World Exclusive: 2014 Mission RS Review

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Mission-RS-Top

The Mission RS isn’t notable because it’s electric or because it’s designed and made in America. Or even because it’s really, really fast. Why you’re going to sit down and read every single word of this world-first review is simply because it’s a superior performance motorcycle to any yet made. Period.

Photos: Kynan Tait

What’s New
The RS is essentially the Mission R that won that race at Laguna Seca two years ago, refined and turned into a slick, consumer-ready product. Same James Parker-designed chassis, similar bodywork, same motor; upgraded batteries and an incredibly slick new dash. Very few production bikes can claim to be this close a race machine.

This $58,999 RS model is limited to just 40 units — one for each second it finished ahead of the competition at the 2011 TTXGP race at Laguna Seca. A race at which it set a 1:31.3 lap record for electric bikes that stands to this day and would have placed it 5th on the grid of the AMA Daytona SportBike race that weekend. Competitors included MotoCzysz, Lightning and Brammo.

As an interesting aside, it managed that time despite being limited to a 130mph top speed while competitors were free to hit 140mph or more on the track’s main straight.

“At the front, a machined aluminum box serves as the steering head/fork mount and spans the full width of the battery,” explains Parker of his unique chassis. “At the rear, the fully stressed ‘power unit’ contains the motor, primary drive, and countershaft as well as the pivot for the swing arm. On each side of the battery, connecting the steering head box and the power unit, are chrome-moly steel trellis sections. The battery is thus surrounded by protective structure to insure maximum safety. An aluminum plate that is integral to the battery serves as a further chassis element, providing longitudinal and lateral bracing to the 4-sided structure.” Read more here.

Distinguishing the RS from the $30,000 R are the same gas-charged Ohlins FGR forks and BST carbon wheels as the race bike. The R will be equipped with the still top-shelf Ohlins NIX30 forks, forged Marchesini wheels and Ohlins TTX36 shock. The R’s components are the same as fitted to the $30,000 Ducati 1199 Panigale R, the fastest production motorcycle ever.

“We started with a blank slate and set out to create the best motorcycle we possibly could,” explains Mission Motorcycles president Mark Seeger. Beyond components like the suspension, brakes and wheels, you’ll find nothing off-the-shelf or adapted from another machine. Even the suspension linkage is a unique design.

With 15kWh of battery on board this test bike, weight stands at 540lbs. In production, equipped with improved battery chemistry, that weight will drop by 20lbs. 12, 15 and 17kWh packs will be available, giving the bike 105, 120 and 140 miles of real world, highway speed range respectively. Stay in town, on surface streets and the largest pack is good for 230 miles.

Recharge time? Well here’s another trick unique to Mission. They built the charger into the battery controller, using the motor as a transformer. That means, so long as you can find a 220v outlet (the same as most houses have to run the dryer and washing machine), recharge time is just an hour. No special equipment, no special charging stations, just a laundry room outlet and zero to full charge in around 60 minutes.

In production spec, the AC induction motor develops 160bhp and 120lb-ft of torque. The motor itself is actually capable of 220bhp and 160lb-ft, but current battery technology isn’t sufficient to create that kind of power over a reasonable range, so, as battery technology develops over the next few years, Mission will be able to turn up the output on customer bikes. Consider it future proofing. Top speed is currently limited to 150mph (again to conserve juice) and 0-60mph should take around three seconds, depending on how big a wheelie you decide to pull. Did we mention the Mission wheelies off the throttle?

The Ride
Angeles Crest Highway, the Los Angeles area’s finest riding road. From Pro Italia (a Mission dealer, drop by for a test ride) to Newcomb’s Ranch is 28.5 miles up into the Angeles National Forest through winding mountain roads. This is where we come to put superbikes through their paces away from traffic on one of the few roads where you can actually use their performance.

The last time I was up here was on that Panigale R and, you know what? I was able to go faster on the Mission RS. That’s right, on a bike that will eventually cost the same as that Ducati, I was able to go faster using electricity than I was using old-fashioned gasoline. And it surprised me as much as you. The first time I gave the throttle a complete twist, I nearly pooped my pants.

Initially, going this fast on electric motivation does feel completely alien. You lack the reference points provided by revs and gears, which makes judging corner entry speeds difficult. Adding to that weirdness, the Mission guys had dialed up the regenerative braking before my ride, something they’d been getting good feedback on from some of the faster guys they’ve had test it so far. Those factors, combined with some innate conservatism that comes with riding someone else’s fancy motorcycle limited my corner speed through the early part of the ride. The Mission still walked away from every other bike on the road.

Once you get over the initial weirdness of it all, it becomes apparent that the character of this electric bike is empowering, not limiting. Gone is the distraction created by the need to chase gears, so too the feedback blunting vibrations created by the motor. Feel is increased to a nearly unbelievable degree simply by completely eliminating reciprocating mass. As on the Brammo Empulse, your right hand feels hard wired to the back tire.

But unlike that bike, the clairvoyant feel is backed up with a serious level of acceleration. Where the Brammo Empulse feels like a 650 twin, I’d give the nod on real world, real road acceleration to Mission, over the Panigale R.

Bold claim? I bet the Ducati would win a conventional drag race, all in a straight line. But once you out on the road (or likely a track) trying to string together a series of corners, the Mission gains one huge advantage: all of its performance — every single horsepower, every last lb-ft — is instantly available, all the time, simply by twisting the throttle. No need to chase revs, no finding yourself in the wrong gear. Just twist and rocket out of any corner, any time, using the Mission’s maximum shove. Which, with 120lb-ft — all the time — is an awful lot.

Handling too, is going to kick the ass of any current superbike. Knowing that 540lbs weight, you’re probably spitting up your coffee right now (sorry), but again, the inherent benefits of electric drive are used to their maximum possible benefit on the Mission. Back the RS out of a parking space and you do feel that weight as you paddle around. Pushing the bike around for photos took a lot of effort, too. But, because the lack of a defined mechanical layout enables the designers to package all the heavy parts (the batteries) in an ideal, centralized location, that weight has a minimal impact once you’re out on the road. They just don’t have to accommodate cylinders and exhaust pipes and radiators and gearboxes and all the stuff that goes hand-in-hand with internal combustion, mass is absolutely clustered around an ideal center of gravity.

