Meet the Brammo Empulse

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We’re live at the Brammo Empulse and Brammo Empulse R unveiling in Hollywood. Here’s all the photos, specs, pricing; basically every scrap of material on the new electric hotness.



  • coredump

    56 highway miles? That sounds awful low. And 121 miles at only a 19 mph average doesn’t sound much better. But before I jump to any conclusions I’m going to wait with baited breath for a HFL real world test.

    • protomech

      The UDDS average speed is calculated by taking total test distance and dividing by total test time, which includes several periods where the vehicle is idle. During the segments where the vehicle is moving it is almost always near 30 mph, except for 2 miles of the 7.5 mile test where it is near 55 mph.

      The UDDS is not a terribly good test because of its glacially slow acceleration; the strongest acceleration is from 25 mph to 45 mph over approximately 10 seconds.

  • Kyle

    have more faith in this bike than the Zero DS?

  • 10/10ths

    Yeah, where I live this bike will not work. I’m in a town of 10,000 that is 45 miles from a city of 80,000.

    I would not be able to ride from my home to this city and back on I-10 with its 70mph speed limit.

    No rides to the big city movie theater, shopping mall, FedEx Kinkos, etc. on this machine.

    I thought it might make a nice Sunday morning play bike. With the range reduction at over 70mph, however, twisty country roads with 70mph speed limits will make for very short fun runs.

    Looks to be a city only, city traffic speed bike, which is way too limited at highway speeds to be of any use at all.


    • Roman

      Hate to break it to you, but you’re in the minority. Dunno the exact stat, but a solid majority of the population lives in large metro areas. And most trips are less than 20 miles. Electric bikes still don’t make sense as your only mode of transportation, but the make great commuters for a large segment of the population. Except for the price thing…

    • protomech

      “I would not be able to ride from my home to this city and back on I-10 with its 70mph speed limit.”

      Empulse is a better highway bike than the Zero, but it’s not fundamentally different. 80 highway miles is just not feasible with a 2012 electric bike.

      If you can take backroads (50-55 mph) or charge at your destination that type of roundtrip would be fine. But otherwise, the truth is that tech just isn’t there yet for you.

      “Looks to be a city only, city traffic speed bike”

      There’s a continuum of range requirements between “city only, city traffic” and “80 miles highway”. The Empulse would work fine for a lot of people in between.

  • Dylan

    I hate to say it….but at least from the lead picture I liked the old prototype look better. The new seat just seems off to me.

    • Miles Prower [690 Duke, MTS 1200]

      I love the new seat — angular geometry and all. The stitching details look great too!

      • Dylan

        I like the tail in profile but head on it just looks too wide. Also the seat is strange. Not as angular as the tail and sorta looks like the seat from my old CBR F2

    • robotribe

      Right there with you; I even like the old tail better.

  • R.Sallee (Ninja 250)

    Slap on a pair of bar-end mirrors and that’s a hot bike right there. Unfortunately can’t read the embedded PDF ’cause I’m on iPad and Flash is terrible. Link plz.

  • wwalkersd

    $17K and $19K? Ouch! That’s a pretty big jump from the original pricing, which was $14K for the longest-range model IIRC.

    At that price, these bikes better walk on water.

  • Trevor Bohlender

    If I had the money, I’d jump on these bikes in a heartbeat, if only for the novelty.
    There’s something to be said for owning one of the first iterations of a new paradigm in motorcycling.

  • Jericho7

    Has anybody discussed how riding around with a big battery between our legs may cause prostate cancer?

    • Anders

      or Priapism?

    • aristurtle

      No, nobody has, because magnetic fields don’t cause cancer.

      Gasoline, on the other hand, contains benzene, which is a rather potent carcinogen.

      • BigRooster

        Besides, we all sit on batteries now anyway.

        • Eben

          What are you implying?

  • Coreyvwc

    It looks like a pregnant seahorse. There, I said it…

    • *

      I’m sorry to say I agree. Liked the old model better. The fully-faired race bike, on the other hand–boss!

  • Archer

    Hahahahahahaha. Cough cough. Panigale pricing, V-strom performance, VFR mass and “Zero” range.

    Stop it, my ribs hurt.

