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View Full Version : Hey Brammo, where's the pudding!?



jazclrint
27 September 2010, 0204
Brammo has not entered one race with their Empulse RR 12.0 race bike. WTF!? Don't get me all excited with a suped-up race bike, and then not race it. It makes me think it's a Harley, and not in a good way.

Any chance they can get a wild card for the TTXGP finals to redeem themselves?

teddillard
27 September 2010, 0411
I know, huh? It's terrible... just terrible. You'd think they're trying to run a company or something. The nerve. :D

EVcycle
27 September 2010, 0512
Harleys dont race?


News to me.....

socaltech
27 September 2010, 0840
i just cant wait till i can find a way for some track time on it, you now product evaluation sort of thing :)

jazclrint
27 September 2010, 2121
Hey, an inside source! What happened? I don't need to know top secret stuff, but a blurp on the website would be nice. Heck, say Arron did it. Call me old school, or just plain ignorant, but I want to see it race before I let myself get any more excited about it. There's a reason I won't buy a Ducati, and it's called Daytona.

jazclrint
27 September 2010, 2123
"Harleys dont race?


News to me..... "

Not what I said, but let me say this . . . VR1000.

jazclrint
27 September 2010, 2139
I know, huh? It's terrible... just terrible. You'd think they're trying to run a company or something. The nerve. :D

Yeah spending all that money on hype and R&D, making a website that still looks like they raced this year and talks (a lot) about racing heritage (and then has no content other than the '09 TT) and then not racing either bike. I'd say a pretty big nerve. I REALLY want to like the Empulse, and probably would if they hadn't said they were going racing, and then didn't with no explanation that I can find. They had Arron Gobert on the bike for crying out loud. It's not like they said, oh we might go. They said they were going and then nothing. Video the thing at a local series, or even a track day. Prove the thing can hold up to a race stint, and I'll go back to planning on buying one as my first vehicle this summer. But don't be mad because I'm holding a company to it's word. Raceing in the motorcycle world is not a small deal. It's a big deal.

teddillard
28 September 2010, 0358
Wow. I just wrote, like 4 paragraphs of some of my best work, and lost the whole frikkin thing. Now I have to go to work. Crap.

Bottom line, though, racing is hugely expensive- the numbers I got were over 100K per bike, per race, not counting overhead. Brammo has, like any other startup, very limited resources. They are, ultimately, not racing to make money, they're trying to build bikes to make money and they have to figure where every dollar can get them their best bang. Here's how I'm guessing that played out.

Second round investors are looking at whether the company has legs- or if they're just a flash in the pan. Brammo says, yeah, we have a new bike the market's going to go nuts over. Just what people want, 100 mph, 100 miles. They build it, and release it (at the races) and it gets huge attention. Then Brammo says, OK, if we can get 1000 pre-orders within 90 days (or whatever), then we want (eleventy million) $$.

So Brammo is playing the startup shell game. Where do we put our limited resources to get the best leverage. Their decision appears to have been to develop and release a prototype that hits the ball out of the park, and leverage it to get more financing based on future orders, and buzz- which their racing presence, limited though it may have been, proved.

The audience for them is their investors, their potential buyers, and then the racing community- in that order- at least for now. If they can get huge funding, which it looks like they can, and build a plant, and spool up sales and production, then they are positioned to kick some serious butt next season on the track.

The gamble is, "OK, maybe we're going to get solid production and demand from the market, but look like we're not really contenders on the track". My guess is they were willing to take that gamble, since they could, if things went well, come back next season and recover any cred. Like any race, there are times you have to hang back and pace yourself, right?

Richard230
28 September 2010, 0736
That sounds like a good analysis Ted. I have had the same thoughts, I just didn't take the time to put them into words the way you did. Thanks.

jazclrint
28 September 2010, 1657
Sorry, but the scenario you are talking about does not cover the amount hype they are putting out their racing program, which turns out to non-existant. I will say again, they didn't say, "oh hey, lets see how this races", they got AMA champion Arron Gobert on board and missed Laguna because of a mechanical, but said they would be at 2 other rounds this year. Their "racing heritage" is hyped up big on their website, and it's non-existent. I just watched the US rounds, I will catch up with the UK and European rounds soon of the TTXGP. Having been a long time GP/SBK fan and watching how teams deal with development, i feel they would have been very competitive in the TTXGP series, and straight dominated in the FIM's series, and that would have lead them to being the top pick for next year. But, mark my words, by having not raced this year and developed the bike, they are going to be behind next year. And maybe, WAY behind.

