Canadian electric motorcycle startup Damon Motors revealed a new high-performance, tech-laden machine called the HyperFighter at the 2022 CES electronics convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The new model will join the existing HyperSport, announced two years ago. So far, both machines are in the pre-production stages, with a Damon representative telling Forbes.com that production of the HyperSport should commence in the first half of 2022 with the HyperFighter coming out in 2023. Damon Motors is building out a manufacturing facility in Vancouver, British Columbia at this time.
Damon already has numerous pre-orders in place for the high-performance HyperSport, which is a technology-packed all-electric motorcycle featuring robust performance numbers and some novel safety and comfort features, much of which will carry over to the HyperFighter.
The new HyperFighter will use the basic underpinnings of the HyperSport but will take on a “naked” or “streetfighter” form factor, which does away with the HyperSports front windscreen and full-coverage bodywork in favor of a more basic headlight-and-handlebars appearance.
The “streetfighter” aesthetic grew out of the 1990s custom motorcycle scene, where bike (re)builders took lightly crashed sportbikes, stripped them of their plastic body panel parts (thus the “naked” connotation) and added dirt-bike handlebars and a bare minimum of instruments or stylistic accoutrements, if any. The resulting stripped-down, lighter-weight but still high-performance machines became known as “streetfighters” and “naked bikes” within the rider lexicon. The styles were quickly picked up by OEM bike builders who now sell new models based on the simpler-is-bettter ideals.
Damon Motors is bringing numerous unique tech and performance features to their two motorcycles.
A safety suite, called CoPilot, uses sensors, cameras and an AI system onboard the motorcycle to alert the riders using haptic vibrations in the handlebars. However, at no point does the CoPilot system take over control of the motorcycle in the way lane keeping and automobile collision avoidance tech does on many modern cars. Because a motorcycle is an unstable vehicle by nature (as are bicycles), sudden control changes not made by the rider could cause a loss of control. Therefore, the CoPilot system simply lets riders know a car is in the blind spot or they are following too close, among other warnings. LED lights in the cockpit will also give riders visual warnings. Damon CEO Jay Giraud has said since the company’s inception that his goal is to give riders a safer riding experience. An experienced entrepreneur, Giraud started Damon after a motorcycle crash.
Comfort is a Damon tech issue as well. Their novel Shift ergonomic system allows riders to change up the position of handlebars and other things, such as footpeg positions, while riding. Raising or lowering the handlebars and footpegs by just a few inches can mean major changes in the ergonomics and comfort of any motorcycle, and on the Damon bikes, the Shift system can change the HyperSport riding position from a road-racer crouch for sport riding to a more upright system for navigating urban traffic.
While some motorcycles (BMW comes to mind) allow for changes in seat, bar and peg positions, those changes have to made with tools while the motorcycle is stopped and can’t be changed while riding. On the Damon bikes, small electric motors change those elements on the fly. A video for the HyperFighter indicates the handlebars will be able to change position, it is unknown at this time if other hard parts will be included in the HyperFighter’s Shift system. On the HyperSport, the handlebars, footpegs and windscreen position can all be changed at the push of a button. I was the first journalists to ride the Damon prototypes (below) back in 2019 and the tech is both novel and effective.
More Damon tech includes their HyperDrive system, which makes the battery a central load-bearing part of the motorcycle, simplifying construction and saving weight at the same time. HyperDrive was a Innovation Award Honoree this year as CES.
While most electric motorcycle makers essentially slot a large cube full of battery cells in a metal frame, which is also similar to how most gas-powered motorcycles are built, the Damon HyperDrive system instead uses a purpose-shaped central battery casing that hugs the motor and attaches directly to the suspension system.
This creative element, a spin on the monocoque frame idea, also allows Damon to pack the bike with 20kWh worth of batteries, giving the machines longer range. Other electric motorcycle makers, such as market leader Zero, have battery capacities that top out just over 16kWh. However, “longer range” may be a challenge as Damon promises most HyperSport and HyperFighter models will make 200 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque, with top speeds closing in on 150mph for top-tier models, and supercar-level 0-60 time of under 3 seconds. Output like that tends to suck down the gas, no matter if its fossil fuels or electrons.
The Damon Motors HyperFighter will be available in three configurations, with the top-tier “Colossus” model having special (likely “lighter and very expensive”) wheels and other premium trim bits for $35,000. Power is rated at 200hp with range near the 150 mile mark, and only 100 Colossus models will be made. The similar-spec’d “Unlimited 20” model will have less bling and cost $25,000, while the base Unlimited 15 model will have a smaller 15kWh battery, “only” 150hp and a $19,000 price tag. All prices are before any electric motorcycle rebates and incentives, which can vary widely depending on where you live.
Damon in taking deposits for the HyperFighter at this time.