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Brammo Empulse First Look

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Brammo Empulse R (top) and base model Empulse (bottom) were intoduced to the media last night in Hollywood, California.
Brammo, an innovative electric motorcycle manufacturer, revealed not one, but two new electric powered production motorcycles at the media launch in Hollywood, California. Brammo introduced its new Empulse and Empulse R, which showcase a host of new technology from the Ashland, Oregon-based firm. The two models retail for $16,995 and $18,995 respectively.  

The 440-pound bikes are virtually identical, with the R model spruced up with sleek carbon fiber body components to compliment it’s already innovative technology. The two machines feature the styling aspects of a modern day sport bike…minus the exhaust. The bikes also feature all-new Integrated Electric Transmission (IET). The IET is a mechatronic propulsion unit that was specifically designed to work with the Empulse’s electric motor, clutch, and gear shift…yes, a six-speed gear shift transmission. Brammo’s reasoning for the gear shifting was to bring the electric-powered bike closer to the feeling of a traditional internal combustion engine. Brammo claims it even has the characteristics of engine braking when down-shifting.

Pumping out a whopping 54 ponies the Empulse is the first production electric motorcycle to receive a water cooling system. The power is provided by Brammo’s own Brammo Power Lithium-Ion Battery with a life of 1500 cycles to 80% capacity and two different levels of charging. Level 1 fully recharges the battery at a maximum of eight hours while Level 2 maximum charging time is less than half that at 3.5 hours. Every ten minutes of charge adds up to five miles of riding range.

Brammo race pilot Steve Atlas was on hand after a terrible crash this weekend to answer questions about the new bikes.
When fully charged the performance levels offer enough to get the new bike over 100 mph. Claimed ranges include 121 miles through the city, 56 miles on the highway, and 77 miles combined. Two operating modes are provided through a switch on the handlebar. Normal mode limits power by reducing max current delivered to the motor. Sport mode provides maximum performance to both acceleration and top speed. Under deceleration, energy is returned to the battery to extend the riding range.

The suspension components are a fully-adjustable 43mm Marzocchi fork and Sachs Shock. Braking on the Empulse consists of dual 310mm Brembo discs with matching four-piston radial-mount hydraulic calipers. The rear brake is a Brembo single disc with a dual-piston Brembo Brake Caliper. All of this sits on 17-inch Marchesini wheels mounted up with Avon rubber.

This futuristic technology does not come at a small price. As mentioned, the base Empulse model has a price tag of $16,995 with the R model tagged at $18,995. Brammo offers a two-year limited factory warranty, one-year fender-to-fender limited warranty, and a two-year limited powertrain warranty (batteries and motor). Color options include True Blood Red, Eclipsed Black, and White Noise. Unfortunately the base model will not be available until 2013 but the Empulse R will be ready for purchase in June of this year.

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Dokkodo   May 13, 2012 01:41 PM
There are many ways to look at this, but EXPENSIVE is probably the one that crosses most barriers. It's an amazing accomplishment for what it is. Brammo is an American company trying to be ahead in the electric motorcycle business. In comparison to most electric bikes, it is powerful and it does have a somewhat decent range and top speed. Above all, it looks like a motorcycle and not a toy. But, as Daneusse said, they had promised a $9,999 to $14,999 price depending of the specs. $19K is not even close. If you have that kind of cash to spare, there are better motorcycles, but you might want one for the novelty factor. At least it's not in the $40K to $70K like Lito Sora or Mission. Electric motorcycles are evolving extremely fast, so I won't doubt either Brammo or another company comes up with a decent looking bike with an acceptable performance for a more reasonable price soon enough. Right now, the price to develop the tech is still overpowering the competitiveness of electrics, but that should be a thing of the past in a short time. I'll take my time and watch closely, but I can't afford it now.
WilCon   May 11, 2012 07:01 AM
121 miles, minimum 3.5 hours to charge. If I have to hit the highway to get to the roads I want to ride I got 55 miles and 3.5 ours to charge. So we took a leisure vehicle and completely remove the practical side of it, because a lot of people do use motorcycles to commute, and made it even less useful and more of a leisure vehicle. Yet somehow this improves the environment? Where is a hybrid gas/electric bike with powered wheels like a care, regenerative braking and engine on demand from a stop like a golf cart for example? Then we could see some real performance and mileage.
Isend2C   May 10, 2012 09:44 PM
the Suzuki GS500 made 55 HP, it cost less than $5,000... The price of this is ridiculous, when you cn get the fastest bike in the world for <$14,000 and pretty much any one you want besides a brand new Goldwing, BMW 1600GTL or some lame Harleys. 'spokes' is right, this bike is just for yuppies who wanna show off their "green thinking", "oddly" it debuted in hollywood, how many celebrities have Prii? oh right, everyone... Same thing here.
Daneusse   May 10, 2012 06:46 PM
Yikes! too expensive. i've been waiting for this bike because i read on the original post that this could cost about 11-12k, now my enthusiasm is shot. oh well... time to wait for prices to come down
spokes   May 10, 2012 03:55 PM
glad you're running an article on this since I can't comment on Cycle News because I'm not on Wastebook. anyway my comment is, these electric "motorcycles" are way too expensive for anyone who wants to go for a real ride, "121 miles through the city, 56 miles on the highway, and 77 miles combined" let the tree huggers and yuppies on the left coast ride them from Starbucks to Starbucks, I'll stick to real motorcycles I can ride around for 200 miles before I have to refuel with good ol' American gasoline at $5 a gallon, USA, USA, USA !!!