Damon Motorcycles, a Vancouver-based electric motorcycle startup, made a splash earlier this year when they announced their Damon Hypersport Premier electric motorcycle. The $40,000 sportbike hadn’t yet entered production, but the company already began taking pre-orders for a limited edition run of 25 premium bikes intended for 2021 deliveries, in addition to taking orders for their entry-level models.
Now that those premium bikes have all been reserved, Damon has just opened up orders for two new versions with fresh colorways, as well as announced an acquisition of IP from the failed Mission Motors electric motorcycle startup. Oh, and they just completed a $3 million funding round.
That funding came from a number of undisclosed angel investors.
It’s not clear yet if that funding was used to purchase the Mission Motors IP, but we do know that Damon plans to incorporate some of Mission’s motor and battery tech into the Hypersport.
As Damon Motorcycles COO Derek Dorresteyn explained to TechCrunch:
There are certain bits of that we’re going to roll into the commercialized Hypersport. Specifically, we’re using the motor development that they had as a platform to advance our motor design. We’re looking at achieving 12 newton-meters per kilogram of torque output from an electric motor.
Damon opens pre-orders for new Hypersports
The new version of the Damon Hypersport Premier include the Hypersport Arctic Sun and the Hypersport Midnight Sun.
Damon Motorcycles had previously indicated that the Hypersport Premier would be capable of industry leading specs, including a top speed of 200 mph (321 km/h) and a highway range of 200 miles (321 km).
The bike is also said to contain new tech that would be a first for the electric motorcycle industry. The Hypersport is designed to shape-shift at the touch of a button by moving the bars, foot pegs, seat, and windscreen. That results in altered riding geometry to better suit different types of riding.
The Hypersport is also promising an innovative safety feature known as CoPilot. The system employs an array of sensors including radar, multiple cameras, non-visual sensors, and AI to track the speed and direction of up to 64 moving objects around the bike at any time.
It is unclear how many potential customers have actually pre-ordered a Hypersport for $25,000 or a Hypersport Premium for $40,000. But Damon Motorcycles is claiming that over half of those pre-orders have come from millennials, an age group that many see as key to the adoption of electric motorcycles.
I love seeing new startups enter the electric motorcycle space, and it’s one of the (many) things that differentiate electric bikes from gas bikes: tons of new innovation from new companies.
That being said, Damon seems to be doing a lot of selling expensive motorcycles that don’t exist yet, and not a lot of showing us real progress towards producing those bikes.
They of course aren’t the first to take this approach. Lightning Motorcycles famously announced its $12,998 Lightning Strike last year but began selling the more premium Strike Carbon edition first. The difference there is 1) the premium version costs $20k, not $40k, and 2) Lightning is actually producing and delivering its bikes, albeit slowly.
The other thing that worries me a bit is that Damon had previously made it seem like they were already capable of hitting the lofty numbers they had set for themselves (200kW of power and 200 miles of highway range is on the edge of believable, as it is). But now it is starting to sound like they hope to leverage the IP they bought from Mission to get there. That makes me wonder not just about how close they actually are to production, but also how realistic it is for them to hit these figures. They’re claiming 200 miles of highway range from a 20kWh pack, while the similarly fully fared Zero SR/S gets under 82-99 miles of range from a 14.4kWh pack. It’s going to take a pretty significant technological breakthrough to meet Damon’s numbers.
So while some might consider the Damon Hypersport to be in the expensive vaporware category, I’m going to sit tight and keep my fingers crossed that the company can actually pull this off.
But I’m not going to bet the farm on it. I’ll let all of these other apparently rich millennials do that.
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