LA Times: “Enertia . . .not some gutted and retrofitted Frankenbike.”

LA Times reporter Susan Carpenter gets the credit for lifting Brammo Fans out of their blue funk this week for her article and video review of the “very-close-to-production version of the Enertia” following her test ride of it last week.  As usual, I will continue my mission of being the Brammo historian and, besides providing the link to the original article to you, will pull out some choice quotes and the video, below.

Urban oriented and supermoto in style, the Enertia is for do-gooders whose interest in practical, environmentally friendly transportation trumps their need for speed, which isn’t to say the Enertia is unsatisfying. Quite the opposite. It’s probably the best e-bike I’ve ridden. It’s easy to ride, fun, well groomed and fast…ish.

Brammo is erring on the side of caution, its unofficial motto being to under-promise and over-perform. Officially, the company is only claiming a top speed of 55 miles per hour and a range of 50 miles. But, as with all electric vehicles, those numbers vary dramatically based on how the bike is ridden. While punks might get the bike up to 65 mph, they won’t go nearly as far. Pussycats who tread lightly on the throttle, however, might travel as much as 60 miles before needing to plug in.

Based on my half day with the bike, I think riders will have a hard time keeping this thing parked. It’s exceptionally fun to ride. Even better, it’s cute.

Unlike some other electric vehicle manufacturers, Brammo hasn’t skimped on the fit and finish. It’s a real looker – its supermoto style given a striking, futuristic makeover.

Engineered in house from the ground up, the Enertia felt like a “real” motorcycle from a major manufacturer, not some gutted and retrofitted Frankenbike. Lightweight and well balanced, I found it easy to throw around, with a nice, tight turning radius. The brakes had a nice, progressive feel. In fact, I found its overall handling was on par with similar product from the Japanese or Italians, in part because the Enertia uses many of the same performance components. The telescopic front forks are Marzocchi. The brakes are Brembo. The swing arm is made by a Harley-Davidson supplier.

Technophiles are likely to enjoy the digital display, which provides a wealth of information. In addition to the time, ambient temperature, speedo, odo and tripo, there’s extensive information on the bike’s battery life and projected range – all of which is updated every second.

The Enertia is silent at idle, only generating a whisper of noise when in motion due to the spinning of the chain, so Brammo has built in some safety features. Even after the ignition and power switches are turned on, riders must also flip a throttle switch. Brammo plans to release some sort of Apple-esque start-up sound that would indicate the bike is ready to roll; it’s also considering a “power pulse” that would add some motion to the right hand grip to indicate the throttle is live.

Okay, so there were a LOT of great quotes.  One minor curiosity: The article listed the weight at 324 pounds, quite a bit more than the 280 pounds still listed on the company website today.   Either something in the almost-production-bike weighed significantly more than the prototype, or it’s a typo.

But wait. There’s more!:

That’s Aaron Bland, Brammo Lead Engineer, answering Ms. Carpenter’s questions.  Some awesome closeups of the instrument panel (and the bike in general) in this clip.  CEO Craig Bramscher also appears, explaining some of the thought process behind the whole Best Buy concept.

At the end, Carpenter says that “Brammo has the goods” and that  she hopes people put their money where their mouths are, “because I’d like to see Brammo stick around.”


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