Damon Motors is making a big splash in the electric motorcycle world today with the announcement of two new models – the HyperSport HX and HyperSport SE, now available for pre-order – both centered around the company’s proprietary HyperDrive battery/motor/controller unit which comprises the central component of the motorcycle’s frame. However, while that in itself is newsworthy, Damon is further making waves with its cloud-based 360-degree CoPilot safety system and the subscription service it’s providing with the backing of FreedomRoad Financial, meaning you don’t have to worry about owning a piece of equipment that’s obsolete by the time you get home.
We understand if you’re naturally suspicious of electric motorcycle companies. Plenty have come and gone, many of them making big claims about what their machines can do. Some have even shown great promise with lots of potential, only to see funding dry up and the doors close. To date, there seems to be only three major players with any sort of staying power: Zero, Energica, and Harley-Davidson.
That said, when asked, Damon founder and CEO Jay Giraud said he expects to start delivering models by approximately 2022. Maybe earlier. Since we can’t predict the future, let’s assume this is all true, because if so, this is a lot to digest and could be groundbreaking. So, let’s break it down one-by-one.
Damon’s first two models, the HyperSport SX and HyperSport SE, are sport-styled motorcycles offering a trio of technologies as yet seen in motorcycling – or at least not to this level. The first is the Shift system. This has nothing to do with changing gears, obviously, since the Hypersports don’t have transmissions. Instead, the Shift system changes the position of the bars and pegs (via servo motors, we assume) higher or lower to suit the riding conditions. All at the push of a button. With the bars low and the pegs high you can tackle a curvy road, or flip it the other way and you can have a (relatively) comfortable commute to the office – assuming you’re still going to one these days.
The next two are integrated into Damon’s CoPilot warning system. Using radar, cameras, and sensors embedded within the motorcycle, all Damon motorcycles are scanning and monitoring the road in full 360-degree view, watching out for any potential hazard. Once one is detected, the rider is alerted via lights, vibrations in the handlebar, or a display in the dash. In the event of an evasive maneuver (or a crash), the bike will capture the event details and transmit it to the cloud, where machine learning and AI can study the circumstances and refine its protocols so other Damons on the road can recognize threats faster and alert the rider sooner.
As for the HyperSports themselves, the underpinnings of all Damon motorcycles will be what it calls the HyperDrive. As mentioned before, since the HyperSports are monocoque chassis, HyperDrive is the name given to the central structural component that makes up the “frame” and embodies the liquid-cooled battery, 16,000 rpm motor (rated at over 200 hp and 200 nm of torque), 6.6 kW integrated charger, and proprietary 150+kW inverter. Even the swingarm pivot is part of the structure as well.
As far as the battery goes, its modular design allows Damon to add or subtract cells to achieve capacities ranging from 11 kWh, 15 kWh, and 20 kWh. The energy-dense pack comes in at over 200Wh/kg, which rivals those used by the 800-lb giant in the EV space – Tesla. Naturally, range estimates will vary widely depending on battery capacity and the rider’s right wrist, but Damon says the HyperSport SE can achieve 100 miles on a charge, and a top speed of 120 mph. The SX version gets slightly more of both; 150 miles and 155 mph top speed. Thankfully, all Damons will be capable of charging at Level 1, Level 2, and DC fast charge stations.
Beyond the electronic components, other details about the SE and SX are a little sparse. Damon hasn’t revealed which brake or suspension components will be used, though studying the photos floating around the Damon website shows what appears to be a Yamaha YZF-R1 swingarm and likely an R1 front end as well. It’s doubtful these components will make it to final production, however. (UPDATE: Damon representatives tell us the swingarm will be a proprietary design and the images on the website are old.)
Apart from range anxiety, price is always the sticking point when it comes to electric motorcycles. With the HyperSport SE and SX, however, and their price tags of $16,995 and $19,995, respectively (before state and federal incentives), the pricing doesn’t seem outrageous and falls relatively in line with others on the market.
What’s particularly interesting is the subscription service with FreedomRoad Financial. “It’s like a cell phone,” says Giraud, or a lease in automotive terms. With 24-, 36-, or 48-month plans, you can ride a Hypersport for the duration of the term without worrying about obsolescence, then trade it in for a new one when you’re done. Clearly, there are certain exceptions and conditions, especially in the case of a crash, but the premise seems promising. Even if Damon and FreedomRoad haven’t yet fleshed out all the details.
