First Look: New Brammo Empulse

Paul Carruthers | May 10, 2012
A look at the new Brammo Empulse. Photography By: Frankie Garcia
Photography By: Frankie Garcia

Brammo introduced its new Empulse and Empulse R electric sportbikes at Boulevard3 in Hollywood this week in a motorcycle introduction that was … well, different. For starters, it took place at a swanky Hollywood club, complete with a line of people out front. There was techno music, scantily clad women, film crews and lots of people who didn’t look they belonged. There was also a street poet, a dance group, lots of flashing lights, cocktails and finally… a new motorcycle.

And as much as this intro stood out for aforementioned reasons, the Empulses are also different from what we’ve grown accustomed to with electric motorcycles. For starters these two models have transmissions and high-end components like Brembo brakes, Marzoocchi forks, Sach shocks and Marchesini wheels. They look the part and, according to Brammo, they also walk the walk with claims of 100 mph and up to a 121-mile range on a single charge (though definitely not 120 miles at 100 mph – the 121 miles is probably fairly sedate city riding, with the number dropping to 56 or so on the highway and 77 miles or so when the two are combined).

“If you want to go 60 miles at a very fast speed on the freeway, you can do that,” Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher said. “If you want to go 100 miles where you have a mixed ride – some freeway, some suburbia – you can do that. If you stick off the highway you can get about 120 miles.”

What also sets them apart is the fact they have six-speed transmissions while the rest have… well, the other electric bikes don’t have transmissions at all. And Brammo even claims that the two Empulses even have engine braking on downshifts. If all the claims are accurate, these electric bikes from Oregon-based Brammo are a big step in the right direction. A game changer of sorts.

“Everyone knows that an electric motor doesn’t need a gearbox,” said Bramscher. “I’ve heard it, I’ve said it. You don’t have to have one, but if you do have one, the experience changes dramatically. It is much, much better. You want this technology.”

He said that this new technology will also be available in future models – both on and off-road.

The new Brammos also use level-two charging, which means Empulse owners can use the charging stations that electric cars have been using – for a fast charge – or the trickle charge that you can get via a normal electrical outlet.

“What this means is that if you own an Empulse and you live in Malibu, you can take the long way to downtown, through the canyons and have a blast, and you’ll end up going 60 or 70 miles to work, ” Bramscher said. “Then you take the bike and plug it into a level-two charging station and essentially by lunch you are ready for another 100-mile ride. So in the course of the day you could end up doing hundreds of miles. The trickle charger for a car is a really fast charger for Brammo. What’s unique about the charging is you can also trickle charge from home so you don’t have to put that infrastructure in.”

The bikes come without a hefty price tag – $16,995 for the Empulse and $18,995 for the Empulse R. Fortunately, financing is available from Sheffield Financial.

Customers are slated to start receiving the new units it June.



Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.