Ride Review: Mission Motors Mission R

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Mission Motors R

Ride Review: Mission Mission R

08/02/2012 @ 2:50 pm, by Beeler 39 COMMENTS

How do you begin to about riding the Mission Mission R electric superbike? question, this machine is anything else. It is drop-… in that completely unobtainable of way, it has more neck-snapping than a 1000cc sport and it is electric…just like your oven.

I suppose we could our discussion about the Mission R in the tone that we would about other ultra-exclusive like for instance the Moto2-only HB4 or the connoisseur’s NCR M4 ONE SHOT. That of analysis would in essence more like an art critique, the closest any real motorcyclist get to one these bikes is via a computer (perhaps the pages of a magazine, if is your thing) or on display at sort of public event, no inside a corral of faux-velvet

In that case, I could some of the best hyperbole building the dream of riding fantasy machine as far as possible. all, the Mission R at the moment is unobtainium, and that only to fuel our product-lust further.

as equally, we could have a discussion about the weights and of the Mission R. We could explore technical detail that Motors has available, and extrapolate else that the San Franciscan would rather not disclose to the public. We could talk lap lean angles, and wheelies per At its heart, Asphalt Rubber is bike blog, and sport are a very metric driven

How much power does it And how much does it weigh? Ok, and there should be an inquiry the chances of the bike getting you on a Friday night.

That said, the only real you need to know is that in the of Steve Rapp, the Mission R give any AMA Supersport rider and a serious run for their money at Seca, for about eight

Simply the best electric with a license plate, I when pressed we could about the future of motorcycling, how are coming of age, and how the Mission R is the of what performance parity like in a two-wheeled electric Make like the Pope, get out the water, and let us convert some heathens, right?

I think is about as much of a Mormons-on-your-doorstop in hell of convincing any internal-combustion motorcyclist to see the light when it to electrons being the fuel of the so why don’t we just spare that sermon as well. So does that leave us?

let us play an exercise in mental Close your eyes and your ideal motorcycle. The is fresh and edgy, but also and timeless.

The motorcycle has all the right parts and brands: Öhlins suspension, Brembo beryllium calipers, 10-spoke Marchesini wheels, custom carbon bodywork, and a bevy of other components and accents. On the dynamometer, the curve on this mythical is shaped like a plateau, and the comes on immediately, but is still and linear.

The motor has no flat and there are no pits or falls on its graph; and best of all, at the end of the this exercise in fantasy twice as much torque as typical liter-bike. The cost for a worth of fuel? About one

Hold all these elements in mind for a moment, and then your eyes. The motorcycle I described to you is the Mission R pictured in the at the top of this article, and recently we had the to ride the pride of Mission through the streets of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge to Mt. and out past Stinson Beach Bay, before eventually home along the cliffs of the Coast Highway.

Click the jump for our account about San Francisco’s motorcycle playground on the R electric superbike.

The Streets of San

Riding the Mission R on the city of San Francisco, we begin our day near where the Mission Motors resides. Just missing rush hour traffic, San Francisco is still a bustling at 10am, especially when it to the pedestrian foot-traffic that is of office zombies, who are scavenging the for their next caffeine Normally I would … these roads on my daily-rider, a Streetfighter, whose excessively exhaust note can just be heard over its even excessively loud dry clutch.

The makes an impression as you ride it, not always the one you want to have especially when my mother or the CHP is The foot traffic runs for when the big-displacement v-twin barreling through town — I the scene is vaguely similar to the of a WWI dive-bombing biplane, whose motors meant … above for the soldiers below. is hyperbole of course, but the picture is a contrast to today’s scene.

the Ducati, the Mission R is striking, and you would have a hard finding fault with any of the many … lines, of which side of the electric debate you hail from.

riding the Mission R through the city streets of San Francisco, a war cliché comes to mind: through a minefield. A larger with electrics in general, the quiet nature of the Mission R, with the Palovian idea motorcycles make sounds very loud ones), and every intersection becomes a of second-guessing the pedestrian. Right-hand through a crosswalk?

You are pretty guaranteed to startle an unsuspecting whose cranium is churning on a life trapped inside its cubical-clad world.

At 550 lbs in curb the heft of the Mission R can be felt walking the bike around the or traveling at low-speeds, so it was readily as we scooted around the city for our photo shoot (Scott swinging a lens, like a ). However with no crankshaft, transmission, and other mechanical rotating at thousands of rounds per (besides the rotor inside the itself, of course), the force to flick the Mission R from at higher speeds becomes far than you would think that massive weight So at speed, the Mission R gives the of a bike that weighs the as any other sport bike, its internal-combustion equivalents tout 75-100 lbs less left in weight — more on that of course.

There is an element of riding an motorcycle that really to be witnessed first-hand in order to be appreciated, especially when the motorcycle in question is one like the R, i.e. one that has some power available for the twist of wrist. These bikes at lower speeds, where control is king.

Sans a to feather, and an instant amount of torque, one begins to relish traffic, especially when it tight cornering obstacles. for a minute, how often does say that?

