Two Wheels

BRD Motorcycles RedShift supermoto catches our eye, performance promise takes our breath

The expansion of the electric motorcycle universe is accelerating and the resultant RedShift is a brilliant supermoto from BRD Motorcycles. Beautiful with its two-piece aluminum monocoque chassis in natural and blue finish, and contrasted by an exposed battery pack in orange, the pre-production prototype of the street version was revealed last night at an unveiling at the Dainese D-Store in San Francisco.

While the negative space of the frame's form catches the eye, it's the numbers really make us catch our breath. The road-ready SM weighs in at a relatively light 250 lbs – the dual-sport MX is only 240 lbs – and with 40 horsepower waiting to be unleashed with a flick of the wrist, the power-to-weight ratio suggests performance capable of tackling its intended target: the traditional gas-powered machine. Indeed, "faster motorcycles" is the stated aim of this fledgling venture and the people behind it all have high-performance bikes in their respective garages.

Though it isn't ready to commit to a range figure until more testing is completed, the company suggests that the 5.2-kWh battery should be good for at least 50 miles on the street. If all goes according to plan, the BRD RedShift line will be manufactured in California and should be available sometime in 2012 through traditional motorcycle retailers. BRD plans on releasing more details at the 68th EICMA in Milan, Italy in November so, for now, we'll have to be content with what tidbits we can glean from the official press release that awaits us after the break.

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"BRD Announces RedShift Electric Motorcycles - Designed to Outperform Gas Equivalents."

SAN FRANCISCO, CA. August 3, 2011 -- BRD Motorcycles announced today its new electric motorcycle, the RedShift, targeted towards off-road and urban use, and intended to outperform gas-powered equivalents.

"We just want to make faster motorcycles" said CEO, Marc Fenigstein. "We're a team of riders and racers with high-performance gas machines in the garage. We're building the bikes we'd rather be riding."

Motorcycles more significant than American public realizes
"In the US, we tend to focus on cars, but globally there are almost as many motorcycles as automobiles" said Fenigstein. "Not only that, they tend to be dirtier than cars, and have usage profiles that are friendlier to electric than passenger cars."

According to BRD, there are about 50 million motorcycles sold annually, worldwide, compared to 60 million automobiles. Emissions standards on motorcycles tend to be significantly lower than for cars, leading to smog problems in cities reknowned for two-wheeled travel like Milan. Especially overseas, motorcycles tend to be used for much shorter distances and at lower speeds than the highway traffic typical of the United States, which makes them ideal for transition to electric.

Uncompromised riding experience
BRD stated that their goal was to create a riding experience that was as least as satisfying as gas motorcycles in the category. "We don't want to sell vehicles based on guilt," said Chief Design Officer, Jeff Sand. "We want to build vehicles that are the most desirable in their category even for enthusiasts. We're committed to developing this bike until it can take on gas motocrossers on their home turf"

The RedShift SM, the urban version, was unveiled this evening in San Francisco. The unit is said to be a pre-production prototype, with production planned for 2012. The RedShift MX, the dual-sport version, is in parallel development. The models share a proprietary chassis and drivetrain, and feature fully adjustable suspension, with conventional wheel and sprocket sizes.

"There are decades of development in modern motocross and supermoto chassis" said Chief Technology Officer, Derek Dorresteyn, a former professional racer. "We chose to harness the best of that while taking advantage of the torque and throttle response an electric motor delivers." BRD states that this creates a familiar riding experience for seasoned motorcyclists, but one that provides riders more control, feedback, and confidence.

Both versions of the RedShift use a 5.2kWh battery that should deliver about 50 miles of range based on other electric motorcycles in the market, but BRD refrained from specifying a range until further testing. Fenigstein clarified, "we expect people to ride the snot out of these in a way that hasn't been possible on previous electrics - that's going to affect the range and we want to be careful about getting the specification right."

Local manufacturing enabled by new chassis design
The most distinctive feature of the bike is the chassis, made of two sculptural aluminum monocoque members. Sand explains: "We've developed a completely new method for manufacturing motorcycle frames that allows us to build a competitive chassis right here in California. The Bay Area is known for information technology, but we're hoping to start a rennaissance in manufacturing here as well"

The motorcycles will be sold through conventional motorcycle dealerships to ensure superb warranty and service support. Specifications and product images can be found at BRD's website:

BRD plans to provide further information on the motorcycles at the 68th EICMA in Milan, Italy in November.

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