Author Topic: Parts/Service  (Read 555 times)

Roland Stone

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Parts/Service
« on: April 13, 2017, 05:11:49 AM »
Since (as predicted) Polaris has done a "Bramscher" abandoning its own Empulse version, is the company any longer providing product support for either the Polaris or Brammo Empulse model line? If not, are there any alternative resourses out there where Empulse owners can access parts and/or service or are we now all essentially up "that" proverbial stinking creek without a paddle??? I've gotten the whiff of impression some favorite Brammo sons are able petitioning the latest company-Brammo iteration for help, but where's the Festivus for the Rest of Us?

If there are still remaining resources for acquiring Empulse pieces left on the planet or secret facilities where the less mechanically talented can take/ship their bikes for service, inquiring minds would like to know, and, IMO - it occurs to me the subject would make for a much appreciated NEW TOPIC on this forum providing some of the really useful, educational, generally helpful maintenance related threads that we used to find here. As for example, - where, beyond the fog of some vague web address listing, an Empulse can get a clutch transplant, new motor, gearbox, and less exotic bits, and, which parts/components are no longer manufactured or otherwise available.

It would give us a better idea of whether we're just going to ride our ever so briefly produced EV bikes untill an unavailable essential part finally falls off, or just ride 'em very occasionally to stretch the lifespan a while longer?

     

frodus

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 12:42:29 PM »
Really wish that they'd put the software tools out there for us to be able to at least diagnose and repair our own vehicles.


siai47

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 06:43:44 PM »
I've been down this road before.  If you have been into alternative fueled vehicles---it happens.  I've owned many orphaned electrics and if enough of them were made, over time, someone will start to make things happen.  I think there were enough Brammo's built to fall into this category.  A lot of it depends on the parent organization that made the product.  Case in point I had Chevrolet S-10E pickups and a Toyota Rav4-EV (first Gen).  GM could have cared less about supporting the S-10.  On the other hand Toyota went out of their way to accommodate owners of their product.  In both cases, wrecked or inoperative vehicles were gathered up for parts and spares that failed often were re-manufactured by a private party (S-10) or Toyota (RAV4).  However if the company goes completely belly up, its a bit of a different issue.  I had this problem with a Vectrix scooter.  First, parts weren't available but some could still be had from Europe--then the whole thing dried up.  I scrapped mine when the battery charger failed.  If I had waited, someone now does a Li-Ion conversion with a different charger and I could have been on the road again. 

With the Brammo, I would try to find a parts bike--preferably a wrecked bike with the EV components intact.  Wheels, tires, forks, shocks, brakes, etc aren't going to be a problem.  Many parts were sourced from existing motorcycles so that supply chain is still there.  Someone should do a Wiki to figure were the bits came from for reference.  The stuff that will stop you cold are Brammo specific electronic components.  Parker (motor) is still in business.  Sevcon (motor controller) still there.  The IET transmission manufacturer is still there.  Brammo is infact still there as an EV drive manufacturer.  Other than the Batteries, the Victory is a Brammo using Brammo's current battery design.  Polaris has a couple of years to deal with warranties and stated they will provide parts for 10 years.  If they do, that might help--maybe not.

Like I said, someone will find a way to make money keeping these things running and over time people who own them will find that someone.  Until then, hope it keeps running  8) !

Roland Stone

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 07:48:58 AM »
Siai47, - You donít mention if youíre driving an EV now and curious after you buried your Vectrix if you jumped off the bridge again and bought an Empulse variety?  Having owned quite a few petrol- bike types over the years I wanted the EV experience before someone buried me.  I was initially ecstatic about my Empulse but reality hit much too soon finding out Craig Bramscher was no Elon Musk and that no corn belt off-road vehicle manufacturer would long stick with any 2-wheel type EV transportation that didnít make a lot of noise.  I should have been suspicious when Brammo lowered their Empulse selling price some $5000 but went ahead with my own EV suicide oblivious.

With the information you provided and as Iíve suspected, unless one is just plain lucky, keeping an Empulse running any length of time without organized product support will be variously challenging and as you suggested there are bound to be scrapped Brammoís out there available for parts when their owners finally get tired trying to keep them going.  As it turns out, EV bike production is several years ahead of itself and anyone buying into the technology at this early stage of the game should be prepared for the risks.  I wasnít. 

siai47

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 08:49:26 AM »
You've got to take it for what is worth but anytime you buy something out of the mainstream that sells to a limited group you are taking a chance that things might not work out well.  I have been doing the EV stuff literally for decades.  It sure has changed from build/convert yourself to something you can use as a daily driver, actually depart for a destination and return.  That wasn't the case years ago.

People expect everything to be perfect these days because the quality and reliability of consumer goods is pretty darn good.  Used to be if you got 100K miles out of a car (including rebuilds of things like engines) you were doing pretty good.  Now a days, 100K isn't anything to really stop you from buying a used model.