Now, your race cost numbers at first seem way out of wack. But when I factor in putting Gobert on the bike , and FIM, and traveling to Europe, I can kind of see those costs. But there are people racing in the top level AMA Super Bike class that don't spend that much all year, and they have to buy more tires, and gas! And this isn't $2.65 at your local pump gas. So I have to take exception with those numbers. Then there's the reason the race bike missed the start in the first place. From what I read it was a malfunction with the cooling system, which is one of the major new(?) technologies that make this bike so awesome. So it didn't make it's first race. Ok, that is understandable, but why didn't it make the next 2 we were told it was going to be at? I right now, am not confident in the technology that is in that bike. If they hadn't said anything about racing I wouldn't feel that way, but they did.

I understand what you were saying about the business aspect of things, and I'm sure that's probably the reason. But I feel you are completely missing the importance of racing in the motorcycle sales world. Here's how it is. If you win on Sunday you will sell on Monday. If you show up on Sunday you will probably sell on Monday. If you don't show up at all, people don't show up on Monday. There's a reason something like 7 manufactures are in WSBK right now.

They won't recover cred in one year unless no one is paying attention, or unless they just crush everyone, which I HIGHLY doubt. And as far as pacing, that's right in endurance racing but not motorcycle racing. 6 (7?) time AMA superbike champion Matt Mladin said, when referring to other competitors, that if you can go faster then why aren't you?

teddillard
28 September 2010, 1717
Here's what I got:

The Bikes

-Motor, chassis, running gear (one bike, rolling chassis)- $5000
-Batteries- Lithium Polymer cells (the first 4 places in the Pro class were running these- $2.00/Wh @ 8.0 (Brammo) – 11kWh (Agni)= $16-22,000.00
-Shipping (first to the UK, then to the Isle of Man, then home)- $4000.00
Subtotal- $25,000 – 31,000

-Spares- (one complete bike in parts) $25,000 – 31,000

Total (One bike and spare parts): $50,000 – 62,000

The Work

-Hours- build: 2 weeks, 3 engineers @ $40/hr- $9600 (unpaid volunteers, but still…)
-Race (attendance)- 3 weeks, team of 5 @$40/hr- $24,000
Subtotal, labor- $33,600

Totals with labor- $83,600 – 95,600

(from this post: http://evmc2.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/racing-a-n-electric-motorcycle-how-much-does-it-cost/)

I think they're pretty realistic numbers. They are, for the record, not speculation. I got them from actual team inquiries.

...and, sorry, but if a company is fielding a team- especially for a product/company launch, what would be the point of saying "oh hey, lets see how this races"? The hype, as you call it, is part and parcel of the investment. I can understand your disappointment, you are certainly a hard core race fan, but not everybody is. I'd argue the vast majority of motorcycle buyers aren't following racing at all, in fact.

edit: I just want to add- a lot of your reference is to ICE racing. I'm not at all sure that you can make that comparison. The ICE industry has been in existence for how long? 100 years or so? As Azhar says, this is a re-boot. It's an entirely new game, and not only are you selling your brand, but you're selling the entire technology. Nobody can walk into a showroom on Monday and ride out on an Empulse.

teddillard
28 September 2010, 1751
Sorry, my brain has been on "Random" all day it seems... :D But one more thing to add.

Let's say my numbers are close- you're looking at maybe $80K for one bike, one race. Now let's say you take that money and get yourself a visionary engineer who does nothing but work on making the bike go faster, farther. You still think you don't have a chance to dominate the field next season? Remember- the field was moving by huge leaps this year- implementing industry developments as they happened, the liquid cooled AC motors a case in point. You just don't see a revolutionary technology emerging every month in the ICE races, do you?

jazclrint
28 September 2010, 2101
Sorry, my brain has been on "Random" all day it seems... :D But one more thing to add.

Let's say my numbers are close- you're looking at maybe $80K for one bike, one race. Now let's say you take that money and get yourself a visionary engineer who does nothing but work on making the bike go faster, farther. You still think you don't have a chance to dominate the field next season? Remember- the field was moving by huge leaps this year- implementing industry developments as they happened, the liquid cooled AC motors a case in point. You just don't see a revolutionary technology emerging every month in the ICE races, do you?

