- A new electric motorcycle from Damon Motors debuted at CES.
- The Hyperfighter Colossus ain’t cheap at $35,000 but Silicon Valley yuppies will eat them all up.
- Alpinestars pioneered the wearable airbag for motorcycle riders and continues adding models for different types of riding.
On top of all the expected unveilings of gadgetry aimed for fun and productivity, this year’s Consumer Electronic Show featured more compelling futuristic cars and car tech than we’ve seen in a while. It also was the site of some cool two-wheeled—and two-wheel-related—news.
Damon Motors’ Electric Motorcycles
We first saw Damon at CES two years ago. Back then it was showcasing a new electric motorcycle called the HyperSport that could switch from sport bike to touring bike at the push of a button: handlebars raised up, windscreen raised, pegs went back, seat slid forward, and voila, you go from hunched-over sport bike to more comfortable sport touring bike. At this year’s CES Damon Motors showed off its new limited-edition HyperFighter Colossus, “the ultimate stripped-down urban assault sportbike derived from Damon’s first bike, HyperSport.”
“The HyperFighter Colossus motorcycle redefines the streetfighter category with a powerfully-charged limited edition model,” said Jay Giraud, co-founder and CEO, Damon Motors. “The HyperFighter is a stripped-down demon of a bike that is not for the faint of heart, so that riders can fight traffic, fight gas, and fight compromise. We’re excited to give the naked sports bike fanatic everything they want, coupled with the unrivaled technological features found only on Damon bikes. Only 100 HyperFighter Colossus motorcycles will hit the road, making them highly coveted.”
The new bike promises 200 hp, “more than” 148 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 mph in less than three seconds, and a top speed of 170 mph. Range is listed at 146 miles. The HyperSport of two years ago was said to go 200 miles. Damon says something it calls HyperDrive is the key to the bike’s performance. It describes HyperDrive as the “world’s first monocoque-constructed, 100 percent electric, multi-variant powertrain optimized for maximum performance, design and safety,” which, to be frank, is more than a little vague. It looks like what they mean is that the battery pack is a stressed member of the frame, but that information is lost in the marketing gobbledeegook. Damon bikes do have Ohlins shocks, Brembo brakes and single rear swingarms.
Both the new HyperFighter Colossus and the HyperSport will come with Damon’s CoPilot—“a 360-degree advanced warning system that uses radar, cameras, and non-visual sensors to track the speed, direction, and velocity of up to 64 moving objects around the motorcycle for unparalleled situational awareness.” Both bikes will also get that transformational setup, Shift: “At the push of a button, patented electronic ergonomics allow riders to transform their riding position with adjustable handlebars position and a retractable windscreen to dramatically reduce wind resistance and increase long range comfort, all while in motion.”
The Damon website says the HyperFighter Colossus retails for a “subscription price” of $475 per month or $35,000 to buy, and that the bike can be reserved with a fully refundable deposit of $250. There is also a HyperFighter Unlimited 20 with a 20 kWh battery for $25,000 or $357 a month, and a HyperFighter Unlimited 15 with 15 kWh for $19,000 or $264 a month.
Is it vaporware? A Damon PR rep says Damon has sold 2000 bikes, though with no retail deliveries yet it likely means deposits. Deliveries will start this year for all models.
Damon claims to have $65 million in total funding, having announced December 8 that it had garnered $30 million in a Series B Funding round led by an entity called House of Lithium. A search for House of Lithium on Google shows a beachfront home in Newport Beach and a website showing a tattooed tough guy speeding about on an electric bicycle (not on a Damon). House of Lithium makes electric bicycles and looks to be led by a guy named “TJ,” perhaps the guy with the tattoos and the beach house. So Damon Motors is getting help from a like-minded investor. Looking forward to riding one of these someday.
“It’s been a very busy Q4 for Damon, marked by massive momentum for the company, having secured an additional $30M in funding, global expansion into Europe, announcement of a 110,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, to begin production in 2022; awarded 6 issued patents for its technologies, and surpassing a $45M milestone in orders for its flagship HyperSport motorcycle,” Damon said in a release.