In the case of the Empulse, it is something I have wanted to own since I first saw it.  However, it you followed Brammo, you could tell from the start the company had issues with developing what it was bringing to market.  I would have never considered a Brammo product at the original selling price and they always seemed to be delaying release of their products well trying to raise money.  You mentioned Elon Musk and Tesla which suffered through a similar startup with the original roadster---delays, problems, out of cash.  If Musk hadn't hit a home run with the Model S, we wouldn't be talking about Tesla today.  Even now, I don't believe Tesla is out of the woods.  That depends on the Model 3, which if not received well, will doom Tesla.

Back to your question as to why I bought.  The sale of Brammo's motorcycle products to Polaris seemed to solve many problems.  A large dealer network, good distribution system and lots of cash from the new parent company.  I thought the Empulse would be a carry over product until Polaris came out with a updated model that would fix some of the quirks (my opinion) in the existing model.  However, I was a bit underwhelmed with the Victory Empulse when first reviewed and disappointed that a base Empulse, not the R, was at the $20K mark.  When Polaris shuttered Victory, the Empulse became a victim.  Polaris has been testing the EV waters for a number of years with their own products such as the EV Ranger.  They also own GEM which builds mainstream electric LSV's.  IMO the death of the Empulse was not so much the fault of the motorcycle but because of the collapse of Victory due to internal marketing problems, selling against their own Indian brand, loss of identity for the Victory cruiser style bikes and the costs of the new European emission and safety standards.  All that being said, after all the rebates, dealer incentives etc., I was able to buy a brand new Empulse TT for $6375 plus tax, destination etc.  This was less than I paid for my old Vectrix for a much better product.  I still am hopeful that Polaris will honor their commitment for parts and service on the Empulse TT past the initial warranty period.  If they do (and it will be hard with a dying dealer network) I will have scored bigtime.  If not, I am out some money it the bike fails and cannot be repaired.  But until that time I have the privilege of driving one of the finest EV motorcycles you could have purchased.     

Ultratoad

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 09:57:59 AM »
Very well stated siai47....  I could not agree more....  I have always been an underdog kinda guy....  I love the Empulse TT and would buy again....  I have always owned underdogs (Ducati bevel drives, Norton, Triumph, etc).  Somehow I can always find parts to keep them on the road....  It's half the fun....

jazz999

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2017, 10:41:08 PM »
Wow, that was well stated.  Thank you for the perspective

HadesOmega

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2017, 06:28:49 AM »
Supposedly Polaris will be supporting Victory models for 10 year parts and services.  So you can get Empulse parts from Polaris hopefully.  The good thing is Polaris is still here and here to stay they just killed off their Victory brand.  Hopefully they do something with the tech they acquired from Brammo.  If you ask me the Empulse TT is a very good bike but is it a $20k bike?  No there are tons of other nicer bikes I could get for 20k.  At 15k its competative with Zero.  So that may have been their undoing. 

It is a shame none of the other mainstream manufactures like the Japanese Big 4 don't have electric motorcycle available to the public yet.  There needs to be competition or else it won't force these companies to evolve their product and their pricing.  There are other E motos out there but they even less affordable than the Empulse.  I know Yamaha is cooking up some electric moto stuff and Honda is already racing in the zero emissions races with the Mugen.
2016 Victory Empulse TT - #139

Richard230

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2017, 04:46:34 PM »
When Polaris said that they would support Victory products for the next ten years, I have a suspicion that they were not thinking about the Empulse TT, only their established IC models.  With those bikes they have access to the parts manufacturers and equipment suppliers to make those parts available in the future, especially as many of them are likely shared with their Indian brand. 

But with the Brammo acquisition, I am not so sure. That was a very low volume operation and the parts were very specialized.  I bet most of the power system, including the transmission, and many of the chassis components, like the frame, will be impossible even for Polaris to obtain at any price in the future. And I doubt that their remaining Indian dealers will be demanding that they do so.  :(
current bikes: 2014 14.2 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2007 BMW R1200R, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

Ultratoad

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2017, 09:35:01 PM »
When Polaris said that they would support Victory products for the next ten years, I have a suspicion that they were not thinking about the Empulse TT, only their established IC models.  With those bikes they have access to the parts manufacturers and equipment suppliers to make those parts available in the future, especially as many of them are likely shared with their Indian brand. 

But with the Brammo acquisition, I am not so sure. That was a very low volume operation and the parts were very specialized.  I bet most of the power system, including the transmission, and many of the chassis components, like the frame, will be impossible even for Polaris to obtain at any price in the future. And I doubt that their remaining Indian dealers will be demanding that they do so.  :(

I just checked at Victory and Cheap Cycle Parts on the impossible parts that you suggest.  All are showing as available (although expensive) for purchase.  The sky is not falling, until it falls....

Shinysideup

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2017, 09:53:25 PM »
I was riding into work today on the freeway, about 60 mph in the left lane, when my Empulse just quit. First time that's happened at a decent SOC (80%). I was able to pull off onto the shoulder, recycle my power switch and startup, and proceed under power before rolling to a stop.

This experience sure made me ponder how I'm gonna get my bike fixed if something major goes out. I could always junk it (for those that want parts), and get a Zero. But I wonder if that outfit is going to be around for the long haul. Any opinions, Richards?

