Posts Tagged Alan

Brammo Enertia FTW

Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher was at TechCrunch Disrupt NYC yesterday and, although he wasn’t planning on it, he ended up giving away a Brammo Enertia to someone.  Disrupt is part technology conference, part hackathon, and part Sand Hill Road-East Coast version.  Venture Capitalists rub elbows with doe-eyed computer nerds who have emerged from their mothers’ basements for the first time in weeks.  CEO’s from successful start-ups chat about what worked for them and how they’d do things different and blah blah blah.

But you’re not reading this article because you wanted to learn what Disrupt NYC is.  You want to know who got to ride this sharp-looking Brammo Enertia home:

Hold onto your wallets; Michael Arrington comes up with a crazy idea.

First, the lead up to this story.  Bramscher was on stage along with Donald Runkle, an annoyingly talkative guy who had some misconceptions about electric vehicles that Bramscher didn’t really get a chance to correct.

Arrington, backstage.

At the end of the scheduled talk, however, Michael Arrington, Editor of TechCrunch, who had been riding the Enertia around backstage (until security stopped him), decided it would be cool to give an Enertia away.  Hilarity ensues.  Short version: the crowd was allowed 10 seconds to pitch reasons why they should win it.  It was awarded to a woman whose son is thinking about enlisting with the military.  She hopes it will convince him to stay home and ride quietly up and down the streets of their neighborhood, rather than blowing things up in a foreign land.  If only there were a Brammo store next to every recruiting office . . . .

But I digress.

You’re probably wondering if the lady just saddled up and drove that Sunburnt Orange Enertia home.

Oh no.  Not THAT Enertia.

That Enertia belongs to That Guy we dredge up from time to time when it’s a slow news day and we need some time to reflect on the fact that, no matter how carefully we budget, we may never have quite enough money to build that race track behind our motorsports museum.  And isn’t it a shame that our Ariel Atom will never look exactly like That Guy’s Ariel Atom, unless, of course, we have some orange paint and a hot blond wife?

Yes, it’s the Enertia owned by Alan Wilzig, the first man East of the Mississippi to own two Brammos (the Ariel counts as #1, the Enertia, #2).  He loves them both.  He was there at the beginning.  Here’s what he wrote to me today, after I asked him how his ride to and from the conference went:

I was basically mobbed going in and coming out of the conference. 3-4 guys came over and were all over the electric vehicle thing.  They asked the typical questions — Range / speed / cost – how it handles the city ( of course I had to slip in that “café owners welcome you , chicks dig you….guys want to be you”)

Then they asked how long ago I bought it – and I finally just let my hair down and fessed up that “I am probably the 2nd person (not named Bramscher) that knew Craig was on the ‘the next big thing’ and that’s why I invested in the company.  And happy I did.

I explained how he built Jay Leno Ariel Atom #1 and I got Ariel Atom #150 — the last Brammo-made Ariel.   (they all started talking about Clarkson / Top Gear / Youtube Ariel Atom ) and how Craig was going to make an electric one and then realized bikes were ready for electric, cars, not quite yet”

So I bought into much more than the bike. I bought into the man , the vision , and the amazing team he has assembled. That’s why I’m not just an owner — I’m an investor.  RIGHT NOW is about the last chance to get in on Brammo before it’s too late to be an IPO-winner.

According to Alan, he’s going to have some sort of event at Wilzig Racing Manor on July 9-10.  Unless he manages to crash it again, chances are he’ll have his trusty Enertia with him, too, offering rides to some of the lucky folks in attendance.

As for the other lucky person, the woman who won the Enertia at Disrupt NYC, her new bike will be shipped to her from Brammo’s Ashland, Oregon headquarters.  Probably on a FedEx Ground truck.

Happy Day for Moi.

I think I know just how she’ll feel.

