Two Wheels

The Brutus electric cruiser is a beauty and a beast

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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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