I started writing this blog post almost 2 years ago. Back then it had been well over a year since my last post. And I’d been a bit busy for the last 5+ months! Lil’ Richy, as we call him, and he was born at the end of May. Right as practices were happening for the TT and at the time, my full time job was working at Best Buy. As retail company’s go they are one of the best to work for, but they are a retail company and my hours fluctuated wildly. Before that I was a laid off Oil Industry worker milking them to subsidize me while I made a big push to finish my Music Education degree. But before that was the start of the decline of this blog, I got work in the Oil Industry. The money was good, but being gone for 5 weeks and then home for 5 didn’t work out like I liked. I was trying to expand what I did, but time constraints and vastly slower internet than compared to what I needed on the boat put a crimp in things. Also, I was recovering financially and I had got a quote on trying to level up the site; it was just too much. Then the TTXGP closed its doors, and Shelina Moreda went to gas bikes full time. Coming back towards today in the timeline Brammo handed production of the Empulse over to Polaris who, if opinion of the Brammo Owner’s forum at the time still stands, clearly did not put the effort into building them to the same standards that the guys in Oregon did. One year later and the Empulse is no more, and neither is Vitory for that matter. I desperately tried to get the financing for an EBoz limited edition Empulse, and failed [sigh]. Oh, but Zero continued on with their infuriating marketing. And then I found out about a year after it had happened that Brian Weismann, Director of Product Development for Brammo is now working with the same title, for Zero. Good on him, but I was taken by surprise. There really was no reason to be, just the race fan in me, but also a sign to myself how out of touch I was now. At that point I had moved to KY with my soon to be wife. Back to Zero marketing, if you have seen one of their advertisements from after Brian joined Zero I think Brammo fans will recognize the feel of the video, and the riding gear. I only check out their marketing to see if there are improvements in the marketing BS. Nope, and there is a guy who had just run across Zero and had made more than a few videos dedicated to the same things I’ve hated for years.
That kind of brings me to another topic. I truly believed that racing was the way to a better product. But Zero is still here with their Board members and no official racing, and Brammo is not. Tesla should be in Formula-e showing what they can do, but instead it looks like (if you talk to the right people) they are poised to drive all of the car companies in the world out of business. When I started writing this, I had heard the deliveries of the Model 3 were out selling every single car in the US. So racing is clearly not necessary. Just an army of engineers apparently. That realization is something I am still coming to terms with. I haven’t been in the blogging scene for a few years now, with only the TT Zero getting me excited enough to write a post and cover things a bit.
But another reason I started to stop writing was that I felt I was becoming the type of person I started blogging and podcasting to counter in the first place. When I first started there was a lot of misinformation. The thing that got me was when I read two, but it might have been three, sources that supposedly transcribed what was said at a press conference and none of them matched. If they were transcribed properly they should match. The other thing was it was early days and the innovating people were not polished and or experienced speakers, or atleast talking to the press. You would read a quote and you could take it a few different ways. I wanted to do podcasts and interview these folks, and let their inflections come through and let people hear how they were saying these things so they could understand what was being communicated more clearly. Well, I had done so many interviews, and read and written so many e-mails, and written so many posts, both factual and editorial, that I found myself swearing someone had said this, or this was that way, or what ever, and when I dug back into my articles and interviews I found I was remembering some things wrong. And to stop the spreading of misinformation was why I started it, and if I was now one of the causes I either needed to mitigate things or stop all together.
And, as I wrote in one post, I was becoming pretty jaded, and that isn’t helpful either. What really put the nail in the coffin for me, atleast keeps my volume down is that jadedness. Anytime I looked back into electric motorcycles all I had was anger and frustration. There is a Windows blogger and now podcaster named Paul Thurrott. I got into a Windows podcast he was part of as a place to start. After only a few years of yelling at the screen I realized his snarkiness, over stating of things one day only to be dismissive of the same thing the next, refusal to see things from the point of view of the designers, insistence that he knew better than engineers and Cooperate officers, and general willingness to use facts as a giant paint roller instead of the detailing brush they were to make his point and dismiss others, was not my time spent well, and not actually helpful. And that I was becoming the elmoto version of him. This is simply not helpful, and damaging to a genre of motorcycling I had devoted a large amount of my time too.