That, plus the lack of reciprocating mass, leaves the Mission free to be both quick steering and completely stable once you’ve turned in. Nothing exists to blunt steering speed or feel. Want to tighten your line once you’re already way over? Just think about it and it happens, then it holds that line too.

So, an entirely new level of feel, more precise control than has been previously possible, backed up with incredible performance that’s always just a twist of wrist away and handling that’s equally fast and more confidence inspiring? Yeah, this thing is out of this world.

What’s Good
It sounds like a Tie Fighter on an attack run. It’s loud, aggressive and a whole new kind of hair raising. Seriously, listen to it here.

Designed from the ground up not to hit a price, but to be the ultimate performance motorcycle. That shows and it is.

Onboard charger works much faster than any other electric bike out there, finally making an electric bike real world, road trip possible.

Communication between you and the bike, its motor, the brakes and tires has never before been this immediate and intuitive.

Mission OS and the full-color, touchscreen dash it powers is as futuristic as the rest of the bike. Sitting down? It records video in image-stabilized 1080p on a 30-minute loop. Hit the record button and it saves the last 30 minutes of your ride. That way you don’t need to be prepared to capture something amazing. It’s Internet enabled, so it can upload all that to whatever service you want to share it through, complete with comprehensive data analysis of parameters like throttle position, lean angle, acceleration etc etc etc etc. Oh, and using your own or someone’s else’s data it can superimpose a “ghost rider” on a forward view, allowing you to learn or follow lines or braking points or whatever. Yeah.

Data from my ride.

“We’re allowing you to track and analyze all your ride data,” explains Mission Motorcycles co-founder Vincent Ip. “So you can pull out all your parameters, overlay them on Google Maps, and share it. Owners can analyze each other’s rides and figure out how someone else put in a 600 mile ride in a day. By sharing information, you’re helping people get more from the bikes.”

For a sportsbike, the Mission is spacious and comfortable. It’s pictured here with the lowest of the available clip-ons.

Every parameter in the motor, including the traction control, is user configurable. They might make you sign an indemnity waver before making things super crazy, but you can adjust stuff like engine braking, throttle response, TC intervention and even outright performance via your smartphone.

Obsolescence is not built in. As better batteries become available, Mission will buy back your old ones, fit the news ones, and tune the motor to suit.

Maintenance is essentially limited to brakes, tires and the occasional suspension check up. There’s only one moving part in the powertrain.

To keep dealers happy in the absence of servicing, Mission (they won’t say this, so consider it an inference) gives them plenty of margin and doesn’t charge flooring, while Just In Time inventory ensures speedy delivery. You’ll pay the same at a dealer as you will by ordering direct.

Getting one repaired is like fixing your Rolls-Royce. Send the company an SOS and they’ll come to you wherever you are, with the necessary parts and fix your bike. For free.

This is a slick, fully realized consumer product. Not a shady, one-off exotic that spits fire, will probably kill you and definitely won’t work the day after you take delivery.

The highly adjustable, extremely high quality suspension makes it easy to set up for road or track.

 

Read More On Page 2 >>

Gear
Helmet: Icon Airmada ($180, Highly Recommended)
Suit: Custom Icon One-Piece (N/A, but you wish you had one)
Gloves: Racer R-Safe ($260, Highly Recommended)
Boots: Alpinestars Supertech R ($450, Highly Recommended)
Hydration Pack: Kriega Hydro-3 ($140, Highly Recommended)
Armor: Dainese Norsorex Vest ($120, Worth Considering) and Shorts ($100, Highly Recommended)
Back Protector: Dainese Manis ($220, Highly Recommended)

  • Dan

    Sounds very impressive. Beautiful, too.

    Is there an effective anti-wheelie element to the TC? With 120 ft-lbs off idle, it seems like the greatest challenge to performance would just be to keep the wheels on the ground.

    • Nathan Haley

      Your right wrist.

    • runnermatt

      Idle would be 0000 rpm. Also, it usually isn’t mentioned that electric motors don’t typically make full torque from a stop, but it does ramp up very quickly to full torque. But you have a very good question. Also, while moving the motor will never drop to “idle”, so while moving you will always have full torque available, which should make corner exits very fun/interesting.

  • Thomas Whitener

    I listened to the sound video, and now I need to take a shower. Holy carp, it does sound like a TIE fighter.

    • Michael Howard

      Coming out of the closet as a huge Star Wars freak to say that sounds almost nothing like a TIE fighter. Maybe more like a landspeeder. TIE fighters sound like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iGk7MT_0R0

      • Nolano

        I was thinking it sounds more like a jet taking off. It is a little reminiscent of tie fighters though, IMO, and either way it’s an awesome noise compared to the whine I was expecting.

  • BryonCLewis

    I’m not from anywhere near Angeles Crest Highway but I assume the speed limit is a lot lower than what was shown in the graph. I can’t wait until this technology improves on range and comes down in price. Have any companies started experimenting with newer form factors now that there isn’t the engine, radiator, exhaust requirement? There might be layouts and geometries that are better than current standard setup.

  • Random

    Fuck, I want this bike…

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      On a trackday, you’d get half a day and have plenty of time to charge it over lunch.

      • Random

        Excellent. Must have glossed over the charging information in the article. Back of the napkin math says that it’d be just over an hour for the 12kWh version at 220V/40A. 17kWh would be nearly 2.

        Guess I’ll just have to buy two.

        • roma258

          Just keep it “topped off” between sessions.

          • Random

            True that.

            Pick up your avatar from r/motorcycles recently?

            • roma258

              Nope, snatched it off a MCN article about youth racing a while back.

        • BlisteringlyObvious

          …the screenshot shows it draining 22kW in just under an hour from what is I presume at most a 17kWh battery-pack, based on the article.

          Must have been a lot of regenerative-braking.

    • Robert Horn

      I see big diesel generators in the pits in the future.
      Diesel is a LOT cheaper than race gas, the generators can be a lot quieter and useful elsewhere, and they last a lot longer than race engines.
      That, or diesel-electric toy haulers/off-the-grid mobile survival centers…

      • Piglet2010

        If electric bikes (and cars) become more common, most tracks will install electrical outlets. Also nice to have for power tools, tire warmers, air compressors, etc.

