The Brutus is a beautiful beast of an electric motorcycle. Originally garage-built as a one-off to show that a gas-free bike could have the look and feel of a traditional cruiser, the result was so satisfactory that its maker, Chris Bell, decided to open a proper shop and turn them out for customers.

As awesome as the very first Brutus is, what patrons will get once production begins in earnest this January will be even more, uh, awesomer. While the basic concept will stay the same – electric drivetrain with a 5-speed transmission in custom-crafted exposed-truss frame – the new machines will forgo the lead-acid batteries of the original in favor of far-superior lithium-polymer cells.

So, instead of the 72 volt configuration giving a top speed of 70 miles per hour and a meager range of 20 miles, the bettered Brutus will top out at over 100 mph and go for 60 miles. If you want even more performance, you can pony up for a 144 volt version to boost that top speed to over 125 mph and a range in the neighborhood of 100 miles.

Other changes include swapping the belt portion of the drive system for an enclosed chain set up. As well, the current DC motor may be sourced from a different manufacturer, or possibly even upgraded to AC. This latter option could also allow benefit from liquid cooling since there is already a system on board to keep the temperature of the controller in check. Though the DC motor in place now hasn't suffered from any thermal issues – a situation that Bell credits the transmission for – the bigger battery might increase the temptation to pump lots of current through for longer periods of time.

While we wait to see how the Brutus transforms over the next couple months, we leave you with a couple videos featuring its first rumble along some hot Nevada desert asphalt, along with footage documenting the build process.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      100 miles between charges would take weeks to complete a ride for someone that wants to go any distance
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a joke, only 100 miles and long charge times, and class after few years the battery pack is prob a few grand to replace.(something prius owners are in for a shock) Maybe good for an enclosed golf cart community but not for the real world.
        • 8 Months Ago
        "(something prius owners are in for a shock)" There are what, 3,000,000 Prii on the roads, some now 15 years old. When are we due for this shock?
      Brian Workman
      • 3 Years Ago
      How much??? Outch!!!!!!!!
      kline j1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Too many off the shelf parts to be called an original, the frame looks like a one off though, and i do give Mr Bell some credit for his effort, the controller is key to his products survival here and will need to undergo some extensive testing before the machine can be deemed roadworthy.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe they can put pedals on it so you can get back home if the charge runs out. How cool to see some dude pedaling his Brutus down the street.
      • 3 Years Ago
      LOL almost looks like the old cushman eagle motor scooter
      • 8 Months Ago
      1. What's the actual life span of the batteries? 2. How much do they cost? 3. What's the battery warranty? 4. Where do you get them? 5. How involved are obama and his buddies?
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a first generation electric bike. It's the top of the line for current technology. Things will improve as time goes on. I'm sure a lot of the comments below are repeats of what people were saying in the late 1890's about the first generation automobiles.
        • 8 Months Ago
        If we had the Internet in 1903, we'd probably still be crossing the Atlantic in ships and dirigibles ... On the other hand, cynics, critics, and naysayers are a boon to engineering, because we love to prove people wrong. :D
      • 3 Years Ago
      beauty and a beast? more like butt ugly and lame. I get about 180 miles on my Road King with a 5 gal tank. that ought to be good enough for the tree huggers it's damn fine with me.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd like to suggest some slight improvements to its appearance. Maybe something to make it a little less...uhm ugly.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I would rather have my old Mongomery Wards Mo-ped.
      • 3 Years Ago
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