    • Roman

      Man, I wish my VFR800 weighed 440 pounds.

    • protomech

      And operating costs cheaper than a pedal bike : P

      If you plan to just park a bike in the garage and look at it, maybe go riding a couple times a month, definitely would not recommend electric. The only way they make financial sense is if you ride the wheels off of them.. and paired with the limited range means they need to handle commuting duty.

  • sbraman

    I agree with 10/10ths…. and believe me I was at least hopeful this would be a good/viable Sunday play bike – I’m on the pre-order list with a two digit number….and live within 25 miles of a major city. This, right now is simply Not practical at this time. Even if avoiding hiways, do you really ride at 55 on back roads? Come on… really? I don’t, nor does anyone else in NYS seem to. If I can go faster I do, simply for the fun of it. But again range and recharge time make it not practical. I could get to work, but if I wanted to go out for lunch or run some errands mid day, I might not make it home that night – OR I’d have some mandatory OT to get more done while it charges enough to get me home, so the company might like that. remember the HFL article – round trip now is a major factor and has to be factored in!!
    it even falls down on the Sunday play bike option. I ride a loop on sunday that gets me out by 9:00 and home by 1:00 – allows for a lot of fun and still do all the adult/familiy activities that someone else has planned for me. But it’s about 120 miles round trip – That includes a mid point stop for food/drink and BS session, but not enough time to get a usable charge, and that’s if I can find a plug! average speed is probably 50 (blasts up to 90 or so and then a lot of slower twisty stuff)… maybe. but even that leaves you with quite a push home or a severely shortened ride and probably still limping home very slowly to try and get there…again remember the HFL video – bars left but not enough to even move it up the ramp. And nothing about this bike makes it easier to push. And wouldn’t that be a fun pre ride conversation: “Honey, I’m going out for a ride out on some of the back roads, in the completely opposite direction from any shopping, could you make sure to take the pickup with you today, yes I know it’s big and harder to park and oh, please keep your self where you have a phone signal (shopping malls have dead spots, lets be realistic!) in case I have to call you to come get me as I might run out of power to get home.”

    And don’t even get me going on the price – and I get all that early adopter crap, so don’t go there. It’s simply to expensive for what it does even as a novelty, does not have anyway of really telling me how far I’ll be able to go, as it will very on speeds traveled, temperature, gear I’m wearing / things i might have to carry (heavier takes more power)and then I need to trust the same gauge that I have on my phone? No thanks – you know how many times I’ve had it simply shut off with 2 bars remaining, or go for hours with a single bar and not be able to tell what is effecting it when? But that I can plug in and still use if needed – let me repeat that- while it’s charging I can be using it if it’s plugged in. That is why you don’t hear that complaint on phones very much. Inconvenient, Yes. A real problem – No, because it does not strand me. I can plug that phone in to my car and go off on my way, I’m not sitting somewhere pissed off. Won’t work here, so really you need to go look at that nuke it site and find your real range…. I did after it appeared on HFL as an example and that hammered home how not a good buy this would be at this time tech level.
    RANGE we need REALISTIC range with a real measurable / reliable way to gauge it.
    I’m fine with the 100mph top speed – but I have to have 150 mile range at a min. for it to work as even a play bike.
    Check the Nuke it site listed in the electric write up – center on your house and see where you could go. The big cold war nuke does not destroy everything as far as we think/were lead to believe it would (hell my house would still be standing if they nuked the nearby city center) and you won’t be going as far as you think you can…. or at least not there and back.
    I want these to work…. i think they are the future, and I’d love to have one that really worked… but right now it’s 1900 and we are pre even model T days – so only those with way more money than they know what to do with will have them and rarely use them. Maybe a local parade or holiday appearance. any real adoption is at least 10 years out.
    But I would love to be wrong!!

    Oh and cancer? Come on….really?…. if you want to run down that path your computer, phone and radio/microwaves rushing through the air are already on top of that.

    • protomech

      How long / fast is your work commute? If you can charge at work it would be pretty hard for it to not make it there.

      • sbraman

        It’s about 25 miles one way if I take back roads – so 50 miles round trip, so I can make it there, but not going out for lunch to anything…. steady 55 to 70 speeds are easy at the times I’m riding… and the only place around that has a plug available to the public is at Shop and Save which has a green parking space with a charger (extra 16 miles round trip) – everywhere else would be 110 at best, if you can find one and they let you park anywhere near it.