I will say I will concede to your numbers as they are very well researched, but I have to disagree almost completely with everything in this statement. Do you see revolution every month in MotoGP or SBK racing, no because things are so refined, but you do see constant refine at rapid pace and you revolution at least once a year. As far most people who buy bikes aren't race fans. It depends on the style. The type of people that would be attracted to the empulse are sport rides. And in the US you might still have a majority that aren't race fans, but that would not be the case in Europe.

As for as 80k to an engineer or race program, I would chose the race program hands down. Only I would save a ton of money and run several in local series and take the bike to track days for the public to see. Engineers are brillant but they learn so much more faster from racing. That's why the bikes progressed as fast as they did this year. That's how the empulse developed in the first place. And no, there is no way you can come out of the box a year down on racing development. You are completely ingnoring chassis development and ride ability. Not to mention tire development. There is no way to make up a lost year of racing with just engineering.

And reboot or not, are you going to ignore 80 to 100 years of what's worked (hopefully discarding what hasn't)? But then again, I see the electric motorcycle as evolution and not revolution.

Fortunately for Brammo I am quite certain they are aware of both sides of the argument long before we ever thought of them.

jazclrint
28 September 2010, 2127
Oh, and I wanted to add. No, you can't walk into a showroom and buy one, but you can order one, and that is not unique in the ICE industry. I also have to argue that the ICE motorcycle industry is very compareable. How much are you really changing in the motorcycle? Nothing but the engine and fuel source. That's it. Everthing else, which are the important parts, have long since been figured out. Is Brammo going to ignore long proven business and marketing techniques just because electric motorcycles are a "reboot"? No. The only thing irrelivant about the current motorcycle industry as it applies to the new e-bikes is the ICE itself. Everything else applies.

BrammoBrian
28 September 2010, 2146
jazclrint and other Empulse RR fans,

I apologize for letting you down this racing season, although rest assured it was not for lack of effort. Granted the bike has not competed, it has, indeed, been tested at Thunderhill on a couple of open trackdays as well as private test sessions. Here's some proof:

http://4theriders.com/viewpics.php?loc=/pics/trackdays/2010/08.16.10-thill/MICROWAVE/

We had intended to compete at a couple of the events later in the season, but as it turns out, the bike simply is not yet ready for its competitive debut. I think it would have been a disservice to the teams that worked so hard to compete this year for us to go out there and not represent the sport well with a mechanical problem during the race or practice. Those that competed and won this year deserve all of the recognition and credit given to them. This does not mean development on the Empulse RR has stopped. We are working very hard to develop the bike for next season and are as anxious about the bike's competitive debut as anyone.

I hope we can hold your attention and confidence long enough to have the opportunity to show you what the bike and this company is capable of. I appreciate and share your passion for racing and agree that the products we develop for consumers will benefit greatly from the lesson learned on the track.

Thanks!

-Brian.

teddillard
29 September 2010, 0343
woah! Brian surfaces! Thanks for weighing in, glad to see you're still alive- and thanks for the explanation.

@jazclrint- I'm a little lost, but a couple of things. As far as the differences- Everything I saw talked about the speeds and lap times increasing dramatically over the course of the summer. The last races in VA were very close to ICE times. You don't see that kind of dramatic improvement and change in the field over the course of a season in ICE, do you? The technology is changing rapidly- it's a matter of scale. I think, though, we agree on that, basically.

As far as sales goes, I think you're dead wrong about that. First, ordering isn't the same as seeing in a showroom. Second, I've talked to dealers who had Vectrix along side ICE scooters, and it's like I said- you have to make the electric sale as well as the bike sale- you have two hurdles. But my point was that racing results does not immediately drive a sale, as you suggest. Brammo and other electric bikes have worked outside the conventional dealer network for sales, there are good reasons why- not the least of which is that the entire motorcycle industry is crushed. Another big difference that has an impact on sales channel is the maintenance required. There's little or none. Many dealers for Vectrix shot a user-upgradable firmware project out of the water because it was one of the only things they could make after-sale money on.

If you stand back and look at the products, sure, they're two wheels and rubber- why should they be too different? But if you step up and look into the details, and I believe this applies to racing as well, there are some profound differences that change the way they have to be approached.

One minor point on the other page- I'm not scrolling back to reference since I've lost a post once already yesterday- :) Most of the riders I've talked to are not paid. In fact, in some cases, riders have actually paid to ride these bikes. This was an eye-opener to me.