      • Mugget

        Screw that… I will have solar panels on the roof of my van, and additional angled panels on the ground if needed. Batteries in the van could top off the bike when overcast.

        Mega solar power + electric bike = track day win! The most you’d pay for fuel is diesel in the van!

        • Robert Horn

          Lightning did the solar thing at Pikes Peak this year and Laguna Seca last year (I think). Any idea what that whole panel and battery system cost to both buy and tow around?

          Still a cool thing to do – can’t have enough shade at the track!

          • Mugget

            Not too sure on cost, it’s definitely not as expensive as a few years ago and will only continue to become more efficient & cost effective. The batteries are the heaviest part, if you’re doing it just for track days you’d need a pretty good setup, something like a custom built trailer with dedicated battery compartment etc. So probably still not for most people. I’m fortunate that I’ve got a van for work and it’s going to be fitted out as a mobile workshop. I was going to have solar power anyway, having an electric bike just makes a lot of sense for the setup I’ll have!

            I will have to check out Lightning at Pikes Peak…

            • Robert Horn

              Could solar panel girls replace brolly dollies? That would do wonders for electric racing.

              Yes, racing.

              Now I really need to get some sponsors…

              • Mugget

                Hahaha I like your thinking!

  • roma258

    It feels weird to say this, but at $30k, the Mission R sounds like good value. What would you rather have, the Duc Panigale R which guzzles gas, requires regular maintenance and becomes obsolete the moment a next gen superbike becomes available, or Mission R which has practically zero servicing costs, saves you money on gas and is upgradable to ridiculous specs when the battery technology eventually catches up? One thing that’s confusing though, to the $30k version not come with the 220V outlet?

    • Mission Motorcycles

      Sorry for that confusion, we here at Mission Motorcycles are going to blame the Cro-Magnon writer for that ;)

      All models of the Mission R or RS will have the same charging capabilities, 220/110v 10kw onboard chargers.

      We cant wait for everyone commenting here to try the bike out… we’re honestly proud of it and we’d like to think we’re about to bring something really special out to the world of motorcycles. Not just a EV superbike, but just an amazing motorcycle overall.

      • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

        I’d for one love to try the bike out. Are you going to have a Demo sometime soon in the Seattle area? :)

        • Bob Berkow

          Hi Garrett, I’m with Pro Italia and we are working with Mission to see if we can schedule more demo rides from our shop. Send me your email (bberkow@proitalia.com) and I’ll keep you in the loop.

          • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

            Thanks. If I’m down in your neck of the woods I’ll try to get ahold of you guys.

    • BlisteringlyObvious

      One of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard is this idea that something becomes “obsolete” as soon as a new model comes out.

      Just ridiculous. Pure tech-geek nonsense.

      The thing is that you don’t know what this bike will be like to own and ride for real. It’s all just supposition, except for the parts that it has in common with existing and well-known IC bikes. It’s a road-going prototype, and you can expect that it will show its share of glitches and design-flaws with time.

    • BlisteringlyObvious

      the Panigale R is a mass-market product while the Mission is a prototype vehicle

      you’re comparing apples and oranges

  • James

    Sounds like a balanced review, you guys were ready to give this bike 10/10 before you even turned it on. Any bike with components pulled right off a superbike is going to ride like a superbike, and no i dont mean the race bike that this is based off, i mean an actual superbike with a real engine. Electric might be ok but i mean what are you supposed to do if you buy this bike and dont live right next to your local riding road? you dont mention range but most people may have a ride of about 30 miles each way to their local riding road if they are lucky, so thats 60 miles gone just in commuting to the corners, then what? how much range have you got left maybe another 60 miles to do some twisties? considering 60mph is a decent average speed for tight corners on a road enjoying yourself, thats an hour of riding time.

    Sounds like a good way to spend 60k, ill go ride my petrol bike hundreds of miles in a day and ride the best roads across the country or even the world if i wanted too because unlike electricity. When i run low i just fill up and keep right on going.

    Yeah its cool, but its a toy, like all electric vehicles. Thats a common distinction, kids play with electric toy cars, adults drive gas cars. Some weird adults still like to think they are children.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I’m sorry, but if you actually take the time to read the article, you’ll find most of your questions and concerns addressed.

    • RumbleStrips

      Explain to me why an all electric vehicle is necessarily a toy. I mean you made some valid points about the range, but honestly such an unsupported universal statement makes you sound ignorant. And seriously, that little backhanded insult is lame. You are calling others kids, but ironically, you are the one who sounds childish.

    • Strafer

      Seems your argument is that it is easy to find a gas station to fill up at but hard to find a place on the road to recharge an electric motorbike -
      I guess this is true – but it seems to me there is potential for many businesses to offer this – and it wouldn’t be too difficult to offer – so it does not seem like a hard problem to fix if electric bikes start getting some traction

      • runnermatt

        Yeah, it wouldn’t be too hard for a local motorcycle cafe to set up 220V charging for it’s customers. Ride there, hook up to charge, eat/hang out for an hour, ride some more, rinse and repeat.

  • Aaron Baumann

    First thought: $30k? No way! That bike would get stolen so quickly.

    Second thought: Sounds like a TIE Fighter? Take my money!

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Yeah, I mean if someone had told my 5 year old self that I could buy a Tie Fighter in 2013 for $30k, and my 5 year old self knew anything about money, I’d have been pretty stoked.

      • Chris McAlevy

        The lack of emotional engagement has always been the biggest turn-off for me for electric vehicles. That noise changes everything.

        • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

          The motor has a really engaging feel too. Maybe this description doesn’t do it justice, but it’s like you’ve got the world’s most powerful powerdrill in your right hand. And when you really start accelerating, oh man…

          • Mister X

            Nice review and a great way to describe the feel of the torque Wes, and because of that the acceleration of an electric vehicle can be real fun.

            I had a girlfriend in San Francisco and I’d ride up from Santa Cruz on Friday night and park the Honda for the weekend and we’d ride the (electric) Muni Metro cars and Bart for fun, just to hear the motors and feel the torque through the G forces when accelerating from a stop.

            Hint: The Muni Metro really pulls some G’s after it goes underground, man, it smokes and feels so good.

