Brammo News: Parker Puts its Money where it’s Motor is, Testing Tid-Bits, and AFM preview

Alright, I’ve been waiting for this news for a while, although this has a twist.  Parker, not ICON, is the primary sponsor for Shelina’s and the Empulse TTX’s race effort this year.  Both Eric “EBoz” Bostrom and Shelina Moreda will be racing the TTX in the AFM this year, hence the 32 on the forks and front while Shelina’s 93 is on the side.  You gotta love the pink paint scheme with neon yello highlights.  Screams badass girl, while the Zebra lines echo those on EBoz’s RR.

OK, so ICON is the primary sponsor of the RRs. Now Parker has, and does, make the motors for all of the race bikes and the production Empulse R; which the pictured above TTX is, just with some trick bolt on items and a hot controller map.  They are sponsoring the TTX race effort.  So when referring to the RRs it’s Team Icon Brammo, and when referring to the TTX it’s Team Parker Brammo.  Got it?  Good.  Now explain it to me.  So Parker really is putting their mouth where their money is.  The only other motor company that was a primary sponsor was maybe Kollmorgen for VT Bolt.   Heck, what motor, controller, or battery company has a “Racing’ division/brand?  Clearly these guys get it, and are getting it a bit more than their competition.  It’s almost an embarrassment of riches over there in Brammo’s racing corner.  Almost.  If it was a real embarrassment of riches they’d have their own garage (hehe).

As far as testing Brian was happy to share:

The test went really well with all riders staying upright and no mechanical or electrical issues (finally!).  Steve put in a string of his personal best lap times in the final session and was feeling very comfortable with the bike.  Eric put in a single session on the TTX in the morning to vaildate some changes since the last test and then turned the test duties over to Shelina while he focused for the rest of the day on some new parts on the RR. We’re still experimenting with some changes to the squat ratio and swingarm pivot.

As you’ve suggested, this will be the final test before we go race the Round 2 of the AFM season at Infineon. Honestly, this will be a learning experience for the team, and we’ll be satisfied just showing that we deserve to be there.  We’ll be up against some really fast bikes and riders so it’s going to be interesting to see how we stack up.  I really feel like this is the next step to push the technology to the next level – by jumping in at the deep end.

I reported that at the last test EBoz found 5 seconds, seemingly out of no where.  So I put on my big boy pants and asked where the speed on a production motorcycle was coming from.  Here’s what he had to say:

The primary contributors to better lap times are:

1. Reduced weight.  With removing the 3kW on-board charger and going to forged magnesium racing wheels, you can drop nearly 30 lbs out of the production bike alone.  There are a host of smaller changes that add up to an additional 10-15 lbs.  Race weight for the Empulse TTX is about 425 lbs.

2. Rear sets.  The production pegs limit lean angle, and thus corner speed – which is important on a “small” bike.  We’ve designed our own adjustable racing rear sets and used the opportunity to configure the TTX bike for optional GP shift pattern, which both Eric and Shelina prefer.

3. Rear wheel and gearing.  The production wheel is a 5.5″ rim width with 180 tire.  For the TTX, we’ve dropped to a 4.5″ rim with a new 160 width DOT race tire from Dunlop.  The transition to the smaller tire along with shorter gearing not only makes the bike more nimble, but also allows it to accelerate off the corner better.  The gearing change is somewhat track specific, but puts you in the right rpm range to drive out of the corner without needing a mid-corner shift on some of Thunderhill’s long, fast sweepers.

4. Clip-ons and raised seat height.

5. Ohlins suspension and steering damper.

6. “Fast” paint scheme and fast riders learning the bike! 😉

There is no mention of the controller maps.  But Brian and the Brammo guys are pretty straight shooters.  I’ll stick my neck out and say that the maps haven’t changed much if at all since the first test.  The most interesting thing to me is the rear wheel.  EBoz was running a narrower tire to Atlas at the World Final last year.  And, if you go back to the series Atlas wrote for Moto-USA he talks about how critical wheel and tire size was to gearing of the 60+hp 2011 RR as it is a single speed.  The Empulse TTX with it’s gear box allows for a little more wiggle room.  It’s still important, just not as critical.  But if it sharpened up the handling that much and added to acceleration out of the corner, will we see a smaller rear wheel in the future for the street going Empulse?

