I’ve got to get this off my chest.
Harry Mallin, the owner and head moderator on the Brammo Owners Forum made a comment that I was constantly criticizing the brand. He also took issue with a fairly insignificant error on my part, misnaming the forum, and made the conclusion that I’d intentionally done it. Really, Harry?
Well, on the Brammo Owners Forum, as of a month or so ago, (June 2017), a thread surfaced called “Mine is Dead Now Too” – an increasingly sad collection of posts detailing terminal issues with the Empulse, and the owners’ attempts to get warranty service, parts, or any other kind of dealer or manufacturer support from Polaris. Also this thread, exploring legal ramifications of the lack of warranty support.
Brammo, you’ll remember, was taken over by Polaris as Victory. Victory was subsequently shuttered, and nothing but optimistic rumors were out there about the future or electric motorcycles for Polaris.
So yeah. Those who purchased a Brammo Empulse, or a Victory Empulse, are increasingly out of luck if something goes wrong and they can’t fix it themselves. Which is exactly what I feared was going to happen, ultimately, and why I was so outspoken in my criticism of “the brand”.
Brammo, from the start, was unconventional in much of it’s strategy, yet I was supportive of the effort. The Shocking Barack tour was ridiculous. The concept of selling a motorcycle at Best Buy seemed either brilliant, or just plain dumb, depending on your viewpoint, and it proved to be unsuccessful at best. The model release strategy was flawed, to give it the best possible characterization, and the burn rate was astronomical. But more concerning was the bullshit coming out of the company. The interesting thing about bullshit is, after a certain period of time, it pretty much proves itself for what it is. You can say what you want, but after 5 years or so, it’s pretty easy to see what the reality is.
Many newcomers to the community and the forums may not be aware of the history of the company. Fair enough, and it’s my job as the author of a history to make that information available. I tried, especially with the Brammo chapter, to be fair, accurate, and eliminate any editorial comment, in spite of the fact that I have a lot of editorial comments to make. An editor I used to write for always said, stick to the data and the facts, and the conclusions speak for themselves. That’s exactly what I did with the book as a whole, and the Brammo chapter in particular, and was very careful to run the chapter by several people who knew the story intimately to make sure I had it right.
So to say that I had a personal vendetta against Brammo, and made errors and omissions because of that? Honestly, it says more about the people making the charge than the book, or my work.
For a compilation of my coverage of Brammo, here’s a start: Brammo Motorcycles. This piece on InsideEVs tells a little of the story as well. Here’s some information on their funding history. I wrote a lot about Brammo for InsideEVs when things started to get ugly. You can get to the start of that thread here: Brammo Speaks to Closing Doors, Mass Layoffs
Because of what Harry feels is an intentional slight, he’s not going to read the book, though I’ve reached out to him to offer any corrections he feels are necessary, with no response. In fact, before starting the book I emailed Harry, Brian Wismann and Craig Bramscher to get a dialog going so I could get their story too. I got no response there either.
Ultimately, it’s their loss.
I’m sorry to see people who spent hard-earned money on what they believed was a viable, responsible brand, but I did what I could, and called it as I saw it. The fact that some people didn’t want to hear it? Not my problem.
That is all.