Jay Leno rides the Brammo Empulse R

Dailies -



105mph top speed and 121 miles max range. Those figures make the Brammo Empulse a watershed product for the electric motorcycle space, but more importantly, to quote Jay Leno, it’s a “real motorcycle.” That means it does things no other production electric bike has yet managed: handling, going and stopping. Here, Jay chats with Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher, then takes the bike out on the street.

  • http://twitter.com/GaneshBell Ganesh Bell

    Cool bike.. but Jay leno needs a better fitting helmet.. I doublr checked that doesnt appear to be his double chin just his chin and the helmet seems to perched on top of hi head versus cradle the crown.

    • Kr Tong

      You’d think if he could build a car for his chin, he could build a helmet for his chin.


    • http://twitter.com/greatistheworld Will Pierce

      Yeah, it’s really distracting.

    • HammerheadFistpunch

      Was it even strapped on? I suppose if he’s not going to bother wearing proper footwear, why bother with a helmet that’s actually going to be effective? What could possibly happen on the LA freeways..

  • HoldenL

    Jay asked the questions that you or I would have asked, which I appreciate.

  • http://twitter.com/fi_fi67 phoenix

    a gearbox and clutch and there’s nothing to not like

    • http://twitter.com/threefour Victor Lombardi

      I thought so too, but the Amarok made me question if a gearbox is really that smart.


      • http://www.facebook.com/richard.dort Richard Dort

        It works for their application. None of the race bikes have a transmission. Until the eSuperStock version of this bike hits they track this year, that is. Actually no other production elmoto has a transmission.

        • drivin98

          The Lito Sora has one.

        • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

          I’m just going to steal the term “Elmoto,” rather than explain electric-motorcycle to people.

      • KeithB

        A good question. A transmission would introduce more friction losses.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.jones.876 Scott Jones

    My question is is the 121 mile range an honest figure? I drove a leaf for a few months and was lucky if I could get 75 miles out of it at a time with a mixed commute of 70% highway and 30% surface streets.

    • http://www.facebook.com/richard.dort Richard Dort

      121 is city only. It’s rated 56 Highway 77 combined. So far owners are reporting that as accurate.

      • http://twitter.com/bloodfalcons motoguru.

        Word. I got 64 on Saturday and 71 on Sunday.

  • drivin98

    …it does things no other electric production bike that we have driven has yet managed…


  • David Strakovsky

    I’ve been a huge fan of Brammo ever since i heard of them a few years back. I think Jay Leno made a good point about the engine sound, or lack thereof. Is it a concern that it is so quiet? I know those red light revvers might not like how quiet it is, but is it a safety risk? I always thought the sound of a bike helps you become more visible, and allows drivers around you know you are their. Anyone else concerned about this?

    • socalutilityrider

      I’ve found that with how soundproofed many cars are these days, especially luxury ones (no shortage of those in socal), no one hears me anyway. Would be nice to be super quiet.

    • http://metabomber.com/ Jesse

      The average driver has so many other distractions going on in car (GPS, radio, phone, kid, etc), whether or not they have an ear open for sounds outside the vehicle is situational at best. It’s a single data point, but I’ve seen firetrucks with lights, sirens and horn going, and a luxury sedan driver still not move over in a timely fashion. No motorcycle is going to compete with that calamity.

      On a bike, we are more aware of sounds around us, because it is just us in our helmet. I like the experience of a quiet motorcycle; I think I’d love this.

  • Justin Turner

    One of the appeals of motorcycling for me is controlling my surroundings. I assume nobody sees me on the road anyways, so its all the same to me if they really don’t. I can’t WAIT to also be silent… I find that hearing a motorcycle engine approaching is just as likely to elicit a dumb maneuver from a driver as a safe one.

  • http://twitter.com/brammofan Brammofan

    Wes – didn’t you write an article addressing the “loud pipes save lives” argument? It always seems to come up in the comments following an article about electric bikes. Would be nice to just link to the article/study instead of hashing it out again and again.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottie.r.smith Scottie Ray Smith

    The Impulse looks good with a rider onboard. However, how much energy is being lost when you have to liquid cool the drive system. Heat is lost energy not being transmitted to the rear wheel. Still, I have to admit this would be perfect for my commute around Little Rock.

  • karlInSanDiego

    Lead designer address this in Wes’ interview by stating that it’ll let you be more or less efficient, so learning how to be efficient with your shifting is part of the sport. I test rode the demonstrator Empulse R yesterday at San Diego BMW Motorcycles, thanks Alan! He explained to me that the optimal operating zone for the motor (for efficiency) is high, not low, so where traditionally you’d want to operate an IC engine as low revs as possible to save fuel, Brammo chose a motor where the efficiency peaks high, and you keep it there by working the gears. Nice design side effect, IMO. The bike felt very real in every way. I lost my cherry on a Zero ZF9 so I wasn’t in shock and awe of the silent running mode (which actually sounds more like a Tie Fighter when you drive by someone. I can honestly say the having ridden a Triumph Daytona 675 there, and an S1000RR afterwards, all three would leave me a happy rider (range limits aside). Empulse R feels great on the freeway at 90+ and gets there quickly. Or so a birdy told me, when I was passing him.

  • Mike Fosker

    When are these going to start coming to the UK? This is the only electric bike that makes me really want one.