I recently saw a headline calling the Mission RS from Mission Motorcycles the “Tesla of Electric Motorcycles.” There are actually a handful of electric motorcycle companies out there. Zero Motorcycles, Brammo, and Lito Green Motion come to mind. So, which one is the “Tesla of electric motorcycles?”
Frankly, I’m not enough of a motorcycle expert to know.
Until now, there has been no motorcycling equivalent. Too many electric bikes are little more than two-wheeled appliances, while others flip the price to performance ratio that makes motorcycling so appealing.
The Mission RS changes that. It does for electric motorcycles what Tesla did for electric cars.
“Many on our team brought experience from Tesla,” says Seeger. “There, you’re looking at paradigm-shifting technology, but the consumer doesn’t care, because it’s simply a better product. Apple did the same thing: The iPhone brought all new technology, but the effect was simply a better phone.”
We’ve been waiting for the “iPhone moment” of electric bikes. It’s finally here. The $58,999 Mission RS promises to be that better product. Not just because it’s electric, but because it aims to perform better than any motorcycle that’s come before it.
A motorcycle’s performance is evaluated in numbers, so it’s time to get stuck in. The Mission RS makes 160 horsepower and 120-pound-feet of torque, and comes in at 540 pounds. Compare that to the fastest production motorcycle out there — the Ducati 1199 Panigale R — and the Mission has about 35 fewer ponies, but 22-lb-ft more torque. But it’s saddled with 126 pounds over the 1199. So it should be slower right? Well … No.
A motorcycle’s performance is also evaluated on subjective factors like feel. And, because they’ve gotten so fast (the Ducati will hit 202 MPH if given half a mile or so to do it, whereas the mission is restricted to 150 MPH), it’s actually the subjective that ends up mattering most, because it’s what allows us humans to actually manage all that performance.
And on the subjective, the Mission excels. Unlike a gas bike, there’s no heavy, reciprocating parts jumping around thousands of times per minute. That inertial mass inherent to internal combustion blunts both feedback and turning speed. The vibrations created by all those tiny explosions get in the way of the communication between you and the tires and brakes, while the momentum of the pistons, crank, and gears resists both throttle inputs and steering inputs. Free of all that, the Mission is remarkably better at informing the rider’s inputs, then responding more immediately and transparently to them.
Hmm, sounds pretty convincing so far. Read the full piece over on Wired for more details and commentary on why Wes thinks the Mission RS is the Model S of electric motorcycles.
Motorcycle experts (if we have any here) — want to chime in with a vote of affirmation or one of contention?
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