The experience is a welcomed from the usual clutch-clutching that San Franciscan traffic can and the only real complaint I about the Mission R in this is the lack of hand clearance the motorcycle’s handlebars are at full-lock. an oversight by Tim Prentice at Motonium. or a to keep some of the Mission R’s lines intact, you only to pinch a finger a couple of before you start coming up some creative hand — especially when you are reenacting an from Austin Powers, happens far too often, as the Mission R’s radius leaves something to be as well.

These are of course complaints, which you barely time thinking about. In while on the bike you spend time contemplating its strengths, as people vie for your attention a bevy of questions that shout at you from their car Unsurprisingly, San Francisco is a savvy when it comes to the EV scene, one looky-loo even taking the to ask me about Mission’s current of funding.

California, you crack me up

It would be unfair to say that the R is at home in an urban environment. the company using the electric as its resident grocery-getter, the Mission R was with one purpose in mind: … and taking names on the it shines in that regard. being said, as expected the drivetrain on the Mission R makes for a enjoyable ride, even you have traded apexes for

Mission would want to the steering components, and maybe a more comfortable seat, if it made another unit the one we were riding. But considering most sport bikes are fish out of water when it to around-town riding, we feel with the trade-offs that Motors made here the Mission R.

Devoting 20% of our 14 kWh battery to our time downtown, which several photo stops, the portion of our ride commenced as we out of the city and merged onto the Gate Bridge. Once our iconic 45 mph tourist trap, we through the highway traffic. I am not saying that we broke the limit at this point in our but the motor response from 65 mph and was palpable, to say the least.

This is the Mission R’s 163 hp figure for the motor is a bit as it is the 133 lbs•ft of torque @ 6,400 that really gets attention as you twist the throttle.

With great power great responsibility, and when you put powertrain package together a single-speed gearbox, passing vehicles really does just as easy as moving wrist.This in turn also that the ability to break a of California Vehicle Codes is an effortless task. While my is safe for another day, I underline more the shocking of torque that the Mission R as your ride it. The machine is capable of lifting the front of its off the ground, as well as slamming … against the back of its seat…all from a 70 mph roll-on.

concept underlines how when it to electric motorcycles, the vernacular for racing will have to with the times. In the horsepower world of sport bikes, we look at a bike’s peak figure, let alone at what rpm metric is produced. Just the we put a tremendous amount of weight (no pun on the dry/curb weights of these with nary a thought to the weight figures of the rotating involved.

The instant and linear of an electric motorcycle is certain to our thoughts about how we measure the of the motorcycles of the future, just as emphasis should be placed on an motorcycle’s curb weight, at in regard to an apples-to-apples comparison internal-combustion motorcycles (more apples-to-pears if you ask us). All it takes to this coming change in is a quick ride up the highway on the R.

The electric engine has virtually no rotating mass at its core wheels, tires, and chain are the R’s most cumbersome rotating of mass, from a physics so the force necessary to overcome the moment of inertia is considerably than what would be on a traditional internal-combustion machines. means changing directions, in large maneuvers like a or in short maneuvers, like a adjustment, are relatively effortless

Mt. Tamalpais the Pacific Coast

Getting off the freeway, I witnessed phenomenon first-hand as we got into the route up Mt. Tam. The advantages of a that is sans flywheel, camshafts, and transmission becomes apparent here, and it is hard for our bike brains to wrap the idea that a 550 lbs motorcycle can be in slow first second turns.

Yet, the Mission R barely heavier, if even at than any liter bike I ever taken across roads.

Adding to the enjoyment is the flawlessly smooth throttle that electric motorcycles which means you carve corner with a single and with a level of precision you did not was possible. I am sadly not equipped to do this experience justice in but every sport biker be afforded the chance to rail a on an electric motorcycle, especially one is this well-refined and well-endowed.

it is the “seeing is believing” moment bikes like the Mission R that will sway the Take them down favorite twisty road, and them go quicker with effort than ever and the pithy discussions about cards in the spokes will I assure you.

For that same reason it is important to remember that the about electrics, especially for the in the motorcycle industry, should not saving the manatees, or some that is equally obtuse. the discussion should center a better motorcycle.

Reaching the of Mt. Tamalpais, we could see that the fog was over the coast below us. The into the clouds again that the Mission R is a better

The roads here are tight, blind, and can have some with adhesion (both tarmac conditions and fallen If I had to pick a weapon of choice for “first-gear” turns, I would opt for the much lighter BRD RedShift SM I tested in Sonoma earlier year. instead of the Mission R, but of I would regret that once I got to the bottom of the mountain, the turns in the road open up

The takeaway from that process though is that it is that a well-built electric wins out over an internal one when it comes to technical and riding the Mission R is an infinitely enjoyable motorcycle on these technical curves, especially compared to my much lighter, but cumbersome Ducati.

