Watch the Brammo Empulse RR take on 600cc supersports

Dailies -



While warming up for the PIR round of TTXGP, Steve Atlas was able to lap the electric Brammo Empulse RR alongside 600cc OMRRA bikes. No, it’s not a race and no, it’s not a fair comparison (Atlas was an AMA Pro Superbike rider, the other guys are club racers), but it does put the bike’s performance into perspective. Hint: it’s fast.

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  • BrammoBrian

    Just a few comments before the mud slinging starts…

    1. This was a practice session with the medium OMRRA group (mostly 600cc). Steve was second fastest in the session.
    2. The track was still pretty damp on the backside so none of these riders is pushing through that section.
    3. The top speed of the Empulse RR at the end of the front straight was 150 mph.
    4. The bike could have completed an OMRRA race distance (12 laps) at race pace with no issues, even though the TTX race was only 9 laps.

    Carry on…

    • Wes Siler

      Thanks Brian.

    • protomech

      What happened to the sunday gas vs electric race at PIR? Was that canceled?

      Middleweight SBK / Formula II / Middleweight Classic SBK / Electric SBK

  • Archer

    Pro racer on a factory prototype ebike costing what-50k? vs $8400.00 600’s ridden by club racers. Pro racer keeps up with them. Ebike sounds spooky-cool but soulless (and maybe hazardous to people who expect to hear what’s behind them on a pass).

    Did I miss anything? No mud to sling, just observations.

    Make this affordable and make it meet range claims and maybe it will be meaningful. Until then it is of marginal relevance.

    • Dylan

      I bet if you added up all the R&D costs for the 600′s over the year vs the couple of years that the Brammo has been developed you’d see a closer spread. Sure the Brammo costs more now but how many generations of supersports did it take to get to our current ones? Prototype bike vs an established racing bike? I wasn’t expecting near as close a race as you were.

    • Your_Mom

      Archer wrote, “Ebike sounds spooky-cool but soulless ….” Bikes/motorcycles are machines. I know of no machine that has a “soul.” My personal opinion – for which I have no proof – is that humans do not have a “soul” either. What the heck is this soul that people keep referring to?

      The Brammo sounds like what it is: an electric motorcycle.

      • Joe

        I’m tired of the “soul” argument; it’s a cliche and lazy way to be overly nostalgic about the recent past. Every engineer and designer creates objects that push boundaries, not hinge on creating a “soul.”

        The analog feel of the machines of the past may seem like “soul” now, but back then it was cutting edge stuff to get you from point A to point B faster or more efficient than the machines that came before. The soulful machines we talk about today were probably seen as “souless” when when they first came out.

        Looking forward to 20 years later when we look back on these original e-bikes as having “soul” as compared to the newer offerings. “You know, these bikes may run for 500 miles on a single charge, but man I miss the “soul” that those old e-bikes had with lithium ion batteris. You really felt alive when you had to watch your range back then. They don’t make them like they used to.”

        Let’s stop the “soul” slander and bring on the progress.

        • Archer

          You probably use a quartz wristwatch. Can’t expect everyone to “get it”.

          • Ben W

            He goes for the jugular!

            Sidenote: if you are happy with a quartz watch, don’t get an automatic. It’s dangerous.

            • Mike Brooklyn

              Amen on the don’t get into mechanicals if you are happy with your quartz. Very expensive hobby.

          • doublet

            LOL the ‘watch’ argument… I had a very heated (from his perspective) debate with a friend on this topic. I know a thing or two about craftsmanship.. I’ve made aircraft parts. Ever seen how many watch ads there are in aircraft magazines, or how many watch ads incorporate aircraft, in general? Msut be the same thing..
            At this point, watches are just to dazzle those with the cash; the cash then keeps the tradition alive.. but that’s all it is. Tradition.

            I don’t even wear a watch, because I have a device in my pocket that gets time from space. You know.. if i need to know. I prefer to pay attention to my gut and surroundings. Because, you know.. time is just a point in space. It’s how you observe it and what you do with it. Not the precision in the Rube Goldberg machine you use to measure it.

            “they don’t make ‘em like they used too..” LOL great insight, Joe!

          • Joe

            I have 3 mechanical watches, 2 Seikos and one Orient. They are not special or anything, but I do like them.

            I’m fine with personal preference, but when people use “soul” as an argument, it’s condescending.