In related news, as Brian said, this is the last test before Sonoma.  Brammo will be racing in 4 classes with EBoz racing both the RR and TTX.

Atlas aboard his RR will be taking on the Formula 1 guys, and EBoz will tackle the Formula 500 Twins on the TTX:

Formula

(refer to Rule Section 9.3)
The motorcycles in these classes can be models based on street machines, factory purpose built racing models, or customer built one-of-a-kind motorcycles. Refer to the rulebook for class specifics and formulas. Modifications are unlimited within the various classes provided they meet the engine size/type formula for the class.

Formula I is a class for four-stroke multi cylinder engines from 451cc to 750cc, two stroke engines from 251cc to 500cc, 450cc or larger displacement four stroke single engines, and twin cylinder engines from 651cc to 1000cc.

Formula Twins are four-stroke, twin cylinder engines broken down into three categories (245-500cc, 501-650cc, 651-Open cc) surrounded by any frame, suspension, etc.

EBoz on his RR will be taking on the 750 Superbikes.  Moreda on the TTX will be taking on the 250 Superbikes as well.

Superbike

(refer to Rule Section 9.2)
These motorcycles are also street based models, but may be made for any market in the world. Limited edition models designed for racing purposes may not be allowed. “Racing Only” slick tires may be used. Unlimited modifications to the engine and suspension are allowed based on following engine displacement classes:

  • 175-250cc
  • 251-450cc
  • 451-600cc
  • 601-750cc
  • 751-Open cc
  • Super Dinosaur – No displacement limits; bikes must be at least 12 model years old.

And as always I have some lap times for you.  I compare Brammos Empulse RR to the AMA (top national level of racing) Daytona Sport Bike Class (DSB).  Those are fairly modified 600 4-cyl, 675 triples, 848 twins, and 1125 Buells.  While those bikes are only 120-140hp, they are 100-150lbs lighter.  The fastest lap around Sonoma Raceway (aka Infineon, aka Sears Point) for those bikes in a race last year was 1:38.9ish.  So the times I am looking for are under a 1:40.  Why am I comparing AMA times and AFM times.  Well club racing, by nature is a little all over the place in lap times when compared to top level racing, and makes for easier analysis is all.  Minimum lap time for an AFM 750 Superbike is a 1:58 and a 1:59 for Formula 1.  On Steve’s third and final full lap last year (before high siding out) he ran a 1:54, and we know how far the bike has come since then.  For another comparison Lightning put in a1:51.548 during Race 1 last year, and a 1:47.553 in qualifying the previous day.  And I’d like to note a 1:58 is the lowest minimum time for any of the AFM classes.  Just to add to the data.

Now the TTX has to be thought of as well.  It’s not fast enough to compare to any AMA level classes, but we can check the 2012 Zero S’s lap times from that track last year.  The fastest race time I found was a 2:10.748.  Minimum for 250 Superbike is 2:09 and for Formula 500 Twins is a 2:13.  Well, we are all quite certain that the Empulse is faster than a 2012 Zero.  But just how much faster is the question.  And just how much faster are the races really, than these minimum lap time guide lines out of the AFM Rulebook?  Well apparently you can watch it live, streamed on the web here.

Sonoma is actually a really important race in my book.  Why do I feel that way.  It seems to me having listened to the racers that it is a very technical and challenging track.  A track that does not give up time easily, and most certainly doesn’t give it up easily to simple horse power.  It truly strikes me as a handling track.  AMA times have been pretty consistent there over the past 3 years too.  To me this is the test of Brammo’s chassis development.  They have been working hard and concentrating on that very thing, as that is what the racer’s are asking for.  Also, we have all heard the rave reviews the Empulse R street bike got for its handling.  The TTX is apparently much faster, and not because of horsepower either.  I tfeel this track will be the one to prove if Brammo truly has these bikes turning on dimes.

