Damon Motorcycles revealed one of the most impressive electric motorcycles the world has ever seen at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) today, the HyperSport. It won the CES 2020 Innovation Awards.
The motorcycle is innovative not just because it’s an electric bike, but because it blends some of the most-impressive safety technology with a unique ride-position adjustment system to make one of the most versatile motorcycles out there.
Before the official reveal of the bike, I had a chance to chat with the company’s CEO Jay Giraud about the new motorcycle and all of the impressive technology that goes into making it what it is. Now that the reveal has occurred we want to share with you all of the amazing aspects of this motorcycle and what Giraud had to say about the bike and its place in the industry.
What Is the Damon Hypersport?
The Damon Motorcycles Hypersport is a battery-electric motorcycle that can do 200+ miles per charge highway and city combined, hit a 200 mph top speed thanks to a power output of 200 hp and 200 nm of torque (148 lb-ft). It has a 0-60 mph time under three seconds.
The all-electric performance is extremely impressive, but what could have bigger implications for the Shift rider ergonomics system and the CoPilot Advanced Warning System. These two different types of technology seek to solve two universal problems for the rider.
The bike also features a charge time of fewer than three hours at a Level 2 charger. Damon is selling two different versions of the bike. There’s the Hypersport HS and the Hypersport Premier. The Premier version gets a carbon fiber swingarm, Brembo brakes, and Ohlins suspension. The Premier will be limited to just 25 units. Reservations are open now for only $100 for the HS and $1,000 for the Premier. Bikes are set to be delivered in mid-2021.
Altogether HyperSport is out to change the industry. When asked if this was the goal behind the bike, Giraud said, “I can dream about being so successful that we change the industry, but that’s a long ways away.” However, he went on to say, “It is our duty to do that.”
What Exactly Is the Shift System?
The Shift ergonomic system allows the rider to essentially have two bikes in one. It provides you a comfortable machine with more laid back ergonomics for cruising or around-town riding, and a sporty riding position when you want that.
The Shift system allows the handlebars, footpegs, seat, and windshield to move at the push of a button. This means you can go from around town cruising to hardcore sport riding in seconds. Giraud told me that it’s a transformative experience.
“People lust after it,” Giraud said of the Shift system in terms of its response from potential customers. “It is this idea that you can have two bikes in one. You don’t go home, get off your commuter bike and go for a fun weekend ride on your sportbike. You just go straight from work to that awesome canyon highway that you love. Then once you’re back in traffic you can make it a commuter bike again.”
It’s a system that eliminates the compromise that so many motorcyclists face each time they look in their garage to pick a bike to take out or each time they show up at a dealer with some money to spend. It gives you both comfort for cruising and commuting and the sporty experience you crave. Giraud said the first time he rode the bike with the Shift system he was amazed.
“The first time I tried it, I was going on to an on-ramp to a highway and I hit the button,” he said. “The seat rises a little bit, the windscreen moved to a lesser angle, the handlebars dropped down about four inches, and the footpegs come up into a supersport position. As the handlebars moved down, it felt like it was merging me with the bike. It was really like a oneness. It was drawing me down closer to the bike.”
This isn’t the only unique system that sets the bike apart. Arguably more important is the CoPilot Advanced Warning System.
What’s Special about the CoPilot Advanced Warning System?
The CoPilot Advanced Warning System takes the driver-assist technology we’re used to seeing in cars and trucks and adapts if for motorcycles and improves upon what the technology actually is.
Damon teamed up with BlackBerry QNX to make this happen. The technology that Damon used is based in cars and already used on millions of automobiles out there. Damon and BlackBerry QNX worked to utilize and adapt the software for a motorcycle. Pair that software with sensors and cameras all around the bike and you have a proprietary 360-degree warning system that’s unlike any other on the road.
Imagine riding and being able to know through the alert system (without having to turn your head) that there’s a car in your blind spot. Imagine being able to see behind you via a 120-degree rearview camera without having to look at your mirrors. The system will even pick up on if a car slows down in front of you.
The system alerts you through visual and physical cues. It is a supplement to the rider’s current senses and Giraud told me that you become used to it very quickly.
“It extends your senses in 360 degrees,” Giraud said. “Within about 10 minutes of riding with CoPilot, the technology falls away. It’s very unintrusive, and you become a more intuitive rider.”
How Does the Bike Stack Up Against the Competition?
In terms of how the Damon Motorcycles HyperSport stacks up against the competition, things look pretty good. Power, range, and technology match or beat the big players in the market. Lightning Motorcycles, Energica, and Zero all have impressive machines, but for a similar price, you get a little more with the Damon.
The motorcycle has a starting MSRP of $24,995. That makes it a seriously impressive machine and puts it as slightly more expensive as the relevant competition from the companies I’ve already mentioned and quite a bit cheaper than Harley’s LiveWire. The performance is far better than the LiveWire.
Giraud said Damon is able to offer the price on its motorcycle even with the better performance and new Shift and CoPilot system due to the direct to consumer business model. The company will operate without dealerships. This dramatically cuts down on cost and allows the company to put out its product much easier than many of the big names out there.
“They have to add a profit margin for the distributors and a profit margin for the dealers to then sell it to the consumer,” he said. “When you do that, you have to make the battery smaller. The battery is 60 percent of the cost of the bike.”
He went on to say that if you look at the battery price cost curve over the last decade and then spread that over the next half-decade, the cost of the battery doesn’t come down enough to make any money on a bike with a high-range battery if you’re bound to dealers and distributors.
This is the competitive edge for Damon, and it’s really the defining factor for the company. It allows Damon to make bikes with a high-capacity battery that provides tons of range while still keeping the cost down. If Damon can keep its promises in terms of performance, safety, and ergonomics, I see only bright things for the company’s bikes.