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Thread: City bike reviews the Empulse R

              
   
   
  1. #61
    Member Electric Cowboy's Avatar
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    Re: City bike reviews the Empulse R

    Lmfao!!! Amen.

    Sent from my HTC VLE_U using Tapatalk 2

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    Now that things seemed to have settled down. Ted, my comment about the 2 or 3 speeds not working was based on some article written a couple of years back. I swear James Parker wrote a piece about why a two or 3 speed transmission would not work a motorcycle application, but I have yet to find it. What I took away was that the jumps were too big for the top speed and acceleration performance you were looking for. But if you put them close enough to work the advantage was next to nothing. Clearly old cars had three speed transmissions, so obviously they work. But as Brain of Brammo has said they needed to keep the ratios close to keep motor speed easier to control. I did not intend to start another transmission thread, as it is a dead horse. My frustration is that Brammo has been very clear about why they have used a six speed and I get frustrated with reviews where it seems pretty apparent that while the review was fair enough, they didn't bother to actually do any home work about the new thing they were testing and made seemingly ignorant comment. Similar to when people review a Zero and talk about how they used to have bicycle components. That was years ago. Or maybe I'm just mad they get paid to say dumb things and I don't.

  3. #63
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    Found it! But Parker didn't write it, he was quoted: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/750/10...fts-Gears.aspx

    Actually still very relevant and great peice for something from 2011.

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  5. #64
    Senior Member jonescg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teddillard View Post
    Is that Australian for eleventy-million?
    Our alternative is a metric ****-ton. Slightly less than an imperial ****-ton, but far more convenient unit than dollars.

    Quote Originally Posted by teddillard View Post
    Except for the weight gain, which is reflected by the difference between the 2013 Zero and the Empulse. Which brings us full circle back to the beginning of the transmission discussion.
    Yeah, like it or not this has turned into a tranny-thread.

    If I'm not mistaken, the thread is really about a journo who tried the Brammo and didn't like it's gearbox.

    I didn't like the Triumph sprint's gearbox either...

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    Along that line jonescg, I heard a customer who bought a Buell EBR1190RS called Erik and asked what the other 3 gears were for.

  7. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by teddillard View Post
    ...you really need to look at all of the threads we've hashed out to understand what's being said here. The thread I forwarded is only one of maybe a dozen, and all of them more than 20 pages long. Hell. Searching "transmissions" alone gets you over 199 pages of results here. I had an obsessive fixation on motor cooling as well, where I talked about transmissions too.

    For one thing, your comment about cost? It was a central issue, revisited repeatedly in almost every thread, especially since an off-the-shelf any-speed transmission is well into, or more, than the cost of a motor.
    I think that is getting a bit beyond my intention to contribute to the discussion. I am not well schooled in the capabilities of the electric motor and I don't want to take the time to do that. I have an academic curiosity as to where the discussion leads, but not enough of one to jump in the fray and become an expert.

    Primarily I wanted to point out that comments that I saw here that "Brammo said the transmission was a win because it made the Empulse feel more like an ICE" is a sort of marketing-driven red herring and that the technical reasons given when owners inquired of engineers were more concrete. I'm not here to be the point contact for those reasons, I just wanted to point out that the points being made were aimed at the wrong reasons from what I've seen. It may actually be part of the reason, but probably not the driving technical reason.

    I've also seen protomech engage in some more technical debate over on the brammo forum so the points were being challenged there as well. Hopefully some reasonable people who are already schooled in many of the issues will meet to talk it through and I'll watch from the sidelines. A couple of people from this forum introduced themselves over there recently and were well received. Brian feels a bit abused from previous experience here that I was not a witness to and so he doesn't come here to discuss it any more. I'm sure he'd love to talk these technical details with someone who is genuinely "still trying to figure it out", but conversations that start with "you shouldn't have done that and I know why" are probably not going to garner his attention - he has a day job that is pretty hectic these days.

