The Racing Season Begins (kind of…)

May 23, 2012 at 8:18 am

Round 1 of the 2012 season kicked off the first weekend of May and arrived with great anticipation. Problem was it didnt last long – for me at least. Four and a half laps to be exact. A great four and a half laps, but still, only four and a half laps.

That was the point at which the rear end let go exiting Turn 7 and sent me for a ride of a lifetime – and not in a good way. It was a massive highside, one which took the top of my right index finger off and fractured six of the vertebre in my back – from which I’m now 1.2cm shorter! Like I really needed that at a towering 5′ 6″ already – thanks a lot Mr. Empulse RR! All joking aside, looking at the data showed nothing different than the lap prior so we’re not too sure what happened.

On the plus side, my fourth lap was already over a second faster than our track record from last year. But half way through lap five was the end to my opening round. For this reason my second update of the season is a short one. As in that’s all folks (laughs)…

Thankfully I’m healing ahead of schedule and by no means are we giving up on defending our Number 1 plate. With four rounds and two races at each left we will be back in the hunt quickly – mark my word. So stay tuned for the next update following our next test in a few weeks. Hopefully it’s a bit longer than this one!


EV owners are saving money on insurance!

May 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

Insurance companies seem to be stereotyping EV owners in a favorable way when it comes to insurance quotes.

Insurance costs vary widely based on driving history, local crime and vehicle theft rates, but experts say owners of EVs such as the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf generally can expect a lower insurance premium.

“When you look at electric vehicle owners, you probably have a pretty careful bunch there,” said Jack Nerad, market analyst at Kelley Blue Book. “They’re probably pretty mature, and they’re not the young twentysomething male who gets into the most fights and has the most car accidents.”

Hartford Insurance announced last month that it will offer a 5% discount to EV owners nationwide by the end of the year. It says it’s doing it because to support environmental sustainability, but experts say it wouldn’t do it unless it thought it was a smart financial bet.

The average premium for a 2012 Volt owner who drives 15,000 miles annually is about $1,452 a year for the first five years, according to research site’s True Cost to Own estimates. That compares with about $2,024 for a cheaper gas-engine 2012 Cadillac CTS, for example.

Contact your insurance company to discuss possible breaks they might be able to offer you for your Brammo bike.

Brammo Unveils Ground-Breaking Electric Motorcycles Empulse And Empulse R

May 9, 2012 at 11:04 am

Brammo, Inc., the designer and manufacturer of world leading electric motorcycles, revealed pricing and production plans for the Empulse and Empulse R while giving motorcycle enthusiasts in Los Angeles a first look at the stunning new design.

At this unique electric vehicle industry event, Brammo has demonstrated to consumers and motorcycle insiders alike the advancements in electric motorcycling and is providing a glimpse of what is to come in the future. The Empulse is the only electric motorcycle to include a 100-mile range and 100-mph top speed as well as a breakthrough battery and powertrain system enabling a great zero-emission experience.

At the launch party, Brammo announced the Empulse and Empulse R will cost $16,995 and $18,995 respectively with financing available from Sheffield Financial. Through this financing, customers will be able to purchase the new Empulse and Empulse R from Brammo dealers as follows:

Empulse: 8.9% for 72 months at $303, 6.9% financing for 60 month at $334 and 3.9% for 36 months at $499

Empulse R: 8.9% for 72 months at $339, 6.9% financing for 60 month at $373 and 3.9% for 36 months at $558

Availability of each model will vary based on demand for the Empulse and Empulse R. Production for the Empulse R will take place first with limited availability in June 2012 and in volume by Q3 2012. The Empulse will be available in Q1 2013.

Research conducted by Brammo with both customers and dealers has driven the development of the Empulse and Empulse R. As a result, these motorcycles now come with a water-cooled AC motor and fully integrated IET(TM) six speed transmission, seating for two, regenerative braking and on board J1772 Level 2 charging capability. To ensure the highest quality performance and design, Brammo works with internationally renowned manufacturers for superior components of their motorcycles. This close attention to the supply chain ensures the durability, reliability and ultimately future resale value of Brammo products.