Brian has been very mature and humble about the bikes and what Brammo is trying to do with the AFM.  I think we are going to see some seriously embarrassed gas bikes.  And hopefully some protests afterwards, just for a little added drama (hehe).

Here are some pics Brammo let me put up a bit ahead of schedule after the press release:

Parker and Brammo partner up to form Team Parker BrammoParker will also help sponsor Brammo’s prototype-class bikes for the FIM eRoadRacing race season

Rohnert Park, CA, April 19, 2013 — Parker’s Electromechanical Automation Division, a leading supplier of motion control technology, is proud to announce that it will be sponsoring Brammo’s participation in the 2013 race season of the all-electric FIM eRoadRacing series. Team Parker Brammo will be racing in the eSuperStock class with the Brammo Empulse TTX motorcycle. AMA Pro Road Racer Shelina Moreda will be riding the Empulse TTX for Team Parker Brammo this season.

Parker is again a contributing sponsor for Brammo on the prototype-class bikes of the 2013 FIM eRoadRacing race season. With Parker motors in these machines, Brammo has won the national championship in 2011 and 2012 and won the world championship in 2012. This is the highest level of performance in the race series and Brammo will compete on two of their Empulse RR machines ridden by Steve Atlas, defending TTXGP world champion, and former AMA champion, Eric Bostrom.

In addition to the FIM eRoadRacing competition series, Brammo is also racing their electric motorcycles in the AFM racing series. This marks the first time in history that the AFM will have electric motorcycles racing against gasoline-powered motorcycles. The Empulse TTX has been homologated to race in the 250 Superbike, 450 Superbike and 500 Twin classes, while the Empulse RR will compete in the 750 Superbike and Formula 1 classes. The first round of races will be at Sonoma Raceway on May 5, 2013.

“It is exciting to be the primary sponsor for Brammo’s first-ever TTX race bikes. It is an incredible machine and it is going to be a huge year for electric motorcycle racing and for Team Parker Brammo,” said Jay Schultz, Industry Market Manager at Parker Hannifin.

Brammo’s Empulse TTX race bike is based on the Empulse R, Brammo’s primary production electric motorcycle, on which a Parker GVM motor powers the bike. The Empulse TTX motorcycle does have a few racing modifications, but for the most part, the performance is unchanged from the Empulse R that can be purchased at one of Brammo’s many dealers.

“Brammo’s electric vehicle technology was born on the race track, and Parker have been there developing and improving their motor alongside the team the whole way. It’s fitting that we’re now taking the Empulse production bike back to the track in the eSuperStock class with Parker as the title sponsor. We’re excited to have one of our partner suppliers get even more involved with the success of the EV industry by supporting racing as a way to further improve the technology,” said Brian Wismann, Director of Product Development for Brammo.

For more information about Parker’s vehicle duty products, please visit parker.com/hev.

About Parker Hannifin
With annual sales exceeding $10 billion, Parker Hannifin is the world’s leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of commercial, mobile, industrial and aerospace markets. The company employs more than 57,000 people in 43 countries around the world. Parker has increased its annual dividends paid to shareholders for 50 consecutive years, ranking it among the top five longest-running dividend-increase records in the S&P 500 index. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at parker.mediaroom.com or its investor information site at www.phstock.com.

About Brammo
Brammo, Inc., is a leading electric vehicle technology company headquartered in North America. Brammo designs and develops electric vehicles including the award winning Enertia and Empulse motorcycles. Brammo is the current TTXGP eGrandPrix World Champion. Brammo is an OEM supplier of its innovative Brammo Digital Drivetrain systems including the Brammo Power battery pack and Brammo Power vehicle management system. Brammo has vehicle distribution and marketing operations in North America, Europe and Asia. To learn more, visit www.Brammo.com<http://www.Brammo.com>.

Pictured: Shelina Moreda with the Brammo Empulse TTX

Almost didn’t know that wasn’t EBoz did you.

There he is test out different swingarm pivot locations and related squat characteristics.

Atlas, impersonating Crutchlow, impersonating Rossi, on his way to setting a string of PRs.