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Bostrom on a Brammo

Just posted by our favorite rich dude and Brammo Owner, Alan Wilzig, is this photo of a smiling Eric Bostrom astride an Enertia:

Eric Bostrom on Alan's Brammo Enertia

Eric Bostrom is a championship motorcycle racer who has raced and won on Suzukis, Hondas, Ducatis, and Kawasakis in the AMA Superbike series.  He and his brother, Ben, have appeared on one of my favorite shows “Cafe Racer,” on the Discovery Channel.  In fact, Eric was riding a Honda 919 cafe racer last September for the show when the front wheel bearings failed and he slid across the pavement at 50 mph.  Check out his account of the event on his blog.  The young man in the background of the photo above is his new teammate, 18-year-old JD Beach, who will be riding a Kawasaki ZX-6R in the Daytona SportBike class.

Given the weather recently in the Tribeca neighborhood of New York City, where Alan keeps his Enertia, it’s doubtful that Eric was able to take the bike for a ride, but perhaps he’ll join Alan again this spring for a few laps around his brand new racetrack near Taghkanic, New York.  If he does (ohpleaseohpleaseohplease), you’ll read about it here.

By the way, if you like racing (motorcycle or car or ATV) and/or attractive blondes in leotards, don’t forget to “like” the TeamWilzig page on Facebook! Also, if you’re a Brammo owner in or near New York City, be sure to drop by his place for free bike wash (but only for the first 37 takers).

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“Brammos prevent simple conversation”

Alan, sitting on his new Brammo Enertia, NYC.

Alan Wilzig, our favorite rich dude who’s too cool to hate, just sent another one of his priceless emails that begs to be shared with us proletariat masses:

Subject: Brammos prevent simple conversation

Sure – when astride one, you can talk to anyone you like.

But sitting on a sidewalk bench in SOHO , trying to talk to your friend when the Brammo parked next to you is quite obviously yours, given the helmet and such on the bench ?

Impossible.

45 people photographed the bike in 100 minutes.

12 insisted on chatting about it.

60 made favorable comments and / or asked a confirmatory question.

If I had a hot dog cart with a DMV terminal and a credit card machine I could have sold 35 bikes this afternoon.

Whomever has the NYC franchise for these things has to be required / supplemented – to have 5 people ( half girls) riding them all day for $10/hr handing out cards until they have sold 100 and it’s no longer necessary.

I’ve told you similar anecdotes in the past – but today was just f@$%ing ridiculous !

I’ve also experienced the “Brammo Butt-in” – the name for the phenomenon of people interrupting your Enertia-nirvana in order to ask questions about your unique mode of transport.  One of my favorite things to do is to talk about it, so it’s always a welcome interruption to me.  But Alan’s numbers seem . . . problematic to me.

Because he’s like mishpocha to me, and because he made his money in the banking industry (supposedly due to his aptitude with numbers, not because his dear father – may he rest in peace – handed him a job on silver platter), I have to ask:

Alan, how, pray tell, can the NYC franchise have 5 people, half of whom are girls, riding the Enertias all day?  Two boys, two girls, I get, but does the 5th one have to be a hermaphrodite?  Or is this your way of telling the Ashland crew that the Enertia needs a wider and more forgiving seat?

And this helmet that sat next to you on the park bench in Soho for 100 minutes, was it the one you were wearing in this picture of you at Jerez?:

Alan, bubelah, we have to get a closer look at the helmet:

Yes, that helmet.  Was that the one on the bench?  Because if it was, it might explain at least some of the attention you were receiving that day.  It’s a conversation piece with a chinstrap.  Even when it’s sitting next to you on a bench and not smushing your face, it screams “look at me!”  That is the kind of helmet a guy like me could only dream of owning.  And just to prove my point, here’s a picture of my boring and DOT approved (circa 1990) helmet:

Oy.

But enough about me.  Let’s talk about some of Alan’s other exploits.

Alan and his lovely wife, Karin, will be appearing in a new reality television series called “Robinhood Rally“.  Their team, Team Wilzig, can be found on Facebook. Make sure to visit and “Like” them.  Alan’s a big Subaru fan –

and he loves driving his Ariel Atom, assembled a few years ago by a then-little-known-company in Ashland, Oregon known as Brammo Motorsports:

He’s also, quite obviously, a fan of the color orange.