“It was important to Brammo to create a great motorcycle and we paid attention to customer feedback to create just that,” said Craig Bramsher, CEO and president of Brammo. “From concept to production the Empulse product has evolved quite a bit. We are bringing you a different motorcycle that promises to be more than what our riders expected.”

The two models vary as follows:

The Empulse body work is all plastic, has semi adjustable front suspension and semi adjustable rear suspension.

The Empulse R uses carbon fiber for headlight shroud, front and rear fenders, top panel and the rear light housing.

Brammo promised that of the first 1000 people who pre ordered an Empulse, one would be selected at random to receive their motorcycle free of charge. Last week from the first 1000 orders six finalists were selected. At the event, Craig Bramscher rolled a dice and Jueiming Chen was the lucky winner.

True to Brammo’s devotion to zero tailpipe-emission transportation, the Empulse launch event was carbon-neutral. Brammo has worked with to purchase carbon offsets to mitigate the greenhouse emissions generated by transportation, electricity use, and other resource-intensive activities associated with this event.

In additional efforts to reduce travel and carbon intensity of the event, Brammo will stream the launch event live to tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts, who will be able to experience the launch party across the nation and afar in Asia and in Europe.

For more on this story check out CNN’s scoop on Brammo’s unveiling:

Brammo and Icon go racing……

May 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

By Steve Atlas

A new racing season kicks off once again. And while they start to blend together, this year is marked by something special. A big ol’ Number 1. Yep, I’ve re-signed with Brammo to contest the TTXGP North American national championship and by virtue of topping the series standings last year, we now have the honor, but also the burden, of wearing the No. 1 plate. I say honor and burden because while it’s cool to have the designation of being a champion, it can also be a heavy weight to carry. The bullseye is now directly on our back and all the other teams have one goal: to beat us. Some riders also believe running the No. 1 plate is bad luck – think Ricky Carmichael and Valentino Rossi – but I say that’s a load of crap. Going a step further, I think riders should be forced to run it, either by the race organization or by the team/bike manufacturer they ride for. Not only is it helpful for new fans of the sport, but it’s also a huge marketing tool for the team/rider who earned it. But riders will be riders and if there’s one constant in racing its that most are incredibly superstitious. Anyhow, back to the new season which lay ahead…

This brief updates comes to you following our first, and only, preseason test and just days before the opening round at Infineon Raceway. And while Infineon was a great weekend for us last year, winning both races quite easily and setting a new lap record, this year it could be a quite difficult task to repeat such a success. Whereas last season the race caught a couple of the faster teams off guard and left us with a rather thin field, this year the entry list has doubled and one of the teams that came on strong at the end of 2011 is slated to show up with two very capable riders on their missile of a motorcycle.

But that’s not to stay we are going into the weekend aiming for third. Oh no. And that’s also not to say the boys at Brammo haven’t pulled out the stops and made some big upgrades this off-season, the aim being more power. And more power is exactly what they got!

Working in conjunction with team sponsor Parker, an all-new motor has been designed and fitted to the existing chassis. On the dyno this new engine spun the drum at an extemely respectible 130hp. And though this number may not drop your jaw by itself, considering our peak output last year was roughly 88hp, a jump of over 40hp is pretty darn impressive. Add to that a winter diet that shaved off 35 pounds and a torque output that has doubled — yes, doubled — and the end result should surely be a noticeable difference. Oh, was it ever!

In fact, after the first session at Oregon Raceway Park, a track I had never ridden before, I was nearly speachless! Can you say a totally new motorcycle? Everything felt so alien it was like I had never ridden the bike before! The added power had me carrying straightaway speeds double-digits above anything seen last year and this was at a track with relatively short straights. And dispite the reduced weight, this added pace increased braking forces so heavily that I was bottoming the forks with ease. Another byproduct of this addition oomph was fairly heavy spinning of the rear tire exiting several of the medium speed corners. And while the linear torque production of the electric motor makes controlling them relatively easy, last year’s bike simply didn’t have the power to break the Pirelli stick loose, so this was something new to get used to.

