No matter which model is chosen, the 2011 Brammo Empulse 6.0, 8.0, or 10.0, there will be no color choice. The standard is red and black. Unique design features abound, the most noticable being the missing exhaust pipes. Electric motors don't need them. It is surprising how much that alone cleans up the lines of these bikes. The bottom of the motor housing and the side frame member are in parallel, at an approximate 25-degree angle from the ground. The side frame member, originating at the junction of handlebar and fork, is about six inches thick. It is not round, but has three flat surfaces at angles to one another. Fenders are minimalist. The rear one covers about eight inches of the wheel, with the front edge just behind top dead center. The front is about 10 inches long and is canted slightly back of top alignment. The wheels are also minimalist, with 10 sturdy spokes, creating a very open look. Leaning forward to grasp the handgrips looks like a challenge for the shorter operator, due to what looks like an extra-high hump over the propulsion unit and battery pack.
In contrast to other bikes in this category, the seat is parallel to the ground and flat, with a kicked-up support at the rear. None of the typical curve is evident. Gold coloring is found on the front forks, brake calipers, and the motor body. An unusual, lattice-patterned, black framework surrounds the motor. The base price of the 2011 Brammo Empulse is $9995 for the 6.0, considerably less than others in the sport bike category. The 8.0 is $11,995 and the 10.0 is $13,995. In contrast, they are more expensive than the average in the segment. It is difficult to make direct comparisons, however, as others have different means of propulsion. Brammos can be ordered online, but it would probably be advisable to test ride to be sure electric power is desirable.
All three models of the 2011 Brammo Empulse are rated at 52.6 horsepower. The drivetrain is a dedicated, integrated unit with a liquid-cooled, permanent-magnet motor and custom digital controller to allow precise management of the lithium-polymer battery. To keep the motor cool, all that is required is a small radiator and under half a gallon of coolant. Brammo claims the motor is 90 percent efficient, with almost no heat waste. A traditional internal combustion engine is more like 25-30 percent efficient, with most of the energy being converted to heat. The Brammo company hails from Ashland, Oregon, the US land of Shakespeare. Sustaining 100 miles per hour with zero emissions classifies as dramatic, so maybe this portends well for the future of the brand. For those who like motorcyle noise, there may be a let down. Except for the Zero, the competitors shown below are gasoline-engine machines. There are not a lot of comparable electrics yet in 2011, but there are sure be more in the coming years. Brammo’s impact on the motorcycle world will probably be substantial, although it will take a few years.