Word came in over the transom today that two new electric superbikes, both from Mission Motorcycles, are now being made available to the public. These good-looking, very high-tech bikes, designed and built in the U.S. (in the San Francisco area), are far from inexpensive, but they’re based on the proven architecture of the Mission Motors racebike that Steve Rapp rode to victory in the FIM/TTXGP race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2011.
The Mission R (shown above), which starts at $29,999 (factoring in a federal tax credit of $2500), has a chassis designed by James Parker that uses billet aluminum and chrome-moly steel, with an electric powertrain and battery box serving as stressed members. Three lithium-ion battery packages are available: 12 kWh, 15 kWh or 17 kWh, offering respective “real world” ranges of 105, 120 and 140 miles.
Claimed horsepower for the liquid-cooled, three-phase AC induction motor is 163.2, and 133.4 ft.-lb. of peak torque is on tap from 0 to 6400 rpm. Fitted with a single-speed, gear-driven primary reduction transmission, the Mission R, in base 12-kWh form, has a claimed top speed of 140 mph, and its “InfiniteDrive” controller allows the rider to adjust the mapping of the “throttle” and regenerative braking, while also allowing for fine traction-control adjustments and a remote data acquisition system.
An Öhlins 43mm inverted fork is on duty in front, complemented by a shock absorber of the same make in back, working with a single-sided swingarm made of billet aluminum. Preload, ride height, and high- and low-speed compression damping are adjustable front and rear. Braking is by Brembo, with twin 320mm floating steel discs and M430 Monoblock radial calipers in front and a two-piston rear with a stainless, 245mm rotor. Forged, 10-spoke Marchesini wheels are fitted with Dunlop tires, size 120/70ZR-17 in front, 190/0ZR-17 rear. The futuristic rider/machine interface, called MissionOS, is cellular data-enabled and based on a high-resolution touch-screen instrument cluster that supports both GPS and Bluetooth.
As stated, the Mission R, with the 12-kWh package, hits 60 mph in a claimed 3 seconds and has a top speed of 140 mph. This bike, says Mission, also has a “real world” range of 105 miles, but the San Francisco-based company says it also has a “city range” of 170 miles, the increased mileage at least partially related to regenerative braking. Sweetening the pot is a $2750 Tech Package that includes an integrated HD camera with a telemetry overlay, turn-by-turn GPS navigation, a wireless helmet with a head-up display and an ultra-fast twin charger. Mission says the 12-kWh battery pack can be topped off (from empty) in about two hours using the industry standard J1772 level two charging station. With the twin charger, charge time is reduced to only an hour. A 17-kWh pack, says Mission, can be fully charged in less than two hours with the twin charger.
When fitted with the 15-kWh battery pack, the R ($33,999) has a top speed of 150 mph but still hits 60 mph in a claimed 3 seconds. More important: Mission says the “real world” range of this bike grows to 120 miles and the “city range” to an impressive 200 miles. When fitted with the top-of-the-line 17-kWh pack, what Mission calls the “UltraPack,” the R’s claimed top speed and acceleration stay the same, but the “real world” range of this $39,999 bike bumps up to 140 miles while the “city range” soars to 230 miles. If that’s true indicator of what buyers will actually get with this bike, the Mission R with 17-kWh pack will be a game-changer for electric motorcycles.
RS stands for “Race Special,” which should tell you a lot about this bike, basically a street-legal version of Rapp’s bike that comes out in the summer of 2014 and is limited to 40 models (one for each second in Steve’s margin of victory at Laguna). At $56,499 (after a $2500 federal tax credit), the Mission RS ain’t cheap.
Although the RS has same electric powertrain as the S model, it’s available only with the 17-kWh battery pack. As such, it’s quick, able to hit 60 mph in “under 3 seconds” and able to reach a claimed top speed of 150 mph. What’s more, it has the same ranges as the R with the 17-kWh pack: 140 miles in “real world” riding and 240 in city riding.
But that’s not what makes the RS special. Rather, it’s the bike’s suspension and other hardware, which includes what Mission calls “the most advanced electronics and traction control package ever seen on two wheels.” In front, the RS has an Öhlins FGRT200 inverted fork with NIX30 cartridge internals, TiN surface treatment and billet-aluminum radial caliper mountings. It’s the same front suspension seen in MotoGP. And in back, where the single-sided billet-aluminum swingarm resides, an Öhlins TTX36 shock and linkage system are on duty. Preload, ride height, and high and low speed compression and rebound damping are adjustable front and rear.
The RS’s wheels are also a significant upgrade, seven-spoke carbon-fiber units from BST that Mission says are the lightest in production. They measure 17 x 3.5 inches in front and 17 x 6.5 in back, shod with 120/70 and 190/60 Dunlops, respectively. Stout Brembo GP-4RX CNC radial calipers are used in front, clamping a pair of T-Drive fully floating 320mm front rotors. Brembo’s SuperSport P2 CNC Billet caliper handles rear braking, teaming with a 245mm stainless rotor.
If you order the Mission RS with the GP Package ($72,499), you get even better hardware, essentially the best available. This includes an Öhlins FGR200 gas-pressurized front fork, an inverted unit that has TTX25 cartridge internals, a piggyback reservoir and billet-aluminum radial caliper mountings. It complemented in back by an Öhlins TTX36MkII twin-tube shock absorber with a piggyback reservoir.
The brakes are also improved, upgraded to four-piston, Brembo Moto GP units. Besides CNC-machined billet construction, these calipers have a hard anodized coating and 32/34mm pistons, and the rotors themselves are Brembo WSBK/AMA units that are 6mm thick and said to offer WSBK stopping power and heat dissipation. Forged magnesium wheels, Marchesini M7R Genesi models, complete the package.
Here’s the rub. The Mission RS makes its debut in the summer of 2014, and if you want to be one of the 40 exclusive owners, reservation deposits of $10,000 are now being taken at www.mission-motorcycles.com, where you can learn lots more about the bike. You can also more about the standard Mission R there, but the R models will be sold only after the limited run of RSs is sold out. A deposit of $5000 is required for the R model.
Mission Motorcycles says its mission is to make electric motorcycles that outperform traditional motorcycles in performance, riding experience, user experience, range and price. Laudable goals, for sure, although at this stage, we’ll hold off on any judgment until we ride the bikes, which we hope happens soon.
In the meantime, we’ll give Mission Motorcycles president, Mark Seeger, the last word: “The motorcycle industry seems to have stagnated, where the biggest headlines are filled with the smallest of improvements. Only by combining the cleanest expression of raw power, provided by an electric powertrain, with the connectivity we’ve come to expect, can anyone truly evolve the motorcycle into the 21st century. And this is precisely our goal.”