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View Full Version : Hell for Leather Empulse Road Test is UP!



teddillard
21 August 2012, 0229
http://evmc2.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/picture-13.png?w=640&h=647

Read it here: http://hellforleathermagazine.com/2012/08/brammo-empulse-the-electric-motorcycle-has-finally-arrived/

My favorite quote, from someone who was a pretty scathing skeptic of electric motorcycles: “The Empulse is simply a more pure experience than any gasoline-powered bike could ever be.”

I've been a pretty fierce critic of Brammo lately, but they've clearly put a bike together that's going to whack a lot of people upside the head in the general motorcycling community. They deserve huge congratulations.

1320freek
21 August 2012, 0356
I want!!!

Richard230
21 August 2012, 0742
That was a very positive report, especially from Hell for Leather. But there was no information about when the production Empulse would be offered for sale. I just received a long email message from Brammo describing their race bikes' Laguna Seca race results. All very interesting, but not a word about when the Empulse would be available. I would be a lot more interested in their racing program if I owned an Empulse. or at least if Brammo outlined how the racing program was helping to validate the design of the production motorcycle and that was why it was taking so long to offer the production model for sale to the public.

For me the design and operation of the Zero S is a better product for my usage. I don't use my Zero for just having fun. I use it mostly for riding around town within a 30-mile radius, to go shopping, visiting my family, riding to doctor appointments, hitting the hardware store, riding to hiking spots in the Santa Cruz Mountains, etc. I ride with a seat bag, saddle bags and a backpack to carry stuff. Great handling is not a big issue for me, but carrying capacity is. Since I have owned my Zero I almost never drive my car unless I need to really carry something big or have to transport a passenger. I like the design of the Empulse a lot, but its capabilities would be a waste for my purposes and it still doesn't have the range I need to go cross-country touring or on camping trips - which is what I use my IC motorcycles for.

I just hope the long delay in getting the Empulse into production will result in few reliability problems, such as what Zero has been dealing with lately (which is likely the result of rushing their product into the marketplace without sufficient long-term testing).

Warren
21 August 2012, 0753
As nice as it is, I would still rather have Brian's Norton.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Moto-Electra-Racing/110022072362813?ref=stream

podolefsky
21 August 2012, 0944
Wow, great article.

I can definitely attest to the good manners of an electric carving up canyon roads...especially without a transmission ;) With the bike gearing optimized for 30-60 mph, there are basically two controls: throttle and brake. No vibration, no surprises...just smooth power at pretty much any speed.

Interesting that they talk about the advantages to weight distribution. One of the things I've thought is really cool about electrics is how "tunable" they are. Want more off-throttle regen braking? Just program it. Want a different throttle map? Just program it. Want to detune the power for your buddy to ride? Push a button. Pretty sweet, IMO.

Agreed, Brian's Norton is great. But there's only one, and to be honest it's a pretty uncomfortable race bike. It would be a hard sell for people who want to ride around town and blast up the occasional canyon.

Glad Brammo is bringing this to the masses.

Warren
21 August 2012, 1412
"be honest it's a pretty uncomfortable race bike."

My last road motorcycle was a 1967 Bonneville cafe racer, clip-ons, rear sets pegs, the whole package. If I want to be comfortable I drive a car. If I wanted to scare the hell out of myself, I'd ride a motorcycle. :-)

Electric Cowboy
21 August 2012, 1550
... Glad it was a good article, but just more distraction from the fact that there still only 3 production bikes built. With 2 race bikes.... When are they going to be more than vapor and mirriors?

Sent from my HTC VLE_U using Tapatalk 2

podolefsky
21 August 2012, 2038
... Glad it was a good article, but just more distraction from the fact that there still only 3 production bikes built. With 2 race bikes.... When are they going to be more than vapor and mirriors?



Distraction? Maybe - I think they just finally have the bikes ready and sorted so they can get them to people to review.

Back in May, Brammo said "limited availability in June 2012 and in volume by Q3 2012" for the Empulse R, with the Empulse arriving in 2013.

It's pretty far past June, but they've set pricing and you can pre-order them. It's just taking them longer than expected - I don't think they're going to vaporize.

Warren
24 August 2012, 0838
Just compared the specs for the production Empulse R and the Moto Electra.

Brian's bike is 40 pounds lighter, 25+ mph faster, with 25% more range. Very impressive, for a bike essentially built by one man with part-time assistance from a couple other people. And mostly from parts anyone can buy.

I have been to his shop. Brammo's advertising budget has got to be orders of magnitude more than he has spent all together.

Richard230
24 August 2012, 0849
On the other hand, he probably doesn't have as large a racing budget or "overhead" as does Brammo. Nor is he buying huge new buildings as they become available. Then too, those Brammo Girls probably don't come cheap, either. :)

podolefsky
24 August 2012, 1422
Brian isn't building a production bike. He's built a classic race replica...and a really nice one. Brammo is producing a street friendly naked bike along the lines of a street triple (thus the comparison in the article).