By not being able to keep facts straight (mind you only a few and I’d say well within what most people find acceptable, jut not me), finding my belief’s in brands and philosophy’s proven wrong by the closing of such brands with whom I had a shared philosophy, and becoming destructively jaded and unable to see the positivity of things became too much. But there were a few more things more concrete. I had messed up Google Adsense somehow and could not make any money to support my efforts, and had no human to contact to get me out of it. And finally one of the bigger Motorcycle websites was actively trying to undermine me. Part of getting readers, and hence hits, was that the bigger websites weren’t covering the same things. Well this site (which I can’t remember which one) started posting articles right after I would post something, and usually about similar subjects. It was very effective at dropping traffic to my site. But I realized one of the reasons I was doing what I was doing was because no one else was covering what I was. And if a bigger publication was going too, then I’d step a side with little to no regrets. So I did that. But then said publication stopped posting elmoto content. So I started back up, and again they would match me post for post. It was a game I did not have the energy for. And the last thing was trying to keep interviews going for the podcast. It was becoming very regular, that guests I had booked wouldn’t make it. Or I could get two one week and none the next. And it seemed there was always someone needing the podcast to go out in a timely manner in order for it to be worth their time, which was reasonable. I chalked it up to the industry maturing and my site not growing in importance with them. But these were all speed bumps that kept adding up to something I no longer had the energy or resources to work with. Maybe I never did.
So here I am, no longer recently homeless, or struggling as a bicycle mechanic, renting a room in Tennessee. I am married, with a 2-year old boy who is a blast, and finally a music teacher living in South West Florida. Oh, and I just bought a Chevy Bolt. I still don’t have my motorcycle working, so that hasn’t changed. But I look at the elmoto scene and it is worse than it was. There are Really expensive elmotos to buy from the same brands accept H-D has replaced Brammo. There is no more elmoto racing at the Ilse of Mann or Pikes Peaks (well no more motorcycle racing period). Nothing has replaced the TTXGP. Local series might as well not exist for all the good they are doing in making actual progress in making elmotos take on as much of a share of the market as electric cars. Now, they exist for fun for those who can commit to such series, and I am by no means saying they should be shut down if you thought that is what I was going for. Lightning’s flaws as a company lead to a near full on “Lightning is a Fraud” campaign on You Tube. Brammo announces a motorcycle that they actually produced but because it wasn’t available right then Hollywood Electrics and Ted Dillard (particularly) lead a loud and long campaign against the company. HE later went on to sell Brammo bikes, so . . .
Yeah a little bitter still, but I feel I’m fair in that. So lets summarize. Zero: still progressively better bikes with marketing that just as crap as the day they got rid of Neal. But they employ two of my favorite elmoto industry people. Lightning: Still a hot mess with hot bikes. CRP, uhh, eCRP, uhh Energica?: Currently building the kind of bikes the German’s beat then with in the first place. And they stayed close enough the FIM to help them possibly get some racing going that will make some kind of difference, maybe? Brammo: Who? Harley Davidson: [in my mind] Killers of Mission Motors and BRD, uhh Alta Motors. But they make a solid elmoto! TTXGP: What was that? Grassroots series: how are those going for you? Electric Motorcycles: Getting SMASHED by electric bicycle sales.
That’s all I have for now. I have to go mow the lawn with my 5 year old electric lawn mower. 😉
[Update part] Meh, the lawn can wait a second. I forgot one bright spot, Brian Wismann and Ely Schless’ Lightfighter. A race specific motorcycle, with race specific geometry, and a club race sized pack. Half the size of of the Moto-E Energica bike. The last bastion of elmoto race based purity?
via Studio for WP app.