Empulse R First Thoughts - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 11:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Empulse R First Thoughts

I've had my new bike a few times now. My first ride I just took it around my apartment to get a feel. I was surprised when I lit up the rear wheel in my parking lot. Instant torque is going to take a little getting used to. I'm still following the published break-in procedures, although I don't know why since they make no sense to me. That means keeping the RPMs under 3500 for the first 150 miles - which gives it a top speed of 62mph. It's still plenty fast around town even with the motor RPM limited. I'll hit the 150 mile mark tomorrow on my way to work, and then I'll be able to go to 5000 RPM. Once transmission oil is changed at 600 miles, I'll be able to use the full range up to 9000 RPM and use their sport mode which makes the throttle response and regen much stronger.

I did about 60 miles yesterday, with about an hour's worth of charging at home on a level 1 charger, and 30 minutes on a public level 2 charger. I had ~45% battery left at the end of the day. I had a "cold battery, motor cutback" message displayed for most of the day, except for one 4 mile blast at 60 mph on HW 83. As soon as I got off the highway the message came back. According to the lead designer, the power isn't actually being cutback, it's just something they forgot to change in the software. It'll be fixed with their next update, which will also make the battery's heaters a bit more potent. Even with the message displayed, I had no trouble out accelerating anyone next to me.

There is a power output display on the dash, and at 60 mph and upright I was using about 14KW, but when tucked that went down to 11KW. I am quite surprised at how much more efficient a tucked position makes the bike. On surface streets the power ranged between 4KW and 8KW, which matches what you would expect for their advertised ranges. Full regen generates about 1.5KW

The Avon tires the bike comes with are useless in the cold (probably useless in the warm, too), so I haven't had a chance to push it anywhere. The ride on the highway is firm, but not uncomfortable. Definitely better than my 1098 from a comfort perspective, but also much better feel than my SV. It may be a little harsh for a commuter, but I think it'll suit me just fine. When I did spin the rear wheel, the bike was very predictable, and I did not feel out of control at all.

Slow speed maneuvers and starting from a stop are a lot different than ICE motorcycles. The Empulse has a typical MC transmission which has play to make shifting quicker and smoother, but since the engine is not rotating at a stop the transmission unloads. This causes there to be a clunk starting or when switching between accelerating and decelerating. Some people have found it to be very disconcerting, but it did not bother me. I will have to learn to keep the motor loaded in slow turns by using the rear brake, otherwise it becomes herky jerky. Feathering the clutch is impossible because the motor revs so quickly. On the plus side, no need to rev match or pay for a slipper clutch because the motor instantly matches wheel speed on downshifts. But on the downside, it is impossible to clutch a wheelie because their is no motor inertia. I suspect once Brammo gets some more usage data they will update the motor controller to make the power ramp steeper, and then power wheelies will be very possible in lower gears.

If anyone wants to see, I'll be riding it to my go karting league today at the Buffalo Grove CIR. I'll be getting there around 2 to see if they'll let me plug in. If not, I'll be charging at the Walgreens down the street. There's no way I'll be able to do a round trip with temps as low as they are, but I only need a few hours at level 1, or about 30 minutes on a level 2 to make it. Drivers meeting is at 5, and I'll be heading home around 9.

Here's a pic of me charging in downtown Naperville yesterday:

Sean
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 12:53 PM
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Thank you very much for the write up. This is a very cool machine and if I were able to ride again, I would seriously consider this bike.
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 02:04 PM
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Nice write up! And nice bike. That's one thing I was wondering, what kind of life those batteries had in the cold.

I'd think for now you've got to really plan the trips... Are chargers pretty available? Ive seen one Walgreens in oak park that has them, but that's about it

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post #4 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 02:11 PM
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I'm so jealous. What's it like riding without any exhaust noise?
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post #5 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 02:13 PM
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I'm glad you like it so far.

Interesting that you'll want to load the motor in slow turns. Wonder if that's something they can fix fairly easy.

