Racing improves the breed, they say, and the guys at Brammo are taking that to heart with the Empulse RR, a one-off racer built with an eye toward developing the company’s next electric street bike.
The RR was designed strictly for competing in the budding electric motorcycle racing scene, so you’ll never see it on the street. But the Ashland, Oregon company is far too small to spend time developing anything it can’t make money on. So just as last season’s Enertia TTR race bike influenced the new Empulse street bike, the Empulse RR is a blueprint for future models.
“Everything on this bike is being developed because we think it’s on a path toward a commercial bike,” says Brian Wismann, director of product development. That’s him in the pic with the bike.
Company founder Craig Bramscher and his crew had no sooner finished the Empulse when they set to work on the RR. That was eight weeks ago, and they were determined to finish the bike in time for the E-Power electric motorcycle race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. They didn’t quite make it, so they watched from the sidelines.
But if the RR performs as well as it looks, the competition should be nervous.
Wismann says the bike performed admirably during a shake-down test at Thunderhill Raceway Park on July 12 but the team ran into some “integration problems” — he wouldn’t elaborate — while prepping the bike for last weekend’s race at Mazda Raceway.
“We know what the problem is and we know how to fix it,” he said. “We just ran out of time.”
The heart of the bike is the 12.5 kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery that provides juice to an AC synchronous motor from Parker Motion. The motor puts down 80 horsepower peak (60 continuous) and 60 pound feet of torque. For the sake of comparison, a Suzuki SV650 makes 72.5 horsepower and 47.2 pound feet. But at 460 pounds, the RR is considerably heavier than the SV. Not to worry, says Wismann.
“We’ve found that the electric bikes ride like they’re 100 pounds lighter because the mass is centralized, it’s low and there’s no rotational mass,” he says. “It handles more like a 600cc bike than a superbike.”
Wismann says the bike is capable of 130 mph — “That’s dyno validated,” he says — but with the current gearing it tops out at 118. Of course, range is always the limiting issue with electric vehicles of any sort, and the RR is no different.
“We could easily do 12 laps at race pace,” he says.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is 2.4 miles long, so you’ve got 29 miles or so before you’re looking for a wall socket. Not a lot, but then this is a race bike designed to run flat-out. The Empulse street bike has a range of 60 to 100 miles depending upon which of the three batteries you order. When the pack in the RR goes flat, it’ll recharge in three hours at 240 volts.
The battery is load-bearing structural part of the frame, which is made of aluminum. The welds on this thing are gorgeous, and the bike is solidly built. It rides on forks taken from a Triumph and reworked by Traxxion Dynamics. The rest of the hardware is equally nice: Brembo brakes, Carrozzeria forged aluminum wheels, Attack Racing adjustable triple clamps and a Works Performance shock.
The Enertia TTR took third in the pro class of the inaugural TTXGP electric motorcycle race last year. Brammo may run the RR in the TTXGP race Virginia International Raceway August 13-15, and it plans to hit some of the races slated for Europe later this summer. The goal is to refine the technology and spread the e-moto gospel.
“I’m already committed to electric,” Wismann said. “But having ridden this bike, it is set in stone for me. This is the future.”
Photos: Jim Merithew / Wired.com
New Brammo Electric Motorcycle Is Fast Enough for Trouble …
Video: Brammo Launches Empulse Electric Motorcycle
Best Buy Takes a Flyer on Brammo Electric Cycles
The Motorcycle of the Future Has Arrived
Electra Racing Goes Old-School With an Electric Norton
If Yamaha Went Electric, It Would Look Like This
This Should Be Zero Motorcycle’s Next Electric Bike
The liquid-cooled motor produces 80 horsepower (peak), and the bike has been dyno-validated at 130 mph. The workmanship is outstanding.
The 12.5 kilowatt hour lithium-ion pack is good for about 29 miles at race pace. It recharges in 3 hours at 240 volts.
The swingarm, like the frame, is aluminum. The bike uses lots of big-name components.