            I’ll bet riding an electric bike is a gas (lucky you!)… I hope they come down in price sooner rather than later so I can get one.

    • Daan Van De Westelaken

      The best lock is a good insurance policy.

      And I would love a tie fighter in my garage

  • deckard

    Good job mentioning the lack of engine vibration, and how that enhances handling feel. Haven’t yet seen many articles mention this important advantage.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      It’s one of the biggest advantages. It’s just so empowering and confidence inspiring to be able to connect to that tire so intimately.

  • alex

    The seat and single sided swing arm to motor bit make this look like 43K of saddle sore for those 600 mile days.

    I wish them well in light of the fact America can add one more #1 in transportation after the model s

  • Michael

    will they offer a track-only version?? I don’t ride much street anymore and even if I did it wouldn’t be on something this powerful

    • Richard Gozinya

      Not much difference between the two. Just lights, mirrors ,a license plate bracket and racing slicks. All things one could easily do themselves.

    • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

      The RS is their track-only version.

  • http://garrett-nelson.tumblr.com/ Garrett Nelson

    This sounds like a winner to me. All the other features like the electronics, dash, info sharing, top quality suspension would make it worth the $30K price. The power and ride sound amazing too. Range on that doesn’t sound too bad either. I had an 1199S for a weekend and could only manage 75 miles before the gas light came on, so 100+ miles between charges sounds like an improvement. I’ve also ridden a Brammo Empulse and am a fan of the feel you get from an electric motorcycle. If I was in the market for a bike in this price range, I would for sure consider this one. And the battery buy back and updating sounds like a great program to me. Mission seems to know what they’re doing.

  • Bill J

    So, when does the cruiser version come out??? :)

    • webbiker

      In all seriousness. Why isn’t anyone making an “electric v-max / Diavel” for example? The weight would not be such an issue and i bet you could shoehorn in a some additional range too.

      Or bagger where the bags could be extra batteries… Ok ok, a bad idea, but still.

    • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

      http://brutusmotorcycle.com/
      http://www.litogreenmotion.com/

      Neither is publicly available yet, as far as I know.. but they’re in the works.

  • webbiker

    Another 10/10 bike… As I said in my previous comment (that got deleted) regarding the CB500f review,the reviews are strarting to sound more like sales pitches than reviews. While I’m almost ready to accept the Mission as a very very good close to perfect bike, I find it hard to swallow that it would be a 10/10. The poor range alone compared to far cheaper bikes that are already on the road would suggest 10/10 is a bit much.

    I’m delusional enough to demand or expect an explanation why my comment was deleted previously, but I am surprised. Not very HFL.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Our commenting policy is to remove anything that’s deliberately insulting, annoying or valueless. Try and ask real questions rather than point your big Internet finger at people who work hard to bring you an outstanding publication.

      Our ratings are given within categories. As a budget all-rounder, the Honda 500 series is essentially perfect. Never before has so much performance, utility, economy, comfort, quality and style been available at such low price points. Plus, they’re just a blast to ride.

      This Mission changes the world. It makes gasoline obsolete. And it’s a performance bike. Show up at your local track or fun road on one and you’ll be on the fastest bike there, no exceptions. It’s not meant to commute or tour or run Barstow to Vegas off road, it’s meant to go fast, and it does that better than anything else before it, with more range than any outright performance bike I can think of.

      • CruisingTroll

        Yes, but can you even run Barstow to Vegas ON ROAD? In July? Over Baker Grade? (Of course, the fact that very few folks will be starting their trip to Vegas from Barstow merely serves to complicate the matter. Howzabout Garden Grove to Vegas, i.e. real world?)

        Heat is not a friend of batteries, nor is cold.

        On a related matter, have the various electric vehicle builders/wanna-be builders gotten together and at least standardized the plug their going to use when they go to 220V?

      • BlisteringlyObvious

        “Our commenting policy is to remove anything that’s deliberately insulting, annoying or valueless.”

        I’m thinking that if you would just extend that to include “largely fiction, fantasy and wishful-thinking”, that the OP’s point would be made.

        And there’s always value in an honest opinion. Assuming that you can handle it.
        Though I’ll grant you that the perception of “deliberately insulting” etc is always in the eyes of the beholder, which must save you from a really-painful case of ear-rash.

        From sticking your fingers in your ears.

    • Richard Gozinya

      Not that hard to believe. If I recall, Mission was founded by some people who used to work for Tesla, a company that built the car that got the highest score ever for Consumer Reports.

    • Clint Keener

      I believe this bike to be a 10. A metric cruiser being given a 10, not so much.

  • deathspray

    i believe in electric

  • Kelly Corey

    This bike will open the floodgates with all the other top manufacturers and will change EVERYTHING…love your passion guys, keep it up, great job!

    • Richard Gozinya

      It might, then again, the established motorcycle makers are very conservative. Look how long it takes commonplace technology for cars to reach us. Even something as basic as disc brakes, fuel injection, or ABS.

      • Robert Horn

        The established motorcycle makers aren’t necessarily future motorcycle makers. Kodak, BSA, etc could happen. In fact, I hope it does…

        • runnermatt

          Are you saying what I think you are saying about a certain company from Milwaukee?

          • Piglet2010

            Maybe Hero will buy out H-D someday?

            • Robert Horn

              Hero might need a T-shirt sales division some day…

      • runnermatt

        I wonder how electric bikes plays in Harley-Davidson’s product planning?

  • Sjef

    I’d love to see a video review/ rideapart video starring the Mission, it seems awesome.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Yeah, we’ll try and make that happen when the show returns this fall.

      • Sjef

        Can’t wait for some new quality motorcycleshow on youtube. That ”on two wheels” show douchebag level is quite high.

        Motogeo is a good one though

  • DrLove

    “…so long as you can find a 220v outlet (the same as most houses have to run the dryer and washing machine), recharge time is just an hour.”

    Maybe it’s my misunderstanding of how these things work but given that the available battery packs are 12, 15 and 17kWh packs, how can a 220 V outlet fill up even the smallest of the pack in an hour?

