I don’t want to take up too much of your time and distract you from all the stories, speculation and excitement out there about this bike, announced yesterday, I just have a few quick observations. Nothing too profound, I assure you.
Here are the figures we’re all seeing: 67hp and 106 ft/lbs at the motor. 0-60 in 3.3 seconds. 102 mph. 171 miles range with 2.8 kwh Power Tank option. Charge to 95% in an hour with CHAdeMO accessory. $19,490.00
So yeah. They hit it out of the park. This is huge, and one of the particularly interesting things I’m seeing is that guys I know who are builders, with one, and some more than one electric bike in the garage are seriously fired up about this. So fired up, I’d put money on a few of them getting one of their own. This is important because these guys know electric motorcycles, have electric motorcycles, and maybe for the first time are looking at a product that’s more attractive to them than what they can build for themselves. I saw two guys do this last year, one with an Empulse and one with a Zero, but to be completely frank, both of them were more interested in riding than building – nothing wrong with that. Now I’m seeing really capable builders thinking of picking up the Zero and keeping their build for something to “tinker” with.
Another observation is that this bike has caught Brammo flat on their feet. As far as I know, Brammo is offering no upgrades or improvements to the line, or the bikes, for 2014. Forgive me if I’m wrong, I’ve completely lost track of what they’re doing, other than to googly-eye at Shelina every once in a while. I don’t even know – have they actually shipped dirt bikes yet?
The last observation is the Special Sauce that Zero’s using. There’s no doubt they have some pretty slick battery tech going on, and their motor is a brushless DC radial-flux with some nice cooling fins and a really polished look, but I don’t think that’s the real story. The real story is the upgrade from a Sevcon Gen 4 Size 4 to a Size 6 controller. This is particularly interesting from a builder’s standpoint. I was talking to some people a while back about a friend who’d done an upgrade with some amazing results – so amazing that we didn’t really trust him. Brammo is running a Size 6 on the Empulse, and several race teams this summer were rumored to have upgraded their Zero’s to the Size 6 as well.
Dabbling with the thought of putting together a project with a tight race-capable frame, an AC motor and some RC lipo, this is interesting information. The PDF for the controllers is here, if you’re thinking along the same lines. They don’t sell them to just anybody, apparently. Here are the “Purchasing Requirements” from the Electric Motorsport site:
There are only three ways to purchase Sevcon Gen4 controllers:
1. Contained in a fully assembled and tested system. (i.e. PMAC systems)
2. As a replacement part, provided the original programming file is available
3. As part of an engineering support contract with a ten hour minimum retainer
This looks like it would fit the bill:
Of course, you could just go buy a ’14 SR and call it a day, too. (I just can’t get past that styling, though… but you know how I am.)