The charging stations are starting to pop up at popular retail establishments. It won't be long before they're fairly common.
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post #6 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Empulse R First Thoughts

With an ICE bike, you feather the clutch in slow turns (at least that's what we teach at MSF - although it is possible to do slow turns without the clutch on their bikes since 1st is only good to 15mph). But that is impossible with this bike. The motor spins out in a fraction of a second, so re-engaging is very hard to do smoothly. Slamming through the gears shifting, smooth doesn't matter so much.

BTW, I'm eating some lunch now while charging at Walgreens. I made it to CIR in 32 miles, all surface roads, with 53% charge. CIR didn't have any outdoor outlets, so I went over to Walgreens. On their charger, my bike said I'd be fully charged in 1 hour 50 minutes. I'll probably blast home on the interstate, which should leave me with ~20% when I get home. Hopefully I don't loose too much while the bike is sitting in CIRs parking lot. If I need to, there's a level 2 charger in Addison that I can stop at in an emergency.

Sean
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05 Mazdaspeed Miata
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It is far better to be thought of as a smartass than an dumbass. And as American Humorist Robert Benchley (1889-1945) noted, "no matter how well-intended, any reply to a dumbass question will inevitably appear smartassed". - Bob Hall (creator of the Miata)
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post #7 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 04:14 PM
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What's and "ICE Bike" other than a Dirty Bike with spikes in the Knobbies?

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post #8 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bug View Post
What's and "ICE Bike" other than a Dirty Bike with spikes in the Knobbies?
Internal Combustion Engine

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post #9 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 07:26 PM
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I just like the idea of owning a bike that I can't crash on the pipe side.
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 07:56 PM
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I just like the idea of owning a bike that I can't crash on the pipe side.
Thats why there is undertail exhaust.

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post #11 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 08:36 PM
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Very cool.

Take care and ride safe,
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post #12 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 08:43 PM
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Empulse R First Thoughts

Maybe can meet up in the spring. Would be cool to check the bike out. My gf is out in Naperville so that's not too far away.


Adam
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post #13 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave13 View Post
I just like the idea of owning a bike that I can't crash on the pipe side.
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Thats why there is undertail exhaust.
Buy a Daytona 675!
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post #14 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 11:44 PM
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Good looking bike (sans the ridiculous license plate holder ) and would love to take it for a spin, but this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by SopFu View Post
BTW, I'm eating some lunch now while charging at Walgreens. I made it to CIR in 32 miles, all surface roads, with 53% charge. CIR didn't have any outdoor outlets, so I went over to Walgreens. On their charger, my bike said I'd be fully charged in 1 hour 50 minutes. I'll probably blast home on the interstate, which should leave me with ~20% when I get home. Hopefully I don't loose too much while the bike is sitting in CIRs parking lot. If I need to, there's a level 2 charger in Addison that I can stop at in an emergency.
That's just straight pain in the ass. I'm glad there is pioneers out there like yourself, cause I sure as hell can't imagine dealing with that. Perhaps one day electric powered vehicles will be viable.
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post #15 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 12:07 AM
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Always been curious as to why wheel motion cannot contiously charge the Batts? - I am an idiot and I am sure there is a reason but just curious as to why not?

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post #16 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bug View Post
Always been curious as to why wheel motion cannot contiously charge the Batts? - I am an idiot and I am sure there is a reason but just curious as to why not?
generating electrical power from the spinning wheels creates resistance, much like braking(hence regenerative braking) if you did it all the time it would be like driving around while holding the brakes,

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post #17 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 12:28 PM
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generating electrical power from the spinning wheels creates resistance, much like braking(hence regenerative braking) if you did it all the time it would be like driving around while holding the brakes,
Ahhh, gotcha - I know Honda did something like this for their Hybrids that charged the Batteries from the Force while under breaking - Cool shit really

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post #18 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bug View Post
Always been curious as to why wheel motion cannot contiously charge the Batts? - I am an idiot and I am sure there is a reason but just curious as to why not?
that would be perpetual motion.

More power would be required from the generators on the wheels than the battery could put to the motor to create forward motion.