    Assume 100% charging efficiency and give the 220 V outlet a generous 30 A breaker, in 1 hour that would give only give (220 V) * (30 ampere) * (1 hour) = 6.6 kWh…

    I would believe this figure if it’s referring to the SAE J1772 plug which is good for up to 80A and should indeed fill up the battery pack in an hour; however the reference to household 220V outlet threw me because as I understand it the 220 V typically on 20 A breaker…

    • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

      I’m curious how that works as well. It seems a little exaggerated.

      Being generous, 20% to 80% in a 17 kWh pack on a 40A 240V outlet (50A breaker) should take a bit over an hour. Even with a higher current outlet, though, you’re running into the limits of the 9 or 10 kW onboard charger.

      Most public J1772 plugs are 30A. Realistic charging times 0-100% are probably around 2.5 hours for the type of plug you’re most likely to encounter in the wild.

      • BlisteringlyObvious

        …as an aside I would guess that it will be compatible with common recharging stations, not incompatible.

        I hope not.

        • http://protomech.wordpress.com/ protomech

          It’ll surely be compatible with J1772 AC, and perhaps down the road CHAdeMO or J1772 DC.

          Unlike the 2013+ relatively low-voltage Zeros, which are also compatible with CHAdeMO (when equipped with an optional, expensive adapter), the high-voltage Mission could theoretically charge 80% from off board DC chargers in 10-12 minutes .. so on the highway you’d ride for an hour, then stop and charge for a bit, rinse repeat.

          In a couple of years – either in 2015 or 2016 – I suspect Zero and Brammo will also step up the voltage of their bikes and support similar fast-charging speeds.

    • CruisingTroll

      No, the range/oven (if electric) will be a 40A or 50A circuit, and the dryer is usually a 30A or 40A circuit. The range is tough to access, but the dryer is often pretty easy to get to. Finally, adding a 220V circuit to one’s garage is fairly easy, and in light of dropping 60k on the motorcycle, pretty darn cheap also.

      Central A/C is almost invariably a 220v 30+A circuit, and if the buyer has a spa, that’ll be on another 220 circuit.

  • Strafer

    saw this on gizmodo – bravo

  • Mark Vizcarra

    I know this is a stupid question, but what about low speed maneuvers? I rely on the rotational mass or revving the engine when I clutch in and out tight corners in low speeds. It sounds silly but for me the engine acts like a gyroscope.

    Anyways will you guys ever venture outside of sportbikes once things start rolling? like a lightweight 690 duke version?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      It’s super easy at low speeds, that throttle is totally intuitive and easy. I wouldn’t want to do it, but Vinny loads it into the sprinter using the throttle to walk it up the ramp.

      They’ve got big plans for the future. More on Monday.

    • Piglet2010

      Why silly? “Brake-torque” or “torque-triangle” riding is taught by almost every (all?) police riding schools, and in many other slow-riding classes. Easier to learn, and allows for quicker transitions than the counter-weighting slow-speed technique.

  • karlInSanDiego

    I think all that torque will also make the chain a regular maintenance item. In fact, they might have to reengineer a special one to keep it from being the achilles heel.

    I hope Mission sells out to Honda and brings this bike to the masses. As it is, their company cannot possibly make it with this pricing. It’s essentially Tesla Roadster with Leaf range in first year of electrics, but with the limitation of far less motorcycle riders than car drivers and far more pleasure riders than commuters. If you need to piss away $60,000 on a pleasure bike, there are so many better ways to do it and leave change for shipping it to all you favorite European locations. One hour charge time is excellent and it sounds like all other aspects are pretty damn perfect too.

    • Richard Gozinya

      Or Mission builds up their company and reaps the rewards themselves, instead of handing it all over to a company whose only virtue is its size.

      • BigMan

        It’s not fair to say that Honda’s only virtue is size. Honda has been the biggest and most successful motorcycle company in the world for over 50 years *because* it’s got brilliant engineers and understands motor vehicle manufacturing as good as anybody in the world.

        • Richard Gozinya

          If that’s true, then why would anybody expect them to buy out Mission, or any other innovator? It’s not a knock against Honda, they do what they do, and they do it very well. But these days, they’re not exactly at the forefront of technology, especially on the motorcycle front. And the belief that big companies should swallow up smaller ones is part of what’s wrong with the world.

      • karlInSanDiego

        I’d agree with you about Mission’s mission, but even at $30 there are about 12 buyers for this bike in the country. You can’t run a company selling the most exclusive stuff on the planet if there is no market for it, AND its biggest selling feature is it doesn’t suck as much as the other electrics at range. I want electric bikes to succeed, but Tesla woudn’t have survived without Elon Musk’s big checkbook. And I’d be very surprised to see an Angel Investor come save Mission Motorcycles. That said, it shouldn’t have to cost $60,000 or $30,000. It’s the small market that forces them to charge that, and that will kill them. It would be interesting to see how many Empulse R’s have sold now that they’ve been on showroom floors for a while. I wanted to buy electric, but Empulse R is too pricey, and Fiat 500e isn’t engaging enough (with no clutch/shift). Mission just builds on Empulse’s promise, but way too much money to count on ANY sales.

        • Richard Gozinya

          A lot more than 12 I’d wager. Plenty of people shelled out a lot more than $30k for a Desmo, and I’m sure there’ll be sufficient buyers for this bike as well. Also bear in mind that this is just their first year producing motorcycles, it’s far too early to call them a success or a failure.

          • karlInSanDiego

            But could Ducati have sold a $72k motorcycle without winning a MotoGP championship first with that same bike, and then pulled an unprecedented move of not watering down of said MotoGP bike? They also pulled that move after positioning themselves (handily) as the go-to bike for the rich. Am I floored that they sold all 1500 Desmosedicis? You bet I am, and I’d wager half of those guys got divorced shortly thereafter and left half of their former net worth with their ex wives. I’m fairly sure Honda, Kawasaki, BMW, or Yamaha would never have sold $72k bikes in large numbers like that, even if Honda did it in smaller numbers once. My point in saying Mission Motorcycles should sell their bike/company/division is that they don’t appear to have a sense of what it takes to sustain a motorcycle company. You have to sell bikes, not just race one season, split your company in two and hope that the half that doesn’t do the R&D can survive on its own selling high dollar profit bikes without breadwinner bikes to keep the doors open. Ducati made more money on their Xerox sponsorships than their whole motorcycle/shirt sales combined 5 years ago. Motorcycle margins suck, but you can’t just charge twice or 4 times more than everyone else to make it work. That would only work if the whole rest of the industry shut down. The reason I mentioned Honda is that they appear to be the only major with their eye on the electric bike prize.

