One of the most famous names in having fun on two wheels is ready to step into the next generation of bikes. The Triumph TE-1 is an electric sport bike prototype aimed at an all-electric future. Instead of being stuck in the past, Triumph is getting a jump on the future with this alien-looking machine. While it certainly won’t be the first motorcycle manufacturer to get into the electric bike game, it looks poised to beat the major names in the industry to the punch.
While the Hondas and Ducatis of the world continue to run along aiming their future technologies at internal combustion engines that will sooner-than-you-think be banned from sale in many countries, cities, states, and municipalities, the old world kings from Triumph aren’t content to sit back and watch the world pass them by. Triumph is calling this the completion of the third phase of the prototype. This is a near-production-ready demonstrator, which apparently includes the final chassis, belt drive, electronics, software, Öhlins dampers, and Brembo callipers which will be fitted to the consumer version when it debuts. Likewise, Williams Advanced Engineering has determined this to be the final iteration of the battery pack and cell packaging, the control unit, DC to DC converter, cooling package, charge port, and carbon covers.
Triumph is now kicking off Phase Four, which is scheduled to take the next six months. With an indoor rolling road the team will assess and suggest tweaks to things like throttle calibration, mapping, power delivery, functionality, and cooling. Following those closely controlled variables getting nailed down, the bike will then be shifted to track testing where the finer points of handling, acceleration, braking, traction control, and anti-wheelie tech will be tuned.
Steve Sargent, Triumph’s Chief Product Officer said “During phase 3 we have focused on building the physical foundation of Triumph’s first electric prototype motorcycle. I am pleased with the outcome of Triumph and the TE-1 partners’ efforts in creating a demonstrator bike that is not only visually so desirable with clear Triumph DNA, but also packaged with an exhilarating and thrilling brand-new electric powertrain that has such potential for the future. I look forward to continuing the development of this demonstrator vehicle through phase 4 and using our knowledge and capabilities to bring all of the partners’ cutting-edge technology together into a final result which will guide Triumph’s electric strategy for the future. Our experience tells us that at this stage of a project there is no substitute to genuinely riding a bike when developing driveability, handling and character, and we have ambitious targets focused on delivering a riding experience that is new and exciting, but ultimately intuitive and familiar. I am really looking forward to my first opportunity to ride the completed prototype.”
While we’ve seen electric motorcycles from stand alone EV manufacturers like Zero, Alta, Energica, and others, there have only been a small handful of electric motos from mainstream manufacturers. Harley-Davidson took a big dive into that pool a few years ago, and the resulting LiveWire One is among the best bikes I’ve ever ridden, and by all accounts KTM’s Freeride E-XC is a good bike. Let’s hope that Triumph gets this right, and it isn’t priced way too high. The world needs an electric Triumph Speed sooner rather than later