Brammo Go BLAMMO

And the other tire drops: Brammo, that electric motorcycle company that talked a big talk, now tanks big time.  After not even three full years of Empulse motorcycle sales, Brammo, Inc. now ceases to exist as an independent entity, having been bought out by Polaris Industries (makers of ATVs, snowmobiles, the Victory and Indian gasser motorcycle brands, etc.).  Whether they will exist at all is now Polaris’ play.  brmm

The first public clue was Brammo announcing an “end of season” clearance sale.  An end of season sale last August.  Personally, late August/early September is when my riding season is in its second wind, literally.  Anyway, Brammo slashed prices by about half on some bikes.  Then it was seen that dealers- such as they were- still had 2013 Brammo Empulses to get rid of.  They still had clearance Empulses into 2015.  The second public clue were the reports of little or no activity at Brammo headquarters/factory in Oregon.

My clue, however, came years ago, dealing with these Keystone Choppers.  In my experience, Brammo was chasing a phantom: the fickle tastes of a small segment of motorcyclists, itself a small segment of vehicle buyers in general.  Rather than start with a good technology base, then digging in with plans to grow out from there, Brammo tried to nail it with one shot.  They thought they had to have a multispeed transmission/clutch to replicate the “real motorcycle” experience.  Instead, contracting IET for trannys delayed production and sale, and made Empulses the worst of both worlds: the limited range of an electric, with the gear slop of a gasser.  Meanwhile gear losses net you even less range. Continue reading

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Riding-Season Reasons

It’s 2014, and 238 years for the US.  For motorcycles, and technologic motorcycles at that, might as well be Year Zero.  On hand already, we have:

Zero Motorcycles
Brammo Inc.
Agility Global Ltd.– UK delivery only

And on tap, supposedly this year :

Mission Motorcycles Inc.
Lightning Motorcycles
BRD Motorcycles

This is besides later, more-tentative motorcycles from Yamaha, Energica, Harley-Davidson, KTM, and Voxan, possibly Mugen/Honda, Saroléa, and Tacita.  Plus scooters.  So, one’s a freak, two’s a coincidence, three’s odd, and four’s a fad, right?  Then seven, ten, or more must be a movement.  “There is that sense of being at the beginning of something new, and part of our future… It’s coming,” says American Motorcyclist Association chair Maggie McNally-Bradshaw.  A new way of working has reinvigorated a stale field, perhaps most importantly by enabling new entrants.  Young blood will invite even more young blood. Continue reading

Words Fail… Because They’re Words

It’s a cold day, time for news on the upcoming season.  Brammo announced their 2014s, “the brmmWorld’s Fastest Electric Motorcycle in Serial Production.”  However, what’s more interesting than the ad copy itself is reading between the lines.

First off, Brammo explicitly says “…in Serial Production.”  That’s because at least one Lightning and at least one Mission are known to be on public roads.  Throw in the MotoCzysz, and Mugen Shinden.  All would spank the Brammo Empulse, and by an embarrassing factor.  However, their respective companies aren’t at the level of final production and public delivery at this moment.  (Mission had already sold out much of its 2014 Mission RS run, via preorders in 2013.)  Thus, Brammo has to qualify itself, and hasn’t lied… yet.

Brammo claims “its unique water cooled motor.”  Unique… to Parker Hannifin customers, as this too is a bit of a dodge. Continue reading