        • runnermatt

          I expect there is a bigger market than you would expect. Why do I say this? I’ll give a few examples.

          Ferrari; cheapest model the 458 Italia costs $200k+, most expensive model $1,000,000+.

          Lamborghini; again, cheapest model the Gallardo costs $200k+, most expensive would be some of their one-off’s or very limited production models $2,000,000+.

          Pagani, known for the Zonda which was never imported to the U.S. Currently builds the Huayra (a 720+ hp turbocharged Mercedes-Benz V12 and a piece of rolling artwork) costs $1,500,000.

          Koenigsegg, the Swedish “Hypercar” manufacturer known for making the CC, CCX, and CC8S. Currently builds and sells the Agera (a car which is a first in many technological aspects) and what for it,… according to wikipedia an Agera S recently sold in Singapore (of all the rich countries in the world) for $4.2 MILLION.

          I believe the market for a $30k or $60k motorcycle is bigger than we realize. I’m sure some of the rich would buy one of these simply because it costs as much as it does, others for what it is as an “investment”, others to show their friends their expensive new toy.

          It is hard for those of us making less then $40k (me, here) a year to comprehend what it is like to make $150k a year.

          • karlInSanDiego

            Runnermatt, maybe it depends how fast/easy folks make that money that lets them spend money on toys they never use, just for the sake of knowing they have them. But where many oil rich can claim they’ve driven a car a couple of times, so it’s not so stupid that they’re a car collector, does the same inspiration to collect motorcycles apply? Anyway, I am impressed that they’ve made a bike that can dominate TTXGP, competes very well with gas bikes, and appears to have overcome most of the complaints that people have had about ebikes. Pesronally, I think a consortium of small ebike manufacturers sharing some tech learned with each other might help vault them into a competitive state. If Mission is doing all this for $30k with 15kWh of battery, and Zero and Brammo are producing and selling bikes for $16k (11.4 kWh) and $17 or 19k (10.2 kWh) respectively, al biet with less performance and range, it does make me wonder if A) there is really something to the 6 speed transmission that should be unlocking a big step in range if they can continue to optimize the motor to a shorter efficiency band B) there are big advances in battery charging, cost, packaging, that each of these small companies is not learning from each other , but that might puch them to new range limits if they were sharing info. Yes you can throw batteries at the problem and build superior perf/range (see Model S) but that’s the electric equivilent of a Big Block V8, not a DOHC 4 valve variable timed/lifted motor with variable intake lengths.

          • Stuki

            Any old Yahoo can putt-putt around in a Ferrari (now with automatic transmissions, even) and look cool to a certain (large) segment of the (female) population. A megabike (with ergos to boot) has a much more limited potential market. And one that does not overlap the high income one to such a large degree.

            Judging by what made electric (and hybrid) cars all the rage, it was mainly “environmental consciousness.” The Tesla Roadster wasn’t that much of a runaway, it was the S that allowed the vain to ditch their Bimmer 5s for one that did it. And even with the S, Tesla really do need a cheaper model to sustain, just like Bimmer and Benz seem to need 3s and Cs (And 1s and As and Bs.)

  • RT Moto

    I can’t wait to own one!! Beautiful bike with the performance to back it up?? Take my money!!

  • Daan Van De Westelaken

    The 10k shouldn’t be to hard if this gets mass produced and the suspension gets knocked down to kayaba or showa (or cheaper spec. ohlins suspension).

  • Charlie

    Great article. An amazing story, that will only get better. How does it look in the real? Almost has some KTM RC8 lines/colors.

  • BigMan

    I love everything about this except the dashboard. I don’t want a giant multicolored animated touchscreen with microscopic text on my motorcycle. I get that they’re trying to make it look “futuristic”, but it looks like they’re experts at motorcycles and electric motors, and not so much at user interaction design.

    There are very good reasons that even the top exotic sports cars might add cool bitmap displays on the sides but keep the big analog needle in the middle. Analog gauges are easier to read, and perfectly stable (you know it’s never going to disappear if you hit the wrong button). And worse, any computer interface you put in a vehicle this year is going to look very dated next year.

    What they should have done is put a classic (timeless!) analog gauge set here, with a BT/Wifi/USB (pick one) interface hidden behind it so when you get done with your trackday you can whip out your tablet (whatever the coolest one is this month) and download and analyze the data.

    As Alan Cooper said, what do you get when you mix a computer and a (fill-in-the-blank)? A computer! For all of the CB750′s flaws, you never had to install software updates on it. It still looks almost contemporary today.

    Of course, I’m not going to be paying $30K for a motorcycle so they don’t care what I think, nor should they. But I’m placing my bet now: in 2014, this dashboard is going to make people say “I can’t believe we thought that looked futuristic”, like the digital speedometer in an old Dodge 600.

  • Bob Sutterfield

    I want one bad, but their charge time math is suspect.

    They say empty to full in an hour on a dryer outlet. Suppose that’s for their smallest battery, that’s 12kWh in an hour, or 12kW power delivery (disregarding the fact that the charge rate tapers off as the battery nears full, so the last few percent take longer than the first few percent).
    But a home dryer circuit is 240V (not 220V), normally on a 40A breaker, but often only 30A. The national electrical code protects a circuit with sustained load at 80% of its breaker rating, and that limit is enforced by the charging service electronics, called the EVSE.

    So a typical home dryer circuit can deliver 240V*(40A*.8)=7.7kW.

    To deliver 12kW would require a circuit with a 60A breaker on residential power (240V “1-phase”) or a 70A breaker on commercial power (208V “3-phase”).
    To charge their biggest battery (17kWh) from 0 to full in an hour would require a circuit with at least an 85A breaker at home or a 100A breaker on commercial power.

    But you never drain a battery to 0%, normally you don’t want to let it drop below 10% because of the chemistry. So to top off 90% of their smallest(12kWh) battery would take 1.4h on a real home 40A circuit, and 90% of their largest (17kWh) battery would take 2h, again disregarding charge rate taper as the battery nears full.

