Posts Tagged Brammofan’s Enertia
Deep within the bowels of a certain government building in a certain midwestern city is a parking lot usually reserved for the upper-level bureaucrats. I am not an upper-level bureaucrat, but I do happen to have one as a boss. He is on leave today and he left me in charge of his minions . . . the fool!
Along with the illusion of power, he has left me in charge of his empty parking place. A parking place, I might mention, comes with a wall at the far end thereof. And not just any wall — this wall has two (2) electrical outlets on it.
I have written before about my travails related to charging at work. The efforts to address my request continue, I am told, but are apparently being discussed in a city far to the east of here. I’d be happy to pay for the electricity I use and have offered to do so, but they tell me there is no system to handle this type of transaction. To give you an idea of the amount of money we’re talking about here, at Kansas City’s current rate per kilowatt hour, it costs me about .25 in electricity for my round trip commute.
“The purpose of welfare is to assist individuals in need.” Okay, so I don’t “need” the electricity as I am easily able to make the complete round trip of my daily commute on a single charge of my bike’s lithium iron phosphate batteries. In fact, when I arrive home I have anywhere from 45% to 20% charge remaining. Those 45% days are usually the result of a conscious decision to hyper-mile and, perhaps, a friendly wind at my back. The 20% days are usually the result of whacking the throttle wide open to feel the instant torque of the electric motor.
Back to the present . . .
I decided to make an executive decision — because I was indeed, an official executive today — and I parked in the boss’s spot. I also went that extra step and decided that, while I was there, I might as well take advantage of
the governmental subsidy of free juice. I plugged in to the first outlet, feeling triumphant. ”I hereby suckle from the electric teat!” I loudly (actually, quite quietly) proclaimed.
“Connect to AC Power” read the status line on the Brammo Enertia dashboard. Curses! The outlet is dead. No juice for me. What a perfect analogy for the frustrations presented to us by our power structure. On a whim, I unplugged from outlet 1 and plugged into outlet 2, about two feet away.
“Charging Enabled.” BOO YAH! Let the teat sucking commence.
Being part of a community has its perks, and the group of subscribers and commenters at HellForLeather is no exception. About a year ago I wrote an article about my Brammo Enertia and had some critics chide my review of the bike as not being by a “real rider.” In the comments to that post, another resident of my city spoke up and offered to come out and do an independent review. We did some emailing and made it happen: “A “real” rider takes my Brammo for a spin”
His take – it’s a real motorcycle. (Not that I needed any confirmation of the obvious).
This morning, another ride occurred as the result of a friendship that began in the comments on HellForLeather. Mark rides a Kawasaki Ninja 500R and is on an epic voyage from his home in Boston, Massachusetts, to a new home in San Francisco where he will be attending law school. We ended up as Facebook friends somehow and he posted his plans for this journey on his wall. His route took him through Kansas City so I offered a place to stay along his way, and he accepted.
He showed up last night – I have to mention here that the Midwest is slogging through one of the longest and most intense heatwaves in history. He endured riding through Illinois and Missouri during this heat wave, encountering temperatures over 106 degrees. We joked that the choice of visor up (staring directly into a hot air dryer) or visor down (slowly cooking inside an oven) presents an interesting dilemma. He hit the showers upon his arrival and then we headed to Latin Bistro for beers and amazing food by Chef Tito.
This morning we slammed down some coffee and headed to the Brammo Midwest Proving Grounds.
The BMPG is the housing development that never was. It is now used as a training center for young drivers, a dog walk track, a hang out for teens who think they can’t be seen from the highway, and the prime location for practicing sweet jumps on my bike.
Mark followed me there and we swapped bikes. After a short introduction and safety lecture (“Do not twist the throttle to hear it rev” and “prepare yourself for zero engine braking”) he was off. And, after an aborted stall because I let the clutch out too fast, so was I. I had a blast on his Ninja, but really appreciated the more casual riding posture of my bike.
Here’s the video -(note that the engine you hear at the beginning of the video belongs to the Ninja). His first words: “That was fun!”
Five Easy Four FREE Steps to Electric Enlightenment
Step Two: Click on
“View Complete Issue” ”View Article.” Step Three: Click on “Become a Digital Subscriber to view issue” Step Four: Shell out $9.95 for a year’s subscription.
Five THREE: Read the article by Brad Berman titled “Kick Started – Electric Motorcycles Gain Traction.”
Six FOUR: Read the article by Ted Dillard titled “Personal Electric Vehicles Get More Personal.”
Why should you do this?
Because you want to keep up-to-date with all the happenings and developments in the world of electric motorcycles. Berman does a great job summarizing the various offerings available today, and there’s some insightful information
about Dillard’s efforts converting worn out gas bikes into like-new electric ones from Dillard about electric two wheelers ranging in size from small (like bicycles and scooters ) to large (motorcycles and Segways). I’m not sure that’s worth $10. What else?
Here’s the kicker: Berman’s article includes an interview with me. I don’t want to give away the farm, but here’s some excerpts:
Mallin says that his motorcycle, which was delivered to him in a crate in June 2010, has exceeded his expectations. Not only is it a greener transportation option, but most of all, it’s a daily thrill. “It’s fun to ride, that’s for sure,” Mallin says. “How often do you wake up looking forward to your morning commute?”