    For my own part, I'm not here to push "I bought the Empulse so its suspension is king". In actual fact I would have rather had a direct drive motorcycle - mainly for Richard's reasons of simplicity, not because I know anything about whether it should need one or not. But I fell in love with the chassis of the Empulse and I do love its performance. Perhaps the transmission is responsible for that performance, perhaps it was unnecessary. I just know it does perform and I didn't have to build it myself and I am finding it fun to play with the transmission despite not really wanting it. One of these days I may play a bit more with it to try to come up with some more objective observations about having it, but I think that the main justifications will end up being what they could have accomplished for a target price range and no amount of experiments I might do as an owner/rider will really speak to that tradeoff - that would require "building it and comparing"...

  8. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazclrint View Post
    Found it! But Parker didn't write it, he was quoted: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/750/10...fts-Gears.aspx

    Actually still very relevant and great peice for something from 2011.
    I loved reading that - it discusses both the technical aspects and also the "familiarity" and "parity with ICE" non-technical issues and shows how they inter-relate. There is a comment in there from Brammo about avid motorcyclists wanting a transmission, but it is brought up when they had already identified the technical need for it to achieve their performance goals.

    A couple of things that my limited knowledge doesn't know how well they translate into the current product and discussions - they showed a DC motor graph and talked about voltage limitations for brushes. But, the Empulse uses a brushless PMAC motor. Do those factors affect the basic graphs or performance profiles that they were discussing in that article? Do AC and DC have similar graphs? Is there another voltage limiting (or complicating) factor even if you don't have brushes?

  9. #68
    teddillard
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazclrint View Post
    Found it! But Parker didn't write it, he was quoted: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/750/10...fts-Gears.aspx

    Actually still very relevant and great peice for something from 2011.
    Oh, OK. I read that when it came out too. Thanks for digging it up.

    Funny. Yeah, so some fairly elaborate speculation by a journalist based on information from what, three sources? (lol Lennon and Charles are both guys who are friends of Adam - remotecontact - though certainly very knowledgeable even they'd say they're far from the final word on transmissions on motorcycles. You want a tranny in a shopping cart tho, Charles is your man. Check out his instructable on fabrication, it's really great - if there are any builders still reading this thread: http://evmc2.wordpress.com/2012/12/3...-instructable/)

    We've covered all that speculation and modeling here, and more. It's far from conclusive.

    I still want someone to do a really simple test that I can't do on my transmission-less bike. Take a backpack with 40 pounds in it, and put it on. Accelerate with your transmission through the gears. (This is your "transmission model".) Then lose the backpack (shedding the 40 pounds that the tranny costs you), pick the gear that represents what you'd run if you only had fixed gearing, and do the same run. (This would be your "non-transmission" model.) If you're unsure about which gear would be "best", then try a few.

    I'll buy the first Empulse owner a beer who does this test will some good data.

    We could see actual load data. Speed/acceleration data. Range data. Stuff that's not speculation, that we could then use to model bigger and smaller motors, batteries, stuff like that. I've said from my very first post on the subject, this really isn't rocket science, we have MATHs.

    Quote Originally Posted by flar View Post
    I think that is getting a bit beyond my intention to contribute to the discussion....
    Right. My point being, and to say it again, I'm not going to re-hash that discussion... (or didn't want to anyway), since it's all been done here. Eleventy million posts worth of it, and if you're interested you can see it for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

    Quote Originally Posted by jazclrint View Post
    ...My frustration is that Brammo has been very clear about why they have used a six speed...
    Funny. MY frustration is that IMO they haven't at all. There's a huge disconnect, as I've pointed out repeatedly, between what we've seen and what they're now saying, which I think is driven by their sales and marketing and not their engineering, a subject we've also beaten to death here. The frustrating part is that I'm trying to learn, and what people are taking at face value from Brammo I'm not buying.

    So yeah. Back to the reviews. Sitting down now.
    Last edited by teddillard; 04 March 2013 at 0357.