    Bigger circuits are proportionally more expensive, and higher-power EVSEs are disproportionally more expensive than common 7.7kW units, largely because they’re never used at home and very rarely in public settings. High-power EVSEs are specialty low-volume-production units, used mainly in industrial and fleet settings like for city busses and Frito’s delivery trucks and amusement park shuttles.

  • grahluk

    Year by year the reality of a compelling electric moto comes closer. With the right financial portfolio it looks like that time might be here to put this in the garage next to a BMW HP4, D16RR, RSV4Factory, an RC30 and some other tasty high $ performance bikes. I won’t buy one but not for lack of desire or belief that it could be a very compelling ride. I’ll let the Jay Leno’s and owners of international skyscraper building contractor firms take the hit to be the early adopters. Would love to run into one on the road when that happens. For me I can (and have to) wait until the technology scales to current high end sports bike (under $20k) not sports car ($60k) street price. This does bring that future into clearer focus though. It has a range that is usable with careful planning and recharge time even discounting the optimistic estimates is more in the single digit hours than what it was a couple years ago. As a track machine this could be very cool. Many of the tracks that have been encroached with exurbans complaining about the noise from moving next door to a racetrack will be given a new lease on schedules. I could also see as stated above tracks adopting big diesel charging stations. Now if a track bike based on this had handily swappable battery units and an external charger you could realistically have a set of batteries on charge while you’re draining the others out on track. No down time waiting for a charge. I would like to see a meter with one of these babies charging up. I bet you could cut meat on the meter’s wheel.

    • BlisteringlyObvious

      “I’ll let the Jay Leno’s and owners of international skyscraper building contractor firms take the hit to be the early adopters.”
      I was thinking the same but just think, how often would JL actually ride this bike?

      Isn’t he still dealing with the Tesla nightmare?

      “electric bike” and “Jay Leno”? Come on. and he has another what, 200 vehicles to deal with?

      They will probably find 40 guys to buy into this bike.
      But I doubt that Leno will be one of them.

  • Evan Baird

    holy crap. thanks Wes!! This thing sounds amazing – would love to ride one but would like to even just see one!! Makes for a really exciting time in motorcycling..
    E

  • JoM

    How long is the expected battery
    lifetime? I know this depends on the details of use, but if its used every day as a commuter bike with a mix of street and highway and is recharged every night – are we talking 1 year/5 years? -
    Regarding recharging rates, whether it is an hour or 1.5 hours doesn’t matter in the
    real world. Unless you are spending a day at the track and have to recharge it
    there, for everyday use, I would think most people would simply plug it in at
    night and have it recharge while you’re sleeping – at that point as long as its in the several-hour range I’d think it’d be fine.

    • CruisingTroll

      Charging time does matter in the real world. Not only is there the discipline question of charging every night, but there’s the “I have to be someplace I CAN recharge” question. I did 400 miles over the weekend. There wasn’t anyplace to recharge at the campground where I hung my hammock Saturday night…. not that I would have needed to recharge, because I was able to gas up before I went up the mountain. Unfortunately, had I spent an hour charging up rather than gassing, I’d have rolled up the mountain in the dark, with the deer, etc…

      This does sound like it would be a fantastic track bike though.

  • runnermatt

    I didn’t get excited about electric vehicles until I heard a Tesla Roadster on JayLenosGarage.com. Just because something is electrically driven doesn’t mean it is going to be silent. I’ll have to hold off on the linked clip of what the Mission RS sounds like until I am somewhere that has a better internet connection.

    So here is the hypothetical question. Let’s say you want to ride across the country. How far could you make it each night if you simply pulled into a empty all-night laundromat, pulled the Mission R or RS inside, pulled out a dryer and plugged in? You could take hour long naps while the bike was charging. I’m kidding of course…

    • CruisingTroll

      A good point. Electric motorcycles will have “arrived” when one is competitive in the Iron Butt Rally.

      10,000 miles, 11 days, one rider, no performance awards.

  • VagrantCoyote

    One word to sum this all up, want. If another word is needed, now would suffice.

  • Piglet2010

    “every single horsepower, every last lb-ft — is instantly available, all the time, simply by twisting the throttle.”

    Uh, no. A perfectly flat torque curve means that power will vary linearly with motor rpm.

    • Nick Mather

      There’s a difference between flat and linear. Linear means it goes low to high in a straight line- no power-band like a 2 stroke. Flat means it’s literally constant at a certain point (all the ponies all the time) (ATPAT?)

    • BlisteringlyObvious

      Piglet you still don’t get it

      torque is torque, hp is torque / 5252

      not the other way around

      must you demonstrate your half-knowledge of motorcycling technology on every Internet site related to bikes?

      • Piglet2010

        I see you failed high school physics class.

  • Piglet2010

    How does temperature affect range? Thinking about all the long winter trips I have made in the Upper Midwest when the roads were clear and temperatures were below freezing (and my heated gear needs 5 amps too). And some pretty long stretches where nothing is open at night.

  • susannaschick

    wow. excellent write-up. I said “whoa!” a bunch of times, but especially here: “Recharge time? Well here’s another trick unique to Mission. They built the charger into the battery controller, using the motor as a transformer. That means, so long as you can find a 220v outlet (the same as most houses have to run the dryer and washing machine), recharge time is just an hour. No special equipment, no special charging stations, just a laundry room outlet and zero to full charge in around 60 minutes.”

    dude. ONE HOUR?!?! How come nobody else thought to use the motor to help the charging system?

    • CruisingTroll

      Just one of those things that seems so blindingly obvious once somebody has done it, but nobody saw it until then.

    • BlisteringlyObvious

      I’m sure it’s been done before, but it requires a motor that can also act as a transformer, that can source power as well as sink it…so it requires an AC motor, as opposed to a more standard and cheaper DC motor…

      then just think about the charge/discharge cycle. If it takes an hour to discharge the battery and an hour to charge it, how much more are the components going to cost than for a system that allows the motor to discharge in 2 hrs and requires 8 hours to charge?

      Obviously it drives up the price, and this bike was supposedly designed and built “price no object”

  • Guest

    I can’t believe it, I’m actually lusting over an electric bike!

  • Murat Oğuz Kanpak

    My new fantasy bike. And I don’t even like electric bikes!