Not sure what the point is in comparing them...apples and oranges...

teddillard
24 August 2012, 1452
Not sure what the point is in comparing them

seriously...

Warren
24 August 2012, 1654
My point is, it is a street legal bike, without a transmission, or other exotic, unobtainable components, that outperforms the Brammo. And I believe he would be interested in producing them to sell.

Skeezmour
24 August 2012, 1731
My point is, it is a street legal bike, without a transmission, or other exotic, unobtainable components, that outperforms the Brammo. And I believe he would be interested in producing them to sell.

As much as I would love to see that his cells in that bike alone are almost the same price as a new Brammo :(

Warren
24 August 2012, 1851
"As much as I would love to see that his cells in that bike alone are almost the same price as a new Brammo :("

Yeah. There is the rub in the tranny vs direct debate. Clearly, you can beat a tranny bike with direct drive. Use a bigger motor, controller, and battery pack. You can demonstrably beat range, weight, and speed. But at what cost?

The Moto Electra has 32, 100 Ah, lithium pouch cells. That would be over $1500 per kWh! Kokam must think they are making Viagra. They are used to selling stuff to the government. Very soon, someone in China is going hand all those folks their asses.

podolefsky
24 August 2012, 2144
My point is, it is a street legal bike, without a transmission, or other exotic, unobtainable components, that outperforms the Brammo. And I believe he would be interested in producing them to sell.

No transmission - just a $20k Kokam pack, one-off aluminum frame, custom wound AC-30, carbon wheels, iPad built into the tank...other than that, nothing exotic ;)

Anyway...we get it. You like Brian's bike. So does everyone else.

Can't we all just be happy that Hell for Leather actually LIKES an electric bike?

teddillard
25 August 2012, 0142
Can't we all just be happy that Hell for Leather actually LIKES an electric bike?

Seriously. That was my point, FWIW. Not to say that HFL hasn't been a huge supporter of electric bikes, but he is a very demanding and informed reviewer, and his reaction is huge, considering his readership is the traditional mainstream motorcycle enthusiasts. (See his comment on my post, BTW.)

Add to that the Lightning story on motorcycle.com, and it's a landmark week for electric motorcycling, boys!

Warren
25 August 2012, 0742
Just to set the record straight, Brian's frame is chromoly steel.

I love the Empulse. It just turned out twice as expensive as they had said, and I had hoped.

It sounds like the consensus here is that, until performance batteries becomes more affordable, to get the wide torque and speed range of an ICE bike today, at the lowest price, requires a transmission. I hope that price comes down before I am in the nursing home.

podolefsky
25 August 2012, 1003
Add to that the Lightning story on motorcycle.com, and it's a landmark week for electric motorcycling, boys!

Thanks for posting that piece Ted. VERY interesting comments, especially about "chasing a powerband". It is true that although elmotos have flat torque from zero, they do have a very distinct powerband. In fact, if you look at torque curves for many ICE bikes, especially singles and twins, the only difference between them and elmotos is that the fairly flat torque curves starts at 2-3000 RPM instead of zero. The power curves look very similar.

podolefsky
25 August 2012, 2043
Just to set the record straight, Brian's frame is chromoly steel.

Yup, you're right. I could have sworn he told me it was alu.

Still, it's a one-off frame that he has now.

Warren
26 August 2012, 1259
"Still, it's a one-off frame that he has now."

So? If he was going to produce bikes for sale, he would need to have that frame shop, or somebody, build them. He wouldn't scour Ebay for used rollers.

Here is a thought experiment. Zero is selling their pre-built packs, with BMS and charger for about $1K per kWh retail now. Maybe Luke can tell us how they stack up against Kokam? But lets say they are a match, and Brian could get a quantity break. So he has a batch of frames built, runs two 6 kWh packs in series, gets a batch of AC motors wound for 144 volts. Don't know how much Curtis' new 144 volt controller will run.

My question is, "Could a competent builder build a small run of "Brian's bikes", and sell them for less than $19K?

Maybe this is Zero's next bike? Less weight, better performance, no transmission. :-)

podolefsky
26 August 2012, 1539
That would be great, assuming Brian had any interest in doing it.

Not sure about better performance...there's a lot that determines performance besides power and weight numbers.

teddillard
26 August 2012, 1542
Neither do I, but it's a good question. How about starting your own thread? Just a thought.

Warren
26 August 2012, 1553
Because they are similar enough to compare. But yes, this really belongs in the transmission vs direct thread.

podolefsky
26 August 2012, 1553
Neither do I, but it's a good question. How about starting your own thread? Just a thought.

There's an idea...