            It’s one thing to say, “I prefer mechanical watches because I enjoy the tradition they represent.”

            Compare that to, “I could never wear a quartz watch, they just don’t have the soul of mechanical ones.”

            I could just as easily say I like taking time with sun dials because I’m one with nature that way. It has way more soul than those mechanical watches.

            Enjoy what you like, but don’t tear down everything that’s different.

            • Ben W

              It seems to me that “soul” is not so much condescending as it is frustratingly intangible. “Tradition” fails to capture why I love mechanical watches, but I don’t know if I can offer an explanation that quantifies it.

              Some people might throw out the word “ineffable.” Others might point to the concept of “Quality” in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

              • Joe

                I can see the “Quality” argument, maybe also using craftsmanship or artisan (a term that has been wrung out though as of late). But “Soul” is just too broad.

                “Soul”is being used as a blank check to write off anything new; without substantiating why. It conjures up a romantic version of events that just didn’t exist.

                • robotribe

                  “Soul”is being used as a blank check to write off anything new; without substantiating why. It conjures up a romantic version of events that just didn’t exist.

                  Thanks for supplying the two-sentence rebuttal for me to use every time I hear this silly “soul” argument made. Again, thanks.

          • aristurtle

            I’ve compared my $10 quartz watch to a friend’s $$$$ mechanical watch; we set them against the university’s cesium clock and then checked again six months later to see which kept better accuracy.

            I think it’s the people spending used motorcycle money on a mechanical watch who don’t “get it”.

            • Joe

              There’s a couple ways to look at it. Mechanical watches are interesting as purely artistic, or as purely functional. Same with motorcycles.

              Time, like speed, or price is purely objective. However, how you achieve those goals are subjective. Depends on what you put the most weight on. You may care how to take the most accurate time, or you may care about buying a watch that stuffs as many mechanical complications in it as possible.

              Both are fine, and both have “soul” in their own right.

  • paulo

    I think this is totally relevant, Any new technology takes time to develop and refine and improve until the product gets better and cheaper. I remember paying $1900 U.S for 1 GB of storage for my first graphics system. these days the same storage will cost less than a dollar and is a fraction of the size. I see the same thing happening with e bike tech. Bring it on. (having said that I’d miss riding my old Guzzi when the worlds gas runs out)

    • protomech

      Oil won’t ever run out.. even when it’s far too expensive to drill out of the ground we’ll be able to synthesize it from coal or biofuels.

      But the expense of doing so will go up as we continue depleting the easy oil. The military will happily pay tens, maybe hundreds of dollars per gallon for the fuel it needs..

  • Coreyvwc

    I’ve personally watched Chip yates and his E-racer monstrosity DESTROY comparable ICE bikes on the straits only to be OBLITERATED on every cornering/braking section of track. This E-racer, it’s just seems to be “ok” on alll sections of the track. Given those observations, I have to say that my hope for the maturation of E-racing/tech is quickly fading. Like your friend JT Nesbit said, it’s a dead end technology. After all, they’re just powered by coal…

    • stempere

      That’s a very shortsighted view, although electricity is mainly produced by coal in the US right now (and it’s not true everywhere, 80% nuclear here in France), the means of production will change.
      How is it a “dead end” if a motorcycle bought today that uses coal produced juice could work 10 or 20 years from now using nuclear or solar (for instance) electricity?

      I’m not convinced cars are ready to be full electrics but motorcycle are a perfect platform for it and i could totally see myself get one in the next 5 to 10 years as an everyday commuter.

    • protomech

      Even living in a coal-heavy (60% of our energy, vs ~40% national average) area, my Zero is responsible for about the same emissions as a 100 mpg bike. I can power the Zero with alternative energy as well..

      Chip Yates’ bike was extremely powerful but extremely unbalanced. Very heavy and only able to maintain race pace for a shorter distance. Granted, for a self-funded garage build he did very well.

      The comparable bike to Chip’s would probably be a Hayabusa or ZX-14R. Big, heavy, huge power (if not quite as heavy or as powerful). He was racing against Ducati 848s and similar in the WERA race over a total 12.8 mile course distance (compare to the 24 miles Brammo says they can do at PIR, or the 37 miles MotoCzysz did at IOM).

      Keeping up with 600cc sportbikes is a pretty big step from even a year or two back.

  • Jericho7

    I caint hear the gosh darn thang!