It does sound like ths bike uses regenerative braking.

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Oh he can drive. He can drive beyond the limits of the tires, the engine, the car or anything else.
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post #19 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 10:02 PM Thread Starter
 
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that would be perpetual motion.

More power would be required from the generators on the wheels than the battery could put to the motor to create forward motion.

It does sound like ths bike uses regenerative braking.
Yes - correct on both counts. Brammo added regenerative braking to create better rider feel - basically it is engine braking. Without it, the bike would feel like a two stroke. When the bike is really cold, regen is off, and I can tell a big difference. Even with it, I'm going to have to start learning to actually use the rear brake - I wish it were a bit stronger. The regen only adds like a half a mile per charge, ironically. The risk of skidding the rear wheel by making the regen strong enough to matter would make it too dangerous. Also - not using regen and coasting is actually more efficient than constantly regenerating because the vehicle doesn't loose energy to the system while regenerating. It's totally backwards from what you'd expect.

BTW - I got back after an hour and a half from eating and the bike was at 85%, I used 3% to get back to CIR, and I lost 1% while the bike sat while I was karting. I left CIR with 81%, and took 53 to 355 all the way back to Butterfield going 60 to 62MPH tucked as low as I could go, and then another few miles to my place. I made it home with 14% remaining. Once I was on the highway, I was sure I would make it home. Fortunately, I also hit 150 miles, so my ride to work wasn't as RPM limited, so I went at 75-80MPH the whole way. Never even shifted into 6th gear. My 16 mile trip to work left me with 61% to get home, and my return trip (which started with a frozen battery) had me arriving with 24%. After my first oil change, I should be able to leave it in 4th for everything but high speed runs, or stop and go where I don't want to have to use the brakes. I can't wait to try sport mode! I should hit 600 miles before the end of the month.

Sean
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It is far better to be thought of as a smartass than an dumbass. And as American Humorist Robert Benchley (1889-1945) noted, "no matter how well-intended, any reply to a dumbass question will inevitably appear smartassed". - Bob Hall (creator of the Miata)
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post #20 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 01:14 PM
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So is it just the cold killing the battery while it sits right now? Battery heaters or what-not?
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post #21 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 06:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Keep in mind I'm no electro-chemical engineer, but the battery heaters don't use too much energy. I was actually surprised I didn't loose more energy after the bike sat for 5 hours. I didn't loose any juice while it sat at work yesterday.

I believe the batteries just don't work as well when cold. Voltage is created when ions move between two electrodes, and when it's cold the ions move slower and less freely. So the drop in voltage when the batteries discharge happens sooner, which give the illusion that the batteries have less capacity. Warming the cells helps, but the battery was designed to keep itself cool since overheating a battery has much worse consequences than having it run too cool.

Did I mention I'm not an electro-chemical engineer? Take everything I write with a grain of salt.

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post #22 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-05-2013, 07:34 PM
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So whats better on the electric bike than say a vanilla 750? Are they faster with better power to weight ratio? Whats the the max range on a single charge? I get the gas saving concept in car but on a 40mpg gas buke I figured there are also other cool features. It looks cool. Are they the same cost as a gas bike?
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post #23 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 08:50 AM Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zed88 View Post
So whats better on the electric bike than say a vanilla 750?
IMO, the only advantage right now is the unique/rare factor. Electrics will inherently handle better than ICE's because there is no engine vibrating between your butt and the road. IMO, it is really nice to not have to use a clutch to start and stop. Throttle response is also instantaneous. But realistically none of that really matters on a commuter, except for my preference for not using a clutch. The downsides are pretty obvious.

