Details: Brammo Empulse RR

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HFL superfriend Sean Smith stuck his camera lens up inside the Brammo
Empulse RR
to grab these pictures at Laguna Seca last weekend. What they
reveal is an electric race bike that’s shockingly similar in
configuration to the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc. We’re not suggesting that one
rips off the other, instead it looks like two companies have
independently come to similar conclusions about the best possible
configuration for an electric racer. Could this represent a new electric
sportsbike archetype.

There’s a certain inevitability to this arrangement. On ICE bikes, the largest, most important component is the engine and fuel tank. On electrics, its the batteries. Placing them where the engine used to go just makes sense, placing the center of gravity low and in the middle of the bike. But, that does create a bigger problem: where the hell do you put the second largest component, the motor?

Both the E1pc and the Empulse RR locate their engine outside the frame at the rear. MotoCzysz milled a custom swingarm so the motor can fit inside, it looks like Brammo’s gone with the slightly less-sophisticated solution of going up and over the motor.

Both bikes are also carrying two different types of radiators behind the front wheel. On the Czysz, one is oil-cooling for the motor, the other water cooling for the controller. It appears that Brammo has adopted a similar arrangement.

We don’t have any specs on the Brammo motor but the MotoCzysz E1pc’s oil-cooled unit produces 250lb/ft and 100bhp continuously.

One area where we know the Empulse RR falls behind the E1pc is in battery capacity. The Brammo is packing 12.5kWh, while the MotoCzysz packs 1.25kWh more.

Of couse, Brammo has MotoCzysz beat on one big thing: there’ll be production versions  of the Empulse on the road early next year, albeit with a less powerful motor, no fairing and less battery capacity.

  • Brammofan

    “albeit with an air-cooled motor”

    You might have a source different than mine, but I’m pretty sure that Brammo said the Empulse would have a liquid cooled motor when it was released in 2011. I read about it on a website of a magazine filled with ads for erectile dysfunction medications… Popular Science, I think.

    • Wes Siler

      Ah, you’re right, I’ll fix.

  • Alexx

    I’m intrigued by the Empulse, but if you don’t live in California or Oregon, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to work on the bike when something breaks.

    And the fact they’ll be selling them at Best Buy? Even weirder.

    • Wes Siler

      What’s there to go wrong? The only moving part is the motor, and that’s as simple as can be. If there’s a battery or controller problem, I’m sure Brammo would be happy to arrange for someone to fix it and all the regular cycle components are the same as on any other bike, so they can be serviced by any grease monkey.

  • Sean Smith

    The other thing to note on the Empulse is the top-notch suspension components. Brembo monoblocs, a works swing arm and gas cartridges in the forks show that these guys are getting serious.

    I would hazard a guess that this bike is actually more refined that the E1PC. While that bike looks like a Tron Lightbike turned racer, it drags the fairings everywhere, the sophisticated front suspension had blown seals all weekend, and a nasty oil leak almost cost michael the race. It also weighs 500 pounds.

    It’ll be very interesting to see what happens when these two bikes get on track to duke it out. Anybody know who Brammo has lined up to ride this thing?

    • skadamo

      AAron Gobert was supposed to ride the RR at Laguna.

      Know where the e1pc was leaking oil from? Would love to see weight specs for the e1pc. Mark Miller who rode it at IOMTT said it was pretty heavy (he called it a Goldwing) and they were working on the suspension. They almost sheered off the oil drain plug at the bottom of Bray Hill?

      Gotta give them a break though, it’s all new and really impressive. Makes the flaws that much more interesting.

      Anyway, back to the Empulse RR. Bike is more amazing the more I learn about it.

      Motor is by Parker Motion according to Wired / Chuck Squatriglia. Bike weighs 460 lbs.

      • Sean Smith

        Michael said weight was around 225kg/500lbs. At least that’s what he said. Oil was leaking from the let side of the motor and ended up all over the bodywork and the tire. I’ve got a few photo’s of it.

    • Quentin Wilson

      If the Brammo was more refined than the Motoczysz, it would have

      1. Started the race
      2. Finished the race
      3. Won the race

      The forks on the E1pc don’t have oil in them, they have prototype recirculating-ball linear bearings that are greased. The shock mounted concentric to the steering axis is the damping unit.

      The Brammo looks like it is going to be a fantastic consumer product, I certainly would like to have a go on one. Too bad they were not prepared enough to race one of their machines.

      • Sean Smith

        Regardless of what’s in Czysz’s forks, it was leaking all over the place. My point is that the E1PC isn’t quite as refined as it looks, and the brammo bike is likely a threat. I think they’re just doing things a little differently that motoczysz; they’re gonna wait until they have a really polished package together that they’re certain will win. At least that’s what it seems like. It’s going to be a good fight no matter who comes out on top.

  • skadamo

    Wes, interesting comparison to the e1pc setup. One small difference is the Empulse swingarm seems to mount forward of the motor while the e1pc mounts above the motor.

    Still very similar though with the motor tucked right up against the rear wheel and close to the ground.

  • Kosuohene

    Regarding swing arms:
    I recall reading of someone’s e-bike that had the swing arm pivoting on/with the motor. Or at least the motor was mounted at the pivot point.
    Anyone else?

  • Will

    My money’s on the E1PC

  • BrammoBrian


    Thanks for the “detailed” write-up. One minor correction – I believe the RR and the EP1C share the same battery capacity. The EP1C has 10 of those beautiful 1.25kWh battery packs by my count.

    Excellent point, Quentin. It is this simple fact that has always drawn me to racing… at the end of the day and after all the speculation, no one can contend with the fact that you’ve made it to the winner’s circle (or in this case failed to)against the same odds as everyone else. Here’s looking forward to the next opportunity to prove the performance potential of the Empulse RR and to continue to improve the breed to everyone’s benefit… Thanks for your interest!

  • Pinkyracer

    Czysz’s bike was leaking? That fancy red floor looked clean enough to eat off of. Gave me an inferiority complex.

  • Orso

    I’d be more inclined to say, “things like this photo just show you that racing is racing, things go wrong with all types of race bikes”.

    But you’re spot on as well.

    I have to admit, I found it a bit funny, in a bemused / ironic chuckling way, to hear of an electric bike having an oil leak. Yes, I know there are cooling fluids, suspension fluids, so it will happen. I just find it a bit smile worthy – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

    A separate issue : Seat / tailpieces.

    Brammo’s looks dreadful, on either the coming production bike, and the racer,

    Czysz’s rear end – the first time I saw it, I was struck by how minimal it was. Then I saw it being used at the IOM. Honestly, I’d be buggered if I’d race the IOM with a seat that gave you next to no back stop – I’ve had a fair few ‘moments’ over the years on both road and track and found myself on the top edge of the seat / tailpiece body work. With the Czysz, it wouldn’t be hard to get submerged/ pulled into the rear wheel. Especially on a track as rough and fast as the IOM. Beautiful bike that it is, that part of it is frightening. And surely they’d get better air closure with a different tailpiece?

    Hopefully, we will see even more competitive E bikes out there on the tracks.

  • Big Steve

    Can we have that swingarm on the consumer bike? Please?

  • JRl

    Beautiful. Would have been great to see it compete…oh well, it’s time will come. What’s great is racing always streamlines the process to having a better production bike – lots of repetitive strenuous testing.