that need to be engineered, made/machined and assembled in a regular engine and compare that to an electric motor, I think these electric vehicle manufacturers are gouging. Yes, I know the battery materials can be costly, but think of the hundreds of parts in a gasoline engine. These EV’s are the latest opportunity for companies to take advantage of the public. The good news is that eventually competition usually levels things out.

    • PatrickD says:

      R&D. And they aren’t selling many of them, as so many posters here explain why.

      We’re at the start of the curve, here. Think of cars and motorcycles 100 years ago, and we’re at the same evolutionaey point with electric vehicles today. It might not happen for us, but it will for the next generation.

  32. Tim says:

    This motorcycle does not make sense from an economic or performance perspective. For the price, that thing should have solar panels imbedded over every external surface so that it recharges any time it is parked outside and is partially powered by sunlight any time it is moving. Until the price drops to equal a 250 to 300 cc commuter motorcycle, electric motorcycles will continue to be playthings for people who want to make an “efficiency” statement.
    I would love to have an electric motorcycle to replace my bicycle on my 29 mile round trip commute, especially on windy days, but it’s just too expensive.

    • Fred_M says:

      It costs the same as an economy car. It’s not designed for people who think Toyota Corollas are expensive vehicles.

  33. Adam says:

    How do these batteries do if they are not used for a few months at a time? Can you put this in a garage unplugged for 6 or so months and come back to batteries that are still healthy and just need a charge or do you have to replace batteries if you let them sit like this often?

  34. Zero v.s. Victory head-to-head test! It is time!

    All the best,
    Aaron Lephart

    TechVelocity.com

  35. Roadrash says:

    I recently took a Zero S for a ride. I’d buy one as a commuter, and my commute is 45 miles one way. I do have the benefit of a plug in and a 12 hour shift on the job.
    The Zero S was way less money than the Empluse.
    These would work well for many things, but probably not as your only bike.
    Hey, who wants to only have one bike anyway?
    Not sure what victory is saying for battery life, but Zero is looking at 300,000 miles.
    It really might be cheaper in the long run…

    • Dave says:

      Re: “It really might be cheaper in the long run…”

      The Zero is cheaper in a fairly short run. Nu gas, no oil changes, no valve inspections. Those things add up fast for the the commuter up uses their bike a lot.

      This Victory bike perfectly displays the conundrum that the emerging e-bike market faces. They’re trying to make a halo product to win over a fringe of ICE riders when the more immediate opportunity would be urban commuters and a scooter format. 60 miles is plenty of range for that, and it’d probably go much farther with a motor 1/2 as powerful and a decent wind-screen. Think electric Suzuki Burgman 200. Problem is, that’s just not exciting enough.

      • Roadrash says:

        I did think the Zero was exciting! And I ride a 2013 FZ8.
        The impulse doesn’t make sense to me, but the Zero does.
        All this comparison to gas powered bikes misses the point.

  36. We talk a lot about how much these e-bikes cost. Has anyone seen or done a reasonable estimate of costs over the lifetime of a bike like this, and compared it to another average/nice commuter bike?

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Lot’s of people have. The result depends on some assumptions which depend on one’s leanings towards e-bikes or ICE bikes. Is it more appropriate to compare the $20,000 e-bike to a $20,000 ICE bike, or do you compare a 54hp, $20,000 e-bike to a 54hp, $6000 ICE bike? Will you pay a dealer for all maintenance or do it yourself. Should you quantify your own time spent on maintenance? Do you include resale value in the equation. What is the resale value of an e-bike anyway? How much will gas cost during the hypothetical life cycle? How much will electricity cost? How do you put a dollar figure to being able to use an ICE bike for things other than commuting, such as touring or weekend recreational riding? You get the picture.

      However you want to calculate it, the answer is that “financial advantage” is not a reason to buy an e-bike.

