HOW DO YOU SELL RIDERS ON ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLES? JUST SELL RIDERS ON A FASTER MOTORCYCLE.
When most consumers think “electric car,” they’ve been conditioned to think green, to think “Prius” and “limited range” and “braking efficiency.” But electric’s greatest advantage isn’t necessary an environmental one; it’s that an electric motor isn’t limited by the physics of combustion. Rather, just like an electric screwdriver, an electric car can go full throttle, instantly, without switching gears. Smart designers can take advantage of that. Marc Fenigstein, CEO of motorcycle startup BRD says.
“We didn’t set out to build a bike for the masses. We set out to build a bike for a very specific format where we knew electric was the best option.”
BRD developed a groundbreaking electric motocross bike called the RedShift. Fenigstein tells Co.Design.
“It looks familiar because in function it is the same as gas motocross bikes. It looks different because it doesn’t need an exhaust or gas tank anymore.”
Some may see the bike as green. Others may recognize its economic savings--despite the relatively high $15,000 price tag--as an electric bike pays for itself by sidestepping oil changes and constant engine rebuilds. But instead of using these features as a marketing crutch, BRD designed and sold for speed.
“The major breakthrough is simply the approach. BRD doesn’t assume that anyone needs electric. Gas bikes kick ass, and none of us would trade our gas bikes for anything that is slower, uglier, or less fun. We set out to build a bike that was prettier, faster, and more fun than what was in our garages.”
By using gas performance as their design standard rather than some arbitrary engineering metric, BRD created a bike that was 100lbs (or 30%) lighter than competing electrics in their class and a bike that one-ups gas competition by putting out peak horsepower at will and requiring no shifting. It’s also just a beautiful vehicle to look at, with a surprisingly unique, almost anime color scheme in a field filled with eye-punishing chroma.
“The motorcycle market has very strong brand associations for the primary and secondary colors (Red = Honda and Ducati, Green = Kawasaki, Yellow = Yamaha and Suzuki, Blue = Yamaha, Orange = KTM) so we had to find something off the beaten path. We drew from some of our favorite racing liveries and played around until we found something that stood out for its subtlety, rather than competing for ‘OMG LOOK AT ME AAAAAAHHHH.’"
I’m not sure that you can call anything about the RedShift subtle, but it is a gorgeous bike that’s hiding at least one awesome feature that your eyes can’t see: It sounds like a Star Wars podracer in action.
COMMENTARY: Now that's what I call a super-cool all-electric motorcycle for the masses.
"BRD is a team of riders, racers, designers, engineers, makers, builders, thinkers, mechanics and troublemakers. We build motorcycles because it's what we were born to do."
"We love motorcycles. The best ones make you tingle when you look at them, giggle when you ride them, and scare you just a little bit (i.e. score a 90 or above on the Tingle-Giggle-Scream Index). We love going fast. And we love finding new ways and new places to go fast. Our goal from the beginning was to create motos that are easier to ride fast than anything else out there. We build electric bikes because we are in love with instant throttle response and flat, endless torque. Because we want the next bike we purchase, gas or electric, to be faster than our last one."
"Though it didn't yet have a name, BRD began in about 2007 when two riding buddies, Derek Dorresteyn (CTO and co-founder) and Jeff Sand (CDO and co-founder), who happened to have an unbelievable amount of fabrication, engineering and design experience and expertise between the two of them, fell in love with the idea of the smooth, perfectly responsive torque curve of an electric motor and started kicking around the possibilities for building their own electric motorcycle... a motorcycle that could be faster and more rideable than their gas bikes."
- Derek Dorresteyn, CTO and Co-Founder
- Jeff Sand, CDO and Co-Founder
- Marc Fenigstein, CEO and Co-Founder
BRD Bike Models
The RedShift MX is barely legal - a race bike with lights. Designed for MX2/Lites class racing, the MX light and quick, without the lost seconds from hunting through gears trying to find torque. With 200 hour maintenance intervals, you'll also spend more time riding and less time wrenching.
Estimated retail price: $14,995
The RedShift SM is a race sumo without the oil changes. It is designed for everything a city can throw at a bike. Because of its off-road roots, it may be pretty but it's not precious. Feel free to beat on it, but remember: just because it is fully capable of launching stair gaps and airing out the crests of San Francisco hills does not mean we condone that use or behavior in any way.
Estimated retail price: $15,495
BRD is now taking advance orders for delivery in 2013.
Courtesy of an article dated April 25, 2012 appearing in Fast Company Design