        • protomech

          So something like this?

          0800 100% battery, leave home.
          0830 58% battery, arrive at work (25 miles @ 65 mph)
          1130 95% battery, leave for lunch/errands.
          1300 45% battery, return to work (30 miles @ 65 mph)
          1800 100% battery, leave for home.
          1830 58% battery, arrive at home (25 miles @ 65 mph)

          155 wh/mile @ 65 mph (Brammo claims 165 wh/mi @ 70 mph)
          1.2 kW charging from 110v

          Recharge from a completely dead pack on 110v definitely takes many hours. But if you have charging access at work and you’re not fully depleting the pack, then you’ll be fully topped up before you leave for home.

          No point in going 8 miles out of your way to charge on a level 2 charger, that’s a recipe for angst.

    • Campisi

      Why were you on the pre-order list if it doesn’t meet your needs? Little has changed between when pre-orders first opened and now range-wise.

  • stempere

    Sub 20k$ seems ok to me, even the range isn’t so bad.
    What really kills it for me is the charging process.

    Low range = city.
    City = appartment (= no outside socket).

    It has to have unplugable batteries or better range.
    I’ll check out the european prices and availability non the less.

    • Stefan

      “Low range = city.
      City = appartment (= no outside socket).”

      Yes! That has been holding me back from getting an electric for a while now. I have garage parking in my apartment, but no good electric source.

      Until the battery pack becomes removable and I can carry it up the stairs, I’m stuck with ICE.

      Seems like a pretty big blocker for adoption in what should be electric’s biggest market.

      • protomech

        Zero XU has a removable battery. It weighs about 40 lbs, and it’s exactly one-third of the capacity of the ZF9 DS just reviewed.

        Removable, at least for now, necessitates a fairly small capacity. It does make it much easier to charge, however.

        • stempere

          The ZF9-S would be nice with removable battery, just like the empulse, but i guess to make it removable you have to make some pretty drastic concessions about battery size and capacity.

          Good thing is the XU is pretty cheap at 7.7k€, and does a 95% charge with the optional X2 charger in just 1.3 hour. Booking a test ride right now…

      • michael uhlarik

        No one is actually going to carry 50kgs of battery upstairs every night after work, with a backpack on to boot.

        Removable batteries is just not a realistic solution.

      • Campisi

        While removable batteries can indeed be incorporated, by the time battery tech becomes light enough to easily carry the removed batteries around while still having decent density when re-installed it’ll make more sense to simply install more batteries in the bike in the first place. The Zero XU removable batteries are really more of a “charge one at the campsite/pit and come in for a hot swap” proposition.

  • aristurtle

    I wonder if a more aerodynamic version, with a fairing, would get better highway range.

  • the_doctor

    That price is shocking. No, seriously, that is pretty damn expensive.

  • zipp4

    $19k!? That is awfully expensive.

    I can think of at least a dozen other bikes I’d spend that money on. Hell, you could buy a Monster AND a 848 SF for that money.

    • Sean MacDonald (the other Sean)

      a street triple and a tiger xc

    • stempere

      Yeah but electricity is cheap.
      It may not be interesting (yet) in the US, but at $11.6/gallon (1.8€/L hope my calculation’s okay) in france it’s becoming sexier by the minute…

      • Roman

        What’s interesting is that it is the US companies leading the way on this. I’d fully expect that Europe, with it’s higher population density and seriously high gas prices would be on leading edge here. I guess fewer people have garages…

  • BigRooster

    Yes, $19k is a big sum. Actually a big sum for any motorcycle, many even less useful in application than this would be.

