• Jan 21, 2012
Brutus two, eh? We thought the original Brutus electric cruiser was a beautiful beast and fully expected the lithium-powered follow-up to be decidedly better than the lead-acid battery beta. We didn't, however, expect this. With acceleration that will surprise you like a backstab, this new build puts the bike squarely in the sports cruiser category and transforms its look from custom classic to contemporary killer.

While much of the bike has stayed they same – the exposed truss frame, the nouveau-retro fenders, the DC motor paired to a 5-speed transmission – there are a number of electrical, mechanical and cosmetic changes. Click through the gallery and your eye is quickly drawn to the chrome louvered primary chain-set cover on the port side where previously a belt setup had been employed. More subtle, but more intriguing, is the glass tube on the starboard that harbors the Hairball interface for the liquid-cooled Zilla controller. The front end also gets a new bit of sexy as the once-naked head lamp is now adorned with a bikini fairing.

Then there's the performance. Brutal. Chris Bell, the man behind the machine, hasn't fully turned up the wick in the limited testing he's performed so far, but he easily pulled down a 4.7-second 0-60 time. Considering this beast weighs well over 500 pounds, that's impressive. And, we only expect that quickness to increase as the prototype moves closer to production, losing weight and gaining power along the way. Top speed hasn't yet been reached, but Bell is confident it will easily ring past 100 miles per hour, having already come within a cat's whisker of that mark. While the all-important range figure is predicted to be 100 miles, the proof of that pudding also remains untasted.

Equally important as the going is the stopping and Brutus 2.0 is no slouch in this area either. The twin rotors up front each sport a 6-piston caliper, while the rear ring wears a pair of clamps that are individually controlled – one by a handlebar-mounted lever and the other by the traditional foot pedal. Feathering the rear lever into the turns is said to approximate the engine-braking feel that some might miss from their internal combustion rides.

On the commercialization front, there are a couple deals in the offing that could see Brutus in production with 50-state homologation by the end of the year. As we alluded to earlier, the bike is still a work-in-progress and so the machine that emerges from the development process will be simultaneously more refined and beastlier. We can't wait.

Hit the jump for a pair of videos. One giving a quick taste of the electric sports cruiser's sound, the other offering a few glimpses of the machine in motion.





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