“Hey, can I ride your bike again Shelina?”  “No.  No you can’t.”

Everyone all together: “NNOOOoooooooooooooo!”

6 thoughts on “Brammo News: Parker Puts its Money where it’s Motor is, Testing Tid-Bits, and AFM preview

  1. If it was a real embarrassment of riches both riders would have their own bike. They’re each going to want it setup a particular way, and I want to see them on track together!!

    The 160 width tire thing is kind of amusing considering some of the justifications Brammo gave a while back for putting a 180 width tire on a 50 HP bike. I’d like to see the production R and E1 incorporate changes made to the TTX eventually.

    “The transition to the smaller tire along with shorter gearing not only makes the bike more nimble, but also allows it to accelerate off the corner better.” is good for street bikes too.

    Zero tends to use refuel @ Laguna Seca to test prototype powertrain. I guess the prototype MX they had in 2012 was running a 100V battery with the 75-7 motor.

    Here are some results from the Sport Electric race:
    http://www.refuelraces.com/sportelectric.html

    relevant snippets, 2012:
    PROTOTYPE 1 STEVE ATLAS Brammo Empulse RR 1:40.269 80.4
    PROTOTYPE 2 JAMIE PERUGINI ZERO MX Prototype 2:00.389 67.0
    PRODUCTION 1 IAN LEBOV ZERO S 2:08.889 62.5
    PRODUCTION 2 TREVOR DONIAK ZERO S 2:10.759 61.6
    PRODUCTION 3 PAUL ROBINSON ZERO S 2:12.118 61.0
    PRODUCTION 4 RICHARD KENTON ZERO S 2:19.158 57.9
    PRODUCTION 5 BRIAN SIMMONS ZERO S 2:20.323 57.4
    PRODUCTION 6 BRANDON MILLER ZERO S 2:21.378 57.0

    The MX prototype is about 8s faster than the production bikes.

    And here’s a similar situation from 2011, with a prototype 2012 powertrain stuffed into a 2011 S:
    PROTOTYPE 1 STEVE RAPP Mission R 1:43.728 77.7
    PROTOTYPE 2 JAMIE PERUGINI ZERO 2:11.364 61.3
    PRODUCTION 1 IAN LEBOV ZERO 2:25.198 55.5
    PRODUCTION 2 PAUL ROBINSON ZERO 2:26.498 55.0
    PRODUCTION 3 GABE DEVAULT ZERO 2:34.090 52.3

    In 2011 Jamie gained 14s on the production 2011 bikes on his 2012 prototype, down to 2:11.4. Next year the production 2012 S (with different riders, different weather) were turning in 2:08.9 -2:21.4 laptimes, and the prototype MX with the 2013 powertrain was turning in 2:00.4 laptimes.

    The MX chassis + battery is lighter than the 2013 S – ~260 pounds vs ~350 pounds ZF8.5 .. but I bet the S is going to be geared better and handle better at 80-100 mph speeds. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 1:57 – 2:00 lap times at LS refuel 2013 from the 2013 S, or 10s faster than 2012 S.

    Not to belabor a point, but carrying over that 10s lap advantage would put the 2013 S around 2:00 at infineon sonoma.

    Atlas on the 2011 RR turned in a 1:54 best lap time during the 2011 TTXGP at infineon. It’ll be interesting to see how much faster the TTX is than the 2011 RR.

    Finally, one last wish: I’d like to see a TTX, stock Empulse R, stock Empulse E1, stock 2013 S, and a racebike 2013 S all on the same track. TTX vs production S isn’t going to be a perfect comparison, but you know there will be some who use that as a defacto “Brammo vs Zero” comparison. And maybe it is in a way: it’s the production-based racing philosophy of each company.

    1. I think there are some issues comparing Laguna and Sonoma lap times. Maybe less so for the Zeros though. The two tracks seem to reflect speed in such different ways. Thanks for the MX data. I did cover last years Refuel. Its in there somewhere.

    2. You are right about how Shelina and Eric are sharing the TTX. Not sure how that is going to work, but I suspect Shelina is interested in learning how Eric does things.

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