    Most likely the purchasers of an Enertia will use it for commuting and thus one can assume that person has a reasonable commute. Let’s say 20 miles each way. On the weekends they use it for about the same in small errands, for nearly 300 miles per week or a safe 10,000 a year (total reduced for holidays/vacations etc) – that’s more than MANY, MANY “serious” motorcyclists click over on the odometer in a year. So as a tool, it can be very useful if applied to the correct job. If one needs a commuter and short distance errand bike yet wants something novel and interesting, the price may not be such a big obstacle.
    Consider this. How many people buy $19K cruisers and ride less than 10K miles a year? Many, I surmise. Does anyone think a large number of Ducati Diavel riders out there are commuting and putting on 10k + miles? So 19k seems like a ton to pay for a toy that may get used 3-4k miles in a year (a safe estimate of casual use), right? That bike is expensive because it is unique, can melt your face, and instantly makes the owner a centerpiece of attention and status attainment. I think one could make a similar buying argument for the Empulse less the face melting. The difference is one purchase has a limited, yet practical function, the other has a really no practical function but both have an emotional buying motive attached. Yes, in theory the Diavel has FAR less limiting factors, but when reviewed in actual practice, I bet the owner of the Empulse limits the use of the bike far less than the owner of the Diavel (in a miles ridden view). Agree the Empulse will not fit the needs of everyone, but I believe such a bike can be useful to far more riders than are willing to admit it.

    • protomech

      I’m planning on 10k/year on the Zero, have put on approximately 1700 miles in 7 weeks. Easy to really roll on the miles if your commuting needs line up well with the bike’s range limitations.

  • Troy R

    That thing is fucking sex. I don’t care about anything else at this point. Hot.

  • TheZakken

    Aren’t there some sorts of rebates available in California for EVs?

    BTW the range on these things is great for San Francisco. Just saying. Its a small town.

  • 10/10ths


    If I lived in a metro area and only had a 20 mile commute, I’d buy a damn $3,000 125cc scooter and get 70 mpg and be able to ride ANYWHERE, ANYTIME.

    Look, it’s admirable that Brammo is trying to make this work. I wish it did work. But COME ON, the battery technology is nowhere near where it needs to be for these to be a viable alternative for the vast majority of the population, whether they live in NYC or Bum Fuck Egypt.

    Until these machines can go 80mph for 150 miles and recharge in 15 minutes, they will be relegated to high priced toys for wealthy folks who want to show off their “Green” cred in between rides on their Ducati Diavel whose valves they don’t know how to shim.

    I’m in the minority? The speed limit across the state of Texas is 80mph on rural interstates, 75mph on not so rural interstates, and 70 mph on every freaking state and Farm to Market road from El Paso to Beaumont, Brownsville to Amarillo.

    This bike, while the state of the art, and a truly outstanding piece of engineering, truly, I DO admire this machine, is still rendered irrelevant by the state of battery technology in 2012.

    It IS what it IS.

    If this machine will work for you, that is GREAT!

    Unfortunately, YOU are in the minority.

    Wake up and smell reality.


  • Campisi

    The price hike was unexpected.

    I’m also surprised how little difference there is between the Empulse and the Empulse R. Gold forks and carbon fiber versions of the standard body pieces appear to be the only differences; I was expecting the R to have a version of the racer’s full fairing, more power, or something else to further set it apart as a higher-performance trim.

    • protomech

      Folks on (including me, heh) have been calling the price hike for a while now. Once the production Enertia Plus was unveiled at $11k (up from original $9k) a price hike for the production Empulse was all but guaranteed..

      Empulse has semi-adjustable front/rear shocks, Empulse R has fully-adjustable. Carbon fiber bits too. It’s basically a “signature series” sort of bike.

  • Archer

    Well, since apparently the base model Empulse won’t be out until 2013 it’s a moot point to compare the two, because the base model is simply vaporware at the moment. A placeholder, if you will.

    If the revision cycle of these things is what I think it will have to be, presuming Brammo makes it out of another year of cash burn (mark these words) whatever comes out in 2013 may well be quite different.

  • jonoabq

    I think I’m got to wait it out for another ten years or so and see how this all plays out.

    • protomech

      We’ve already seen range double and performance improve at a given price point ($11-12k) in about 3 years .. will be interesting to see what another 10 does.

  • 10/10ths

    Well, electric cars have been around for 100 years and this is where we are now.

  • Ganesh

    WTF is wrong with manufacturers who don;t want to put proper passenger seats on motorcycles – at minimum standards like this design, need a proper passenger seat.. disturbing trend in design.

    yes my comment has nothing to do with electric, just venting modern bike design as I still enjoy riding with my wife