One last thing –

Alan walks into his Rabbi’s office and says, “Rabbi.  I want to have a mezuzah for my Lamborghini.”

The Rabbi looks puzzled and says, “What’s a Lamborghini?”

Alan: It’s an Italian sports car.

Rabbi: I can’t condone that.  Go see a Rabbi over at the Conservative temple.

So Alan goes to the Conservative synagogue and asks the rabbi:

Alan: I want to have a mezuzah for my Lamborghini.

Rabbi 2: What’s a Lamborghini?

Alan: It’s an Italian sports car.

Rabbi 2: I can’t condone that.  Go see a Rabbi over at the Reform temple.

So Alan goes to the reform temple and asks the rabbi:

Alan: I want to have a mezuzah for my Lamborghini

Rabbi 3: What’s a mezuzah?

So, with that, I’ll leave the comments open for Mr. W to provide some answers about numbers, helmets, and when we get to see him on tv in our neck of the woods.

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“Hey, I crashed my Enertia”

On the heels of today’s message about rider visibility comes this real-world reminder about helmets, ice, and the durability of the Enertia.

WARNING: I’ve cleaned up most of the language in this post that violates my G-rated family safe guidelines, but I did leave one naughty word in because it’s just so artfully used.

By the way, you might remember this particular forum-poster as Alan, our favorite rich dude who’s too cool to hate. Here’s yet another reason not to hate him: humility.  Not too many guys will ‘fess up about how they managed to dump their bikes as a result of their own human failings.

Second time in 20 years I hit the road. Second time glare ice was the cause.

I’m in Tribeca , lower Manhattan , NYC. Three days ago it was 29 degrees F. We have these charming cobblestone streets in my neighborhood. They will soon be redone by the city because for the last 7 years every giant former warehouse and “printing building” and such, was converted into luxury condos. All the cement trucks and cranes created some serious depressions in the cobbles which pool water. Water freezes into ice at 29 degrees F. Do not forget this. I did.

I am used to grabbing riding jacket gloves and jet-style scooter helmet when I leave my house on any bike. ( Enertia / Duke II / 950 Supermoto ).

This time it was so cold I put on a Burton parka and a blaze orange camo fleece balaclava. ( I’m an avid snowmobiler so I have a lot of that stuff for a city guy ).

I leave the garage and get a block away and realize D’OH ! My head is covered but NOT with a helmet. So I flip a quick u-turn on the alley adjacent to my house – (naturally multiple failures/errors contribute to most accidents) – so I was more concerned with “getting home quickly going the wrong way down a 1-way street before I get a no-helmet ticket” INSTEAD of scanning road surface and 50′ in front of me ( I was only going 9 mph ) . I rode ( TURNING ) directly onto a 3′ wide 10′ cute little hockey rink of ice. BOTH wheels kicked out to the curb and I went down on my right side. 80% of the impact was absorbed by my thigh muscles – 10% definite “knee ding” …and 10% my right wrist ( which I did not feel until the next day and is all better by today ).

So two observations :
1) it’s a f*ckload nicer getting body-slammed and pinned under a 248lb bike that a 428lb bike. I’m 100% fine.

2) durable little bastard that Enertia! Nothing even got abraded , let alone bent. not a brake pedal…..not a bar end…not a mirror……nada. Of course it didn’t go sliding down the road……but it didn’t just “fall over in the garage” either. It slammed onto irregular cobblestones.

Please do not try this at home – just take my word for it and if you’re going to ride on ice then do what we do on my lake upstate in Winter with the ktm 525’s….and buy those tires with 500 screw heads in them 

Ride safe – but take confort in knowing that these things don’t just look like real bikes and ride like real bikes – they are about as resilient as real DIRT OR SUPERMOTO bikes.

I would never have bought a Vectrix even if it was the only electric on earth. but that’s a great example of an e-bike that would have created a shattered plastic “yard sale” had the same thing happened.