“Our global team is working hard to deliver against our vision to change the future of transportation,” said Giraud.
Alpinestars Autonomous Airbag System
It’s like an airbag for your body! Alpinestars has been making airbag vests for motorcycle riders for years, including for riders competing in MotoGP. It sells three models now and introduced three more at CES. Currently on the market are the Tech Air Race, Tech Air Street, and Tech Air 5. Added at CES are the Tech Air 3, 10, and Off-Road. Those are six different systems for six different kinds of riding.
The Tech Air 10 is a vest that covers the rider’s shoulder, chest, full back and hips. It can be worn under any Alpinestars Tech-Air-ready suit, or any third-party leather suit with 1.6 inches of space around the circumference of the rider’s chest and 0.8 inch around the circumference of the rider’s hips to accommodate the inflation of the airbag, in the event of a crash. It’ll retail for $999.95 when it comes out late April or early May.
The Tech Air 3 is meant to be worn over a jacket for commuters. It can be taken off, folded up and stowed easily when you get to the office. It’ll be $599.95 and available September.
The Off-Road V2 looks like something Darth Vader would wear on a dirt bike, with hardened shoulder, elbow and chest protection combined with an airbag system made for the specific conditions encountered off-road. It’ll cost $899.95 and be out Oct. or Nov.
“With this complete selection of advanced airbag technology, Alpinestars is enabling riders of all disciplines to benefit from a standalone, wearable garment featuring all of the protection that Tech-Air delivers, regardless of the bike they ride, or the style of riding they do.”
Remember, ATGATT (All The Gear All The Time, as in, wear all of your gear every time you go riding. Ask me how I know this…)
Spoke Rider Safety Alert System
Everyone wants to make riding safer for motorcyclists and bicycles, but an entity called Spoke is doing something about it. The company went to CES this year with its message of rider protection.
Headquartered in Denver and Turin, Spoke aims to set up alerts sent to automobile drivers that they are approaching a bicycle or a motorcycle. Likewise, bike and motorcycle riders would be alerted of an approaching car. It announced a deal with Qualcomm last summer:
“Spoke, a mobility platform for safety, connectivity and rich rider experiences, today announced plans to bring connected technology to vulnerable road users (VRUs), including bicyclists and scooter riders, using Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) solutions from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. A first-of-its-kind, the Spoke hardware and software suite, which features the C-V2X solutions, is designed to be the industry’s first reliable, robust connected system to offer secure, direct communication for contextual awareness and alerts between drivers and riders, enhancing safety for VRUs.”
It sounds like a simple plan. Find out more about it here.
Bugatti Electric Scooter
Yes, Bugatti has partnered with a Brooklyn, New York-based company called Bytech International to make a Razor-type foldable electric scooter, a prototype of which was revealed at CES. In terms of branding outrage, this is surely worse than the Aston Martin Cygnet. And so, the world as we once knew it is over.
“Bugatti is at the pinnacle of automotive excellence,” reasoned Wiebke Stahl, managing director at Bugatti International. “Partnering with a company such as Bytech gives us an opportunity to expand our reach in the electric mobility space with an experienced partner and a product that can be enjoyed by consumers around the world.”
This is not an April Fools’ joke.
Top speed in (not kidding here) sport mode is 18.5 mph. Range is a claimed 22 miles. Weight of the scooter is 35 pounds, but its magnesium alloy frame can hold up to 242 pounds. And it has lights and turn signals in its ergonomically designed handle grips. The scooter costs only $1000, which is a bit pricey for a scooter, but a bargain for a Bugatti.
Share your thoughts on any or all of the above in the comments below.
Mark Vaughn grew up in a Ford family and spent many hours holding a trouble light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father cursed Ford, all its products and everyone who ever worked there. This was his introduction to objective automotive criticism. He started writing for City News Service in Los Angeles, then moved to Europe and became editor of a car magazine called, creatively, Auto. He decided Auto should cover Formula 1, sports prototypes and touring cars—no one stopped him! From there he interviewed with Autoweek at the 1989 Frankfurt motor show and has been with us ever since.