* * *
“The only thing I hear when I ride my motorcycle is the wind inside my helmet, a little bit of chain noise, and the tires on the road,” Mallin says. “It’s much more of a visceral experience and closer to nature, compared to the rumble, rumble, rumble of a gas bike. On an electric bike, you can hear the crickets in the summer.”
Berman has also included quotes by Brian Wismann, Director of Product Development at Brammo; John Adamo, editor of Plugbike.com (and co-moderator of the Brammo Owners Forum); Harlan Flagg, owner of Hollywood Electrics; and Azhar Hussain, CEO of the TTXGP electric motorcycle racing series.
And yes, he even includes some pictures and information about bikes other than Brammo, including Zero Motorcycles, Mission Motors, Quantya, and Roehr Motorcycles. So don’t waste your $10 on ice cream and donuts – spend it wisely on a subscription to Home Power and come away lighter, healthier, and better informed.
I attended the “Get Your Green On” event at the City Market in Kansas City, Missouri, last weekend. The ride in was a bit chilly — 55 degrees and foggy — but once the sun came out, temperatures soared into the 90s. And tempers flared among the ubiquitous Harley fans that passed by. (Note: Kansas City has a Harley Davidson assembly plant in addition to being the home state of Shovelhead).
“Where’s the vroom-vroom?”
“60 miles an hour? Shiiiii—”
“How are the cars supposed to hear you coming?”
I explained the best I could — it doesn’t need a “vroom-vroom.” It’s a commuter bike and doesn’t need to go faster than it does. And I don’t care (or depend on) whether the other cars hear me coming . . . I can hear THEM coming.
For the most part, however, people were:
amazed “Electric? An electric motorcycle? COOL!”
impressed “Looks like it’s a real motorcycle.”
interested in learning more “Check out brammo.com“
and eager to own one . . . almost “I want one of these . . . but not everyone is as rich as Obama” Huh?
I’m starting to recognize some familiar faces at these events. The Coulomb Charge Point pedestal I’m plugged into in the picture, above, is a demo unit from the local distributor, Lilypad EV. They are pretty cool — swipe your key fob or Charge Point Card, open the door, plug in, and then lock the door so that no one can unplug your bike. Soon, they’ll be everywhere. Depending, of course, on how you define “soon” and “everywhere.”
Thanks to the unparalleled customer service of Brammo (and the fact that it’s still under warranty) I only have about 30 hours until I can ride again.
I’m not sure if it is the result of something I did, or a defective gerbil in the works, but for whatever reason, the last time I turned on my bike it went, “Huh?” and refused to move. I did what any motorcycle owner and former Nintendo gamer would do in such a situation: I took out the key, blew on it, blew into the keyhole, and tried again. Nada.
I looked up the fault code displayed on the dash in my owner’s manual. ”Contact Brammo Service.” I sent an email to Brammo and an hour and a half later my Brammo Tech replied with a list of nine tasks. The first three were pretty easy — basically turning the bike on in the usual way and looking for any additional fault codes. Step # 4 was a bit more challenging, and this is how she put it:
This step depends on how comfortable you are with taking off the body panels. If you feel comfortable and have your owner’s manual go to page 55 and follow the instructions. If you don’t feel comfortable taking them off let me know and I will talk to Danny about coming to diagnose and fix your bike.
If I was the least bit reluctant to dive in, I am certain that she would have come right out and handled it. But I have been on some other motorcycle forums and have been reading many stories about how folks have been getting their bikes ready for Spring by tuning up their carburetors, replacing spark plugs, flushing their coolant systems, and countless other tasks. Given that my Spring preparation would have consisted of dripping some lube on the chain and checking the tire pressure, I was eager to get my hands greasy.
Lesson one of taking off the body panels and diving into the innards of the Brammo Enertia is that your hands will not get greasy unless you touch the chain. About the only dirt I found inside the body panels was some road dust that had filtered in through the front grill that hides the horn and appears to be the main source of air that cools the motor. For the most part, the innards looked as clean as they looked in pictures taken during the manufacturing process.
I removed the body panels with ease, thanks to the clear instructions from the Brammo Owner’s Manual, and began unplugging cords and checking fuses.
Unfortunately, I got all the way to step number nine and had not found the problem. The Brammo Tech had ended step nine with these words:
If the fuses aren’t blown then the issue is one of two parts which are not the easiest to replace and we will go from there.
Although I was willing to try to install the parts myself, Brammo decided to send the tech to handle this. I strongly suspect that they did this following an assessment of my mechanical skills. This assessment, according to my wife, was spot on. ”I think it’s great that they trusted you with the steps that required you to turn the key. Once I saw you pick up the allen wrench to remove the body panels, all bets were off.”
My mechanical ineptitude, notwithstanding, I’m glad that Brammo let me try my hand at being a shade tree mechanic. I’m even happier that they are sending out my favorite Tech, Jennifer, who has visited me a couple of other times. Although I’m not expecting anything in particular other than getting my bike fixed, she has, in the past, arrived bearing gifts.
She’s scheduled to show up on Thursday night. I am hopeful that my first ride of the month will take place that night. I’ll keep you updated, Brammo minions.