I would expect a Zero or Quantya to do just as well in a hard fall – but they LOOK like dirtbikes carrying car batteries so they damn well better be resilient.

I expect this to be my last crash report so I hope you found it illuminating.

( 20 years ago I took my first newly-bought Suzuki DR350s out in a blizzard and hey guess what–I fell over and made my hip all bruised. This was deck-hit number 2 with an intervening 65,000+ miles ridden and perhaps 4000 race track laps with just one lowside “off” at Jerez that I practically did on purpose because I was so bored after 3 days of lapping my Superduke that I tried like an idiot to get my ELBOW down along with my knee. So I consider that a “voluntary lowside”  )

And, on the risk of totally blowing my “Focus on the Family” Buddy Christ 5 Star rating, here ya go:

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Alan and his Brammo Enertia

Alan, sitting on his new Brammo Enertia, NYC. (Copyright 2009 Allan Tannenbaum)

Over on Asphalt & Rubber the comments are still rolling in on the article about Brammo dropping the price of the Enertia to $7995 (before federal and state tax incentives).  This morning, an Enertia-owner named Alan had some real-world experiences to share.  Here are those comments, along with some pictures he was happy to share.  (Note: although you will come to the realization by the end of the first sentence that Alan is rich — and by “rich” I mean so rich that he hires a professional photographer to document the delivery of his Brammo Enertia– he comes off as that rare creature known as a “decent, cool guy.”  So, he’s rich, good looking, down-to-earth, and pulls off the open-white-shirt look without a hint of the 1970s-coke-sniffer vibe. Damn… I hate him.  Except I can’t hate him.  He’s just too frickin’ cool to hate. Good thing Ms. Brammofan doesn’t read my blog.  Also, good thing that he’s married.)

Alan says:

I own over 130 motos. I ride every day. I built a single-family HOUSE in Manhattan so I could ride bikes in and out of my own (clean) garage, and have a hose, and tools; among other reasons.  🙂

(Hey… I warned you.)

I collect Italian sport and (250GP) race bikes . I ride KTM’s in NYC because they relish in the abuse of steel plates and depressed sections of ALWAYS-under-construction-pavement and Tribeca cobblestones….curbs….you get the picture.

I have had my Enertia for nearly a month. It makes me ride more than EVER. There are so many times I would have WALKED 3 blocks for mediocre pizza – and not fired up a Katoom , warmed it up , “rumbled” my own house with toddlers sleeping , and my neighbors – JUST to go 13 blocks for KILLER PIZZA.

But with an Enertia….you do. It’s so insanely effortless it literally begs you to ride it.

From left to right: Alan's Helmet Valet, Craig Bramscher, Alan, some random dude, and John Farris, of Brammo. (Copyright 2009, Allan Tannenbaum)

While curbing emissions and foreign fuel dependency…..it may inadvertantly contribute to obesity. Because you never want to walk anywhere anymore EVER with this thing 😉 It’s like walking and running and riding a bicycle but not sweating , and like riding a motorycle out of some futuristic movie. The next version would have to hover 6 inches OVER the pavement to get people more excited 🙂

People freak over it and start chatting with you at every pause…because they dig the bike of course…and because THEY CAN. ( eg : you can actually talk to someone).

If you’re SINGLE/social ….and live anywhere near an urban or  “downtown” center….or , the apotheosis : in South Beach in Miami…..forget it ! It would be insane. You’d basically get to say “hi” to every single person you know on the beach…in like 13 minutes.

Enertia in Motion (Copyright 2009 Allan Tannenbaum) (It turns out that this and the next picture are of Matt Cokeley, of Popular Science Magazine. All these photos were taken on the day the Enertia was shown on Good Morning America)

I spent 6 months down there 2 years ago with a Benelli TnT, an Italjet scooter , and a Specialized MTB. I used the bike and scoot around 5 times each mostly out of neglect-guilt (and because I humped them DOWN there ) – and rode the bicycle every day. All of Florida is flat and you interact with everyone in a really pleasant way.