In total we did five, 3-5 lap sessions on the new Empulse RR and even though the track was totally new to me, by the final session we were on pace, if not slightly quicker, than what the fastest gas-powered bike has ever done there before, so this was encouraging. But because this was just a word-of-mouth comparison and no really big racing organizations go to ORP, it’s hard to tell just how fast we were going. Either way, I can assure you it was several seconds, if not more, quicker than what last year’s bike would have been capable of, so I can quite confidently say that our Infineon lap record from last year should be broken very quickly and by a healthy margin. The question is, will it be us or will it be some of our competition who ultimately leaves the Northern California track with top honors and their name in the record books? Stay tuned and you will find out shortly!

Potential Mayors of London see Motorcycling as the Future

May 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

A survey conducted by the MCI (Motorcycle Industry Association) found that nearly all mayoral candidates in London see motorcycling and electric motorcycling as part of a green future for solving the capital’s transport problems. MCI has welcomed the candidates’ support, but says that more than just warm words will be needed if motorcycling’s contribution to transport in London is to be fully recognised.

Both Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone stated clear support and enthusiasm for motorcycling, and were keen to point out their individual contributions. Ken Livingstone said there was ‘no question’ as to the part motorcycles, scooters and mopeds played in reducing congestion, ‘- that’s why I exempted them from the Congestion Charge when I bought it in. And I will keep it that way’. Boris Johnson highlighted his personal influence – ‘my decision to confirm that motorcycles can use bus lanes on the Transport for London Road Network is a further practical example of my support’.

Electric motorbikes and the provision of charging points was a key concern for all candidates. Boris Johnson included motorcycles in his vision for London as ‘the electric vehicle epicentre of Europe’. Ken Livingstone included motorbikes before cars in his target group for moving from petrol to electric – stating ‘my priorities for supporting the greater take-up of electric vehicles will be buses, taxis and motorbikes’.

Only the green party were cautious about welcoming electric motorcycling, saying that they would ‘invest in the necessary infrastructure’ but that electric motorcycles ‘were not the full solution’.

Parking was also recognised as an issue for motorcyclists with many candidates pledging to improve the number of free spaces available and challenge those councils who charge motorcyclists. Both Brian Paddick (Liberal Democrat) and Siobhan Benita (Independent) singled out Westminster City Council’s parking charges to motorcyclists as unfair.

Safety was also identified as an area for improvement for motorcyclists with Ken Livingstone stating that ‘no one should be put off switching from car to a bike because it is too dangerous’. Boris Johnson highlighted his commitment to safety schemes run by Transport for London including BikeSafe and ScooterSafe as a successful collaboration between the motorcycle industry, the police and Transport for London. He also pledged to conduct more research to identify how safety improvements for motorcyclists could be made. One of the suggestions by Siobhan Benita to tackle safety was to ‘punish more severely those who break the law’.

Steve Kenward, CEO of the MCI
“We look forward to working with the new Mayor for London, and would like to see the Mayor work with the Boroughs across the capital to open all bus lanes for use by motorcyclists. This would help with safety, which all mayoral candidates state is a priority. We are pleased that so many of them recognise the part motorcycling has to play in the provision of an integrated transport plan for London.”

“However despite previous similar promises by Mayoral candidates and some good stand-alone initiatives introduced for motorcycling by both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, mainstream transport policy in London still does not recognise motorcycling as a transport choice. This will need to change if we are to see the motorcycling opportunity fully realised and safety improved. Motorcycles are just as legitimate as walking, cycling and public transport as forms of alternative transport.

Motorcycling generates £7 billion a year in income for the UK and employs 60,000 people and the new generation of scooters and electric bikes can help dramatically in reducing emissions as well as saving money for riders”."