Posts Tagged ZeroS Brammo Wins the e-Bike Shootout

Go to the article on about the site’s comparison of the Brammo Enertia, Zero S, and Native S electric motorcycles for the whole story.  It’s another well-written piece by Jeff Cobb, who has authored several comprehensive articles about electric bikes.

The challengers, posed in front of a Dinosaur Juicemaker. (Image courtesy

Seriously… go read the article.  I’m just going to pull out a few Brammo-centric quotes:

We also liked the Brammo, which falls neutrally into turns – albeit with limited steering lock which makes on-street turnarounds tight. Otherwise, it’s confidence inspiring, and will eventually drag its lower alloy platform pegs which complete its Sportster-like riding position. Its 100/90-18 front and130/80-17 rear Avon Road Rider Tires offer adequate grip for city/suburban purposes.

* * *

All these bikes have hydraulic front and rear disc brakes with the Brammo’s Brembos being tops.

* * *

Similarly, the Zero’s square-tubed alloy kickstand seems like overkill to some MO staffers, but alternately could be looked at as burley and unique. The same could be said of the Brammo’s cast kickstand with “Brammo” embossed as evidence of yet another high-quality touch to this most thoroughly-sorted machine.

* * *

In all seriousness, potential consumers can make their own minds up about fit and aesthetic considerations, but we otherwise feel most confident with the $7,995 Brammo Enertia, over the $9,995 Zero and $7,500 Native S, in this order.

* * *

Although not able to match the Zero’s power-to-weight ratio, and lacking some of the assiduously thought out weight-saving details, the Brammo has its own qualities and is the most all-around solid. If the Zero had better brakes and suspension, it would have been closer, but despite the Brammo’s slightly lower range potential, its 20% lower price tips us over the edge in its favor.

The Enertia feels solid and well-engineered,” Kevin comments. “It’s what I imagine Honda might’ve built if it had taken the plunge as early as Brammo.”

* * *

Further, Brammo’s dealer support may be best, especially if the company’s plans to roll out a national network come to pass.

* * *

At this juncture at the dawn of the proposed EV revolution, our e-bike pick of the day is the Brammo Enertia.



, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Brammo in Entrepreneur Magazine

Entrepreneur Magazine has just published an article about electric motorcycles which features Brammo, Zero and Mission’s contributions to the market.  Although it seems to me that much of the article focuses on Brammo, its CEO Craig Bramscher, and the Enertia (which “comes in different colors” eh?), the top of the article features a picture of Zero’s CEO, Neal Saiki, with odd, boxy objects in his pockets.

Anybody know what those are?  I’m guessing, “extra batteries” but it’s a bit of a mystery.  Although I can’t tell if Bramscher has anything in his pockets, if he did, it would be edible.  I keed, I keed.

Some choice quotes about Brammo and about the TTXGP motorcycle racing series from the article (written by LA Times reporter, Susan Carpenter) :

The Brammo Enertia is green. Not just any shade, but one that is eye popping, verdant, almost alive. It’s a sledgehammer of a color for a zero-emission motorcycle that walks the greenie talk even further with an outer shell made from recycled water bottles.

But the e-bike is about to get some hair on its chest. Electric motorcycle racing comes to the U.S. for the first time this month, when the European  TTXGP moves to Sonoma, Calif.

As of January, Brammo, which has received $15 million in venture capital since setting up shop in 2002, had sold just 100 of its $7,995 bikes through the six West Coast Best Buys that so far are carrying it. But CEO Craig Bramscher sees “a hunger and interest” for its products globally and is making plans to meet that demand. He’s in the process of raising an additional $30 million, which will be used for R&D and to increase production as Brammo rolls out new models at additional Best Buy stores and in overseas markets.

Bramscher’s techie take on the motorcycle comes naturally. The Harvard-educated designer ran several computer businesses over the past 15 years, beginning as a consultant and ending as the founder of the software developerDreamMedia, which Bramscher sold to US Web in 1997, during the dotcom heyday. The exit yielded a lot of cash–about $10 million–and helped fund what many consider to be the frontrunner in the e-motorcycle market race.

Until I twisted the grip. That’s when the real pleasure of an electric kicks in, in all its torque-y, G-force glory. It’s incredibly fast off the line–so fast, in fact, that I’d put an e-bike on the line next to almost any gas-powered motorcycle or car and feel confident that I’d win a green-light skirmish on takeoff.

Make sure to read the whole article at Entrepreneur.  It has much more on the Brammo story and some info on the other bikes that may or may not shed light on the answer to the question – Is it safe to charge the batteries when they’re still in your pockets?


, , , , , ,


Vectrix Circling the Drain?

Yesterday, I borrowed a quote from Lynne Johnson’s review on the Zero S motorcycle.  She quoted Zero CEO Gene Banman saying that competition helps create the market and “having multiple players in the market is good for everybody.”

The words still echo as we read the following news about the impending demise of one of the bigger players in this market:

Electric motorcycle company lays off employees

NBC 10 News
Published: July 15, 2009

Vectrix Corporation, an electric motorcycle company based in Middletown and New Bedford, announced Wednesday it has laid off nearly all of its employees.

The company will file for bankruptcy within 30 days if it can’t find new investors or a buyer, The Providence Journal reported.

About 20 people were let go this week, leaving a handful of executives who have moved to its New Bedford site.

©2009 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General company.

This is sad news, as Vectrix has always been considered a pioneer in the industry.


