Gearboxes for Brammo electric bikes!

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Here’s the Brammo Engage prototype. Note that little gear-shift lever sticking out of the side of the bike.
Here’s the Brammo Engage prototype. Note that little gear-shift lever sticking out of the side of the bike.

US-based electric bike company Brammo is taking a stab at a long-standing perceived problem with battery-powered two-wheelers – they’re launching four new models with gearboxes.

Motorcycle riders love their manual gearboxes. Auto-shifting motorcycles have been around since the 1970s, but have never caught on. That’s partly because it’s easier to extract more power from a manual transmission, but also because riders love time-honoured tradition of working a clutch and shift lever.

Most electric bikes run an automatic CVT transmission, which means a change in a riding style that’s been drilled into most bikers’ heads since they first straddled a two-wheeler. But Brammo is trying to offer riders what they want – a six-speed gearbox similar to what you’d find on a regular motorcycle.

We’re not sure how long it will take before you see one in the pits at your local dirt bike track, but here’s the Brammo Encite prototype, complete with gear shifter.

Brammo didn’t come up with the technology – labeled the Integrated Electric Transmission, or IET – but they have exclusive international rights to use it, from Italian R&D developer SMRE. It’s a savvy move – if you want an electric bike that feels like your old gas-powered superbike, chances are you’ll have to buy a Brammo, at least for a while.

The four new bikes with the IET technology are the Engage MX dirt bike, Engage SMR super-moto, Engage SMS super-moto, and Encite MMX Pro dirt bike. They’ll all come with the swappable Brammo power packs; prices for the MX dirt bike and SMR super-moto will be about $10,000 US, and the SMS super-moto will cost around $12,000 US. We don’t have a price for the Encite MMX bike yet.

The machines haven’t been publicly unveiled yet – that’s happening this weekend at  the Las Vegas MiniMotoSX competition, where the Encite MMX and Engage MX bikes are supposed to be racing. And, we haven’t seen range or performance numbers for the bikes yet, but a company exec told Hell for Leather Magazine that the Encite mini moto is scary fast in the higher gears.

Want to see more on the new bikes? Check out Brammo’s YouTube video for a video of the Engage prototype in action.

1 COMMENT

  1. if you use a fixed gear(chain) drive ratio, you are stuck with the performance abilities of that ratio. if your ratio is, say 1(drive gear) : 8(driven gear), you have good acceleration, but a limited top speed. if its closer too, say again, 1:3 your take off time will hurt(as well as have a big drain on the battery(s)), but you’ll end up with a better top speed.
    a vehicle with a transmission is giving you the best of both worlds.
    it also keeps the current drawn from the battery pack lower allowing you to go further.

    so whats the agrument about Ev’s not being able to make the trip ?

    grab a quarter and an apple and go for a ride. 🙂

  2. Do you think that the manual transmission, will provide any increased efficiencies??

    I could do an electric bike if it provided the same performance and better range than my gas bike, but being tied to within a certain distance from home doesn’t really make it worth while to me…

    Fine if all you do is commute, I guess, but I want more than that…

    • Any power transmission device is an added load, and ultimately lowers total efficiency, but in this case, may offer user benefits, somewhat. “Being tied to within a certain distance from home” statement, I don’t get, are you close or far away from target? From what I understand about commuting, 80% or more people are within electric transportation capabilities, most of us do not use close to the capabilities of our present fossil fuel vehicles, and these are redundant, and too much for the majority of us – this is just a thought, an opinion, but an educated and worldly worthwhile one, I think, especially today.

    • And much more to come from this interesting and very user friendly technology, plug in for pennies on the dollar and go electric! (I love that the Zero is now available to Credit Card purchase on line, delivered right to your door – very future consumer smart!)

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