Author Topic: 2014 Empulse $1000  (Read 516 times)

Roland Stone

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2014 Empulse $1000
« on: April 08, 2017, 07:43:01 AM »
950 miles on my 2014 Brammo Impulse and clutch has stopped working (will not engage).  Worked fine last time I rode the bike about a month ago.  Have bled the system several times (using a speed bleeder) but still no clutch action, - suspect a problem with the resevoir/clutch-handle assy.  With no dealers, service or parts any longer available for the Brammo disaster, I finally just want the bike out of my garage, out of sight, and out of my life.  $1000 (as is) takes it with all the spares which is less than I enthusiastically spent as a new and naive owner just on the parts and accessories alone.  Details on the bike can be seen in "Collector's Item" June 11-2016 <Bikes for Sale or Auction> posted by Roland Stone.  Contact email remains the same.  I've posted my offer here as an epitaph for best bike I've ever owned and the biggest ripoff I've ever experienced.       

Roland Stone - Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Brammofan

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2017, 05:29:14 PM »
Hmmm well the clutch is fairly standard so I am surprised it can’t be fixed….. Pretty much all the clutch parts are off the shelf.

You might want to email Brammo and see if anyone at HQ can help trouble shoot. The lead mechanic from the race team is still at Brammo and rides an Empulse.

Or you can go direct to SMRE who built the gearbox/clutch   http://www.smre.it
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Roland Stone

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 08:54:42 PM »
Brammofan, - thanks for the reply....  First of all who would you suggest I contact at Brammo reference my posted clutch problem? Only online address I found was for "sales" at Brammo's website and, curious knowing why anyone there would be amenable offering advice on a product the company walked away from a couple of years ago. Although I'm mechanically adept, at 73 years old now I'm getting to the age it's not as easy pursuing overhaul type maintenance. When I first bought my Empulse I thought it would be just what the doctor ordered what with the hoped for reduced maintenance exertion an old man would appreciate going electric, and for a very short time that expectation was met. It was brief however and I anticipated nothing but disaster when a month after buying my Empulse, Brammo announced it was selling out to Polaris. On this forum I believe I made a prescient prediction that Polaris would also drop the Empulse and they didn't disappoint as it turns out. Soon after picking up my Empulse I quickly realized that due to the collection of foreign manufactured parts that went into the bike, Brammo customers were going to be very dependent on the company to keep the component collection working. I was also prescient in that prediction, soon finding Polaris was totally incapable supporting its inherited Brammo Empulse customers. So at 73, how much time do I have ahead to enjoy my first "bucket list" EV experience now parked in my garage with an inop clutch at only 950 pampered miles and out of warranty and no apparent customer support anywhere in sight. You mentioned the clutch should be an "off the shelf" item, but the question is, - who's shelf??? I live in Florida, - Harley Davidson/Donald Trump country and definitely no Empulse clutch components in this state and even the short time Polaris was in the EV game, not one of their Florida dealers would touch a Brammo. Really, who could have imagined our Brammo support would be dropped by two companies in less than four years?! Is it difficult understanding why so many customers were depending on Brammo and so discouraged and disappointed when the company folded leaving a really faithful customer base gasping.  Brammo was an American company and I was actually proud being able buying such a beautifully designed bike from "Made in America" for as long as that lasted.  - They call it the “American Dream” because you have to be asleep to believe it.

If you could point me in the right direction, Brammofan, it would be much appreciated. Presently, I'm completely out of ideas and I'm sure my frustration shows.

Roland Stone

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 07:47:27 AM »
Well, try sales@brammo.com to start. Might want to mention that Brammofan sent you.
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Roland Stone

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2017, 08:53:26 PM »
I’m seriously relieved being able to announce my clutch is operational again and I will not be giving my bike away as it turns out.

I went out for a no-clutch ride this afternoon with the clutch still inoperable despite having bled the system two different occasions this past weekend.  Pulling in the clutch handle for the first couple of miles produced no change in RPM indicating the clutch apparently was still not working.  Further on I decided trying to shift down to see if it could be done without turning the gearbox into hamburger.  In 3rd gear I slowed down to a crawl and then shifted down to 2nd habitually pulling the clutch – “just in case”, and amazingly it was a very smooth shift which started me thinking, - is it working now?  As I continued on I shifted up using the clutch (which I don’t normally do on the upshift) and again it was smooth shift, but still no indicated RPM fluctuation.  Still using the clutch, made several up/down shifts again resulting in apparently smooth clutch assisted shifts and then suddenly I was seeing definite RPM changes when engaging the clutch in the gear change.  The clutch was working again and continued working for the rest of the ride.  A mystery. 