Passing through the fog, and coming Stinson Beach. We briefly the freshly paved stretch of along the Bolinas Lagoon. It is a few miles in length, but the turns are twice as fast as the ones on Mt.

with the fresh asphalt to be ridden hard. The Mission R

My favorite stretch of road in the Bay the water to the west is a welcomed and change from the clouds on Mt. whose condition I was less-than-confident and have far less experience on. Getting now another chance to the throttle, the short straights become even shorter before, though it is not an issue.

The R is very neutral on its turn-in, not into the turn like a R6, but also not understeering with vagueness like my Streetfighter.

The from the bike is very and course adjustments mid-apex are achieved. With each the bike becomes even confidence inspiring, and it doesn’t long for the voice in the back of head to remind you that isn’t the race track, and a knee down isn’t the of the day. Unlike the electrics are currently on the market, the Mission R with a substantial amount of programed into the machine.

setting is of course adjustable, but for our enough re-gen was programmed the Mission R as to simulate a four-… of comparable size.

The effect not serves to liken the Mission R to its brethren, but also puts extra energy back the battery pack. Mission me before we set off that allowing the to re-gen would trigger the brake light, a safety that struck me as a bit strange.

It be one thing if electric motorcycles entirely, or at least predominantly, on the to slow the machine, but in this where the effect is similar to it doesn’t make as much Safety first we suppose, for my tastes I could have with a bit more drag the rear of the bike. Of course, the grail is still a proper re-gen system, but don’t you breath for too long on that

Later down the road, we come to find out that we everyone of those electrons we coming down Mt. Tam, and braking for each corner. to our lunch spot in Stinson the café we were eating at us that their outside had been removed, thus our chance for an hour’s worth of

With roughly a quarter left on the Mission R, some math indicated that we be able to make it back the city, that is assuming I continued to abuse the Mission R my heavy-handed throttle use (our sessions probably didn’t either). With a fun section of the PCH between us and San Francisco, we decided to hard and pack the bike up in the when it ran out of gas, rather scoot around at a more but uninspiring pace.

Though I am the Mission Motors crew rather not have the fact the Mission R ultimately ran out of battery at the of the Golden Gate Bridge, I am that we choose our plan to riding hard along the The stretch of road between Beach and Muir Woods has a amount of elevation, and several of its have some serious where the road continues to try and itself into the Pacific

Slaloming through Prius Prius, the PCH gave a testament to Parker’s chassis. The feedback the Mission R, again, was crisp and inspiring, even as we ascended and through the winding road. over the bumps, the Mission R nary a twitch as I pointed it the nastiest of PCH’s ruts.

as the lack of rotating mass on the R helps it shed the appearance of in the corners, that same of mass could have a disadvantage in stabilizing the Mission R this uneven terrain, but work easily rose to the

Coming to the final ascent the coast, and we invariably got stuck an inconsiderate motorist. Trolling at 15 mph through turns that you see through, this is probably the time I wish the Mission R had a bark from its non-existent Maybe that would snapped our moseying motorist letting us by, instead of turn-after-turn wasted behind the SUV.

breaking free, we had only a route to the freeway, and back city life.

With the R just about ready to it a day, one quick wide-open blast up Hwy 101 was enough to reconfirm the of the power I had been tempering on the earlier behind the SUV. I think I have ever surprised by the response of a bike like this before, but as the 133 of torque hooked up with highway, I was jolted back the seat, with my hands onto the clip-ons of the Mission R for life. It is nice when a surprises you like that.

Final Thoughts

Our trip was over 50 miles in length for the which is not a terribly long Even if we had made the round-trip from the Mission Motors HQ that would have been doable, had we not made detours, and looked a bit harder for a during lunch), our total would have been a shade under 70 miles. of course is the Achilles heel of motorcycles, and while battery continues to improve, it still is the factor for bikes like the R. The motor, controller, and software is all but the batteries and the range they are still limiting enough complete usage parity gas-powered bikes is still

For some, this makes like the Mission R a bit of a moot but there is an ample amount of to prove that train of to be incorrect. Battery energy continues to improve, even on the side of things, I think we see much larger packs electric motorcycle manufacturers in and 2013; and with that, the curve for electric motorcycles approach a more acceptable

If I said I hated the current of electric motorcycles available for I might be using kind However, it is important to realize despite the failures that are on the market, the initial idea, a that runs off electricity, is a very good one. The being done at Mission embodies the sophistication necessary to a motorcycle that will to even the most hardened fan — the Mission R is proof of this.

The of course is that the Mission R is not for even for Hollywood movie In its current state, if it was available, you not even be able to afford the R, not with all its premium parts on it at least. Even in a stripped state, the bike would a pretty penny…and then is the whole dealer network, support, financing, etc side of which is the main reason Motors got out of the motorcycle business in the place (much to our chagrin, by the

Still I know plenty of who upon seeing the Mission R had some serious issues at night, and for the select few who have the Mission R, it is hard to get back on a motorcycle, and suddenly realize is lacking from the experience. It is for how much talk there is how electric motorcycles will lack the soul of a gas-powered the connection between rider and is surprisingly more entrenched on the R than any other motorcycle I ridden. Chew on that.


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