  37. Trpldog says:

    I can’t see how the ever-ready bunny bikes will even begin to sell until they get about the same range as our current ICE bikes with the throttle also twisted accordingly. When their range reaches 150 miles at WOT, then I can see their sales hopping up.

    • Trpldog says:

      I can see how doing a completely silent 200 foot smokey burnout on the front sidewalk of the local Highway Patrol office at 2:00am somewhat invigorating.

    • markjenn says:

      Very few ICE bikes will do 150-miels at WOT.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        WOT for e-bikes is 70mph – 85mph. There are plenty of ICE bikes that can do that for 150 miles. But even if they can’t, they can stop and fill up with gas in a matter of minutes.

        • Dave says:

          Thing is, there aren’t a lot of riders who do that (75mph for 150 miles), especially outside the US where motorcycles sell at a greater rate.

          They need to get rid of the gearbox. The more “like” an ICE bike they make it, the less customers it will attract.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            “Thing is, there aren’t a lot of riders who do that (75mph for 150 miles), especially outside the US where motorcycles sell at a greater rate.”

            I don’t agree with that assumption, both for riders in the US and outside of it. I’ve lived in a major European city and was part of the motorcycle community there as well. Non-scooter riders will frequently leave the city on their bikes for an all-day weekend ride or for a long trip during holiday. Once outside the city, speeds are higher than 75mph usually. And, generally speaking, it isn’t like here in the US where the motorcycle is a recreational vehicle nor do most people have multiple bikes. The bike they have is often their only vehicle, and it gets used for commuting, weekend warring and long-distance travel. So while an electric bike would no doubt meet most riders needs 95%+ of the time, a bike that would only work for them 95% of the time wouldn’t work at all.

            Things may be very different in markets like China and India, but purchase price is an even greater issue in those markets than it is here.

            I agree with you on the gearbox. Fill that space with more battery cells.

          • todd says:

            Why get rid of the gearbox. That’s what helps this thing accelerate and have a decent top speed. If you want, you could always just leave it in 3rd gear and it would be just like every other electric bike.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            Not saying I wouldn’t like the gearbox. I just agree with Dave that they are trying to appeal to the wrong kind of customer.

  38. Montana says:

    Think globally, ride locally. Perfect for a commuter.
    As for spewing hydrocarbons, let the power company worry about that.
    If you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist, right?

  39. Blackcayman says:

    No gasoline to buy, and they’re cheap to recharge…but with an acquisition cost that high, you’d have to operate it for years and years….

    Then you’d face replacing those batteries as well….

    For that dough, It would be a MS 1200 S Touring – with a face only a mother could love….but what a bike!

  40. kjazz says:

    If I’m going out for a ride, you know, a real afternoon motorcycle ride….I would expect to put no less than 150 miles even if it’s a short ride. So the limitations of the battery capacity makes this option a non-starter for me as riding entertainment. Even if the bike is cool looking, great performing etc. as it appears to be. And then on top of that…. $20K. Dang. I just don’t get this new math.

    I do like the electric concept, but the reality is too much.

    However, strictly as a commuter…. it totally makes sense to me. Seventeen miles from my house to the office (boring roads though), at which point I plug it in until the afternoon commute home. The batteries stay full and I don’t spew hydrocarbons all over the neighborhood and it makes basically no noise if you discount giggles, laughs etc. But again, $20K for a commuter….. ugh.

    I really wanna like this thing, but……

    • kjazz says:

      ….so if Victory really wants to make a cool commuter, it should have a rack or bags standard and/or a helmet storage. But that sounds like a scooter.

      • Mick says:

        At least a luggage rack. The thing already has something sort of like a luggage rack like thing to keep the water off of you. I don’t like this ridiculous trend. The abbreviated tail section that needs something added to it to keep the back wheel from soaking the rider and covering them with road grime in the rain.

        I rode for three days in the rain in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg on a rented CB1000R street fighter thingy. The had the big plate holder removed and replaced with a tidy tuck in job. Every day I would arrive soaked and covered with mud from the constant hosing I received from the back tire.