Fast forward 5 years...Motorcycles will have 100KW (~140HP) motors, and the batteries will be strong enough to give 100 miles of track performance, or 300 miles of street riding. The six speed will be gone and they'll be back to direct drive, but 0-60 will be faster than any ICE since it's far easier to add electronic nannies to an electric drive system and adjustments to torque are instantaneous. Top speed will be ~170MPH. Level 3 DC charging will be available, and will be able to charge to 90% in about 30 minutes, giving you 250 miles of range between stops. Gasoline equivalent mileage will be somewhere around 300 MPGe. Battery bikes will still be heavy, but the lack of a rotating and reciprocating engine or sloshing fluids will make them still offer better feel than any ICE out today. Touring bikes may be able to fit twice the batteries and offer almost twice the range. You may even be able to reverse the power, making your bike a generator for your house, with enough juice at a full charge to give you power to last a few days if you're smart. ICEs will be relegated to the budget buyers and minivans.

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post #24 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 09:25 AM
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I think this...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SopFu View Post
Level 3 DC charging will be available, and will be able to charge to 90% in about 30 minutes,
makes this....

Quote:
Originally Posted by SopFu
ICEs will be relegated to the budget buyers and minivans.
pretty optimistic.


If we are going to electric, fine there are some benefits, but I want a fucking Tesla coil setup so I can charge wirelessly without stoping and waiting 2 hours, 1 hours, 30 minutes whatever it is.

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Oh he can drive. He can drive beyond the limits of the tires, the engine, the car or anything else.
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post #25 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 10:06 AM
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I am glad you're enjoying the bike . Lots of coins left the bank for it .
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post #26 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 10:07 AM
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Buy a Daytona 675!
Dave has 45min time limit on Daytonas .
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post #27 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 11:03 AM
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Dave has 45min time limit on Daytonas .
Hey asshole I rode my D675 for almost 200 miles before I totaled it!



See you at lunch today fucker.
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post #28 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 11:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SopFu View Post
You may even be able to reverse the power, making your bike a generator for your house, with enough juice at a full charge to give you power to last a few days if you're smart.
wat?

you could use the battery to power your house if you have an inverter, but the only way you're using the bike as a generator is if you add pedals or a ICE to spin the motor.

Last edited by BH; 03-08-2013 at 11:48 AM.
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post #29 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 01:54 PM
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wat?

you could use the battery to power your house if you have an inverter, but the only way you're using the bike as a generator is if you add pedals or a ICE to spin the motor.
Actually that's not totally inconceivable. I just finished commissioning a 5000 HP wound rotor induction motor with a very fancy drive system. Essentially we can consume power from the grid to run super-synchronous speeds or regenerate power (sub-synchronous speeds) back to the grid using special active front end converters and an "off the shelf" inverter. It wouldn't be that difficult to develop a charging device that by the "flick of a switch" could go from charge mode to regen mode and back feed the house (using transfer switches, etc). Obviously pie in the sky thinking but the technology exists today it just needs to be integrated into this application.

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Last edited by JPKII; 03-08-2013 at 01:57 PM.
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post #30 of 50 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Wheaton, IL
Posts: 559
Location: Wheaton, IL
Sportbike: '03 SV 650S turned Nakid, '13 Empulse R
Years Riding: Enough
How you found us: Google
      
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Originally Posted by mac11 View Post
If we are going to electric, fine there are some benefits, but I want a fucking Tesla coil setup so I can charge wirelessly without stoping and waiting 2 hours, 1 hours, 30 minutes whatever it is.
http://www.chargedevs.com/content/ne...ing-technology

To put that into perspective, Level 1 is up to about 2KW, level 2 is up to about 7KW, and Tesla's Superchargers are around 50KW I believe. I don't think that is practical from an implementation POV, at least not until EVs become much more common.

240 miles takes a good 4 hours to do, so I would not mind taking a longer stop to charge. For F4T, we take 4 or 5 longer stops along the way. I think it will be very doable, and the fact you'll only be putting in $1 of electricity instead of $20 worth of gas will make the time lost very worth it.

Obviously I'm a little optimistic and biased here. Time will tell

Sean
03 SV650
13 Empulse R
05 Mazdaspeed Miata
13 JSW TDI

It is far better to be thought of as a smartass than an dumbass. And as American Humorist Robert Benchley (1889-1945) noted, "no matter how well-intended, any reply to a dumbass question will inevitably appear smartassed". - Bob Hall (creator of the Miata)
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