  10. #69
    Senior Member billmi's Avatar
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    In that article, Bramscher laid out the reasons I suspected from day 1 that Brammo went with the 6 speed transmissions, and certainly the reasons I'd consider using one if I were designing a production bike. They're building a bike to compete with gas bikes that have top speeds over 100mph and great acceleration. Never mind that there's no legal use for going 120 off of a race track. Even for a customer that's going to be buying a "manly" motorcycle just to ride across town and never on the freeway, if they look at a gas bike that has a top speed of 120, and an electric that has a top speed of 80, a lot of customers would shy away from the electric, because it is "weaker" than the gas bike.

    you could either have a bike that went 110 or 120 mph and had acceleration that was just OK, or you could have trouble keeping the front end down, but you'd only go 80 or 90
    While that's not to say it's impossible to get both the top speed and acceleration at a single gear ratio, I expect that adding a transmission makes it possible to achieve both while maintaining a price point that is more likely to work in the traditional motorcycle market. I don't think there are very many people willing to pony up the price for a Lightning.

    Then comes the next issue. Do you invent your new transmission and undertake all the design and tooling costs to build, debug and mass produce it, or do you take an off the shelf transmission that works but has more gears than you need to reach your goals because it was originally designed for ICE bikes that need more gears. Of the 2-speed tranny, Bramscher said:

    it wasn't readily available, so you were talking about a five million-dollar investment.
    All seems pretty logical to me.

    And sure, if I were writing marketing copy, I'd add some spin about the traditional transmission appealing to experienced riders, since that's the market sector being targeted.
    Sensei - Electric Ninja 250

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  12. #70
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    I agree with Billmi's comments about why Brammo selected a 6-speed transmission for the Empulse. At least those are the same "arguments" that I heard directly from Bramscher when I spoke with him for 20 minutes two years ago about the change in direction that they were making with the Empulse design (a transmission, a higher price and a much longer wait for me to get one - my real irritation). While I could understand his reasoning and figured that it was his money and his company and he could do whatever he wanted with it, I still wasn't happy because it looked like my long wait to buy a new Empulse was going to be a whole lot longer (as it turned out too long for my short attention span).

    Speaking of transmission gears, my 1962 Vespa 125 had only 3 speeds, as did my 1958 Sears (Puch) 125 motorcycle. And I know someone who owns two 1941 Indian Chief motorcycles and they also have only 3-speeds, along with a hand shift and a foot-operated clutch. Also, the 1970's Honda 750 and 450 Automatics only had two speeds, but their performance was not up to consumer expectations and they did not sell well. All of these motorcycles worked OK. But they all had relatively slow acceleration and their motors could not be tuned to make a lot of horsepower, as the power band would be narrower and then the jump between ratios would have made the vehicles less useful. Increasing the number of gear rations, allowed IC motors to make more power, while providing a smooth transition between gears. Now that 6-speed transmissions have been the accepted norm for the past 30 years (ever since the 1965 Suzuki X-6 came out), most current motorcyclists really believe that if you don't have a 6-speed transmission your are missing something and your motorcycle just isn't really up-to-date. So having a 6-speed transmission could certainly be a worthwhile marketing decision, at least if your are marketing your vehicle to current IC motorcycle owners - and I still believe that is a limited market.

    Having said all that, I continue to believe that since electric motors have such a wide range of torque, they really don't need to have as many gears in their drive train as an IC motorcycle. Based upon my limited experience, I feel that they do need at least two speeds, especially as the vehicles become heavier and are asked to carry a passenger. My Zero really struggles when taking off from an uphill stop and lower gearing would certainly help it move to a higher speed where it functions better under load. It still seems to me that a motorcycle powered by an electric motor should work very well with two or three speeds, but I also realize that I am a pretty much uninformed armchair engineering enthusiast and I am just using seat-of-the-pants logic. So I continue to appreciate this discussion.
    Richard - Current bikes: 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield 500, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

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