For more information on the impending bankruptcy of Vectrix, read this excellent three-part series on it, written by David Herron:

Why Vectrix is teetering on bankruptcy, pt. I

Why Vectrix is teetering on bankruptcy, pt. II

Why Vectrix is teetering on bankruptcy, pt. III

, , ,

1 Comment

Fast Company rides Zero S, compares with Brammo Enertia

Lynn D. Johnson, Senior Editor of Fast Company Magazine, test drove the Zero S street bike and *what? oh… let me edit that: * took the Zero S street bike for a spin around a Chelsea Piers parking garage and called it “easy to handle and comparable to a 250cc.”  She said the suspension was pretty solid.

Given all of its tech wizadry though, I couldn’t help feeling that something was amiss in its design. If a comparison had to be made, the Brammo is a beautifully designed piece of machinery, while the Zero S left something to be desired.

She said that the Zero appeared “unfinished” and noted that “where it lacks body and design the rider is given easy access to its battery and charger.”

Gene Banman, Zero’s CEO, said that the Brammo vs. Zero debate was:

great for the market. You need competition to create a market, and the time is absolutely right for this kind of vehicle. The technology is to the state where we can build fully functional motorcycles that are very competitive with gasoline motorcycles. The advantages of electric: You don’t have oil changes or tune ups–basically no service required on the drive train at all. It’s very inexpensive to run, about a penny a mile. And the motor and the battery last the life of the motorcycle. So we think having multiple players in the market is good for everybody. Their bike is built to a different configuration than ours so it’ll appeal to a different kind of customer.

Banman said that the suspension on the Zero S was a “supermoto” style with a “very long travel suspension, and our idea there is for an urban motorcycle you may need to climb stairs or jump curbs. It’s got the kind of suspension that can handle that kind of rough riding.,”

Brammofan isn’t sure whether the Enertia can climb stairs, but perhaps we’ll learn more after Twitter user Susan Purkhiser (@purki1), a stuntwoman and dirt bike aficionado, gets a ride on one later this week.  (Note to Bramscher: make her leave a cash deposit before she takes a spin)

Seriously? Test ride?  Good luck with that, Brammo.

Let’s wrap this up with the best quote of the whole article, as Lynne responds to Banman’s comment about the different bikes appealing to different kinds of customers:

In that case, I guess I’m a Brammo girl then. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fine bike sure, but overall it didn’t feel quite as comfortable, and you already know I’m hung up on its design.

By the way, excellent writing, Lynne!  You can follow Lynne on twitter at @lynneluvah

, , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Brammo? Zero? PopSci’s Cokeley Calls It

testdriveLet’s send Popular Science’s Matthew Cokeley to the Middle-East and see if he can put Jimmy Carter’s diplomatic abilities to shame.  Confronted with a conflict between two factions, he has come out with a conclusion that:

All told, there is something for everyone in each of these machines. Personal taste, rider experience and economics are all important factors when considering either.

Okay, so this is a mediation somewhat less significant than current Middle-East conflicts, but he has been teasing us for days with the promise that his test drive report and comparison would be on the wire.  Billed by some as the Brammo Zero Comparo, finally, it is.

Here’s the comparisons, by category:

First Impressions:
Zero S : “a bit thicker through the knees than the Enertia . . .  a raw and unfinished quality reminiscent of something out of Mad Max.” (Except, was anything in Mad Max white?)

Enertia: “considerably more refined in this department. Aesthetically, the fairings, framework and electrical layout all contribute to some very clean lines,”

Power “Both posses Cheshire-grin-inducing pickup that only an experienced rider could differentiate.”
Zero S:  “Boasting 20 more pound-feet of torque than the Enertia, the S’s front end could easily come up on a rookie rider with a lead fist.”  It “boasts a top speed of 70 mph vs. the Brammo’s 55 mph, making the S more highway-friendly.”

Enertia: Its “horsepower, while ample, is no threat to buck its jockey.”

Handling: “Both bikes are extremely fun to throttle in a straight line.”

Zero S: “power helps you pull away quicker from danger[.]”

Enertia:  “superior handling ability creates a more secure-feeling riding experience.”


Zero S: 225 lbs.  ” The position and bulk of the S’s battery pack gives the overall sensation of added pounds making it less responsive during evasive maneuvers.”

Enertia: 280 lbs. The “weight is so well distributed that it feels like a feathery 100 lbs. while in motion.”


Zero S: $9,950, but add 10% more for a 2-year, no-fault warranty. “If your Zero S’s battery becomes obsolete within that 2-year span, you can buy the upgraded battery at 50% off. In addition, software upgrades on the S are currently free.”

Enertia, listed at $11,995, comes with the support of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

Both are eligible for a 10% federal tax credit as well as state and local benefits.

Green Factor

ZeroS: custom designed battery may have longer life span.

Enertia: Off the shelf lithium iron phosphate battery modules have 75,000 mile expected life span, can be used in “another electrical power format afterwards” and is 100% recyclable.

Final Decision

Cokeley, as noted above, says that both bikes have much to offer.  He concludes, however, that the aesthetics of the Enertia give it an edge in his, personal “city-slick art director” view.  The Zero S is “just a little too rough around the edges, corners and my posterior[.]”  Having said that, I guess we can’t say that the Enertia wins by a nose, but we will agree with Cokeley that this is becoming a “nicely fleshed out category of bikes.”

Thanks again for your great reviews and writing, Mr. C.

, , , , ,

Leave a comment