If anyone else in Brammoland has had a similar clutch experience or has any ideas on mine it would be great hearing your ideas keeping in mind I only have 950 miles on my 2014 Empulse since new.  Maybe not riding frequently enough to keep everything juiced up???

Whatever, with Easter coming up my Empulse seems to be emulating the occasion by doing its own resurrection much to my relief.  The terrifying experience of a major component failure however brings home how tenable Brammo life can be without any available product support.  Cost becomes the least of worries when there’s no one to take your maintenance money.  How precious these masterpiece EV’s have become.

frodus

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2017, 09:29:49 AM »
So does the clutch not disengage?

Mine does that when its cold. It takes a little bit to warm up, since there's no ICE. Wet clutches stick when the oil is more viscous (i.e. cold). Maybe it was a combination of needing to be bled, and being cold.

Roland Stone

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2017, 07:24:50 PM »
frodus, - doing a bleed job didn't hurt, eliminating air in the line as a possible contributing factor to my clutch anomaly, and down here in Florida I definitely don't have to worry about cold-induced clutch disengagement issues.  Also, considering I haven't seen a brake fluid level drop in my master cylinder would seem to eliminate the possibility of any fluid leakage at the clutch hydraulic/mechanical interface. End of the day it's looking more and more like just a break-in issue in consideration the low mileage (950) on my Empulse(?).  I think I'll definitely reduce the interval time between rides now.  As it is/was I also have an Aprillia Sportcity scooter which I use for most of my necessary running around.  I get on the Empulse pretty much for the joy of the ride, and I need doing that more often.  And yes, to answer your question, the clutch is operating normally now which is what is puzzling and why the initial issue of not disengaging remains a question.  I'll post again if the present as-normal situation changes.  Would have liked knowing exactly what was causing the problem but just glad time being I'm not looking at a major clutch issue.  No idea now how/where I would ever be able getting it serviced.  Grim.

Are you healed up and riding again?  I remember reading you took a pretty good fall a while back. 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 07:42:56 PM by Roland Stone »

frodus

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2017, 11:55:41 AM »
Yeah, mine sticks a little until it warms up the transmission oil.

It wasn't me that wrecked, I've been fortunate enough to have no accidents.

Roland Stone

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 02:47:41 PM »
frodus, - The fact you've also experienced some clutch "warm-up" disengagement issues is actually good news for me because I was starting to think I was the only Empulse owner with the intermittant problem.  My situation still seems odd though considering it never gets really cold down here in Florida and I never really get on the RPM's until the motor has warmed up to 80F which is more to do with the oil-breather recall issue, - I haven't changed mine out yet and probably won't.  Anyway, thanks for the info and glad to hear it wasn't your bike that slid out from under you.  As I recall it was a previous winter time incident in Philadelphia or some such.  Besides banging up his bike the guy got a few broken bones. Whoever it was posted about the accident and was laid up for a while.  Well, - hope he's recovered. 

flar

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2017, 05:11:09 AM »
I rarely use the clutch.  The bike responds too well to clutchless shifting techniques that I don't bother.  The only thing the clutch does in my opinion is allow you to over-rev on a shift.  The only useful thing it does is when you are maneuvering it around in a parking space and you want to prevent yourself from losing control if you accidentally goose the throttle as you pull on the bars while looking over your shoulder.

As for shifting, it is really not necessary.  As for stopping, it is completely not necessary.

To be clear, the technique I use is when I want to shift up is to apply a slight upward pressure on the shifter and then lightly let up on the throttle and it snicks cleanly into the next gear.  The reverse works well for downshifting, or sometimes you have to give a tiny bit of throttle if you are slowing on regen and want to downshift as the regen can also keep the gears from shifting and a tiny bit of throttle releases that bind.
Current bikes: 2013 Brammo Empulse R, 2005 BMW R1200RT
Prior bikes: 1988 Honda Hawk GT, 1997 BMW F650
Future bikes: something with 300 mile range and 0-60 faster than a liter sport bike?

siai47

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Re: 2014 Empulse $1000
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2017, 09:02:32 AM »
Change the transmission fluid.  Make sure you are using a gear oil with the proper viscosity.  No higher than 10W30.  I would suggest something even lower.  The Empulse clutch plates run submerged in oil.  When cold, the oil in between the plates will drive the motorcycle even with the clutch lever pulled in.  That's why most owners have the problem of the clutch not releasing when cold.  As the oil warms up, it's viscosity drops allowing the clutch plates to slip when released.  Remember, we don't have an engine that shares the oil with the clutch trying to heat it up like most motorcycles.  Poor design, I have never see a "wet" clutch that runs that far submerged in oil on a motorcycle.  It also causes performance losses by trying to spin all that oil around---many racing or high performance motorcycles use a dry clutch for this reason.