On paper anyway, the HyperSport models have us very intrigued. And it goes without saying that we can’t wait to throw a leg over one when the time comes. For now anyway, we’ll have to settle with the information we have. Interested parties can go to the Damon website to place a $100 refundable reservation.
Damon’s complete press release is below.
Damon Motors today released details of HyperDrive, the world’s first 100 percent electric, multi-variant powertrain platform that redefines motorcycle performance, safety and design. As a platform for future Damon motorcycles, HyperDrive is a monocoque-constructed, high-voltage powertrain that a wide range of models and submodels can be built upon.
To showcase the HyperDrive platform, Damon has announced the release of two new motorcycle models for pre-order: HyperSport SX and HyperSport SE, each with HyperDrive at their core. Configured with 15kWh, the HyperSport SX delivers more than 150 miles range and 150 horsepower from its HyperDrive, while the HyperSport SE with 11kWh boasts over 100 miles range and 108 horsepower.
In partnership with FreedomRoad Financial, Damon has also announced a revolutionary subscription plan offering for all HyperSport models. Customers can choose from 24, 36 and 48-month subscription plans with a guaranteed residual value, (conditions apply, with normal wear-and-tear) providing customers the freedom to exchange their HyperSport for updated models at the end of the term. As hardware gets updated, customers can always expect next-generation technology without the hassle and trade-in losses that occur with legacy dealerships and brands.
“As we at Damon continue to reinvent two-wheel mobility, HyperDrive lies at the heart of our innovation,” said Jay Giraud, founder & CEO at Damon Motors. “HyperDrive serves as the nucleus of our creations and will allow us to further evolve our technology and continue to introduce the world’s most exciting and groundbreaking electric motorcycles.”
“Damon continues to electrify the entire motorcycle industry with unprecedented features and next-generation technology that sets it apart from the competition,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group. “The Damon team has set a new standard in modern motorcycling with its ongoing commitment to maximizing all aspects of its motorcycles from the ground-up to deliver an unparalleled riding experience.”
HyperDrive is optimized for maximum performance, design and safety.
Design – Battery as a structural element
Damon’s HyperDrive includes the most energy-dense pack in transportation at over 200Wh/kg, but that has not stopped Damon from pursuing every opportunity to increase range and performance.
“Motorcyclists love to see motorcycles as visual diagrams of how they work,” said Dom Kwong, CTO at Damon Motors. “We aimed to emphasize this in a modern electric powertrain for the first time. The structural aspects of HyperDrive celebrate the optimization of mechanical design and performance as its central design expression.”
As well-meaning as they are, no amount of awareness campaigns, compulsory riding lights, or neon vests have significantly reduced motorcycle accidents. Damon believes the only way to bring about a paradigm shift in motorcycle safety is through the use of disruptive technology.
“We’re on a mission to radically improve motorcycle safety,” said Jeff Sand, design director at Damon Motors. “Our core values permeate the vehicle’s design and the systems in them. From passive thermal propagation resistance in our battery packs, to redundancy in critical drive systems, to our novel CoPilot 360º collision warning system, our aim is to invent the future of motorcycle safety and performance.”
The HyperSport Family
|Top Speed||120 mph||155 mph||200 mph||200 mph|
|Range per Charge||100 miles||150 miles||200 miles||200 miles|
|Onboard Charge Rate|| |
6.6 kW and DC 19.2 kW
|6.6 kW and DC 19.2 kW||6.6 kW and DC 19.2 kW||6.6 kW and DC 19.2 kW|
|4G connectivity + data||Included||Included||Included||Included|
|Over-the-air software updates||Included||Included||Included||Included|
|Brakes||To be announced||To be announced||To be announced||Brembo|
|Suspension||To be announced||To be announced||To be announced||Öhlins|
|Est. MSRP (before state and federal incentives)||$16,995 USD||$19,995||$24,995||$39,995|
|Subscription Plans||Pricing to be released on damon.com||Pricing to be released on damon.com||Pricing to be released on damon.com||Pricing to be released on damon.com|