Richard230

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 09:41:11 AM »
I was riding into work today on the freeway, about 60 mph in the left lane, when my Empulse just quit. First time that's happened at a decent SOC (80%). I was able to pull off onto the shoulder, recycle my power switch and startup, and proceed under power before rolling to a stop.

This experience sure made me ponder how I'm gonna get my bike fixed if something major goes out. I could always junk it (for those that want parts), and get a Zero. But I wonder if that outfit is going to be around for the long haul. Any opinions, Richards?

My daughter's 2012 Zero has had the same sort of issue.  About once a year it just dies while she is riding it on the freeway. Coming to a stop and rebooting the bike gets it running again. (That is pretty scary and she now tends to stay away from freeway travel.)

Some 2016 Zeros also have been reported to be having this specific problem, with the bike dying without warning while riding at freeway speeds. So it is nothing unique and if there is a fix, no one has discussed one yet. However, there has been some talk (which makes sense to me) that is a safety feature of the Sevcon controller.  If the voltage in one of the battery modules sags below a certain point while under stress it will shut off the power to save the batteries. That could very well be what is happening.  ???

Regarding Zeros in general:  I have been very happy with my 2014 S. I have never had a problem and never needed to return to my dealer (which went out of business, anyway).  My bike runs perfectly and the only thing I have done to it is to replace the rear tire at 10,500 miles. However, there is no question that some Zeros have had issues, which (in my opinion) can be traced to either assembly errors or individual component failures, such as the chargers used in some model years.

It appears to me that the design of the Zero is just fine and one assembled correctly and with glitch-less components (almost all of which are sourced from Asia) is an excellent vehicle.  But Zero does seem to have a major issue with customer service.  It appears that they do not stock a supply of replacement parts so that if anything goes wrong and you need a replacement part it may take many months before it will arrive. And their communication with their dealers (much less their customers) appears to be very spotty, with some dealers apparently becoming so frustrated with Zero's lack of response when something goes wrong that they have dropped the franchise.

So the bottom line is that Zeros are really great electric motorcycles - if you get a good one (and most people do).  But if you get a "Friday" bike you can have a very frustrating ownership experience.  :(  You just have to keep your fingers crossed and hope it is your lucky day when you pick out your new Zero.  ;)

However, I will say this though:  Both of my bikes, the 2012 S that I gave my daughter and my current 2014 S were very early production models of each model year.  Both were assembled in December of the previous year.  My guess is that the first few bikes of each model year are assembled by the factory engineers to get the assembly line sorted out. Once the line is up and running, Zero apparently hires local part-time workers to assemble them for the rest of the year and it could be that these guys get zoned out after a while and may occasionally make mistakes during the assembly process.  ??? (I have no idea if Santa Cruz "pot" has anything to do with the assembly of Zero motorcycles.  ::) )
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 09:35:19 AM by Richard230 »
current bikes: 2014 14.2 kWh Zero S, 2011 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 Classic, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2007 BMW R1200R, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

kingcharles

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2017, 11:53:51 AM »
I was riding into work today on the freeway, about 60 mph in the left lane, when my Empulse just quit. First time that's happened at a decent SOC (80%). I was able to pull off onto the shoulder, recycle my power switch and startup, and proceed under power before rolling to a stop.

This experience sure made me ponder how I'm gonna get my bike fixed if something major goes out. I could always junk it (for those that want parts), and get a Zero. But I wonder if that outfit is going to be around for the long haul. Any opinions, Richards?

What is your charging behaviour, do you give the bike plenty of time to balance the battery?
If yes, then you may have a bad cell somewhere and that means it will probably get worse fast.
If not, leave the bike on charge for a few days and hopefully it will take care of an imbalance.

If you don't trust the bike anymore you could consider trading it in on the Energica Eva...
Once you go EV, gas is history!

Auslander

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Re: Parts/Service
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2017, 03:54:40 PM »
My daughter's 2012 Zero has had the same sort of issue.  About once a year it just dies while she is riding it on the freeway. Coming to a stop and rebooting the bike gets it running again. (That is pretty scary and she now tends to stay away from freeway travel.)

Some 2016 Zeros also have been reported to be having this specific problem, with the bike dying without warning while riding at freeway speeds. So it is nothing unique and if there is a fix, no one has discussed one yet. However, there has been some talk (which makes sense to me) that is a safety feature of the Sevcon controller.  If the voltage in one of the battery modules sags below a certain point while under stress it will shut off the power to save the batteries. That could very well be what is happening.  ???

I'm considering swapping to a Zero in the next year or so.  Then again, I may get another BMW GS since I miss distance rides and camping in the Mojave. :)

But!  I heard there was a recall for some 2016 Zeros, IIRC some models were flashed with firmware for another model, and I think it was messing up ABS.  Would that cause a full shutdown?  I doubt it.  They're not without their problems, they're a small company that already has a fairly diverse product lineup, may be pushing the boundary on that "bit of more than they can chew" level.