"It's been a long time coming – It's well worth the wait" – Tragically Hip
It seems whenever I think about the long awaited arrival of the Brammo Empulse electric motorcycle this chorus begins playing in my head. That's partly because I'm both covertly Canadian and old enough to have had this song seared into memory from extensive radio play in the early '90s, but also because it just fits the situation so well.
The Empulse was first announced back in July of 2010 and was expected to be within the grasp of customers anxious hands about a year later. People got excited. It was to be the world's first commercially available electric bike that could top 100 miles per hour and get over a 100 miles of range from a charge. It also looked sexy enough to hold its own when surrounded by scantily-clad Brammo babes. The reservations poured in.
Then, the company made a move that was simultaneously disappointing and breathtakingly daring. They went back to drawing board which displayed the drivetrain and trashed it. To hear insiders tell it, they decided the single-gear design lacked the performance they thought necessary, and so they took a big gamble by delaying the release and implemented a 6-speed gearbox with integrated motor instead. The price also soared from $13,995 to $18,995 for the top-end Empulse R.
So, was it a prescient business move or will it prove to have been a disastrous decision? Certainly the initial reviews (also here and here) have been quite favorable. With last weekend's delivery of the first bike to a paying patron (pictured above) however, that question can only now begin to be answered. So far, though, it's clear that customer #1 is quite pleased with his purchase and considers it well worth the wait.
Of course, Brammo's future depends on more than just its halo machine and one customer. To that end, the company just offered up more good news. It seems the product log jam has been somewhat cleared and it should also start shipping out it long-time-coming Enertia Plus next month. Game on, for real this time.