Bradley Hasemeyer of Translogic is the latest member of the press to take a spin on the Brammo Empulse R electric motorcycle. So far the Empulse R seems to be the leading contender for an electric motorcycle that is a direct replacement for a gasoline powered motorcycle experience. A lot of that has to do with Brammo’s exclusively licensed 6-speed transmission that is built strong enough to hold the constant torque of the brushless DC electric motor. The transmission improves the Empulse R’s acceleration and range but most importantly it is a more satisfying riding experience for veteran motorcycle riders and that’s what’s winning people over. I like the story Translogic put together because they toured the factory and got the scoop on how Brammo got started and their highly successful TTXGP racing program. It turns out the guy who started Brammo is also responsible for bringing the Ariel Atom to the US.
BMW Motorrad is celebrating its 90th anniversary with several special edition concepts including this re-imagining of their R90S. Privateer British rider Reg Pridmore won the 1976 AMA Superbike Championship on a highly tuned version of the R90S giving BMW its first US motorcycle racing victory. BMW designers teamed up with Roland Sands Design in California to create this Concept Ninety.
Network A has been following the adventures of professional Freestyle Motocross rider Ronnie Renner as he travels the world. It turns out Renner is a big electric motorcycle enthusiast. KTM offers him a chance to fly to their headquarters in Austria to check out their Freeride E. The Freeride E is essentially an electric version of a 250cc motocross bike making 30 hp peak and 62 foot-pounds of all rpm torque from its 300 volt AC motor. The dry technical specs aren’t impressive by gasoline engine standards, but the bike definitely moves in the hands of Ronnie:
Ronnie also is a US dealer for Stealth Electric Bikes. He bought one to ride around his neighborhood for fun and liked it so much that he started importing them. The Stealth Bomber he’s riding in this video has a 9 speed sequential transmission and a power output of 6 horsepower.
Brammo has finally started showing the press the production version of their Empulse R electric motorcycle. It’s widely being regarded as the first electric that is on par with a gasoline powered bike in terms of both performance and experience. They key component responsible for the Empulse’s merits is its 6-speed transmission. Electric vehicles generally use a single gear ratio because they take advantage of the fact that electric motors pretty much make maximum torque at all rpm’s. This means that the motors don’t have to be spun up to high rpm to make power but the instant torque can very easily grenade a transmission designed for a gasoline engine that does. Brammo has bought exclusive rights to a 6-speed transmission designed specifically for use on electric motorcycles. The extra gear ratios allows the motor to stay at its most efficient operating point but more importantly it makes the electric motorcycle experience as engaging as what motorcycle riders are used to.
Kott Motorcycles is a vintage motorcycle shop in Los Angeles run by Dustin Kott. Dustin turns old Honda twins and inline four’s into cafe racer style bikes. He’s yet another craftsman who turns what other people perceive as junk with his skills and sense of style. Check out the story of how an American guy came to make a living customizing Japanese motorcycles with a British style: