Brammo goes global

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The big question hanging over electric motorcycle startups has been: if the products take off, what’s to stop major manufacturers like Honda from coming in and stealing the market away with large-scale production efficiencies and established distribution networks? Now, that question has an answer, because now Brammo has access to a manufacturing and supply chain that spans 30 countries and four continents. Today, the Oregon-based electric motorcycle maker is announcing a strategic partnership with one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, Flextronics.

Headquartered in the tax haven of Singapore, most of Flextronics‘ executives are actually based in California. That, combined with the above-mentioned manufacturing centers in 30 countries makes it a truly global company. Unless you work with electronics manufacture, you probably haven’t heard of them, but you likely own one of their products. Flextronics produces the Zune and XBox360 for Microsoft; digital cameras and service kiosks for Kodak; Hewlett-Packard printers; Motorola phones; RIM phones; Sony-Ericsson phones; Lenovo computers; Sun Microsystems network components; components for Apple computers and now, Brammo’s electric motorcycles.

Been wondering how the 100mph+ Brammo Empulse could start at just $9,995 (before tax breaks)? This deal’s been in the works for a while now and it’s the large-scale manufacturing of Flextronics that makes that price possible.

The obvious concern that’s raised by talk of a huge global company based in the Far East taking over the manufacture of Brammo’s bikes is quality. We spoke to Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher about that last night.

“Brammo still designs, engineer and specifies everything on the bike,” Craig told us. “Vendors for motorcycle components are not going to change. We’re not all of a sudden going to have a cheap Chinese brake on there. There should actually be a benefit on the quality side due to Flextronics’ massive purchasing power.”

“This partnership allows us to scale, while focussing on design, engineering and product development,” Craig continued. “We are going to be incredibly prolific with product development now.”

Brammo still plans to pursue its original goal of manufacturing its bikes as close as possible to their point of sale, Flextronics’ 30 locations will actually prove a huge help with that.

With motorcycles rapidly proving to be the best format for electric vehicles, electric motorcycles proving a two-wheeled consumer product with mainstream market appeal and performance rapidly advancing in an inverse relationship to cost — the Brammo Empulse 10.0 will be capable of exceeding 100mph, traveling an average of 100+ miles between charges and, with certain tax breaks, can be cheaper than an SV650 — we’re witnessing an epochal change in personal transportation. Now equipped with global mass manufacturing capabilities that likely exceed those of even the largest traditional motorcycle companies, Brammo is perfectly positioned to exploit all the above. That’s right, Brammo could be taking over the world.

  • nicktp

    I think spider-man just had an accident

  • Chuluun

    That’s it, I’m getting one.

  • EmpulseBuyer

    Brammo’s trump card! Hopefully this encourages more people to jump in and pre-order so I can get my Empulse order delivered that much sooner.

  • the_doctor

    I could give a crap less about Tesla, but Brammo is remarkable.

    I don’t care what anyone says, I want one. Bad.

  • noone1569

    Hmm. That’s awesome for Brammo and independent manufacturers like this.

    I really need EBR to release the details of the 1190RS as I need a second bike. One of two things here, Empulse as my daily commuter and turn the XB12R into a tracker/corner carver even more hard core, or buy an 1190RS and turn the XB12R into my daily.

  • andehans

    Interesting to see how the auto/motorcycle industry is going the same way as the apparel, electronics etc. etc. industries have gone before them. I think no one perceives as Apple as poor quality even though its products is produced by Foxconn in China. I think this is a really brave and very smart move by Brammo.

  • ferrix

    I don’t think it is especially brave, since as you point out, it is what everybody else is doing already. As for smart… I don’t see anything even remotely smart about surrendering all of manufacturing capacity of the first world to China.

    • Brammofan

      It’s not “surrendering all of manufacturing capacity of the first world to China.” It’s about moving the manufacturing capacity closer to the point of sale. Bikes sold in Asia will be assembled there. Bikes sold in Europe will be assembled there. USA – USA. Meanwhile, Brammo gets to use Flextronics to buy one huge lot of, for example, brake shoes, for all the bikes in the world. Flex calls up Brembo – “I need 10,000 brake calipers.” They give Flex a price based on that. Otherwise, it’s Brammo calling up Brembo and saying, “I need two dozen calipers this month, and ship them to Ashland.” Then calling the next week and saying, “I need two dozen more, and could you ship them to London?” etc. Who gets the better price? Meanwhile, which bike ends up costing less to the consumer?

    • andehans

      Its brave because almost no one in the motorcycle industry is doing this. Its smart because Brammo is a small player and this is the best way for them to be able to compete with the industry giants.

  • DoctorNine

    That’s one dead sexy machine, chillins.
    I am talking motorcyclogasm.
    No ED in my house. No sir.

    • mugget

      Hahaha – nice.

  • jamesat49

    I feel better now that I’ve placed my order.

  • megadethkiller

    Brammo… sounds like ren and stimpy…

    I could get behind a brand called Brammo…

  • mugget

    Sweet. If it can really be as affordable as they say, with tax breaks, I may seriously consider it… no fuel cost, there’s gotta be dramatically reduced servicing cost? It’s all good as long as I can keep splitting to the front of traffic and leave the cagers behind!

  • spidiracer

    I for one am excited :) I think the bike looks very nice although it could look even better with a few minor tweaks. The tail and the swingarm kill it for me. They just dont fit with the lines of the bike. This is just my opinion. I still want one I would just put a nicer looking swingarm and tail on it :)

    • Wes Siler

      That’s not the final swingarm, just the one they had knocking around from last year’s Enertia TTR race bike.

  • mantooth

    Speed Kills- 100mph= $14K. Not yet.

  • pplassm

    Just waiting to see how the thing really performs. If it does half as well as it looks, look out.

  • vic

    are they going to offer a version with a real engine in it?