If I were to do it again (in say 16 years when I’m not a NYC school parent 😉 I’d only bring the Enertia. I realize that’s a long-winded way of saying “the bike would be fun at the beach.”

But motorcycles are visceral, lifestyle-shaping things. Does it feel weird to have no rumble? Yeah, for perhaps 4 minutes. Is it SUPER fun to hear the surf crash, talk, listen to what’s going on around you instead of being in sonic-rumble-isolation-bubble? Yes , it does.

At 12 grand this thing was a cute Tesla-on-2-wheels for the  “I’m so green” types who weren’t afraid of tandem-wheeled vehicles.
At $7995 minus $800 from the Feds – minus state taxes – minus a $200 Best Buy gift card through year end….it’s like a $6500 no-brainer that saves you money every time you use it.

And lastly – the belly looks low ( it does have a low CofG) but I hop 6″ granite curbs on it every single day and have never come CLOSE to a belly scrape. Unlike that Zero bike and others – it’s not a beefed-up mountain bike. It has real Brembo brakes and real suspension and real torque and you can ride it as aggressively as any (urban) supermoto really – without LOOKING like another rehashed dirtbike.

I do NOT work for Brammo as I hope you have figured out. I have just been following this project since its inception – as a result of being a customer of Brammo’s previous venture – The US version of the Ariel Atom , which I enjoy very much and drive on street and track.

(Added later, today)

As many a thumper and twin-rider will attest – it’s all about the TORQUE for urban and suburban cut’n’thrust riding. It has to win 1000 Stoplight GP’s to be fun and feel safe…..not a lap of Daytona…..and it does.

One thing that has continually impressed me with Bramscher / Brammo is that they CONSISTENTLY under-promise and over-deliver. In terms of range , top speed etc.

So yes – the speed , quickness , plush yet sporting suspension , BRAKES , all awesome. Range too. Since I’m a real urbanite my trips are often just 15 or 20 block round trip errands. I have done 20 over a period of 10 days and never looked at the wall receptacle let alone plugged the bike in – and at the end of the ten days it still has 60% power.

THAT to me is cool. Plus I’m used to ICE euro bikes and cars that kill their own batteries just SITTING. This power meter doesn’t budge when the bike is sitting for 3 days or more.

Alan and Craig (Copyright 2009 Allan Tannenbaum)

I cannot attest to how hills sap range or power – I have no hills in NYC with which to gauge.

At 12k my thought ( not just for me – in general ) was  “Maybe I’ll wait for version 2.0.″

For 7 grand? It’s exactly as much bike as you’d demand for the money. You COULD buy an SV650 or Gladius. But who cares. They are both great values ……but not gonna change your life. This bike is a bit transformational; even though that seems like a bold statement.

Of course you’re not going to buy this if you need your ONE BIKE to go 80 miles on the freeway every Friday to your country cabin, after spending the whole week commuting.

In America however, I really don’t know one guy who does all that on one bike anyway.
maybe 1-2 online moto buddies that also own KTM Adventure giant Dakar replica bikes.
They are suprisingly versatile and could do “all the above.” But they are like riding horses – you need a ladder to get in the saddle – and parking them is a 400lb sweat inducing hassle.

In NYC we park on sidewalks because paralell-parkers knock curbside bikes over, every time. when I pull a KTM onto the curb – oftentimes a shop or cafe owner will look at me in a disparaging way. Sometimes even as unfriendly a glare as to make you wonder if he’d TRY and get it towed.

With this – the reaction is antithetical. ” Is that electric ? Do you want to park it IN my store ?”

THAT stuff cracks me up. IF YOU TEST ONE FOR MORE THAN 2 MINS expect, to buy it 🙂

Here’s a pic of some of Alan’s bikes in what he calls their “temporary home.”  If you’re interested, click on through to his home page and explore more reasons why you might want to be him, why you’re not him, and why you’ll never be him.  But hey, he uses smilies.

Oh crap... this is only about 1/5 of his collection. DON'T CLICK!

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