Victory Racing’s Electric Empulse RR vs. Gas-Powered Project 156 At Pikes Peak

Thunder vs. Lightning will be a battle between gas- and electric-powered motorcycles.

Victory Empulse RR
Victory Empulse RR©Motorcyclist

MINNEAPOLIS — June 1, 2016 — Victory Motorcycles intends to contest the 2016 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb (PPIHC) later this month with two very different motorcycles in an epic gas vs. electric battle dubbed “Thunder vs. Lightning.”

Victory Racing's electric Empulse RR will be raced up the mountain by Cycle World Road Test Editor Don Canet while the gas-powered Project 156 will be piloted by former Pikes Peak Champion Jeremy Toye. Since lightning precedes thunder, let's take a closer look at the Empulse RR.

A race-prepped version of the Victory Empulse TT, the Victory Empulse RR is being brought to Pikes Peak to build on last year's podium finish at the Isle of Man TT (IOMTT), where Lee Johnston rode the bike to a 111.620 mph average lap speed and 145 mph top speed for a third place finish in the SES TT Zero Challenge race.

While the base frame and overall design of the Empulse RR are essentially the same as the production Empulse TT, a more aerodynamic and lighter monocoque carbon-fiber subframe is used and the battery, controller, and Parker Hannifin-sourced motor have been upgraded with repackaged battery cells offering more capacity, new motor windings and an updated control system and wire harness. Visual differences from the IOMTT version raced last year include an upright riding position, reduction of bodywork and the addition of hand guards.

“The Empulse RR has a couple of things going for it that are going to make it hard to beat, owing to its all-electric powertrain,” says Brian Wismann, Victory Racing Team Manager. “Does this make the Empulse RR the clear favorite?  Not necessarily. Batteries are negatively affected by cold temperatures and there’s no place to charge on the mountain, meaning any misstep in logistics or setup will cost Don the time he needs to get up to speed.  He’ll clearly have a strong contender underneath him, but as we know … anything can happen when the flag drops!”

Victory Pikes Peak Project 156
Victory Pikes Peak Project 156©Motorcyclist

“I rode the prototype Project 156 last year but was looking for a new challenge and jumped at the idea of piloting the Empulse RR up America’s mountain as soon as I heard Victory Racing discussing the idea,” said Canet about his decision to compete on an electric motorcycle. “We all know thunder follows lightning, and it’ll be no different at this venue! Toye is going to have a heck of a job cut out for himself in trying to beat me to the top.”

“There are definitely advantages of having an electric bike on the mountain – particularly when it is being piloted by a seasoned racer like Don Canet,” says Brandon Kraemer, Product Manager for Victory Motorcycles. “But we also have a very focused, competitive former Pikes Peak champion in Jeremy Toye ready to push the envelope with Project 156, so this one is anyone’s game. Whichever platform takes top honors; the winner is the Victory rider of the future who will be enjoying the same technology on their future street motorcycles someday. “

“Our first outing with the Victory Empulse RR, on the Isle of Man last year, exceeded our expectations,” says Rod Krois, General Manager for Victory Motorcycles. “Now, at Pikes Peak, we’ll see whether the Lightning of the Empulse RR can make it up the mountain faster than the Thunder that is Project 156.”

Fans of Victory Motorcycles are invited to visit the Victory Motorcycles website ( to cast their vote regarding which bike, Thunder or Lightning, will be fastest up the mountain and to register for a chance to win a Victory Octane or Victory Empulse TT. The motorcycle given away will be the bike that receives the most number of votes.

The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is scheduled for Sunday, June 26, and brought to you by Gran Turismo. Expect to see a field of approximately 100 competitors. Spectators are invited to join Victory Motorcycles 5 p.m.-10 p.m. June 24 in downtown Colorado Springs to celebrate 100 years of the Race to the Clouds at the 2016 PPIHC Fan Fest. See favorite competitors and enjoy entertainment, motorcycle exhibitions, vendor booths, food and refreshments.

Visit for more information about the event. Learn more about Victory Motorcycles at or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.