  • CruisingTroll

    “Onboard charger works much faster than any other electric bike out
    there, finally making an electric bike real world, road trip possible.”

    is not compatible with this:

    “Recharge time will be so bad on 110v as to merit an “It’s not worth discussing,” from Seeger.”

    Real world, road trip possible means not having to beg, borrow, or hack a 220v power connection.

  • Mugget

    I’m sold! Only problem is that Mission is not in Australia, and I don’t have a big chunk of cash. I will work on the latter, though!!

    I always thought an electric bike would make a good track bike, but I would ride this everywhere to give people a good ‘ol EV flyby.

    I can understand about the increased feel and connection with the bike. I relate that to the drills that are run at CSS, starting off riding in one gear only – it’s amazing how much more you can focus and concentrate on things like braking markers, turn points etc. Add the ability to stay in one gear and have maximum power available any time… pretty exciting prospect!!!

  • Brian

    so my question is a fairly simple one, but on an ICE bike, sitting in traffic, you feel the heat coming from the motor and/or the exhaust. What, if any, heat do you feel coming off this bike when riding/cruising/commuting/WOT riding?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Sitting in traffic, at a dead stop, you feel an inert bike. Open the throttle and you feel immense power.

  • atgatthd

    So what’s the effect on the electric bill? I realize those able to purchase the mission and enjoy its awesomeness are probably not too concerned with this.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      “Los Angeles area households paid an average of 20.3 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity in June 2013, up from 19.3 cents per kWh in June 2012.” http://www.bls.gov/ro9/cpilosa_energy.htm

      17kwh x 20.3 cents = $3.45

      • atgatthd

        That’s pretty sweet!

  • TronSheridan

    This article needs a video…badly.

  • Richard Dort

    I know this is a month old and I’m late to the party, but I’m calling some BS on the charging times. First off, 2013 Zeros with CHAdeMO adapters charge in an hour, so Mission isn’t the first by any means. Secondly, as has already been noted in the comments its hard to get more than 30A out of your home 220 circuit. That’s 6.6kW. You’ll have to be able to pull 45A to get the claimed 10kW of charging power. None of this is going to charge a 17kWh pack much less a 12kWh pack in an hour. Plus, there’s no J1772 plug? The website says there is, but not this article. So unless I’m at an RV park, or possibly a track like LOLA that has them everywhere, or I have a really long and heavy 220V extention cord to my drier’s outlet that I don’t have, I’m screwed? Huh?! And what about DC fast charging (like Zeros already have as an option)?

    But it doesn’t seem this bike was built to be practical, but badass. I am certain from this article it does that in spades. Using the controller and motor as the AC charging system is brilliant and the kind of engineering that make me a fan of any company. Upgradeable batteries and performance as tech improves is equally impressive. Forget the that the bike as a whole package was faster than a Panigale R.

    Still, my impression is that this bike is the old race bike from 2011 and the only upgrade it has are updates that have happened to the componentry in the last two years. It feels like these guys are standing on the shoulders of the original team that built the bike, James Parker included. It makes me wonder what we’ll really see beyond the $15k version in two years. Meanwhile the same Brammo team that has been working their tails off for several years now to develop both their production and race bikes, and should be bringing something very close to the table by then. Maybe I’ve been watching this elmoto space too closely for too long and am becoming jaded, but I’ll become impressed with Mission Motorcycles if they can get to the point that they can assemble (or re-assemble?) an equally talented team as the one that created the original Mission R and maintain it. But no who pays close attention to this stuff can deny the massive significance of the original Mission R who’s race lap record didn’t fall until this year (two years later) by a bike with equal power and as far as I can tell almost 100lbs less weight, and probably a bit more pack. BTW, the R and Steve Rapp still hold the fastest electric motorcycle lap of a 1:31 at Laguna. If a company is going to start by standing on the shoulders of a badass bike, this is giving them a hell of a head start.

    I honestly don’t know what to think. Clearly the bike is badass, and I’m not certain you can over use that word when describing this bike. As far as the company, I’m just going to have to wait and see, but I am hopeful.

    Great article. Thank you.

  • Enntense

    So with realistic charging times..You have to charge it more than you can actually ride it…Ah yeah..

    • Doug S

      Didn’t bother reading the article, eh? Ride up to four hours, recharge in an hour.

      • Enntense

        Yeah I did it say’s at highway speed (65mph?) You can go 130 miles, that’s a whopping 2 hours at low steady throttle. Care to guess what happens when you hammer it as it’s obviously designed for? I’m going to go out on a limb and conservatively cut that in 1/2. The bike now can travel under full throttle a whopping 65 miles….Lets say you don’t suck at riding and your average speed is actually more than 65MPH, that gives you an hour or less( a lot less) of real ride time. Now if your lucky enough to find a 220v plug, you still are charging more than riding, if you find a 110v?…Then your totally screwed…

        • Doug Shepherd

          On the freeway, you can ride two hours, recharge in an hour, without even using the high-speed DC charger, just a standard 220VAC electrical outlet. At lower speeds, as I said above, you can easily ride four hours, recharge in one. In neither case are you charging more than you’re riding. BUT if you do have access to a DC charging station, charging will be even quicker — they haven’t released numbers yet, but probably less than half that time. IIRC the Mission uses LiFePO4 batteries, so in theory, you could charge them VERY fast — fifteen minutes or less for a full charge.

          • Enntense

            Not ready for real world, you can make all the excuses you want but you cannot hammer this thing then hope you are going to find a 220v plug in…This bike loses 50% of its range from toodling around town to just droning 65 on the highway, can you imagine how much more it loses if you actually hammer it? Heaven forbid you’re not the only electric bike too, I can just see that, now you pull into a pit stop and you get to fight over the single 220v plug in(if you can even find one). The actual thing they don’t mention is that the 220v station has to have enough amps to charge the bike efficiently. It’s probably at least 60 Amps, if you drop to a more realistic 30Amps at 110v you just increased the theoretical charge time by a factor of 4 or more. A 15 min charge would take 240 Amps of current at 220v…I’ve never seen that, it would also get really really hot.

  • Nathan Olivas

    Is this 100% american made? As in is all parts bought and made in america? When will mass production begin?