    • matt

      One of the volunteer jobs at PIR is to measure sound levels around the outside of the track (it’s close to neighborhoods, 90dB limit). He explained that the loudest sound going through turn 3 was knee pucks on the pavement. Can’t wait for all of this progress to get me a practical race bike for ~$8000.

      • Tony T.

        It was really amazing. In the long straight coming out of turn 4 all you could hear was the whine of the motor and the incredible buffeting of the wind swirling around behind the Brammo.

  • Alex

    Cards in the spokes.

  • Mr. Hooboro

    I’d say the skill levels are comparable. Lots of club racers hold AMA Pro credentials, including Superbike.

  • sbraman

    No mud slinging, but no real world translation here either. The bike can only go that fast for what 17 miles? Nice to see it go like it does, promising… if they get to work on better batteries. Without that at any price this is useless as a sportbike for the consumer.

    • Erik

      The battery solution is roads with power so we doesn’t need no stinkin batteries. Based on the old timey bumper car rides at the fair, roads are covered with overhead conductive mesh, bikes-cars etc. have upright poles that connect to the mesh overhead, the asphalt or concrete road surface (ground connection) will be made conductive by adding ground up aluminum beer cans into the topping mix. Energize with 600 (or more) volts, rabid transit!

    • protomech

      PIR is 1.92 miles in length. The TTXGP race was 9 laps (17.3 miles), Brammo claims they could have continued to 12 laps (23 miles) at that pace.

      The longest race length at PIR that weekend was 12 laps.. so Brammo has “enough” energy already to race at the pace they’re going. They will need more energy or better efficiency to significantly improve in the future.

      I would expect the RR to get 80+ freeway miles on the road, 120+ at more moderate speeds.

  • Scott-jay

    Couple years ago at Barber e-bikes raced vintage ‘exhibition’, and won.

    Really dig Brammo racer color-design; watch-out Repsol.

  • BrammoBrian

    The bike ran a pace faster than this for the 9 lap TTX race and could have easily completed a 12 lapper like the longest OMRRA club races. We ARE working on better batteries. You’re watching the development happen on the race track. One of our competitors pushed it a little too far…

    It’s not powered by coal… it’s powered by a gasoline 3-phase generator as there’s not much electrical infrastructure at the tracks yet. Embrace the contradiction.

    I think it’s funny that anyone would listen to someone who builds bikes with air-cooled V-twins about what’s a “dead-end technology”…

    • rohorn

      I’d rather buy pump gas (or diesel) for a trackside generator than have to deal with race gas and race engines.

  • ike6116

    To all the oldies on here arguing about watches:

    I have a smart phone that talks to space… it also tells time. A watch is jewelery at this point.

    • T Diver

      Plus the smart phone can serve as HFL’s photo department.

    • Campisi

      “A watch is jewelery at this point.”

      Hear, hear! I used to carry a lovely Bariloche pocket watch, before I realized that my cell phone did the exact same function better.

      Electric motorcycles are similar to this in many ways; a gas bike will very much handle a daily commute, but an electric motorcycle will perform the exact same function better (unless you’re one of those atypical people with the mythical 150-mile commute through the Eighteenth Century with no plugs anywhere).

  • Emmanuel Meris

    Just on this sound topic.

    I love the sound of a rumbling v-twin. To me, it is a lovely thing. To my neighbors, not so much..

    I have lived in China for several years. e-Bikes are popular here. <– understatement

    Their greatest successes are also their greatest failings. They can do 40km/h in complete silence. Ergo, people ride them – @ 40km/h in complete silence. On the footpath. In the dark. In densely populated areas.

    People die.

    There is a push to ban e-Bikes in many of the major cities. China. The home of the e-Bike. It's greatest early adopter. Soon to be forced to abandon it due to the horrific pedestrian vs e-bike collisions.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to enforce any kind of road law there. The culture of vehicular stupidity is far too ingrained. I don't know if they choose to not improve their driving ability, else they simply lack something fundamental in terms of psyche that makes it impossible, but people STILL use their e-bikes/cars/tricycles/donkies in the most increadible ways.

    The most laughable solutions have been attempted, such as electronic beepers to make noise. They simply get removed because theya re irritating.

    • Ax

      I would think the obvious solution to e-bikes colliding with pedestrians on footpaths is to (wait for it…) keep e-bikes off the footpaths.

      • Emmanuel Meris

        Yeah, good luck with that! They can’t keep cars off the footpaths..