More and more motorcycle manufacturers are exploring the realm of bikes powered by electricity. Does this mean that gasoline-fuel-powered motorcycles are headed for extinction? I think not. However, it makes sense for manufacturers to look ahead to the future and to develop production models that utilize other power sources.
Electric motorcycles and scooters can be particularly cool and fun to ride. One of them is the 2016 Victory Empulse TT, which is essentially a modest reinterpretation from the Brammo line of electric motorcycles.
The styling of the Empulse TT is an enhanced version of the Brammo bike, with new instrumentation, flashy paint and bodywork, and a 10 percent increase in battery capacity, thanks to innovative "pouch" cells and improved packaging.
While it's not likely that we will see a heavy electric cruiser model, Victory's Empulse TT is already available for the consumer, ahead of any other major manufacturer. Empulse superbike examples are already winning accolades via their participation in significant race programs.
The Empulse TT is visually attractive, with a comfortable seat. A narrow rear tire mounted on Victory-produced wheels delivers a lighter, more neutral steering effort.
The power source of the Victory Empulse TT comes from an Internal Permanent Magnet AC electric motor with Brammo power lithium ion battery: A 10,400-watt-hour capacity (1-3.6 volts / 117.6 volts maximum), that makes 54 horses maximum with maximum torque rated at 61 lb.-ft. The motor's motive force reaches the rear wheel through a six-speed gearbox with a multi-plate and hydraulic activated wet clutch. The final drive is chain.
The six-speed transmission seems an unusual feature for an electric bike, as most others feature a single-gear direct-drive system. Suspension components consist of adjustable 43 mm forks up front, and an adjustable direct acting shock in the rear. Braking chores are handled by a regenerative braking system, utilizing dual 310 mm Brembo floating discs with twin four-piston radial mount Brembo calipers forward, and a Brembo single disc with dual piston hydraulic Brembo brake caliper aft.
The Empulse TT rolls on Continental Conti Sport Attack II 120-70 ZR 17 58W rubber up front and a 160/60 ZR 17 69W tire mounted on 5-"Y"-Spoke black panted alloy wheels.
The wheelbase measures 58 inches, with an overall length of 81.3 inches. Seat height is 31.5 inches and ground clearance is 7.3 inches. The Empulse TT tips the scale with a dry curb weight of 470 pounds.
The average range is estimated to be 50 miles with the added battery capacity. Time to fully recharge its 110-volt system takes 7 to 8 hours. A 240-volt system or accessory charger reduces that to a full charge to roughly 3.5 hours.
My test 2016 Victory Empulse TT started with a $19,999 sticker, with an as-tested price at $20,349. The bike was finished in bright Red and Silver with Black accents.
Riding the Victory Empulse TT approximates straddling a rocket: It accelerates rapidly and is wicked fast, smooth, and well balanced. It maneuvers easily and stops quickly.
There are no provisions for storage and no windscreen -- this is an electric street sportbike, folks. As already hinted, the mechanics raise some big questions: eliminating the six-speed transmission would also eliminate the clutch, and could substitute a belt drive in place of the final chain. These changes would make the bike lighter, quicker, and quieter, not to mention, easier and less complicated to ride. As it is, everything works fine, and it is only necessary to pull the clutch lever when shifting, but not when taking off from a standstill, making it possible to put the bike in third gear and leave it there.
The Victory Empulse TT and any other electric bikes that emerge from within the company, will surely get better and more efficient, and perhaps even less expensive, in the future.
Is the Empulse for everyone? Probably not, but it would certainly represent an interesting addition to anyone's bike stable.
Copyright © 2016 Motor Matters
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