I've been putting together some interviews with riders, too, and had some really interesting exchanges with Zoe- one of her points was that the fans at her races have been totally rabid- much more so than ICE races, but smaller numbers. Of course, this makes perfect sense, but, again, from where I sit motorcycle racing is a relatively small audience compared to the overall market, and electric racing is even smaller.

Addressing Brian's comment- this is exactly the kind of commitment and passion I'd expect to hear out of these guys, and my comments above in no way were intended to suggest they were just in it for the marketing. I'd wager you're seeing the huge presence on their site- again, the "hype"- precisely because of this passion. They, like the rest of us, want to do it all, and the racing component is a huge part of what they love, but there are many, many other factors I've discussed involved.

And yes, on Brammo thinking of all this stuff before us. I've seen it a million times- it's one thing to see all this stuff from where we sit, it's something else entirely to be inside the company facing the huge challenges they're facing. You can bet your bottom dollar they've gone through every scenario we can think of and a few more, and have made the best decisions they can. But that doesn't make it any less interesting to talk about... :D

Richard230
29 September 2010, 0755
I hate to hijack this very interesting and well-thought out thread, but just for fun (and not wanting to create a thread just for this item) check out this 1.5 minute video of a drag race between an Italian super car and a motor scooter powered by a jet engine (well at least it is a race):

http://news.motorbiker.org/blogs.nsf/dx/video-peugeot-scooter-vs-lamborghini-gallardo-drag-race.htm

jazclrint
29 September 2010, 0820
jazclrint and other Empulse RR fans,

I apologize for letting you down this racing season, although rest assured it was not for lack of effort. Granted the bike has not competed, it has, indeed, been tested at Thunderhill on a couple of open trackdays as well as private test sessions. Here's some proof:

http://4theriders.com/viewpics.php?loc=/pics/trackdays/2010/08.16.10-thill/MICROWAVE/

We had intended to compete at a couple of the events later in the season, but as it turns out, the bike simply is not yet ready for its competitive debut. I think it would have been a disservice to the teams that worked so hard to compete this year for us to go out there and not represent the sport well with a mechanical problem during the race or practice. Those that competed and won this year deserve all of the recognition and credit given to them. This does not mean development on the Empulse RR has stopped. We are working very hard to develop the bike for next season and are as anxious about the bike's competitive debut as anyone.

I hope we can hold your attention and confidence long enough to have the opportunity to show you what the bike and this company is capable of. I appreciate and share your passion for racing and agree that the products we develop for consumers will benefit greatly from the lesson learned on the track.

Thanks!

-Brian.

Ha, did you read that last paragraph Ted? Naa-nana-naa-naa. :D

That's great to hear Brian! I understand perfectly wanting to start the season off right. But a little blurb on the website saying something to that effect would have been nice. Although, I am beginning to think I am the only who cares.Thanks for the link to the pics. That's a heck of a swingarm you guys have on that thing.

Let me just say I wouldn't be so disappointed if 1) Your PR guys hadn't set me up so beautifully, and 2) If I wasn't such a big fan. Any chance of a blog about the 12.0's development (obviously no secret stuff) and the team's progress? Any word on which series Brammo will compete in next year? Do you have any higher ups who you want me to bug the crap out of? Just send me their e-mail. :D

Thanks, for the heads up!

teddillard
29 September 2010, 0907
Ha, did you read that last paragraph Ted? Naa-nana-naa-naa. :D

OH! WELL then. pooopy doopy doo on YOO! :D

...but like I said, that's the kind of commitment and passion I'd expect from these guys. You see it on every level of what they do.

Brammofan
30 September 2010, 0329
OH! WELL then. pooopy doopy doo on YOO! :D

It's precisely this kind of literary genius that tempts me to buy that book of yours, Ted.

teddillard
30 September 2010, 0338
I know, huh? I try to use it for Good. Never for Evil.

jazclrint
19 December 2010, 0005
Are we going to hear an official announcement about 2011's race season anytime soon? Obviously Mission's announcement got me thinking.

Thanks.

BrammoBrian
19 December 2010, 1800
Jaz,

Neither TTXGP nor FIM have released a race schedule for 2011 yet, so difficult to make any definitive plans...

We'll be on track testing very soon though...

drivin98
19 December 2010, 2046
...

We'll be on track testing very soon though...
Would you mind calling up Mission and see if y'all could do your testing on the same track. At the same time. ;)

BrammoBrian
19 December 2010, 2138
Sounds more like a race to me... ;)

jazclrint
26 December 2010, 1508
Thanks Brian.