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.
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